A man stood at the corner
of Wisconsin Avenue and Falls Road Sunday, alerting
drivers to the markdowns at Shopko.
Photo by Lisa Curtis
GRAFTON — Weeks of
rumors about the demise of the Shopko store in Grafton
are now official. The store at
1771 Wisconsin Ave. is
slated to close April 7.
Over the past two weeks, talk has circulated about the
store’s pharmaceutical vendors saying in court that
Shopko owed them $67 million and would declare
bankruptcy this week.
Late last week, Shopko representative Michelle Hansen
confirmed to several media outlets that six Wisconsin
locations of Shopko would be closing in April, including
The upcoming departure of Shopko has stirred memories
and sadness for some. The News Graphic put out a request
to readers on Facebook to share their thoughts on the
news, and for some, the store’s absence will be a
“I will very much miss Shopko. When I was diagnosed with
cancer, the pharmacy workers all were so kind and
helpful,” Sarah Bub commented. “I’ve become friends with
them and they have been some of my biggest cheerleaders
and I will miss them terribly. They know everything I’ve
gone through. When I go to a new pharmacy it will be so
different. They won’t know my story … or me … the way
everyone does now. Shopko is one of the few stores I
still enjoyed shopping in.”
Others commented that they used to work at the store,
met close friends there or remember being part of the
original employee crew that opened the Grafton Shopko.
Some commented that they always picked Shopko to stop
for school supplies or holiday items, and others
recalled fun memories that occurred in Shopko.
“My favorite memory is loitering there with my friends
before the Grafton Fourth of July fireworks started, and
random summer afternoons. All during the mid-2000s,”
Jordan Schroeter wrote. “During one instance, a couple
of friends and I bought Silly String from the toy
department, sprayed it all over me in my wheelchair and
then I drove around the store. Juvenile, but fun. The
manager came outside by us laughing.”
Shopko representatives have not returned calls or emails
from the News Graphic requesting further
information on whether the Ashwaubenon-based company
will declare bankruptcy, and no information has been
shared on whether more locations, or the company as a
whole, will be closed moving forward.
The other five locations announced for closure were
Appleton, La Crosse, Menasha, Seymour and Sussex. The
six stores announced this month, which were expected to
begin clearance liquidation sales this week, are in
addition to 39 stores across the country that were
announced last month as closing in February. Only one of
those 39, located in Mauston, is in Wisconsin.
Other area stores, such as the West Bend location,
continue to operate without any closing announced thus
Also last month, Shopko announced it would close 42 of
its pharmacies nationwide as a section of the company’s
pharmacy branch was sold to The Kroger Co., which owns
Pick ’n Save stores; the Grafton Shopko’s pharmacy
closed last week as part of that transaction.
On Jan. 7, Shopko representatives were in Brown County
Circuit Court with representatives from McKesson Corp.,
one of the national retail chain’s pharmaceutical
vendors. According to McKesson’s complaint against
Shopko, they supplied approximately $67 million of
pharmaceutical products to Shopko since November, which
the retailer has not paid for.
It was one of McKesson Corp.’s lawyers, Jeff Garfinkle,
who said during the hearing that Shopko would file for
bankruptcy. He was reported as saying then that McKesson
expected Shopko to file this week, in an attempt to
protect itself against its debts to various creditors.
McKesson went to court seeking an injunction to prevent
Shopko continuing to sell the pharmaceuticals that the
company had provided the retailer, arguing in court that
they will not be able to recoup their own costs if
Shopko continued selling the product. The injunction
request was denied on grounds of public safety, that
customers who need the medications could end up cut off
from necessary treatments.
A Bloomberg report in December cited unnamed people with
internal knowledge of Shopko as saying Shopko was
preparing then for a potential bankruptcy filing, though
it was unknown whether such a filing would be followed
by companywide liquidation or a restructuring to save