WAUPACA, Wis. (WBAY) – A family-owned business has completed the purchase of the empty Shopko store in Waupaca. After the Shopko and local Kmart closed a year apart in 2019, the opening of the store is a relief for many shoppers.
The new store, Everyday Hometown, at 825 W. Fulton Street smoothly opened this morning, July 2, ahead of the July 4 weekend rush. The preliminary customer enthusiasm has been encouraging for some business leaders.
“Several years ago we lost our two department stores, so the opening of Everyday Hometown in Waupaca is simply exceptional,” said Terri Schulz, president of the Waupaca Region Chamber of Commerce. “It will be a great place for people to catch those everyday needs that you forget at the last minute. Or when you remember it, you must have a quick gift.
We first showed you the ongoing efforts at Everyday Hometown in April 2021. (Click here for the full story). Time-saving amenities will only grow, as the store plans to double its workforce by around 10 employees over the next few months. New hires will report to business owners, Jim and Kathy Becker’s daughter, Brianna.
“I moved here in January and love it,” said Brianna Becker, store manager. “I saw how necessary it was. I’m so used to having a big store to go get the basics and hope it’s good for everyone to have something so they don’t have to drive 30 minutes all time to get the items they need.
Mary Schumacher has worked at Everyday Hometown since April 2021 but has lived in Waupaca for almost 25 years. When Shopko and Kmart closed their doors, shopping in her hometown was different from the excitement scene when her current workplace smoothly opened.
In 2019 and 2020, “it was very difficult,” Schumacher explained. “Especially if people needed everyday items, utensils or home decorations, you just didn’t have them. We had to go to Steven’s Point or Appleton to get it. Bringing in Everyday Hometown is amazing.
Others are also noticing the extent of the goods now in storage. Light bulbs, sofas, fishing rods, patriotic-colored shorts and more line the aisles. “I walked around and it is just amazing the products and the selection that are here,” said Waupaca Region Chamber of Commerce vice president of tourism Mitchell Swenson. “If you are in the area, stop by and support this new business. They have sporting goods, hardware, tools, furniture and clothing. It’s just amazing.
Getting Brianna Becker to continue the family’s vision of bringing the essentials to a community that had few other options is a noble task at 24. She said she felt ready to manage the latest addition to the family collection of local businesses like their small hardware store in Monroe, Wisconsin and her father’s own “Bad Boy Lawn Mowers” line.
“I went to school for business and have been around my dad’s businesses almost always since I was little,” Becker said. “I kind of grew up around it and saw him do a lot of different things. I was born and raised there and I’m ready to take over, I guess.
Everyday Hometown will continue to welcome customers for the remainder of the summer with a larger opening slated for the fall.
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