Shopko Optical opens first free standing store since buyout in Neenah

(WBAY photo)
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY)- While the remaining Shopko retail stores continue to liquidate, a number of Shopko Optical stores are in the process of moving to free standing locations since a recent buyout by Shoptikal LLC, an affiliate of Monarch Alternative Capital, LP.

On Monday, the first "re-grand opening" took place in Neenah.

The transition occurred this past weekend.

The new store is on Westowne Drive, on the opposite side of Interstate 41 from where the former store was.

"Really, everything stayed the same except the address," said Shopko Optical manager Kelly Behrmann.

She added, "We're the first store after the buyout. Other than that, everything stayed the same. We still have doctors, same opticians, we have all of their files, so it's pretty much the same, just a new building."

Most of the new free-standing locations will be close to the former stores which are now liquidating.

In a statement, the company's interim CEO Jim Eisen told Action 2 News, "Shopko Optical is excited to continue to serve the Neenah community in our brand new store location. Our current team will provide the same high-quality eye exams and service that the residents of Neenah have received over the years."

The change in ownership comes after the optical business was put up for auction and sold this past April for $8.5 million in cash.

"Optical meant a lot to a lot of people. Not that the main stores didn't, but a lot of people like to shop online now and things like that, but you can't get an eye exam and have a personal touch online," said Behrmann.

The company expects to open about 80 free standing stores across the country before the end of this year.

Further expansion is expected in 2020.

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