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July 12, 2019
Shopko Optical has relocated to its new home.
The full-service eye care business opened July 1 in a retail center on the northeast corner of 41st Street and Kiwanis Avenue.
“It’s just been such a whirlwind since the beginning of the year when everything happened,” manager Jody Rickel said.
A private investment firm bought Shopko’s eye care business after the company filed for bankruptcy and announced earlier this year that it was closing its department stores, which included two locations in Sioux Falls.
Before the sale, Shopko had been making plans to operate its optical stores as standalone businesses. In addition to the west-side location in Sioux Falls, it leased space on East 10th Street, not far from its east-side store.
After the sale, the new owner decided to start with 80 stores across the country and dropped plans for the optical center on 10th Street.
When the east-side Shopko closed in April, the optical staff joined the team at the Shopko store on 41stt Street. When that store closed in May, the optical center was able to continue operating out of that space until the new location was ready.
Dr. Thomas Rieger is the center’s optometrist, and “we’re looking to add another one soon, hopefully,” Rickel said. With the uncertainty in the bankruptcy process, some of the optical center staff members found other jobs. Now, there are 10 support staff members.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p m. Saturday.
Rickel said she expects that Sioux Falls will get an east-side Shopko Optical once the new owner has been operating for a while.
“We’re starting from the ground up,” she said. “The investment company purchased the name but no buildings or equipment. We’re getting 80 stores up and going. … But the potential for growth is pretty big.”
Shopko Optical, under a new owner, is the only piece of Shopko’s business to continue operating.