MinnPost: How Minnesota towns are trying to fill their empty Shopkos

EXCERPT: “Some Minnesota cities are hoping to court new retailers, whether one or more, to fill their former Shopko spaces. In the rural community of Mahnomen, about an hour from Bemidji in the White Earth Nation, the loss of Shopko means one less place to shop in Mahnomen — and in some cases, one more reason to drive down to Detroit Lakes to shop, said Mitchell Berg, city administrator. Bigger cities like St. Cloud can more easily absorb the loss of a Shopko, Berg said. ‘But these smaller communities … it’s a little harder. Not just because the retail aspect’s changed so much, but I look at it as a capacity issue in the sense of the city, we don’t have an economic development staff member. We don’t have a lot of robust economic development tools to throw at a project.’ Berg said residents have expressed interest in bringing an Aldi to town. But like a lot of retailers, the discount grocery chain has certain benchmarks required of communities it expands in. ‘You go on their website, they want an average daily traffic count of 25,000,’ Berg said — an average of about 25,000 people going past their store. The city of Mahnomen has the road with the highest traffic in Mahnomen County, but Berg estimated its average daily traffic is around 5,500.” FULL STORY: http://bit.ly/2ZWM52w