By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
“Yes, there were some tears.”
Those were words from Imperial ALCO Store Manager Nicki Sailors after store employees learned last week their store was closing.
Imperial’s is one of 198 stores operating in 23 states that will close its doors in January. There are 13 ALCO stores in Nebraska.
Employees at the Imperial ALCO were informed of the store’s closing last Tuesday, Nov. 18, via conference call that went out to all stores.
Sailors said they will close for good Jan. 31, 2015.
All the merchandise including shelves and fixtures will be sold. A Going Out Of Business sale offering 5 to 30 percent off started last Friday.
“It will be an empty building” the end of January, Sailors said.
One checker Sunday said it’s been busy there. Before noon that day, she said sales looked like they were already above what was taken in Saturday.
Imperial’s ALCO Store at the corner of Highways 6/61 has been a big part of the retail community in Imperial since opening in May 2006. A new store was built for the retailer at the T-Junction intersection after operating downtown at 4th and Broadway Sts. as Duckwall’s for several years.
The local store now employs 14 people. All but three are fulltime, said Sailors, who was named manager last month after former manager Jill Anderson moved to Wray, Colo., to take over store management there.
Sailors said she had some suspicions of their future when learning the stores were being purchased by a liquidation company.
She said it’s hard to believe a company in business 113 years is now closing.
However, there were concerns in October when ALCO filed for Chapter 11 protection in federal bankruptcy court. At that time, Sailors and a spokesperson from ALCO’s Abilene, Kan. distribution center both said they had heard nothing about stores closing.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas approved an order from the company’s creditors to close all of its stores.
Tiger Capital Group, SB Capital Group and Great American Group are conducting the “Going Out of Business” sales, all of which started last Friday in each of ALCO’s stores throughout the country.
Other Nebraska ALCO stores closing are in Ogallala, McCook, North Platte, Cozad, Broken Bow, Valentine, Gordon, Ainsworth, Albion, O’Neill, Ord and West Point.
City sending out info
Jason Tuller, the city’s community development director, said once he learned of ALCO’s closing last week, he began contacting retail businesses that had previously expressed interest in locating in Imperial.
“We’ve contacted several businesses to see if they are interested” in moving here, he said Monday.
Packets of information on the city were sent to each, Tuller said.
In addition, he’s been in contact with the company that owns the ALCO building, Realty Income Corp., and sent them info to use in their marketing of the building.