Second Whitehall Township store announces closing

Two stores in Whitehall Township closing

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MICH. - Store closing signs now decorate the outside and inside of the Shopko Hometown store on East Colby Street in Whitehall Township.

One parking lot west of Shopko is a Great Lake Fresh Market store, which closed in October. 

Both stores are less than a half-mile from the new Whitehall Township Walmart store that opened in May.

At the Shopko signs advertising a liquidation sale indicate items discounted 10-30 percent. 

The company did not respond to a request for the factors leading to the store closing.

Outside the Shopko the parking lot is nearly empty. In the parking lot of the former Great Lakes Fresh Market there are just two cars.

Down the road the Walmart parking has approximately 100 vehicles. Shoppers could be seen entering and exiting the store and parking lot.

There's every indication that business is good at Walmart.

The Walmart store was opposed by 6-thousand area residents who pledged not to shop at the store if it were to be built.

The group Back Off Walmart Not Our Town or "BOW-NOT" no longer holds community events. Still many who made the pledge are sticking to the commitment. 

"I'm not going there," said Dave Frederick. 

Frederick believes the Shopko and Great Lakes Fresh Market wouldn't be closing if not for Walmart.

And he's concerned the store could result in a net job loss for the Whitehall area.

"It hasn't been a boom to our community to have Walmart here, in terms of jobs," said Frederick. 

The vacant and soon to be vacant space in Whitehall Township could be seen as an opportunity.

"The hope is this will be an opportunity for another retailer or business to come in," said Amy VanLoon, White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce President .

Two longtime shopkeepers in downtown Whitehall say specialty stores like theirs have not felt the impact of the new Walmart.

Shopko has two other stores in the area: one in Newaygo and the other in Hart.

The Whitehall Township store will close when the remaining merchandise is sold.

Great Lakes Fresh Market has stores two other stores in the Muskegon area.

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