Evergreen can overcome latest retail closure

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Kmart announced last week that it will be closing its Evergreen location after decades of serving the community. Liquidation sales will soon begin and by the end of the year the iconic “Big K” store will go dark.

While not exactly shocking given the perilous state of brick-and-mortar retail companies across the U.S., we are saddened by the news and its impact on the community. Kmart’s looming closure, coupled with Shopko shuttering its nearby location earlier this year, leaves two sizable voids in Evergreen’s commercial landscape.

It’s a big blow for a community on the rise, but where there’s soon to be two vacant buildings we see a substantial opportunity to reinvent this commercial corner. In fact, forward-thinking, creative developers should be licking their chops over these prime slices of real estate.

For starters, the busy U.S. 2 intersection sees thousands of commuters a day, including many of the millions of visitors to Glacier Park. Last year, nearly 3 million park visitors spent an estimated $344 million in local gateway economies — cha-ching!

There’s also The Woodlands development for people ages 55 and older that is currently under construction behind the vacant Shopko that will soon include 144 residential units. It’s easy to envision a thriving shopping complex dedicated to servicing this community alone.

We’ve also seen the recent revitalization of vacant box stores in Evergreen with Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores opening a new location in the old Office Max building. The developers sought out the shuttered building because of its “great visibility” and proximity to customers.

There’s no denying that when it comes to retail “the times, they are a changin’.” But we’re confident Evergreen can adapt and overcome any challenge thrown its way.

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