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Hoisington Duckwalls to close
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After nearly 20 years in this location, Duckwalls in Hoisington will close it doors in January. Six individuals are employed at the store. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

HOISINGTON — Duckwall-ALCO stores announced today it will close all 44 Duckwall stores including the one in Hoisington. Forty-three of the stores will be closed permanently, except for one in Hettinger, N.D. which will be reopened as an ALCO.

The store in Hoisington has six employees and will shutter its doors on Jan. 9, 2011. The facility will not be reopened as an ALCO.

According to Hoisington Duckwall’s manager Jeff Bohlen, all of the employees will keep their jobs until the store closes. Inventory will be closed out with discounts.

"The announcement of the closing of all of the Duckwall stores is a great shock to our community," said Stacey Bressler, director of the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce.

"Duckwalls is a Main Street business with great home town service," she said. "They will be missed."

The employees of the store may be offered jobs in ALCOs in other locations.

The Hoisington store has been opened since the early 1990s brought to the community by a group of Hoisington business leaders who organized a group to encourage the company to locate in Hoisington.

"In 1989, HCDC Inc. was formed with the specific purpose to buy a building out of bankruptcy to lure Duckwalls to Hoisington," said Lee Van Scyoc. Duckwalls opened in October of 1992 and has remained open since that time. "Volunteers remodeled the building to make suitable for Duckwalls."

Stock was issued for the building and 82 shares were sold.

"It’s disappointing news, to say in the least," said Van Scyoc. "They’ve been a great company to work with.

"We will look for a tenant after we receive official notice," he said.

The news was met with unhappiness by both customers and employees.

"I hate that," said one customer. Employees were saddened also.

In a news release from Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Rick Wilson, president and CEO said, "After careful analysis, we have concluded that the small, limited-selection Duckwall stores no longer meets the needs of most shoppers. These stores account for only 3.9% of sales and little or no profit. Duckwall locations, averaging just 6,755 square feet, consume a disproportionate share of resources in distribution, back-office support, inventory investment and other costs."

The 44 Duckwall stores have a total of 267 full-and part-time workers.