Mike Wilmes had promised Wilmes Do it Best Hardware would return someday to the northside of Sioux City, Iowa. And just as his retail vision was becoming reality this spring, the coronavirus pandemic complicated the whole thing, writes Mason Dockter for the Sioux City Journal.
A grand opening, for which circulars had already been printed, had to be postponed. Some vendors had a hard time getting product lines set up. And certain items proved quite challenging to obtain.
“I found out this week, we cannot get inflatable swimming pools. There is no one in the United States that has inflatable swimming pools, for kids,” Wilmes said. “And then you start thinking, ‘Why is that?’ And a mother said to me, all the pools are not opening this summer. Everybody’s trying to buy a swimming pool.”
Despite all that, the 30,000-square-foot full-service hardware store opened its doors May 13, about a month later than originally hoped. The new store is somewhat larger than Wilmes’ original hardware store in South Sioux City, which he has operated since 1988 with his wife, Gina.
Wilmes, which employs about 16 people in Sioux City, is the first new tenant inside the former Shopko building, at 3025 Hamilton Blvd. It occupies just under a third of the building’s 103,000 square feet.
Shopko closed permanently last June; the Wisconsin-based chain had sagged under enormous debt, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019 and announcing a total liquidation a few months later.
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