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Closing of Wisconsin-based convenience chain ‘The Store’ amid a national retail slowdown

Wisconsin supermarket and gas station chain The Store is expected to close all 25 locations by the end of July 2024.

Founded in 1976, The Store is a fixture in Wisconsin and also operates in Michigan. The impending closure is not the result of financial mismanagement or declining sales.

Instead, it stems from the bankruptcy of Mountain Express Oil, the company that owns the properties and land where The Store operates.

Bankruptcy and its consequences

Mountain Express Oil filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year, a more serious form of bankruptcy compared to Chapter 11.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of all assets, which indicates that the company has no intention of continuing in business.

This contrasts with Chapter 11, a reorganization bankruptcy that allows companies to restructure and continue operating.

The land on which The Store operates has been sold to a real estate investment company, which does not intend to renew the lease agreements with The Store.

Transition plans for employees

Despite the closure, Team Schierl, the parent company of The Store, is working on a smooth transition for the current employees.

According to WSAW-TV, Team Schierl is working with the new operator to retain current employees in their positions.

This effort is intended to soften the impact on the workforce and provide a semblance of job security amid the uncertainty.

A broader retail recession

The Store’s closure is part of a broader trend of retail problems and closures in the United States.

The retail industry has suffered a wave of bankruptcies and closures in recent months. Well-known chains like BurgerFi, which bills itself as an upscale alternative to McDonald’s, have considered Chapter 11 bankruptcy to terminate leases on underperforming locations and liquidate assets, a strategy recently adopted by Red Lobster.

Rising tide of store closures

In May, Red Lobster filed for bankruptcy and has since closed nearly 100 locations, with another 135 closures under consideration.

Similarly, luxury coffee and grocery chain Foxtrot announced the abrupt closure of all its stores in April, leaving both employees and customers in shock. Retailer Express also filed for bankruptcy in April and planned to close 95 of its outlets.

The struggle of brick-and-mortar retail

These closures are symptomatic of a larger decline in the U.S. retail sector. Nearly 2,600 stores have closed so far in 2024.

Major retailers like Macy’s, Walmart, Walgreens, Foot Locker and 7-Eleven have all announced store closures.

Discount stores, such as Family Dollar and the bankrupt 99 Cents Only, and drugstores such as CVS and Rite Aid, have been particularly hard hit.

Future projections

If current closures continue, the total number of retail closures could reach 7,800 by 2024, almost 40 percent more than in 2023.

The rise of online shopping has significantly contributed to the problems of brick-and-mortar locations, creating a challenging environment for traditional retail businesses.

Conclusion

The Store’s closing marks the end of an era for a beloved Wisconsin institution.

It underlines the harsh reality facing retail today, where even long-standing, community-oriented businesses are not immune to the broader economic forces at play.

As the retail landscape continues to evolve, businesses must adapt to survive in an increasingly digital marketplace.

This article was published on TDPel Media. Thank you for reading!

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