Alco store to close due to bankruptcy

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Alco store to close due to bankruptcy

The Pawhuska ALCO Store will be forced to close as a result of recent bankruptcy action by the parent company.

Signs were posted late last week to announce the impending closure of the store, located in the former Walmart building at 1457 W. Main. Additional signage notified customers that a “Going-Out-Of-Business” sale is now under way.

Approximately 30 employees will reportedly be affected by the local store closing, which could occur before the end of the year. Pawhuska’s ALCO location was opened in the late 1990s.

ALCO Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 12 with the intention of keeping its stores open during a corporate reorganization process. As part of the proceedings, creditors of Texas-based company demanded that ALCO’s retail operations be terminated.

On Thursday, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas approved an order calling for all 198 of the ALCO retail locations to cease doing business.

The variety store that became ALCO was founded by Alva Lease Duckwall 113 years ago in Abiline, Kan. Company headquarters remained in Abilene through decades of growth before moving to the Dallas suburb of Coppell, Texas, in 2013.

Located almost exclusively in small communities with no major retail outlets, the ALCO discount stores eventually were operated in 23 states — carrying clothing, home furnishings, outdoor products, electronics and sporting goods.

ALCO’s company-wide net sales for the latest fiscal year were reported at $474 million, which represented a 2 percent drop from the previous year. In recent years, the chain had faced increasing competition from other discount retailers — especially the “dollar-type” stores.

A news release from the company stated that the federal bankruptcy court had approved an order authorizing liquidation sales to begin Friday, Nov. 21, at each of the ALCO locations.

“We certainly expect the sale to run through Christmas, but there’s no way of gauging when it will end,” said a company spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous.