WHEATLAND – When Shopko closed it was a blow to our community and several local stores expanded their inventory to try to soften the impact. Drube Supply has been a strong force to fill the void. They started with school supplies and then added shoes, underwear and socks to their 16th Street location. Kid’s coats are now lining the racks and starting this week – Drube Home is opening downtown at the corner of Gilchrist and 9th Street.
Drube Home is stocked with several of the items that the town lost when Shopko closed its doors. Bedding, towells, throw rugs, candles and soon, Christmas decorations. The aisle of kitchen gadgets and accessories is vast and colorful along with shelves filled with the small appliances that always seem to need replaced when they are needed the most. They have cookware that is functional, and in some cases, boasts nostalgic patterns remembered from grandma’s kitchen.
“We really wanted to fill the Shopko gap,” explained owner Keri Ashenhurst. “We have athletic wear and shoes with prices that rival Walmart and Amazon.”
Right now having two stores is temporary as they hope to build a larger building to encompass everything they have to offer. They originally tried to buy the old Shopko building, but that didn’t work out. But now they are excited to be able to build exactly what they, and the community, need.
“There is so much business that needs to be upheld and it’s wide open. With our two stores we have the buying power to bring products back at the same price levels that Shopko had,” said Thane Ashenhurst with palpable excitement. “We brought in Darrell Reitz, former Shopko manager, to help us price and stock inventory similar to what Shopko had.
Ashenhurst also stressed that they wouldn’t be giving up any of the product lines they have always stocked to make room for the new items. They plan on staying competitive and providing the services and products needed for the community. As of now, they have about half of the retail space that Shopko had and will continue to grow. Both stores will have an adjustment period as to which items will be stocked where.
Be sure to stop in during Oktoberfest to see the progress happening and maybe pick up a cooking spice in the old-fashioned metal containers. Downtown Wheatland is continuing to grow and become a vital component to our town, a real challenge in today’s era of big box stores and vast parking lots.
As Thane said with sincerity, “This was my great-grandfather’s downtown, my grandfather’s and mine and where my kids grew up. I like it down here.”