Written by John Plestina
The going-out-of-business sign on the Wolf Point ALCO was visible from U.S. Hwy. 2, Friday, Nov. 21. (Photo by John Plestina)
Just under six weeks after it’s parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Wolf Point ALCO store and all 198 ALCOs in 23 states across the nation began a going-out-of-business sale, Friday, Nov. 21.
The Coppell, Texas-headquartered ALCO Stores, Inc., announced its chain-wide liquidation sale, Thursday, Nov. 20.
ALCO Stores Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 12.
The court approved the liquidation sale last week of more than $260 million of inventory and fixtures.
Shortly after that, The Wall Street Journal reported that ALCO had plans to liquidate or sell the retail chain and that ALCO officials have approached potential buyers for the chain.
The international news service Reuters reported that ALCO is hoping to sell better-performing stores while liquidating others. The Wolf Point ALCO is reported to be one of the better-performing stores.
ALCO operates 198 discount, general merchandise stores in 23 states, mostly in the Midwest and a few stores in Florida and Georgia. There are three ALCOs in Montana, besides the Wolf Point location, in Cut Bank, Dillon and Sidney. The next nearest location is Watford City, N.D. There are about 3,000 employees nationwide. The company operates a distribution center in Abilene, Kan.
ALCO began in 1901 as Duckwall, a chain of five and dime stores in Kansas. The company expanded into discount retail when it founded the ALCO chain 46 years ago. In 1989, the company known as Duckwall-ALCO filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and emerged with new financing two years later.
The company closed the last 44 Duckworth five and dime stores in 2010.
ALCO Stores, Inc., reported assets of about $222 million and debts of about $162 million. A substantial amount of the debt is owed to Wells Fargo Bank. ALCO’s debt includes over $415 million in capital leases and about $2 million in monthly rent.
There are unconfirmed reports of at least three major retail chains that have at least made inquiries about the 25,000-square-foot ALCO building in Wolf Point.
Written by John Plestina
The early blast of winter that brought snow and sub-zero temperatures to Wolf Point during the first half of November has temporarily halted the environmental cleanup of the burned-out former Gysler Furniture and Appliance site on Anaconda Street and Second Avenue South.
Workers from Safetech Inc., a Billings asbestos abatement contractor, began work at the site during late October and had completed a substantial portion of the cleanup when weather forced them to stop.
Mayor Chris Dschaak told the Wolf Point City Council, Tuesday, Nov. 18, that the project is on hold until spring or sooner if there is a substantial warm up.
With the winter standstill, the alley on the 100 block between Anaconda and Benton streets has been opened to traffic.
“The city is not going to pay for any part of this project,” Dschaak said and added that the council had made that promise to the citizens of Wolf Point.
The city now owns the two adjacent lots and hopes to resell the property for a new commercial development, possibly in 2015.
City officials have been working with Great Northern Development Corporation and environmental consultant Newfields of Missoula to clean up the site and redevelop it.
The site is a designated Brownfield site where expansion, redevelopment or reuse of the property might be complicated by the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. The designation would make the city eligible for funding through a revolving loan fund and/or federal grant funding for remediation and clean-up of the site.
A fast-moving fire on March 10 destroyed the two adjacent Gysler buildings, leaving portions of block walls and other charred remains, some of which contain asbestos.
While the buildings dated to the early 1900s, remodeling of both structures during the 1960s included roofing and flooring materials made of asbestos, which the fire this year rendered as “friable asbestos,” which is any building material containing more than 1 percent asbestos that could be pulverized or powdered by hand pressure, including asbestos that is damaged by fire. Asbestos in that condition is subject to federal regulation.
Written by Herald-News
The Wolf Point City Council accepted Mayor Chris Dschaak’s recommendation to appoint Vivian Schultz to fill the vacant Ward 1 council seat during the Wolf Point City Council monthly meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 18.
Schultz, a Wolf Point High School art teacher, said she has been active in community service for years.
The Ward 1 seat became vacant when councilman Travis Braaten resigned in July because he was moving outside the city limits.
Schultz will have to run for the Ward 1 seat in the 2015 municipal election. If elected, she would serve a two-year term and could run for a four-year term for the same council position in 2017.
Ward 1 extends east from Third Avenue South to the city limits east of First Avenue South and from the railroad tracks to the southern boundary of the city.
Written by Herald-News
The Wolf Point Lions Club and Wolf Point Walleyes Unlimited are sponsoring the annual Christmas Lighting Contest.
Judging of light displays on homes will be during the evening hours Sunday, Dec. 21.
All areas within the city, including east-end and west-end housing, and within five miles of the city limits will be judged.
The grand prize winner will receive $125. There will be two $75 prizes and six honorable mentions at $50 each.
Written by Herald-News
This week is Thanksgiving week. A few days ago I came across this quotation: “What if you woke up today with only what you were thankful for yesterday?” It got me thinking. What do I have that most people in the world do not have, and what am I taking for granted and am too busy to be thankful for?
Well, I’m thankful for a warm house, a working furnace that keeps one warm, a bed and blankets, a warm coat, shoes, my appliances that make my life easier, clean running water, indoor plumbing, money to buy food and pay bills, a car that gives me transportation, books my Bible, medicine, doctors, and the list goes on.
I’m thankful for our country where we still have the freedom to worship, bear arms and vote.
I’m thankful to live in a small town where we can still make eye contact, smile, make small talk to strangers, where people are still friendly.
I’m thankful for my late parents, Martin and Maggie Toavs, who took me to church where I learned that God loves me and I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior.
I’m thankful to my mother who shared her love of books and reading, who took me to the Wolf Point Library, which was located in the basement of the Court House.
I’m thankful to my husband, Joe Anderson, who has put up with me for 54 years and my three sons who make me laugh, my grandchildren and two great grandkids.
We all have much to be thankful for. We just need to remember and be grateful everyday.
Marilyn Toavs Anderson
* * *
I am writing this letter in support of John Toavs’ letter on Nov. 13.
I rode a horse to school at Vida my first three years of school. My folks bought a house in Wolf Point and I graduated from Wolf Point High School in 1948.
My wife Diane and I have three adopted children, Michael, Pat and Eileen, who went to school at Wolf Point.
I farmed at Vida until 1997 when we moved to Billings. I have voted in every school levy McCone County for me and Diane in Roosevelt County and never against a school levy.
Since moving to Billings, I have never voted against a school levy. I’m 84.
E E “Gene” Eggebrecht
Your Cowboy/Farmer Friend