While rain fell steadily outside, it didn't keep customers from descending on Shopko Hometown in Estherville for the store's grand opening on Friday.
Store manager Tom Hayenga welcomed local officials and the more than 50 residents who came for the ribbon cutting ceremony as they waited for the store to open.
"Shopko has been a part of small town communities for over 50 years and we're excited to be part of the Estherville community," Hayenga said. "I think our team did a great job in making this a beautiful location. We have the essentials plus man things needed for today's lifestyle. Because you count, we want to make this a great shopping experience."
The first 100 customers received a $10 gift card and the 100th person had passed through the doors shortly after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:05 a.m.
Those who visited the store Friday also had the opportunity to register for a $1,000 shopping spree.
Lyle Hevern, Economic Development Director for the Estherville Area Partnership for Growth welcomed Shopko back to town.
"you've opened a wonderful store and helped us fill a void," Hevern adding that the store will have around 20 employees and help bring in more local option sales tax monies to the community.
Hevern said he learned an important lesson throughout this process.
"Don't take 'no' for an answer," he said.
He gave credit to Iowa Lakes Corridor Director Kylie Ruter, Estherville Chamber Director Lexie Ruter, Estherville City Administrator Penny Clayton and the Estherville City Council for their part in helping bring Shopko back to town.
He also mentioned other advancements in the area.
"Central Perk, a coffee shop, will open downtown in a couple months. We hav a walking trail along the river that will be open soon.. Iowa Lakes Community College will begin building a 416-seat fine arts auditorium in the spring. We just opened Demoney Elementary," he said. "We have a lot of great things and more to come. Spread the news to your families and friends. We need to work together."
Hayenga also talked about the Shopko Foundation, which will be a regular charitable contributor in the community.