DCEDC Launches Retail Survey

by Paige Funkhouser

The news of the pharmacy closing at Shopko in Sister Bay hit me like a dump truck full of snow. People in Northern Door are now going to have to drive to Sturgeon Bay to get their prescriptions filled?

My friend Rachel’s 92-year-old grandma (who lives at Scandia Village and is still driving) is going to make the hour-and-a-half roundtrip to a pharmacy in the city to pick up all of her medications? (That’s because, truly, she’s not likely to remember to order them in time for mail distribution.)

What about the summer folks who have emergencies, or who didn’t plan quite right for their child’s diabetes and ran out of insulin while on vacation? The bigger question that started filtering into my phone calls was, is Shopko eventually going to close?

Although we here at the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) don’t have an answer about whether Shopko will eventually close the Sister Bay location, I can tell you that continuing to spend your money at businesses here in Door County is vital to the health of our community. People such as my fisherman friend Charlie do their best to shop locally, recognizing the impact small businesses have on our Door County economy. Nationally, they employ more than 52 percent of the country’s employees.

Local residents are paid; they spend their wages at businesses in town, which buy from other businesses; we all pay taxes, which fund municipal services; both individuals and businesses donate to and volunteer for local charities and causes; and our community remains a vibrant place where we all want to live. For every $100 spent at a locally owned/operated business, $73 stays in Door County. When spent at a non-locally owned business, $57 leaves Door County.

Shopko’s pharmacy isn’t the only “big” Door County business to leave this past year. The darkening of Younkers’ lights left a gap in our community (the cosmetics counter and last-minute fancy dress shoes come to my mind). While the county is moving to create a plan for the Fourth Avenue building that also returns some money to the tax rolls – and Shopko is still in business – we here at DCEDC are talking about the other types of businesses or goods that are lacking in Door County.

We need your help. We’ve created a “What is Door County missing?” survey that asks how far you drive to shop, how often you drive to shop, what you’re shopping for and where you’re shopping. Find that survey at

DCEDC will use your answers to recruit businesses to Door County and especially to work with existing businesses to expand or change their offerings. Business studies worldwide confirm that 80 percent of job growth in any community is generated by the businesses already located there, not by attraction efforts. We recognize this, and we offer free services to help our Door County businesses succeed.

Schedule an appointment with me to talk about ways in which DCEDC can help your business or help you start a new venture. Reach me at [email protected] or 920.743.3113.

Paige Funkhouser is the economic development manager at Door County Economic Development Corporation. She has lived, played and worked in Door County for the last 16 years and thoroughly enjoys helping the businesses in our county succeed.