Alco Moving Headquarters Out Of Abilene

By: Phil White and Wichita Business Journal Email
By: Phil White and Wichita Business Journal Email

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UPDATE: Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Kansas-grown company is uprooting its corporate headquarters and transplanting the office in another state.

ALCO Stores, Inc., announced Wednesday it will move its corporate headquarters from Abilene to Coppell, Texas, a Dallas suburb, in June.

The company's distribution center in Abilene, as well as its retail store in the north-central Kansas town, will remain. About 80 people are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the corporate headquarters' move.

When a company announces it will no longer be based in the town in which it was founded, it is hard to avoid hurt feelings in that community.

"It's been rumored for some time and finally the shoe dropped," said Abilene pharmacist Bud Bankes.

He speaks for many people in Abilene when he says he is frustrated that a homegrown company that has focused on serving small communities is moving its corporate headquarters to Dallas.

"It's unfortunate that they have the notion they have to take it to the big city to be big boys," Bankes said.

In a press release announcing the move, ALCO's CEO Rich Wilson said the decision to move the home office out of Abilene was not an easy one.

"This was an extremely difficult decision, which is by no means a reflection on the dedication, commitment or talent of our existing employees in Abilene," Wilson said in a written statement. "It is a decision that is necessary for ALCO to remain competitive and grow."

For that to happen, the move had to be to a major metropolitan center, Wilson said.

"The Dallas location provides easy access to many of our stores, other major retailers and transportation for our employees and business partners," Wilson's statement said.

The statement also hinted the move has a recruitment aim.

"In addition, our ability to attract and retain executive level leadership will be enhanced in the Dallas area," the statement said.

Some believe Abilene offers an edge when recruiting employees.

"What Abilene can provide, I think, more than Dallas is maybe the sense of community and the sense of really belonging here," Abilene Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Torey Berndt said.

City Manager David Dillner said he and other city leaders were told the city did nothing to cause the move.

"One of the things that we asked was was there anything that the city and the county could do to facilitate the decision to stay in Abilene," Dillner said. "and the answer was, 'Really, no.'"

Wednesady, April 10, 2013

Alco Stores Inc. is moving its corporate headquarters from Abilene to the Dallas suburb of Coppell, the company announced Wednesday.

The move will occur in June, and about 40 employees will relocate.

Alco is a broad-line retailer, primarily located in small, underserved communities in 23 states. It has 217 stores.

In a news release, CEO Rich Wilson said the highly competitive retail landscape requires that the company base itself in a major metro area. He cited Dallas’ easy access to many Alco stores, other major retailers and transportation. The new location also will help the company to attract and retain executives, he said.

The company has been based in Abilene since its inception.

The move does not affect Alco’s store in Abilene, nor the distribution center there.

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