GREEN BAY, Wis.—Monarch Alternative Capital LP said Thursday that it has successfully completed its previously announced acquisition of Shopko Optical. The company expects to relocate almost 80 of its current locations housed inside Shopko stores to freestanding locations, the announcement noted. A Nebraska bankruptcy court earlier this month gave its approval to the investment firm’s acquisition of Shopko Optical for $8.5 million, as VMAIL reported. There are currently six freestanding Shopko Optical locations operating, according to a spokeswoman.

“We are excited to welcome Shopko Optical into our portfolio and to invest in the company's growth as we move forward with our strategy,” Monarch Capital co-founder and managing principal Andrew Herenstein said in the announcement. “Monarch has a long, successful history of investing in great companies undergoing transitions and working alongside their leadership teams to build strong, vibrant businesses of the future.

Jim Eisen.
In addition, Jim Eisen, a former president of Visionworks, has been named as an operating partner with Monarch and also will serve as the interim chief executive officer of Shopko Optical.

Eisen will work alongside the Shopko Optical team, the announcement noted. Kirk Lauterback will remain as director of Optical Services and will be assisting Shopko Optical during the transition process.

Shopko, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, is in the midst of winding down and liquidating its core general merchandise store business after not being able to find a financial partner to assist the company in getting out of Chapter 11. Shopko’s general merchandise business will wrap up its liquidation in late June, a spokeswoman told VMAIL.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to join the Shopko Optical team,” Eisen said in the announcement. “We are committed to continuing to provide quality patient care and outstanding service that our affiliated doctors of optometry and opticians have provided for over 40 years. It is an exciting time to be part of the Shopko Optical family.”

Over the course of 2019, Shopko Optical expects to relocate approximately 80 stores, while continuing to serve patients and customers in their existing locations during the transition, the announcement noted.

Shopko Optical currently has six freestanding locations, in Rothschild, Eau Claire, Omaha, Mequon, Waukesha and Oshkosh, Wis. “The Shopko Optical real estate team is currently working to establish a total of 80 freestanding locations in 2019, with further growth expected in 2020,” the spokeswoman told VMAIL. “Shopko Optical expects to have several of these new locations open in the next few months, but in the meantime will continue to serve their patients at existing Shopko Optical locations.”

"As we move forward with our plans to operate 80 freestanding optical locations, we continue to be dedicated to our patients, doctors, opticians and the communities we serve," Shopko chief executive officer Russ Steinhorst said in the announcement. "We encourage anyone with questions to please get in touch with our team. We appreciate the continued patronage of our patients and their understanding during what we hope to be a continued smooth transition."