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Industry Retail
Fate Merged with Shopko
Founded 1963
Defunct 2012
Headquarters Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Number of locations
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics, market, housewares, pharmacy.
Owner Sun Capital Partners, Inc.
Website Edit this on Wikidata

Pamida /pəˈmdə/ was a chain of department stores with more than 175 locations in 16 Midwestern and West Central U.S. states. Pamida stores were generally located in smaller communities that range from 3,000 to 8,000 in population. The Pamida name represents the first two letters of the first names of co-founder D.J. (Jim) Witherspoon's three sons: Pat, Mike, and David.[1]


A typical Pamida store in Smithville, Tennessee.

Pamida had its beginnings in a rack jobber business begun in 1938 by Jim Witherspoon, a company that by 1948 became known as NuWay Drug Service.[2] The acquisition by Witherspoon of a distribution business in 1962 brought Lee Wegener into the company, and Pamida Inc. was founded as a holding company for Witherspoon's businesses.[2] In 1963, Witherspoon and Wegener opened their first discount retail outlet in Knoxville, Iowa.[3] A second store soon followed in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and the stores quickly expanded throughout the Midwest, mostly as franchises of Gibson's Discount Center but also under other names. Pamida became a public company in 1969.[3] Pamida eventually became the largest Gibson's franchisee, operating 74 stores.[4] By the late 1970s, however, Pamida was withdrawing from the Gibson's franchise, emphasizing the building of larger stores in its established markets over expansion into new markets, and branding its stores under the Pamida name.[3]

Witherspoon and Wegener sold Pamida in 1981 to employees, and in 1986 a unit of Citicorp acquired a controlling interest in the company. Several former Fisher's Big Wheel stores were also acquired in 1994.[5] In 1999, Shopko Stores, Inc. purchased Pamida for $110 million, operating it as a separate division within Shopko.[6] In 2000, Shopko acquired Missouri-based discounter P.M. Place Stores and converted the Place's locations into Pamida stores. In 2005, Shopko was purchased by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., a private investment firm. In 2007, Pamida was separated from Shopko, and subsequently reestablished its corporate headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.[1] On January 4, 2012, it was announced that Shopko and Pamida would merge and that Pamida's stores would be rebranded as Shopko Hometown stores.[7] Six Pamida stores, in Sparta, Michigan; Litchfield, Minnesota; Ontonagon, Michigan; Albia, Iowa; Corydon, Iowa; and Mount Vernon, Missouri, were closed instead of converting to Shopko Hometown.[8]



  1. ^ a b "Pamida - Your Hometown Store". Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Taylor, John (October 1969). "Witherspoon Has Success Story". Echoes From The Hill, Southwestern Oklahoma State University (reprint of Omaha World-Herald article). p. 8. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Pamida Holdings Corporation History". Funding Universe. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Fridson, Martin S. (1999). How to be a Billionaire: Proven Strategies from the Titans of Wealth. Wiley. p. 92. ISBN 978-0471332022.
  5. ^ Arlen, Jeffrey (1994-09-05). "Positioning Pamida - Apparel Merchandising Supplement - Company Profile - Cover Story". Discount Store News. Retrieved August 11, 2007.
  6. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; SHOPKO STORES TO BUY PAMIDA, A RURAL MERCHANDISER". The New York Times/Dow Jones. March 12, 1999. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  7. ^ "Shopko, Pamida stores to merge". Milwaukee Business Journal. January 4, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Schneider, Nick (March 6, 2012). "Pamida merger with Shopko is a done deal". Greene County Daily World. Retrieved December 17, 2017.

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