GREEN BAY, Wis., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Shopko announced today it has completed the conversion of 163 Pamida stores making it one of the largest U.S. retailers focused on serving smaller and rural communities. It was a year ago this month that Shopko and Pamida first announced their intent to merge the two companies and convert the existing Pamida locations to the Shopko Hometown store format. One year later, the conversion of the last group of Pamida stores is now complete with the final 36 stores celebrating their official grand openings as Shopko Hometown. Shopko invested a total of $70 million into efforts to convert the Pamida stores to the Shopko Hometown format. Today Shopko currently operates 176 Shopko Hometown stores, a significant jump from just 10 at this time last year. The Shopko Hometown retail format offers a differentiated and financially successful merchandising strategy. Shopko Hometown combines pharmacy services with a broad and dynamic offering of strong national brands and high-value private label brands of apparel, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items, and lawn and garden products – all in attractive, well laid out, easy-to-shop store formats that range from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet. "2012 was a watershed year for Shopko as a result of the merger with Pamida which significantly increased our store count, employee base and overall revenue. Our team did an exceptional job of integrating the two companies into one and staying on an aggressive schedule for the store conversion efforts. All 163 stores were converted and opened on time," said Mike Bettiga, Shopko Interim CEO and Chief Operating Officer. "As we move into 2013 and beyond, our focus is on solidifying the Shopko Hometown brand and opening more Hometown stores in new communities." As part of a shared vision to support local communities, Shopko committed to continue the important work of the Pamida Foundation by giving back. To this end, the Shopko Foundation donated $2,500 to the local high school in all 163 conversion markets as part of the grand opening celebration events, for a total contribution of more than $400,000. "We are proud to be a part of the local communities we're privileged to serve and will continue to support important causes and organizations. We are so appreciative for the welcome we've received in every community from former Pamida customers who are excited about the change to Shopko Hometown," said Bettiga. "They tell us they appreciate the broader merchandise selection, national brands, great values and commitment to excellent customer service, as well as the fresher, updated store format…all of which results in a great shopping experience."