LA CROSSE, WIS — With U-Haul’s wavering interest in the former K-Mart location in La Crosse and acquisition of a former Shopko in Winona, other abandoned buildings are growing increasingly worried that U-Haul will target them next. As a result, multiple vacant buildings filed a joint restraining order against U-Haul Monday morning in La Crosse County Court.
“Since I closed, I’ve been working on myself and have made some changes,” said the abandoned Sears building from its deteriorating Valley View Mall Location. “I quit drinking, and now I just want to be away for a while. Plus, I took on a family of raccoons, so I’ve got a lot going on right now.”
The former Sears location is worried that U-Haul will try to take advantage during a vulnerable time and fail to recognize everything that makes it special.
“I recently met a new best friend–and it’s me. I discovered that I’m like a tapestry of unique threads all coming together to make something beautiful,” the what until recently used to be a Sears continued. “I’m not just automotive. I had clothing, electronics, housewares, and of course the raccoons now, too. I just know U-Haul is eyeing my big automotive section from afar. Who knows what they’re thinking about doing with it? I feel unsafe.”
According to court documents obtained by The La Crosse Times, buildings formerly housing Gander Outdoors, Gordy’s Market, and all three La Crosse Shopkos joined in the filing. Other abandoned structures declined comment except for the former Gander Outdoors.
“I simply want to be left alone. The slogan was Hunt. Fish. Camp., not Box. Store. Move.,” said the empty Gander building through an emailed statement.
Reporter Greg Lovell contributed to this article.