Former Kmart Shoppers React Sadly To The News That Only Three Stores Now Remain Open

Former Kmart Shoppers React Sadly To The News That Only Three Stores Remain Open

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  • This weekend, the Kmart in Avenel, New Jersey will close its doors permanently.
  • This will leave just three Kmart stores will open in the United States.
  • Read more news about business here.

Attention Kmart shoppers! We are losing another one. On April 16, the Kmart located in Avenel, New Jersey will be closing its doors for good.

When that happens, there will be just three Kmart stores left in America, in Westwood, New Jersey; Bridgehampton on Long Island, and Miami.

It also means that since 1994, Kmart will have closed or sold off 2,320 stores in the United States.

David Porter of The Associated Press reports…

In its heyday, Kmart sold product lines endorsed by celebrities Martha Stewart and Jaclyn Smith, sponsored NASCAR auto races and was mentioned in movies including “Rain Man” and “Beetlejuice.” It was name-dropped in songs by artists from Eminem to the Beastie Boys to Hall & Oates; in 2003, Eminem bought a 29-room, suburban Detroit mansion once owned by former Kmart chairman Chuck Conaway.

The chain cemented a place in American culture with its Blue Light Specials, a flashing blue orb affixed to a pole that would beckon shoppers to a flash sale in progress. Part of its success was due to its early adoption of layaway programs, which allowed customers who lacked credit to reserve items and pay for them in installments.

For a time, Kmart had a little bit of everything: You could shop for your kids’ back-to-school supplies, get your car tuned up and grab a meal without leaving the premises.

At its peak, Kmart had 2,323 stores and over 300,000 employees in the US

Kmart, which started out as Kresge’s in 1899, really started to fall apart in 2002 when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. After losing and selling off hundreds of stores, the company sealed its fate by purchasing Sears for $11 billion in 2004. Both Kmart and Sears would see almost all of their stores closed by the end of 2019.

“Kmart was part of America,” Michael Lisicky, an author who has written several books on U.S. retail history, told the AP. “Everybody went to Kmart, whether you liked it or not. They had everything. You had toys. You had sporting goods. You had candy. You had stationery. It was something for everybody. This was almost as much of a social visit as it was a shopping visit. You could spend hours here. And these just dotted the American landscape over the years.”

Former Kmart shoppers took to social media to mourn the passing of yet another store.