Friday, October 24, 2014

The story of a Wal-Mart inside a Kmart in Huntsville, AL

 The story of a Wal-Mart inside a Kmart in Huntsville, AL
Written by: Mike Kalasnik
Photos by: Mike Kalasnik (except for newspaper scans)

Years ago, I heard a tall tale of a Wal-Mart that took over a 60's era Kmart store in Alabama. I didn't believe it. Wal-Mart typically knocks down old stores and rebuilds, or at least changes them dramatically. I wasn't able to obtain photos until last year. It was true! Wal-Mart was in a 60s era Kmart that hasn't changed a bit on the outside. Many questions STILL remain.... Why didn't they change the store? What made them keep everything intact? As of October 2014, this store is now closed as Wal-Mart built a newer store in town to replace this one. Also as of October 2014, the identical Kmart that's still operating as a Kmart at 1401 Memorial Pkwy NW, Huntsville, AL is slated to close in January.

1970 a story of two Kmart's came to town. By 2015, the story will be closed. Here is a pictorial review of the Kmart that got turned into a Wal-Mart in Huntsville, AL.

 Kmart opened in Huntsville in 1970. It was a "60s era" store.

This is what the store looks like at 1401 Memorial Pkwy NW

The Kmart that got turned into a Wal-Mart at 2900 Memorial Pkwy SW

Not sure what Wal-Mart did here. Kmart wouldn't of had this sort of opening and drop down.

Still rocking the original lights

The restrooms are in their original position. Wal-Mart just added walls and such to make it seem different.

Much like some Kmart stores, this Wal-Mart hasn't seen an update in MANY years! Look at those signs!

Older checkout lane lights

If you have more info, or photos, please submit them to or feel free to comment below!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The last Kmart ever built.... Somers Point, NJ

The last Kmart ever built.... Somers Point, NJ

Folks, you are about to see the very LAST Kmart ever built from the ground up. Some may argue it was the store at 7501 W Washington Ave in Las Vegas, NV but I believe they were opened around the same time POST bankruptcy (2002). This particular location opened on October 19th 2002. Yes, these stores hired employees and opened their doors as the company was bankrupt. Cant say many stores have done that before. Since these stores opened, Kmart hasn't opened a brand new, built from the ground up store. Thats 12 years of no new stores. Sure, they went to the Sears Grand/Essentials concept and most all of those stores reverted back to Kmart and yes all those stores got a full remodel and new logo and a grand re-opening, but I'm not counting those. This store has very few photos of it, and I had the chance to go and visit this store on a windy afternoon in August. Enjoy!


 Isn't this a great looking facade?

Garden Center Entrance

Main Entrance

Walking into the store from the main entrance

Store Map

Pharmacy Department (Odd, as almost every store in South Jersey had to say "Department" after the word Pharmacy so perhaps it was a local law?)

Toy Zone

An entire section for Pets. Most Kmart DO NOT have this!

Looking from the back to front at Boys and Girls clothing

SportsCenter/Sporting Goods

Garden Center Entrance

Notice theres NO divider between the garden center and the rest of the store?

Some appliances and the electronics department

More of the toys section (in the back left corner of the store)

Mens/Young Mens section

Mannequins in a Kmart? YES!!

Juniors section (notice the more modern racks and displays)

Main Entrance

Belt driven registers (Makes you wonder)

Little Caesars Pizza Station

No auto center was ever present here. Unsure if anything else was originally in the store. Where the customer service and the bathroom was, it did seem like it was modified a bit. This store has open ceilings, which makes the store feel MUCH bigger. It was wet lit and temperature controlled. Most sections were well stocks and organized. If they were, employees were fixing them. The layout was a bit different them most stores, but very easy to navigate. It was odd they STILL used that gray lines on the floor to outline each section in 2002. This store opened with the same Kmart logo, as it was NEVER a "Big K". The signage is all original (though the Little Caesars might be updated a bit). This was easily one of the nicest Kmart stores ive ever been in and I hope everyone reading this can visit one day!