Sunday, July 7, 2013

Death of a Super Kmart : The Moon Township story

Nicholas Eckhart
nicholas@deadanddyingretail.com
Photos from the final day and two days after closure were taken by Bob




     The slow but apparent death of Super Kmart (or just Kmart for that matter) continues. Since I started this website in late 2011 the number of Super Kmart stores has shrunk from 26 to 23. The Portage, Indiana Super Kmart was closed and sold to Meijer in 2012; so far in 2013 the Queensbury, New York store was converted and now this store in Moon Township, Pennsylvania has closed.

     The Super Kmart concept has been slowly dying since Kmart's bankruptcy. In 2002 12 Super Kmart stores were closed and in 2003 58 stores closed. Since then numerous other Super Kmart stores were slowly closed or had their grocery sections removed.

     In 1993 a shopping development called Parkway Plaza was planned for the Northwest corner of Montour Run Road and Hershinger Road. A 173,000 square foot Super Kmart Center and a 109,000 Builder's Square II home improvement warehouse were the planned anchors of said shopping center. Plans for the Builder's Square location did not become reality and no other stores opened in the Parkway Plaza shopping center at the time (now known as Market Place). On November 13, 1994 the Super Kmart opened with a full-service restaurant, full-service auto center, florist, portrait studio, shoe repair shop, video rental store, and a Borics salon. The new superstore replaced a store at the Crafton-Ingram shopping center in Crafton; that store is now a Giant Eagle grocery store.

     Over the years this Super Kmart changed its video rental store into a game room and its florist into a team shop. The Borics Salon, shoe repair shop, full-service restaurant, and Penske auto service center were closed over the years. The Moon Township Super Kmart also had the 6 AM to 12 AM hours before the other locations received them briefly in 2012. The store also retained those hours until its closure was announced instead of reverting back to 24 Hours. Originally the store had 28 checkouts, but it had only 15 when it closed. Over the years Kmart reduced the hours of service counters (including removal of the Seafood counter) and used other methods to lower the amount of employees at the store. The Moon Township Super Kmart started with around 600 employees and had less than 150 when the closing was announced.

     The procedures for closing a Super Kmart are much like converting a supercenter and closing a regular Kmart at the same time. When the closing was announced the layaway area, pharmacy, game room, team shop, Olan Mills portrait studio and grocery counters were closed. The remaining fresh groceries were quickly cleared-out. Then, the grocery section signage and equipment were disassembled. The grocery area was then used for "K-Mart's Flea Market" which was a collection of equipment, signage, and shelving from around the store put up for sale. Many boxed, canned and some frozen food was still for sale towards the end of the Going Out of Business procedures. Other departments throughout the store were pushed towards the front as the Going Out of Business sales moved further along. The final day open for the Moon Township Super Kmart was July, 7th, 2013. Chevron purchased the Super Kmart property with the intention of building a regional headquarters.

R.I.P. MOON TOWNSHIP SUPER KMART
November 13, 1994 - July 7, 2013


Final ten days (June 28th 2013)

Parking lot almost completely void of customers
Nothing is left sitting out front; there used to be vending machines, a ride for children, and benches here.
Doors are plastered with "Last 10 Days" signs
K-Mart's Flea Market in the former grocery department
More empty grocery department
More of the dead grocery section
Empty clothing department
No more electronics here
More of the dead electronics section
The front of the store sure has cleared out
Flea Market sign
Letters from the store's walls and pictures from the restaurant
More letters
Please do not stand on conveyors
Former deli and full-service restaurant area
Dead deli and bakery
The former full-service restaurant space
Empty Bakery
No more doughnuts:(
Dairy
Frozen food
Seafood Counter
Seafood counter,  meat, and dairy
bakery, deli, and full-service restaurant
Service desk from sporting goods
Chair from restaurant
Produce bagging station
A "super" mixer!

The store on it's final day open (July 7th 2013)Photos by Bob

These photos were taken right before this store closed at 4 PM on July 7th

Two days after closure (July 9th 2013)Photos by Bob
Signs and everything are down



The store operating normally (January 3rd 2013)

The 24 Hours part of the sign are covered up.
Sign with a different logo on Montour Run Road.
Not many cars
Closed Penske auto service area
Customer entrance to closed Penske service center
Garden Center
Storefront
Garden shop
Grocery entrance
More of the grocery entrance
Former full-service restaurant
Pharmacy sign was not removed
Former Restaurant
Restaurant entrance
1990s cart corral sign
Dairy
Meat
Meat
Former seafood counter
Produce
The original green and white refrigerators were removed from this area to make the store look nicer and save energy.
This store also received newer aisle markers for its grocery section
Dairy and frozen food
Packaged deli
Frozen foods
Fresh Dairy
Super Kmart / Little Debbie shelve
Frozen food and beverages
Looking towards the pharmacy
Non-perishable foods
Bakery and Deli area
Pharmacy
Deli and former full-service restaurant
Fresh bakery and deli
Front of grocery section
Grocery entrance
Team shop (former Florist)  > Olan Mills > Former Borics salon  > customer service

15 checkouts and front of the store
Customer Service
Game room (former Video store) > Former shoe repair shop
General merchandise entrance
Entrance and seasonal section


Garden Center

Electronics
Clothing
Layaway and sporting goods
Former Penske auto center

More former auto center
Clothing
Sporting goods and clothing
Clothing
Fitting rooms
Clothing
Olan Mills > former Borics salon

Team shop

 Thank you for visiting Dead and Dying Retail!



12 comments:

  1. It is very sad to see this Kmart close, but I am glad that you were able to give it a proper funeral. This is one of the two Kmarts of any kind that I have visited in the last 10-11 years since Kmart left my local area and most of my region. I was pleasantly surprised by this store when I visited it in 2011. The grocery section was visually and functionally impressive. The regular departments were monotone and dull like many Kmarts with 1990s decor, but at least it was clean and well organized unlike most regular Kmarts that I have memories of or have seen on the Internet.

    There is a Sears at the nearby mall, The Mall at Robinson, and I believe that you have photographed a much older operational Big Kmart that is in Moon Township. Hopefully the loyal Kmart shoppers and the employees from this store will be able to find alternatives, but I guess there really isn't a Kmart alternative for groceries. Fortunately, it sounds like this store won't sit and rot like many other former Kmarts, but I'm guessing it will be torn down by Chevron if they are building a regional office.

    The K-Mart Flea Market thing is pretty funny. A few of our former Kmarts literally turned into flea markets including this hilarious specimen. Some of that signage they had in the flea market might make for interesting house/garage decorations especially if it has the Kmart logo.

    I don't know what my lifetime total is for number of Kmarts visited in my life, but it's probably somewhere in between 20 and 30. Of those, only one of those Kmarts is still open for business. Maybe I'm bad luck for Kmart!

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  2. I thought this store was nice the first time I visited it in early 2013. I did not like to see the store so dead. I would have liked to have been able to see this store in its heyday with the places like the Auto Center and full-service restaurant open plus plenty of people shopping. This store was visible from the highway as sitting on top of a hill, but it was somewhat hard to find the top of the hill. All the other stores that opened in the area had a major toll on the business.

    I have photographed many of the Pittsburgh area Kmart stores. There was a Super Kmart planned for North Versailles, Pennsylvania but those plans fell through in the mid 1990s (Walmart is now on the site).http://goo.gl/maps/uQMRY

    I do not know if the building will get demolished by Chevron, but they did buy the property behind the building too. I probably will not be in Pittsburgh again soon to see what happens to the store. Most of the Kmart stores in my area are actually still Super Kmart locations.

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately some of the information on this sight is incorrect. I was given the oppurtunity to work for this store since it's opening. In that that (almost 20 year) time frame I have made many sincere friends and can look back on a good 32 year job with
      this retailer. I can say we had alot of good memories from beginning to end at this store and had numerous dedicated customers.

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  3. I wish I knew how many Kmarts ive been to. Id say it has to be 500 in my lifetime. Im not kidding :)

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  4. It looks like they had already started clearing out inventory in that store in the January pictures. I wonder if the employees knew at that point that the store was going to close. That is a very clean looking store in the January photos and the employees took pride especially in the grocery portion of the store. Are the Super Kmarts in your area busy or does it look liek they are also on the way out? Great job on documenting these Kmarts, keep up the updates.

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  5. Sad, sad, sad... thank you for the photos, it's very moving to see an American Institution like K-Mart die such a slow, painful death.

    I just now news googled K-Mart and was sorry to see two more are closing, one in Washington state, and one in New Jersey -

    http://www.app.com/article/20130730/NJBIZ/307300118/Kmart-Route-9-Howell-closing-October

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/08/01/2709348/puyallup-kmart-will-close-in-mid.html

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  6. I really loved this store a lot. I would come here with many of my relatives whenever we were traveling on roadways throughout the Pittsburgh area.

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  7. It was worth more to Lambert to sell the property. From what I understand this super k was one of the more profitable ones.

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  8. I was just there on Saturday heading to Gander Mountain and its sad to say that half the building has already been demolished. I worked at this store for several years and its demise made me kind of sad.

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  9. It's always sad to see big and spacious stores close, only to be replaced with small and crowded stores.

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  10. What a great mart. I like it. Thanks for sharing this post.

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