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!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kmart Anderson, SC

(Almost Super) Kmart Anderson, SC

Some of you may know that Kmart built many stores in the 1990's to later be expanded to Super Kmart or a "store within a store" concept. Most are hard to find due to most of them being closed down during the bankruptcy of 2002-2003. As years went on, the 10-20 year leases ran out and Kmart ditched them to the highest bidders. Thankfully, some of these remain and I can show you what Kmarts vision was for the future!

This is the Kmart in Anderson, SC, opened in 1995. This era of Kmart carried a distinct look, with a "half circle" facade. The K logo would of been smack in the center, with some red lines on either side. This opened as Kmart (nothing more, nothing less). Lets take you for a tour!

The blue shaded section is the land Kmart has. If you look in the upper part (where some trailers are parked) this was supposed to be for a K Express gas station if they store did expand. That never happened. Photo is courtesy of the local tax assessors office.

Left side Garden Shop entrance. If this became a Super Kmart, this would of been another entrance to the store. You can even see it simply says "entrance" over the door. Not something you see on many regular Kmart's. You can always tell when a Kmart was built to be a Super K or a "store within a store" with these "half circle" facades over the Garden Shop and main entrance.

As an example, here is the store in Cambridge, OH that got converted to a Super Kmart

Side view of the garden shop in Anderson, SC

Main Entrance. See the "half circle" facade and rounded entrance

As an example, here is what the Cambridge, OH store looks like as a Super Kmart

Lets go INSIDE!!

This is at the back of the store, looking towards Men's clothing on the left.

Layaway department was in the back right corner of the store.

Electronics was in the front of the store, to the right of the registers. I took the photo from the linens & bedding dept.

Notice how theres no wall or door/entry to the garden shop? Its just wide open

As an example, here's what the Cambridge, OH store looks like as a Super Kmart

A look at the fitting rooms, taken between the Juniors and Women's clothing sections

Old Cafe. This would of had the "green" seats.

Here is what this K Cafe would of looked like if it was still open and operating. This is from the store in Waynesboro, VA.

Looking from the K Cafe towards the front. This would of either been an area to move customer service to, or to add more registers, or simply have room for people to walk in to either go to the main store or the groceries if it became a Super Kmart

Looking at the entry & customer service

Front Entrance 

Another look at the K Cafe & Customer Service

This is the area in the front of the store, along the front wall, in front of the registers. I believe this was used for the selling of videos, cd's and such.

Another look at customer service and that area to the right. When the store opened, this would of been for photo developing/film processing. If converted to a Super K, the wall would of came down and been space for a Deli or what have you

Looking from the entrance into the store

Looking at the old K Cafe/Customer Service area

If you have anything more to add about the store in Anderson, SC just comment below or send an email to!