Sunday, March 4, 2012

Kmart store in Medina, Ohio

Nicholas Eckhart

     The Kmart in Medina, Ohio is anything but your average everyday Kmart store. This Kmart store is located at 1105 North Court Street in Medina, Ohio. First of all, this store originally opened on July 25th in 1991 as the first Super Kmart Center store. One of the first people in the store was Sam Walton, after his visit Walmart bought a site across the street from this store. The same Walmart (albeit expanded into a Supercenter) is now not just being credited with the death of the Groceries in the Medina Kmart store, but also the death of the store as a whole.

     At the time this store opened as Super Kmart Center, Kmart ran three other hypermarkets under the name of American Fare. It is somewhat evident that some aspects of the American Fare concept were included in the opening of this store. Some elements that are similar to those of American Fare store are the setup and the glass lobby style entryways. By late 1992 two of the American Fare stores (Charlotte, North Carolina and Jackson, Mississippi) became Super Kmart Center stores after Kmart decided to focus on the more profitable Super Kmart Center concept.

     As time went on for this Super Kmart several changes were done to this store to keep it on par with the services offered at other Super Kmart stores. The Most notable changes done to this store were an addition to the front so services like Olan Mills could be offered and an 4,766 square foot Auto Center (not attached to the store) was built as well. The Medina Super Kmart Center opened as an 147,000 square foot store, but after its front addition it was 151, 000 square feet. This store did have look to the interior that is somewhat different to the look of later Super Kmart stores. The layout and flow of newer Super Kmart stores have been improved based on worked or did not work at this store.

     Later on this store started to lose its high profitability. The Super Kmart stopped competing well price-wise with the Walmart store across the street. This became an even larger problem in Mid 2009 when the Walmart became a Supercenter. The around 20 year old Super Kmart could not successfully compete with the lower prices and more services at Walmart although they had a better quality of products.

     As an effect of this lowered profitability Kmart Sears Holdings announced in January 2011 that the store would lose its Grocery section and become Kmart. The store's Grocery Section was liquidated by JG Resources after the store officially became just Kmart on April 1st, 2011.

     After the conversion the store got rid of all but 8 checkouts, its Olan Mills studio, the Sears Auto Center, and pretty much abandoned the space previously occupied by the Grocery section. The result of these services being closed down and the removal of the Groceries was less shoppers. This made the store ultimately less successful. This Kmart was one of the stores included on the closure list that was announced on December 27th, 2011. As of my visit in late February this store was going through closing procedures. The following photos are from my February, 27, 2012 visit to this store.

First let's look at the Exterior of this store.

An entrance sign that has the new Kmart logo on it. This is one of the only recent updates done to this store.

The storefront of this Kmart store.

The entrance into the Home side of the store. The glass lobby entrance was an aspect from the earlier  American Fare stores.

The Garden Center entrance, the former Sears Auto Center is partially visible to the right.

The former Sears Auto Center

Now, on to the inside photos.
The former Pharmacy, people who used this Pharmacy were transferred to an area Walgreen's.

The former Kmart Cafe area. The restrooms are off to the right.

The former Kmart Cafe area.

A peak back into the former Grocery section

Kmart Cafe ceiling. The Deli and Bakery were located straight ahead.

The Main aisle of the store. 

Already emptied aisle in the back of the store.

The main back aisle looking towards the Garden shop. Notice that there is an entrance to the outside part directly straight ahead and an entrance to the inside part nearby to the right.

Emptied aisles in the back of the store.

Emptied aisles in the back of the store.

The former Layaway area. Restrooms back here are still in use.

Along the back wall looking towards the former Grocery section.

Store closing sign

The Garden Shop. I find it weird that the in-store entrance is Halfway to the back of the store.

Massive doors that open in the Summer.

A view of the enormous doors that open up in the Summer, making this an outdoor area. I have never saw anything like this at any other Kmart stores.
The outside Garden Center

The outside Garden Center, the former Sears Auto Center is off to the right.

Door notice

The Outside Garden Center

No new Layaways

Garden Shop entrance

Jewelry section

ceiling over where some checkouts used to be located.

looking towards the promotional signage free clothing section.

Ceiling over where checkouts used to be.

The store's remaining 8 Checkouts. The Olan Mills studio was in the room off to the right.

A Kmart shopping cart

A peak into the old Grocery section. This was the Fresh Meats and the  Produce section.

The closed Grocery Section. Frozen foods used to be located here and dairy was in the back corner.

looking towards the area where checkouts used to be.

The aisle between the grocery area and the rest of the store.

looking towards the former Grocery entrance.

Video of the Medina Kmart
A short video I made of the empty aisles in the back of the store.

*Medina Kmart Revisited*

I paid a couple more visits to this store since it closed. Despite rumors that Menard's plans to open in this store it continues to remain vacant. It was used as a temporary Halloween store once.

Brief use as a Spirit Halloween store


  1. I'm sure the Medina Kmart lost profit due to Walmart. However, I think the biggest problem was the customer service. The employees werenot friendly. Besides that, when it was busy they only had 1-2 cash registers open. Checking out sometimes took over a half hour. Walmarts prices aren't that much of a difference. But the convenience of getting through a checkout is 10 minutes. The employees don't show the best customer service at Walmart, but better than this Kmart did.

  2. I agree, anonymous. The Super K just had that air of "I don't care" about it. If customer service is worse than Walmart, then you know it's really bad. I was recently back in Medina and was in this area quite a bit (a section of town that I hate because it's so overdeveloped compared to when I was growing up there) - and the main thing that strikes me is how sad it is that all of that space - 151,000 square feet, is it? - sitting there, unused, empty, and wasted. Kmart or the township or someone - anyone - should come up with a use for that property.

    Here, I'll give them a freebie: purchase the property and turn it into an indoor market, flea market, whatever. Something along the lines of Westside Market in Cleveland. Or how about partitioning it into an indoor mall with lots of smaller shops. Yes - not an easy task, but anything would be better than letting the building rot.

  3. I live here. I never shopped here or at Walmart for that matter. No wonder they went out of business. Medina is growing by the day. I heard menards is moving in this bldg.

    1. I figured someplace like Menards would open here. I hope they keep the same buiilding, that would be a cool conversion!

  4. I lived there when it opened. Prior to that I remember the empty fields in its place. How times changed.

  5. What a great place to share stupid memories about a defunct retail chain's store. Maybe they will turn it into a giant indoor amusement park. Walmart was smart enough to build outside the city limits saving money on taxes.

  6. I worked there. Here's my documentation of the closing.

    1. That was actually your documentation of the downsizing in 2011. Months after the downsizing happened, since one of the few gains Sears Holdings had during 2011 was Groceries, it was no surprise that the Medina Kmart store got the axe due to dismal 2011 Holiday sales. It finally closed down for good on May 6, 2012. Sad to see a Kmart downsize and then close down permanently.


    Kmart is still paying its lease on the building according to this article.

  8. They had the absolute worst service ever. About a year or two before they closed I had gone in to put summer clothes into lay-away. I can't tell you how many employees walked past me and never once asked are you being helped. Quite a few since the break room and bathrooms were back there. Rang the bells numerous times. I was standing there 20 minutes and nothing. Finally I just left all the stuff there on the counter and walked out. When it was closing they advertised 75% off and people were clamoring to get cheap stuff but they couldn't pay me to go back into that store. Should have closed sooner than it did.


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