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Kmart prepares to close its last store in Michigan, where the chain started

Marshall’s Kmart, about a 20-minute drive east of Battle Creek, is preparing to close by Nov. 21 and is hiring temporary workers to help with the closure, according to job postings and a store associate who answered the phone on Monday. .

Store management returned all comments to Kmart, Illinois business owner Transformco, also owner of Sears, who did not return the messages on Monday.

Kmart has been closing locations for decades, and the Marshall store is Michigan’s last since 2020.

Marshall has a population of around 7,000 and his Kmart has survived that long as the store is the only national big box retailer in the immediate area. Kmart also did not own the building, which prevented the company from closing the store and selling the real estate for quick cash.

The 90,000-square-foot store is in an always-busy mall owned by a California businessman who bought the property for $ 5.45 million in 2015. The store opened in the early 1990s in as “Big K”, replacing an older and smaller Kmart. .

“It’s the end of an era,” said James Durian, CEO of the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance.

“The Kmart brand has been fading for years, it was only a matter of time before they shut it down to Marshall,” said Durian. “Another retailer like this would be very successful at Marshall given the need. “

The Kmart brand was born in 1962 when Detroit-based retailer SS Kresge Co. opened the first Kmart big box store in Garden City.

At the top of Kmart, before the distribution chain’s merger with Sears and its double bankruptcies, there were nearly 2,500 Kmart stores nationwide and 134 in Michigan. The original Garden City location closed in 2017 and Kmart abandoned its old headquarters off Big Beaver Road in Troy in 2006, after Kmart merged with Sears and moved its offices to Hoffman Estates, in the ‘Illinois, in the suburbs of Chicago.

Westland was home to the last surviving Sears in Michigan until that store closed several weeks ago.

Marshall City Manager Tom Tarkiewicz said Monday that although the city has not been officially notified of the Kmart shutdown, reports have started circulating online.

The city’s next big concern will be filling the large mall space that Kmart will be vacating, he said.

“I don’t know what we can see going in there. We would like to fill it out,” he said.

The total number of surviving Kmart stores was not available on Monday.

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