I don’t even think this little strip center, which is located right off of Highway 100, has or HAD a name. Back in the day, all this place housed was a Kmart and a Slumberland/Laz-E-Boy, so it really wasn’t much of a strip mall. Just a lonely Kmart with a furniture store for a neighbor.
We shopped at the Brooklyn Center Kmart an awful lot. More than I’d like to admit, but in my defense, we didn’t have a lot of options in the BC. We had no Target until 1986, so this was the only mass merchandiser in town. My parents purchased many Barbies, Hot Wheels, coloring books, Lego playsets, and Nintendo games for us here back in the day.
But once Target opened up in 1986, less than a mile away in the Shingle Creek Center, going to K-Mart was on a “need-to-go” basis. No longer would we spend a lazy Sunday afternoon strolling up and down the aisles looking for various doodads to buy – that’s what Target was for. Sure, Target didn’t offer bargain shoppers the thrill of getting a steal by chasing a blue strobe light down the aisles, but they didn’t need a gimmick to get the shoppers through the doors. The clean stores, nice displays, and great merchandise spoke for itself. Who needs Route 66 when you’ve got Cherokee and Honors?
So unless Kmart had an amazing deal advertised in their Sunday circular, we wouldn’t step foot in the store. We weren’t the only residents who felt that way; after Target opened, this Kmart location when downhill FAST.
I don’t remember when I last visited this Kmart store – it would’ve had to have been in the late ’90s because that’s when we moved out of the city. I do know that the store closed its doors in 2000 and shortly after, the entire center was remodeled and divided up to house more stores. The current Dollar Tree location is where Kmart’s sleazy auto center was located. In December 2001, Thunder Alley Speedway opened, which was an indoor go-kart place of some sort. I never had the desire to go in there. But much like the shine on a cheap pair of Kmart shoes, the novelty wore off and Thunder Alley closed sometime in 2004 (I believe). The community has been in mourning since.
Today, a Slumberland, Big Lots, and a Dollar Tree remain. Exciting stuff, no?