The former Kmart location: Brooklyn Center, MN

August 27, 2008
Kmarts been long gone, but as Metallica would say, THE MEMORY REMAINS. For some reason, they couldnt bear to remove the rusty sign

Kmart's been long gone, but for some reason, they couldn't bear to remove the rusty sign

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.

One would never know this place was once a Kmart

One would never know this place was once a Kmart

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.

The Dollar Tree is where the sleazy Kmart Auto Center once proudly stood

I-spy a delivery of more off-brand laundry detergent and shitty plastic Chinese goods!

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.

Undiscouraged by the changing demographics, Slumberland Furniture remains loyal to its original Brooklyn Center location to this day

Unshaken by the changing demographics, sincere Slumberland Furniture remains loyal to its original Brooklyn Center location

Today, a Slumberland, Big Lots, and a Dollar Tree remain. Exciting stuff, no?

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13 Responses to The former Kmart location: Brooklyn Center, MN

  1. TheOldScowl on March 1, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    I see that there are no comments here, so I will offer up something about a former neighbor of Kmart’s.
    Across the street (the name of which I don’t remember, but it is east, not west of the Kamrt, so it is not John Martin Drive), there is a clinic. It might be Park Nicollet, or not. But about 30 years ago, it was a Toy City store, which predated Toys-R-Us and the Children’s Palace that have been in the Brookdale area. The one time I remember being in there, circa 1980, it looked like it was in the process of going out of business, which corresponds with the early 1980′s recession. Hardly any stock, hardly any employees, and hardly any customers in the store.
    I still marvel that Davanni’s is still in their lacation and have not pulled up stakes. They outlasted the Pizza Hut restaurant that was in the outparcel retail spot in the Target strip mall on Shingle Creek Parkway!

  2. Disco Studd on March 13, 2009 at 3:18 AM

    Davanni’s is still there?!? Holy crap, that’s been there since at least ’82. I vividly remember going there on my 9th birthday for the all-you-can-eat buffet sporting my brand-new KangaRoos (bonus points for anybody who rembers those!)

  3. The Old Scowl on March 13, 2009 at 7:52 PM

    Disco Studd:
    What type of pockets were your KangaRoos? Mine were zippers. They have that air of nostalgia that is brought about by watching Napoleon Dynamite and his Zubazz with the zippered thigh pockets that stow his Tots. Unfortunately, my Roos were a bland gray, nothing splashy for that time. But the Velcro was convenient.

  4. Disco Studd on March 16, 2009 at 12:46 AM

    I remember my ROOS had a flap that velcro’d to the side of the shoe, and when you lifted that flap up, it exposed the zipper part of the pocket. The shoes were mainly gray but the flaps were blue, and they had blue along the bottom. IIRC, the “KangaROOS” logo on the flap was printed in a gold-ish color.

    And speaking of Zubaz, I just tossed my vintage leopard-print Zubaz I bought in 1990 a couple of years ago after they finally wore out. I think I might’ve actually wore them in public once during the 15 minutes they were in style (with a black “Body Glove” shirt,) but after that they made for one comfortable pair of bed pants.

    The Twin Cities were a few years ahead of the rest of the country on the whole Zubaz trend. I remember watching “I Love The 90′s” and they brought up Zubaz in the episode chronicling 1996. They were in and out of style here within a span of 2-3 months over the summer of ’90! We can certainly thank the Road Warriors and Jesse Ventura shilling the hell out of them for the trend to come in and out so fast.

    • dumpystripmalls on March 16, 2009 at 8:54 AM

      Ahh, so that wedding chapel in New Hope used to be a Shakey’s Pizza? I had no idea. That wedding chapel seems so out-of-place – when I first noticed it, I had to do a double-take to make sure that’s what I REALLY saw…seems like something that should be in Vegas, not in No Hope! :)

      Zubaz…lol, I always picture a dude wearing Vikings Zubaz, matching Vikings t-shirt (with a few holes and stains), big beer gut, and a MULLET. The men were so fashionable back in 1990! *swoon*

      I didn’t like those even back in the day. I didn’t own a pair, but Zubaz were more of a “guy” thing. I don’t know if they even made them for girls. My brother and my dad had matching Vikings Zubaz that they’d wear on game day. Back then, my dad had season tickets to the Vikings, and when he’d take my brother, they’d wear the matching Zubaz. Luckily my dad and my brother never fell victim to THE MULLET.

      I keep hearing about a Zubaz comeback (heaven help us!), with teens these days thinking they’re “retro”. Hope it doesn’t catch on!

      I shouldn’t talk though, I have a pair of pajama pants from Old Navy with parrots plastered all over them ;)

  5. Disco Studd on March 16, 2009 at 12:58 AM

    Oh yeah, I mentioned to my mom that the Davanni’s in BC is still open, and she said I actually spent my 9th birthday at Shakey’s Pizza in No Hope. We went to Davanni’s a few months later.

    Shakey’s Pizza!!! There’s a whole other “dumpy” franchise that left Minnesota! I don’t quite remember the pizza, but I do remember all of the adults unabashedly calling it “Shitty’s” in front of us kids back in the day. I remember passing by the old Shakey’s in No Hope not too long ago, and the building now houses a friggin’ wedding chapel!

  6. The Old Scowl on March 16, 2009 at 2:40 PM

    I think that the Zubazz business was in Brooklyn Center for a time. Up in the Industrial Park area north of 694 and south of Palmer Lake (that area was originally platted by some to be a town called ‘Industriana’ long ago). One of my most notable Zubazz memories is going on a tour of (now gone)Cray Research in Eagan with two guys in 1991. Walking around this large assemblage of the world’s most powerful computers at the time, one of the guys has a graduate degree from Princeton, and he’s wearing a sweathirt and zebra pattern Zubazz! Talk about a visual dichotomy! Glad I have pictures to prove it!
    Speaking of Shakey’s, there was a one franchise in Hilltop (or is that part of Fridley)on Central Avenue, a little south of the Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a Mongolian Stir Fry for a time, but I do not know what it is now.

  7. Disco Studd on March 17, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    Since we’re on the subject of pizza, do any of you remember a pizza joint that was in the Crystal Shopping Center back in the early-mid 80′s called “Waldo’s Pizza?” I believe they were out of biz by 87, but 3 things stand out in my mind about that place:

    1.) Their delivery drivers drove full-size Ford Vans with their logo emblazoned down the sides. I remember that vividly, as we used to order Waldo’s several times a month!

    2.) The pizza was “Godfather’s” style with the thick, doughy crust (not quite deep-dish, but not exactly thin crust either.) Their pizza always tasted better than Godfather’s, at least I thought so.

    3.) The restaurant itself had a counter in the front where you’d place your order, then they’d send your order back to the kitchen via an air-tube system like banks have at their drive-up tellers. Looking back, I think that was the main attraction for all the kiddies (that and they did have an arcade room.) I’m sure it didn’t hurt our parents the fact that the pizza was better than Chuck-E-Cheese’s! I seem to remember they always blared WLOL throughout the restaurant (we were eating there the first time I heard “Ghostbusters.”)

    So now here comes the obvious pun, “Where’s Waldo(‘s Pizza)?” Uh huh huh huh…

  8. DiscoStudd on March 17, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    Since we’re on the subject of pizza, do any of you remember a pizza joint that was in the Crystal Shopping Center back in the early-mid 80′s called “Waldo’s Pizza?” I believe they were out of biz by 87, but 3 things stand out in my mind about that place:

    1.) Their delivery drivers drove full-size Ford Vans with their logo emblazoned down the sides. I remember that vividly, as we used to order Waldo’s several times a month!

    2.) The pizza was “Godfather’s” style with the thick, doughy crust (not quite deep-dish, but not exactly thin crust either.) Their pizza always tasted better than Godfather’s, at least I thought so.

    3.) The restaurant itself had a counter in the front where you’d place your order, then they’d send your order back to the kitchen via an air-tube system like banks have at their drive-up tellers. Looking back, I think that was the main attraction for all the kiddies (that and they did have an arcade room.) I’m sure it didn’t hurt our parents the fact that the pizza was better than Chuck-E-Cheese’s! I seem to remember they always blared WLOL throughout the restaurant (we were eating there the first time I heard “Ghostbusters.”)

    So now here comes the obvious pun, “Where’s Waldo(‘s Pizza)?” Uh huh huh huh…

  9. The Old Scowl on March 17, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    I remember Waldo’s and miss it. I did not know they had delivery, but I am disappointed my parents didn’t order. We always dined in. The vacuum tube order system was great to watch as a 10 year old, and in the right place (who wants to watch the same system at a drive through bank service?) The pizza was good for it’s price. Another great thing with Waldo’s was that if you were bored waiting for your family’s pizza, you could go down the mall a couple of stores into the toy store (it reminded my of KayBee Toy and Hobby, but was not part of that chain).

  10. Disco Studd on March 18, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    Kinda funny how the “K-Mart” page has turned into a discussion about pizza! LOL

    Here’s another one: Do you remember a pizza place called “Little Brooklyn?” It was tucked away in a very tiny strip mall on Brooklyn Blvd. between the Chrysler dealership and 63rd Ave. I remember a kid at school who always brought leftovers from that place for lunch and would constantly brag about it, so I finally finagled my parents into taking me there. Can’t really say I remember much about the pizza, however.

    We lived across the street from Kelly’s On Boone and they had decent pizza. There was a short-lived pizza delivery joint up the road from us called “Pizza Shuttle,” which had a picture of , you guessed it, the space shuttle in its logo. Again, not too memorable except for the name. Then there was a bar on W. Broadway and Bass Lake Road that served Broadway Pizza (I think it was called either “The Palace” or “The Station.”) There was a place next to that called “Beeks Pizza.”

    Geez I could go on all day at this rate!!!

  11. Kmart: New Hope, MN | Dumpy Strip Malls on May 10, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    [...] Kmart. I’ve written about Kmart a time or two, covering the Brooklyn Center Kmart and the Coon Rapids (Blaine) Kmart. So I’ve pretty much poured my feelings out to you guys [...]

  12. [...] Davanni’s Pizza and the Big Lots/Slumberland combo (the old Kmart – check out the post here). From the weedy parking lot, you can see the Davanni’s across the street. I love the [...]

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