Ah, 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 about my thoughts on this dilapidated discounter.
In fact, I wasn’t planning on writing about Kmart again. How many times can I beat that dead horse? Never say never though — I vowed not to return Plymouth’s Four Seasons Mall, yet I had to pop by a few weeks ago and snap more pics. So when I heard the New Hope Kmart was going out of business, I had to go, as it’s not too far from me. After all, who ELSE is going to photograph this place? I must capture the interior of the New Hope Kmart for future generations to see.
Now, this store has had their going out of business sale for several MONTHS (announced its closing in late December 2011) so I was beginning to think Kmart was pulling a Wilson’s Leather-style “closing” sale and just fucking with us.
In that same announcement, these other Minnesota Kmarts went on the chopping block:
White Bear Lake
Well, Kmart…it’s a good start!
I never thought this Kmart would close, despite the fact that it was never busy. Word ’round town is that the New Hope Kmart had been there long enough that they owned the property. Since they were not paying rent, there was no need to close the store, even if it was a poor performer. I don’t know if that’s true or not. In the end though, owning the building did not save this store.
Since Kmart (likely) owned the building, management probably felt it could just coast along, letting cleanliness and customer service go out the window. Frankly, this store gave up years ago (perhaps coinciding with the mortgage payoff date) — it isn’t even trying to compete. The nearby Target, Walgreens, CVS and Cub Foods gang up and kick it in the nads every day.
We all know Kmart is not what it used to be. There was a time when it made sense to shop at Kmart — but that was decades ago. The days of petitioning Mom for cherry Icees from the K-Cafe are long gone and they’re not coming back. With their cluttered store layouts, outdated EVERYTHING, piss poor customer service, high prices and a plethora of other reasons, there is no reason to shop here. No one can save Kmart and that includes Martha Stewart, Sears Holding Corporation, Jacquelyn Smith, Joe Boxer, Kathy Ireland and that chick from Modern Family.
One reason why Kmart feels so disorganized and cluttered is all the damn cardboard displays sitting in the middle of the aisles. Sorry, I don’t have a picture, but I think you know what I mean. Wal-Mart does this too, so go into any Wal-Mart and you’ll see it in action. They’ll have a skid of Lays potato chips smack in the middle of the aisle, forcing you to maneuver your shopping cart around it, only to find a crate of $5 DVDs blocking your path.
Target doesn’t pull that shit. Now that I think about, I think a big reason why I hate Kmart and Wal-Mart is because of all the aisle clutter. Target’s aisles are wide open — I can let my hair down and roam wild ‘n free with my shopping cart, without the stress of tiptoeing around pallets of movie theater candy and Pantene hair care products displays. Kmart is an unpleasant shopping experience to say the least, so if you must go into Kmart, grab a slice of Lil’ Ceasers Hot ‘N Ready. At least the pizza will numb the pain.
I confess, I’ve been in this Kmart a handful of times and no, it wasn’t to get PIZZA! PIZZA! Mr. DumpyStripMalls loves his Craftsman tools, so occasionally he’s sent me on a few errands here, okay? Sheesh. I don’t think I have been in the store since 2009 though.
Until I made my way back there on Sunday April 22nd, 2012. I decided to stop in and snap photos, not knowing it was indeed their final day in business. Good timing, right?
I went in here with low expectations. It’s Kmart, for fuck’s sake, and it’s going to be a mess. I was not disappointed.
Typically, like most Kmarts this day and age, there’s a lack of energy at the New Hope store. Today, however, the atmosphere seemed frantic and chaotic. It’s the store’s final day in business, and throngs of people were filing into the New Hope Kmart, ready to dance on the grave of the dying store and score some mismatched Christmas socks and torn coloring books for 90% off.
When you first walked in through the tiny, automatic doors, there was a wall of plastic shoes, boots and sandals. It was in complete disarray, with tangled shoelaces, broken heels and missing mates. Most of the footwear was either kid-sized or a woman’s size 5.
To the right was the service desk. It look straight out of 1993.
Signs hung from the ceiling, alerting customers of today’s discount (90% off), how many days are left in this sale (none, this was it) and stressing that ALL SALES ARE FINAL.
Only a few front aisles were open and had merchandise strewn about with no rhyme nor reason to its placement. I saw the most random stuff:
- Lizzie McGwire coloring books with ripped pages
- Open bottles of Elmer’s glue
- Letter openers
- A framed Sex in the City poster (may I remind you that the TV show went off the air in 2004?)
- Crushed boxes of Q-tips
- Ugly, 90′s-style poofy window valances
The makeup, jewelry and electronics areas were combined into one area. Surprisingly, a sales associate was still workin’ the jewelry boat but she had nothing for sale except a few broken fool’s gold necklaces. The makeup area was barren, save for some leaky bottles of really light and really dark foundation. Electronics had obsolete cell phone chargers and CDs en Espanol.
From the jewelry/makeup/electronics area, you could see the rest of the store. Unlike other Kmart stores that have closed, none of it was blocked off with crime scene tape and I saw kids running amok the empty areas like it was Chuck E Cheese.
As for the merchandise, there was nothing to buy here! Nothing even worth 90% off, yet people were stuffing shopping carts sky-high. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t always mean you should buy it.
About every 10 minutes over the loudspeaker, some dude (who I’m guessing is the either the Kmart manager or from the liquidation company) announced that the store could be closing at any minute. He said that once he got word from HQ, he had to close the store…so pick up your shit and pay for it. I was in the store for a good 45 minutes and he’d repeat these lines every 10 minutes. I think it was a ploy to get people to buy broken shit without inspecting it. After all, all sales are final. I felt like I was at a flea market, not a Kmart. Then again, is there really that much of a difference?
On my way out, I noticed a security guard sitting on a stool by the door checking receipts. Now I don’t know if this is common practice at Kmart or if the guard is from/hired by the liquidation company but REALLY? The garbage is 90% off. It’s the last day in business. Tomorrow, it’ll all be in a dumpster en route to an incinerator. If someone wants to steal a sticky broken bottle of Wet ‘N Wild foundation, LET THEM.
What will happen to this building? Hell if I know. I believe the New Hope Farmers Market will still set up shop in the parking lot this summer, but other than that, who knows? Will it become a Public Storage facility? Senior housing? An Arby’s/Sbarro? Wal-Mart? Your guess is as good as mine.
Last thing, if you are interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look at a Kame-A-Part liquidation sale, Kmart World has you covered. I highly recommend this post – it’s incredibly informative and even though the store featured is in Georgia, this is exactly how things went down at the New Hope store.