Kmart Closing Last Remaining Michigan Store, More Store Closures Set to Follow

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
November 10, 2021 Updated: November 10, 2021

Kmart is closing its last remaining store in Michigan this month, store associates confirmed to News Channel 3.

Store associates told News Channel 3 the Kmart on West Michigan Avenue in Marshall, a suburb of Battle Creek in the western part of the state, will close but did not provide an exact date as to when it would shutter.

Job postings on the Transformco official website, which is Kmart’s corporate owner and based in Hoffman Estate, Illinois, also confirm the store will close and that the location is hiring temporary cashiers and associates. The Detroit News reported that the store is set to close its doors on Nov. 21.

The Epoch Times has contacted Transformco for comment.

“It was always a go-to. Even before the big-box stores opened up in the Battle Creek area, they were here. So it attracted a lot of people here,” Marshall City store Manager Tom Tarkiewicz said. “Even after the Kmarts had closed around the area, people still came to Marshall because they really like the Kmart facility. So it’s going to be missed. Now, we can’t just run a mile down the road here and consume some odds-and-ends shopping.”

Tarkiewicz noted that the city has not yet been officially notified by the property owner about Kmart’s closure but that the city plans to work with economic development leaders to attract businesses in the area.

“We’re going to start working with our Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, which does all our economic development, commercial tourism, industrial,” said Tarkiewicz. “Again, we have not been notified yet. We’re hearing it through social media … So we’ll be working with the owner. I met the owner just a couple months ago. He’s from California and I feel he will be creative. I don’t think the building will stay empty very long.”

Michigan is widely-viewed as the birthplace of Kmart, with the first discount department store opening in 1962 in Garden City in the state. Seventeen more Kmart stores opened later that year, leading to corporate sales of more than $483 million.

The department store chain, which sells everything from electronics to home decor proved to be a big success, and by the mid-1990s, Kmart had 2,323 outlets in the United States and another 163 elsewhere.

But Kmart and Sears later went on to merge as Sears Holdings Corporation in 2005 as part of an $11 billion deal as it struggled to stay ahead of competition from other big-name retailers like Walmart and Target.

The combined company itself filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018 after buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses, and subsequently, Sears Holding Corporation’s assets were acquired by Transformco.

In 2019, the retailer announced it was closing the last two Kmarts in Metro Detroit, in Waterford and Warren. A string of other closures have followed, and the store locator shows only 16 locations left in the continental United States, six of which have already closed and another four, including the one in Michigan, will be closing soon, CW50 Detroit reported.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.