Things going dark at SW Kmart

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Column by Jim Clark

Nobody’s talking officially, but store employees are telling people that they are losing their jobs.
The place is Kmart at Shady Oaks, at the corner of Southwest 27th Avenue and State Road 200 (College Road). Signs have popped up saying the store is going out of business, with signs on the pillars outside the facility saying “Store closing sale.”
The people are saying it’s because of a rent increase, but we couldn’t get anyone to confirm that. Kmart’s corporate has always been uncooperative, and they’re sure not going to provide any information about a store failure.
This store, in all honesty, always seemed to be the stepchild of the three stores in Marion County. The one on Silver Springs Boulevard is spacious with wide aisles, and the only time I was ever in the one in Belleview I was impressed.
This store never was impressive. I was surprised it survived the last list of cutbacks that Kmart put out.
Ironically, the decision to shut down this Kmart came about the same time that Walmart on State Road 200 was holding a grand re-opening, to promote its lighting and spacious aisles and friendly greeters. And there’s also another Walmart, just blocks south of this Kmart at the corner of Southwest 19th Avenue Road (Easy Street) and 27th Avenue (Shady Road).
Over the past few years, the shopping center that houses Kmart has added a couple of other anchor stores, most notably Best Buy and Staples. But losing that big department store is never good for the future of a center.
For some of us who have had long-time ties with Kmart, and who wear clothes from that store, this isn’t a big blow because there are other stores. It could, however, be a sign of things to come, and that’s not good.
Efforts to get a comment from Kmart headquarters were unsuccessful.
Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at 352-854-3986 or at editor@smcitizen.com.