The very last Kmart in California has closed permanently – SF Gate

The very last Kmart in all of California has closed, ending the era of blue light specials for good.

The Grass Valley Kmart at 111 West McKnight Way closed its doors forever on Sunday. The Grass Valley Kmart was the last one standing after recent closures in South Lake Tahoe, Watsonville, Costa Mesa, McKinleyville and Ramona; those stores all shuttered in 2021.

The very last shoppers got some bargains, at least. Merchandise was up to 90% off, and one lucky shopper even took home some of the company’s own office supplies.

“I guess they were selling their hole puncher,” Teresa Dubrul joked to KCRA. “So, I’m like, ‘OK, memories. Gotta get it.'”

Kmart began life in the late 1800s as a five and dime store in Tennessee. Its first Kmart-branded store opened in 1962 in San Fernando, Calif., and at its height, Kmart had thousands of locations nationwide. 

But things soured in the 2000s. In 2002, Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and laid off tens of thousands of workers in the restructuring. Two years later, Kmart bought another struggling retailer, Sears, and merged the two companies. But that move didn’t slow down Kmart’s woes, as the retailer continued to shutter stores year after year. The chain also just closed its last outpost in Michigan, where the company was headquartered until 2005.

According to The Union, Kmart’s impending Grass Valley vacancy has already been snapped up by Target. 

“It was a very bustling store back in the day, and it really dramatically shifted into something very different over the years,” Grass Valley Mayor Ben Aguilar told The Union.

There are only a few dozen Kmarts now left in the United States, although don’t trust the Kmart store locater to give you an accurate count. It’s still listing some permanently shuttered locations as open.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *