Over the past several years I have became fascinated with retail history and even more specifically Kmart. I can remember growing up and going to the Kmart store at Village Center Mall in Harlan. Man that place was magical. I can also vaguely remember TG&Y….which was located in another shopping center down the way by the A&P. Both of those chains do not exist any more and are buried deep in the back of many people’s minds. Anyone remember SuperX? Which turned into Revco and then CVS? Yeah, SuperX is a name you havent heard in a while I am sure. Every year it seems Kmart has a massive round of closings and the store numbers dwindle even further. In 1994 Kmart started its first round of store closings the store count stood at a hair under 2,500…..After the store closings in July and August of this year that number will stand at a hair above the 800 mark. Whats even more stunning than that statistic? In December 2014 there were 1,050 Kmart stores. Thats right at 250 store closings in less than 2 years.
On April 21, 2016 the latest round of Kmart store closings was announced and included in this list was 4 of the 5 Kmart stores in the Metro Louisville area. Those stores are:
- Poplar Level Road (Louisville)
- Taylorsville Road (Louisville)
- Elizabethtown, Kentucky
- New Albany, Indiana
I decided to take a day trip out in the Metro Louisville area and document these stores before they disappear into a part of our past as they close for the final time this Sunday, July 31st.
First up: Poplar Level Road Kmart. This store first opened in 1972 with a Kmart Foods attached. By 1975 the Kmart Foods concept was dead. This store was then heavily remodeled and general merchandise expanded into the foods section.
Kmart: Taylorsville Road, Louisville This store opened for business on March 6, 1967. The store was heavily remodeled sometime in the mid 1990s.
Kmart: Elizabethtown, Kentucky Opened in 1992. This store replaced a much smaller store that was located in nearby Radcliff.
Kmart: New Albany, Indiana first opened October 29, 1981.
With these store closings Sunday Kmart will be left with one store located at Outer Loop. A city of almost 800,000 people and a metro area much larger, and Kmart has dwindled to one single location. At one time there were at least 9 Kmart stores in the metro area. That’s not counting ones I have not identified that might have been in Southern Indiana. I fear the end is near and for that reason I will continue documenting Kmart stores and their existence today.