Kmart — Corbin, Kentucky

This Kmart is located at 14662 US Highway 25E in Corbin, Kentucky. The store first opened for business on October 26, 1978.

Kmart -- Corbin Kentucky
Notice the broken Kmart sign. 

In 1992 the store was remodeled and expanded. The store held its grand reopening in the fall of 1992. Kmart -- Corbin Kentucky
December 28, 2016 was a bad day for Kmart and their existance in the Bluegrass State. Seven (?!) Kmart stores were announced to be closing across the state, taking their store count from 18 to 11. Included in this announcement was the Corbin store.
Kmart -- Corbin Kentucky Kmart --  Corbin, KY
Kmart --  Corbin, KY Kmart --  Corbin, KY
Kmart --  Corbin, KY Kmart --  Corbin, KY
Kmart --  Corbin, KY Since the beginning of 2016 the Kmart store count across the Bluegrass state has fallen from 22 to 11. In one year, half have been wiped out. At the height of the chain in the early to mid 90s there were more than 50 scattered across the state. In fact, I come from a generation who in my home town of Harlan, Kmart was our Walmart. We didnt have a Walmart until 1991. So during my early years when I would have been kicking and screaming and throwing tantrums for whatever toy I wanted, I would have probably been doing it inside of the Kmart in Harlan. After the Kmart in Harlan closed in 1995 our closest Kmart was then in Middlesboro, until 2002. After it closed our closest Kmart was a tossup between this store and the store in Kingsport. I guess thats where my infatuation comes from in documenting this part of history that many fail to pay attention to. Right before our very eyes and American institutioin is going away. It’s sad, but it definitely needs to be and deserves to be docummented. Kmart --  Corbin, KY

FOUND! Kmart #9610 — Village Center Mall — Harlan, Kentucky

If you havent caught on yet I have a fascination with many things.  If Im “into something”  Im in it for the longhaul and almost obsess over it for long periods of time.  One of my obsessions is Kmart, another is my home town of Harlan, Kentucky.

I come from a generation of Harlanites (yes its a word) whose primary retail destination as a child was Kmart and the other stores located at the Village Center Mall.   Walmart didnt arrive in Harlan until 1991.  Until then Kmart and Magic Mart had the corner on the mass merchandiser market in town.

Sadly, the Kmart store in Harlan closed in the spring of 1995.  The memories of this store still stay with me today.  Naturally with the advent of the internet I have always thought that a photo would pop up of the actual store.  Those wishes had not came true until last weekend when I stumbled upon a website known  as Vintage Aerial.  I immediately searched for Harlan County and discovered that there were sets from the early to mid 1980s on dozens of sets of photos.  It took me the better part of an evening, but I finally found it.

Kmart in Harlan KY -- 1984

I can close my eyes and almost taste the superman ice cream from the deli. The future isnt bright for Kmart as a chain. As Ive stated in this blog before, if (when) they finally go, I am probably going to be very dramatic, over react and travel a ton documenting the stores before they are gone. Someone has to do all three of those things right?
Kmart in Harlan KY -- 1984

Curtis Mathes Sign — Martinsville, Virginia

Several weeks ago a friend of mine and I took a drive over to the Martinsville, Virginia area.  It was a new experience for me.  Even though I had been all around Martinsville before, I had never actually been to Martinsville proper.

One of the most striking vintage relics we came across was this Curtis Mathes sign hanging on the side of a building, where it has obviously resided for many years.
Martinsville, VA
Now, Im about to show my age here, but I can remember when my parents first got a VCR and they would go to and take me to Curtis Mathes in downtown Harlan to rent video tapes.  In those does, Kentucky 38 went straight through downtown along Clover Street and there were buildings and the river right around where it runs today.  In one of those buildings was Curtis Mathes.  I always thought Curtis Mathes was the fancy place in town to rent video tapes because they came in those big brown and orange cases.  Kids are so weird sometimes.

Kmart — Martinsville, Virginia

Kmart -- Martinsville, VA This Kmart in Martinsville, Virginia was located at 2876 Greensboro Road. Kmart originally opened in Martinsville in the early 1970s across the street from this shopping center in a strip center with Winn Dixie and Revco. Kmart -- Martinsville, Virginia
Kmart moved and opened for business in this building on August 17, 1989.
Kmart -- Martinsville, Virginia On September 20, 2016 Sears Holdings announced the closings of 64 more Kmart stores. This particular region was hit hard in this round of closings with 4 closings within a radius of about 50 miles. This was on top of another closing, Thomasville, North Carolina that was already scheduled to occur. Kmart -- Martinsville, Virginia
The Kmart at Martinsville closed for good on Sunday December 11.
Kmart -- Martinsville, Virginia Kmart -- Martinsville, Virginia

Kmart — Wytheville, Virginia

Wytheville, Virginia
This Kmart was located at 1480 E Main Street in the southwestern Virginia town of Wytheville.
Kmart -- Wytheville, VA
This store was a relocated store from about a mile down the road that was originally a Grants City. This store opened in June 1989.
Kmart -- Wytheville, VA
The store closed at the end of the business day on Sunday December 11, 2016 for the final time.
Kmart -- Wytheville, VA
With the closing of this store there is now only a single Kmart location in Southwestern Virginia, that store being in Abingdon.
Kmart -- Wytheville, VA
Kmart -- Wytheville, VA

Kmart — Athens, Tennessee

Kmart --Athens, Tennessee This Kmart was located at 1802 Decatur Pike in Athens, Tennessee. This was the second location for this Kmart in Athens. The original Kmart was located across the pike in a shopping center co-anchored by Kroger (now United Grocery Outlet) The first Kmart is now a Big Lots. Kmart --Athens, Tennessee
Kmart opened at this location on October 18, 1990. On April 21, 2016 it was announced that the Athens store (along with several other east Tennessee locations) would close. The final day in business was Sunday, July 31, 2016.

Kmart — Paintsville, Kentucky

Kmart -- Paintsville, KY This Kmart in Paintsville, Kentucky first opened for business on November 9, 1992. The store relocated from a smaller bar roof Kmart located on the other side of town. kmart -- Paintsville, KY
On April 22, 2016 it was announced that this Kmart location along with 4 others across the state would close in July. With the closing of this location and the store in Maysville in northeastern Kentucky, The eastern part of the state from Interstate 75 east was left with only 4 Kmart stores, and one of those, Pikeville, is scheduled to close in December.  The others remaining are in Corbin, London and Grayson.  At its height, Kmart had at least 15 stores east of the I 75 boundary.
Kmart -- Paintsville, KY
The store closed for good at the end of the business day on Sunday, July 31, 2016.