Recently a stand-alone Sears near where we live was converted to a KMart. While I was thinking the merger between the two chains happened recently, it was actually 2004. Not sure what prompted the change for this particular store now, and while I am not really a fan of either store, it still feels like moving from a Red Lobster to a Long John Silver’s.
We were coming back from the church fish fry last night and as we were passing the store, Julie proposed we stop and check it out. As I pulled into the parking lot, it actually looked like it might be closed. That should give you an idea of how many cars were around. We went in and the first thing I noticed was a big sign saying that Mike Peterson and Brent Grimes of the Atlanta Falcons would be there tomorrow to sign autographs. That’s actually pretty impressive. But what about the store?
The aisles were very wide and everything was very organized. But since there wasn’t really anyone around to mess it up, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The store was really dedicated to clothing, which is somewhat surprising. Other sections were really small. My favorite was an appliance section they had which literally had a washer, a dryer, and two refrigerators. Why even bother? If I were them, I might also considering eliminating the food section too. Honestly, it didn’t feel much different than the old Sears store, which I was only in a couple times.
I am really surprised that KMart (and Sears) is able to stay in the game. Again, it’s something I don’t want to see disappear, mainly for nostalgia sake, but the nostalgia is going to have to come in the form of the name. While KMart in particular doesn’t resemble my memory of it as a kid, it still needs to take on some different form than what it is now to recapture any market share. I don’t know what they can do, but one start might be to institute a program like Target has with the Redcard, which has been a phenomenal success to get people to shop there. Perhaps they can have a card that features Dustin Hoffman as Rain Man on the front of it. Or maybe not.