Franklin Big Kmart
104 Watson Glen Shopping Center, Franklin, TN 37064
Wow! What can we say - on our visit in midweek afternoon in Sept 2009, we found this Big Kmart store to be surprisingly nice. The parking lot is well-paved, there are even some coverings for the shopping cart return spaces in the lot, and the building design looks like it was built pretty recently (for a Kmart, that is... ie probably sometime in the 1990s.) The demographics for the area are pretty upscale for Kmart - the average household income within a 5 mile radius is over $100,000 - not surprising that a Publix (formerly Albertsons) is across the street, but given this info, quite surprising that an Aldi is in the same plaza as the Kmart and a Big Lots is across another street. The site plan for the shopping center shows the Kmart clocks in around average for Kmarts, at 86,479 square feet (roughly half the size of a typical WalMart Supercenter but twice the size of a supermarket). The shopping center owner has info here http://www.centroprop.com/PropertyProfile_short.asp?ProjectID=PTNWATSN1 .
Anyway, back to the store. The shopping carts were very nice - they seemed pretty new and unlike the aging carts found at our visits to neighboring Nashville Kmart stores. The target population (at least on a midafternoon weekday visit) seemed to be middle/elderly white women, unlike Nolensville Pike Nashville Big Kmart, which seemed to target a more diverse but lower socioeconomic population. The garden center supplies overflowed into the parking lot, and a lot of flowers were blooming outside the store. A plethora of nice employees were available, including one greeting customers entering the store, and one who tried to help us duplicate a key in the electronics section. However, the manager came up and told us not to take any pictures inside the store (why not, is it illegal to shoot photos?!), so sadly we only have photos from the left half of the store and none from the right, which include the Garden Center, Pharmacy, Tools and Home Improvement, and Pantry Foods. While there were signs of things lost past (a Kodak film photo-developing drop kiosk was hidden behind a shelf, as film developing is no longer offered here), this was definitely one of the nicest Kmart stores we've been to, even though it was not one of those few lucky "Extreme Makeover Remodels" from 2008. At checkout, 2 cashier lanes were open and given the relative dearth of customers, we were stunned to have a choice of empty check-out lanes. At our previous visit to Donelson Pike Kmart by the Nashville Airport (on a weekend), there was only 1 cashier open and a long line started forming until they scrambled employees from elsewhere in the store to open another lane. We suppose it's difficult to balance cashier lanes, but Sears Holding (Kmart parent company) seriously needs to INVEST in CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS especially in supply chain technology in order to predict customer trends and manage inventory as efficiently as Wal-Mart does. Sears Holding has invested a lot in the web-site shopping experience (even starting a hybrid online-real store service MyGopher), expanding selection tremendously, but in our opinion, because the web allows for extreme price comparison, Sears is not going to win against Amazon or WalMart, so some of this investment needs to be made in its stores!
Sorry, got off track. Here's the pictures of the exterior and from inside the left half of the store (clothing, sporting goods, shoes, electronics in the back, jewelry, furniture in the middle) before the manager asked us to stop taking photos.
The shopping center seemed nice, especially with the trees. It is offset from the main road, but seems too spread out for cross-customer-ization from one side (Aldi, Goody's, fitness center, etc) to the other (Kmart).
Wow, we rarely see shopping cart return covers! And the carts are pretty new and nice - no stuck or squeaky wheels!
The entrance to the electronics section, manned by a helpful employee.
Bunk beds? The furniture selection was pretty large at this store.
Note the new Dora the Explorer kids' clothing line launch.
The inside of the store was well-stocked, clean, and overall, excellent for a Kmart. Indeed, because there aren't crowds of people "messing up"/misplacing merchandise, it's probably more organized than Target/WalMart. The downside: Christmas trees selling alongside Halloween costumes at the end of September! A mother had to tell her 2 little kids it wasn't nearly time for Christmas yet. At check-out, the cashier was friendly and we got nice surprises in that some items were cheaper than marked on the shelf. This seems to happen fairly often at Kmarts - the prices marked are not updated for the sales, so we are pleasantly surprised by price cuts. We pondered whether to go back to get more clearance items, such as a box of 4 heavy-duty ceramic dinner plates for $2 or wooden photo frames for $1, but decided not to. Kmart clearances definitely have extremely low prices, though!
The Garden Center and spillover into the parking lot.
Sorry there's no pictures of the pharmacy, etc, but hope you enjoyed this visit to this nice Big Kmart store! Overall, this Kmart store could probably compare favorably against Target and Wal-Mart (though Wal-Mart Supercenter has the extreme advantage of groceries - more on how Kmart dropped the ball with food in a later post). Enjoy!
Photos taken September 2009.