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Friday, November 5, 2010

Clarksville TN: Commons Big Kmart and Kmart Express

Clarksville Commons Big Kmart Store 7461 and Kmart Express gas station

2300 Madison St
Clarksville, TN 37040

This 88,146 sq ft is typical of the Big K stores that dot the deep South, and similar to most of the others ones still existing in the Tennessee and Kentucky area. In the same shopping center is a Food Lion, but more importantly, directly across the street is a 24 hour Wal-Mart Supercenter. Surprisingly, this old Kmart survived the drastic store cuts of the past decade and is still operating despite the superior competition next door.

 More Kmart Express gas station photos at the end of this post.
 The very typical store design, "Big K" signage, and large lonesome parking lot.
 The Garden Center canopy can be found in several other Big K stores.
 The K Express was doing decent business, actually. And yes, there is a gas station at the Walmart across the street.
Anyone know what percentage of Kmart stores look like this (rounded top, Big Kmart logo still in place)? Maybe 50%? Or 75%?
 Seriously, probably one of the biggest things that Kmart lags behind in would be the dismal ancient lighting, harsh fluorescent lights in straight lines that don't make the store sell
25 years of JS products

The dismal fresh food selection. Well, it's an average selection for Kmart stores, but pales vastly compared with Supercenters or even Target's P-fresh program. At least there were a lot of yummy Smart Sense dried fruit snacks on sale!
 The pharmacy window

The seasonal corner of the store looking rather bare... this is before Halloween.
 Anyone see anything missing in this photo?

The desolate unused entrance/exit to the garden center is missing the Kmart part of Big-Kmart sign!
 More of the garden center garage-space

Now here's something you probably will never see at a Target: dirtiness and ugly re-stocking pallet drivers...
Seriously, don't those clearance racks look very tacky?
The far corner of the store with the entrance to the former automotive center. This back corner actually extends deceptively far back, since the back wall that blocks off employee areas (including layaway) abuts out quite a bit - not sure why they couldn't make the corner "blocked" instead of having it protrude into the store.
Fairly decent vacuum selection, with Kenmore quality vacuums now being sold at kmart!
Formerly (I think) the auto center garage area... now a messy storage space
More of the former auto center.
View of the main back aisle of the store
Ok, another exhibit of protruding displays that clutter the already not-so-wide aisles. Yes, merchandisers probably pay for those displays, but they do get annoying to maneuver around...
PetK ads...
Standard Kmart electronics section. Most electronics sections are somewhat segregated from the store with only one customer entrance/exit point, but I seriously wonder if that is effective at all at loss prevention.
The main transverse aisleway.
Ok, another exhibit: those columns that block the aisle are very annoying as well, even if they do have price scanners on them...
Pretty decent furniture selection!

Kmart now runs its own shoe department, which is very competitively priced, but the selection can be hit or miss.
Wow, fun & games & exercise equipment!

The employee stockroom by the apparel area
Looks like another former K-Cafe or Little Caesars has become the stroller and infant furniture area now....
More of the former food serving area.
Ok Kmart, the endcaps are some of the most important sales areas. And you put low-priced gallons of water in the infant section??
The seven remaining cashier lanes, pretty typical for Kmart.

Join our team!
The exit. All in all, a fairly decent Southern (or heck, American) Big Kmart, probably built in the 1970's as a Kmart with some remodeling to "Big Kmart" done probably in the late 1990s, and in need of a makeover now. But, the strategy is to keep costs down, and this store still survives across the street from a Walmart Supercenter, so I guess Sears Holdings' strategy is working, at least in the short term.

The Kmart Express gas station. Anyone know if these are also corporate-owned, or franchised, or merely name-licensed?

There was no Kmart Express gas station sign (or heck, even Kmart at all) sign from the main street, so the electronic price on the canopy will have to do.

Well, thanks for reading! This may be the last post of 2010, but hopefully we'll return for another Holiday update before the new year!


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  2. Wow that was quite a post, I couldn't believe all the pictures. Did they mind you taking pictures inside the store? I sometimes get questioned when taking pictures of Minnesota Stores.

  3. no questions asked at this store, although there was one store (Hendersonville, TN) where a manager-type person told me to stop and no photos allowed. Sometimes get odd looks by customers and staff though... and one time an employee asked if we were from corporate doing an evaluation!

  4. Pretty cool to see these photos and this store always represented the atmosphere of a forgotten store with indifferent management. Just found the Lampert-backed slow liquidation of Sears Holdings fascinating. Losing suppliers left and right and giving little care to how it will affect the three house brands they are trying to spin off, suitors at the altar.

    I lived near this Kmart and was disappointed to see it go, but it was certainly left behind compared to the other location on Wilma Rudolph Blvd. (liquidation underway, final day December 11, 2016). The store was great on Black Friday, such a chill environment compared to witnessing the fist fights and a cattle herd atmosphere across the street at Walmart.

    The Kmart Express gas station never recovered from a highly publicized report of contaminated gasoline damaging customers' cars in the early-2000s, which Kmart corporate had to foot the bill to repair. It also suffered from higher-than-average gas prices and remained an afterthought. So much competition in the immediate area, especially from the Murphy USA at Walmart, the BP at the other end of the lot, and others going westbound on Madison St.

    This Kmart closed back in May 2016, liquidation began February. Was not quite a shock to see it go, but it was certainly a chill place to peruse through. The Walmart always made me want to get in and out without much interaction. Going to miss the generous SWYR bonuses, like picking up 15 quarts of motor oil for $1.46. Must have been Eddie's form of a laundering scheme.

    The Walmart Supercenter across the street opened in February 2002, the lot used to be a mini-golf course. Prior to the opening of the Walmart Supercenter, this Kmart expanded to offer pantry items, and the concept didn't work as well as corporate hoped, as a Food Lion was next door and the prices were akin to a convenience store. Lots of discounted, about to be expired stock filled those utility carts.

    After the Kmart closed, the Food Lion remains (and it is the last remaining one in Clarksville, as the other location in NW Clarksville turned into an Ollie's Discount Store). Other smaller tenants in the center rotated from a walk-in clinic, novelty stores, and the like.

    The remaining Kmart that is currently liquidating has been in the news in its short 25 years.

    That store is/was in a high traffic shopping center location and was more up to date. It was pretty busy until around 2002.

    Sears Holdings will be a memory within a few years. Directionless cash infusions can't save a rotting ship that's 7/8ths waterlogged filled with yes people.


  5. The front entrance of the building is from the late 70's-early 80's. Sometime in the 90's I think, many stores like this added that background on top of the old awning. Other stores just simply replaced the signage.



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