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Friday, November 16, 2012

PA: Pittsburgh - McIntyre Square Big Kmart

Big Kmart #3895
7900 McKnight Rd
McIntyre Square
Pittsburgh PA

This 87,000 square foot Big Kmart store is in a large shopping strip mall along with Giant Eagle, Office Max, Stein Mart, Chuck E Cheeses, and other typical stores at the top of a hill in a busy Pittsburgh suburban environment, just 3.2 miles down the street from a Target. (Although, there is no Wal-Mart within a few miles, at least.) The signage is large and visible on top of the hill from busy McKnight Road, although the plaza itself is not visible as cars must turn onto the plaza entrance via a side street to go up the hill. It appears there also used to be an Auto Center at this Kmart. The signage remains old, with the street sign being the pre-2000's Kmart logo, and the main facade being the early 2000's "Big-Kmart" logo. You will see in the photos below the layout of the shopping plaza, the traditional signage inside the store, the appliance section, and most excitingly, the cool dedicated Pet Foods / pet supplies section (not an aisle, but an action mini-store!). I thought that was nice. The store overall is pretty average (meaning nice for a Kmart, but not anything like a Target) and representative of a suburban Big Kmart. Hope you enjoy the photos!
The largely deserted and vast store parking lot on a weekday night before store closing. Too much of America has been paved over due to unnecessarily large parking lots...

An interesting (but dated) Big-Kmart facade, and the rest is the typical Kmart store look.

Olan Mills portrait studio - not sure how these make profit?

Some attempts with fresh signage in the clothing section, but mostly the old sale signs and carousels.

Very interesting - a pet section!

Post-Sears merger: appliances. Not quite the vast synergies from the merger, but just a meager step.

More of the cool pet section!

Old-school traditional font for the Layaway.

Not quite a Target: empty or poorly covered shelving.

a fairly typical Kmart electronics section

Oh the infamous fridge. Lots of milk in this one though!

Same old (and old) cash registers...

A typical Big-Kmart pharmacy

Target and Wal-Mart do a much better job of reducing that awkward area behind the cash registers...

Note the "Thank you for shopping Big Kmart" lettering.

The garden shop is pretty quiet in the winter.

Old-school logo on the street sign, which is on top of a hill.

No store directory here, rather, just urging you to check out the Pantry, which still pales in comparison to Target's P-Fresh foods, much less Wal-Mart supercenters.

The view upon entering the store. Not bad!

You can see how the street sign is on top of the hill and the plaza itself is not visible.

A random Pittsburgh photo - a Taiwanese restaurant! On Forbes Ave.
Layout of the strip mall (shopping plaza) - the Kmart is one of the corner anchors.
Please consider donating to charities such as Tzu Chi Compassion Relief USA. ( )

Thursday, August 2, 2012

MD: Gaithersburg Kmart

209 Kentlands Blvd
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

This 108,482 sq ft store is in an affluent community (median household income nearby of around $90,000) and a thriving town center with pedestrian-friendly alleys and local shops, restaurants, gelato & chocolate stores, Whole Foods... etc. Wow! Good job, a Kmart in a "hip" and cool location! Seems like a rarity these days. And surprisingly, the exterior facade and the interior of this Kmart are pretty decent as well! We're not sure when this store opened, but it definitely does not feel like the worn and old 1970's Kmart that so many stores are.

Anyway, continue to read on for the many photos we took! Hope you will enjoy them, this Kmart has a few tricks up its sleeves.

This photo from JT designs. It looks fairly accurate!

The impressive exterior facade

Note the SHLD "powerhouse" brands. Or at least they used to be... first they appeared in Kmarts, then even more dilution occurred with contracts with ACE Hardware, and now it seems they're just another plain brand found at many places, even Costco.

Fairly typical Kmart entrance vestibule.

View immediately upon entering the store. It's not the best first impression... something most Kmart stores could work on.

Carts are to the left upon entering. We have a sneaking suspicion that's where the Little Caesars used to be, since there used to be one somewhere in the store. Note the flat-screen security-cam TV.

The softlines are on the left side of the store (directly straight from the entrance)

View of the entrance area

I like the directories. This store layout is a little unusual in that the pantry foods and the high margin cleaners (Tide detergent, bathroom supplies) are in the far rear corner of the store.

Also odd is that the customer service desk is in the middle of the store, far from the entrance and at the end of the cash registers.

Oh hey! I've seen you before in lots of other stores. Old-school price scanner. At least it still works.

For some reason, there were a lot of bed displays. I guess comforters have a high profit margin or something.

Sigh. Oh Kmart. Get the premium endcaps filled!!

yes, you did see this earlier. An internet cafe! More to come...

I don't know if this is a new trend, but a lot of sections are kind of "walled-in" with maze-like corners and so forth. Seems confusing to me.

Large seasonal area. Also note the contiguous "patio"-area of the garden center is connected to the store in an open fashion. There is an outdoors part of the garden center that you have to go out doors through.

The famous 'ol milk fridge. This is the food section in the rear of the store. 

Hi ladder! Whatcha doing there?

The appliance section. Not too bad, I guess.

The rear main walkway

Ok, the layaway is kind of hidden away because the aisles are parallel (not perpendicular) to it. Also, why would the MyGofer online pick-up be from here. The one reason to order online and pick it up at the store would be convenience and speed... but having the pick-up all the way as far as you can get from the entrance makes it more of a hassle.

"walled"-off electronics section

Like the bike rack!

An empty aisle near sporting goods.

Note the remodeled styles on the walls

Hey, a computer! Why wouldn't we just buy from Amazon then?

the "A" is missing from Kmart. Perhaps they know they don't deserve that grade?

Yes, it's the internet cafe! Probably added in the early 2000's when the store got a facelift. Now, none of the computers were working (most aren't even readily accessible as they are blocked by carts...) Doesn't this make you feel old?

I was puzzled by the random cup dispenser at one of the cashier lanes. What is it for? You'll find out...

The cash registers are interesting in that the cashier is at the end jutting out of the lane. Haven't seen that in very many Kmarts.

Oh! This is what the cups were for.

Of course, one of the machines is out of order.

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That's all, folks. Hope you enjoyed reading, and until next month!
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