Edd Pritchard GateHouse Media Ohio @epritchardREP
Feb 15, 2020 at 6:26 PM
Stark County’s last Kmart store, on North Main Street in North Canton, calls it quits on Sunday. The closing comes on the heels of Sears vacating Belden Village Mall.
NORTH CANTON Former retail giant Kmart will be all but a memory by the end of the day.
The chain is closing its North Canton store six weeks after its sister store, Sears, closed in Belden Village Mall.
Shoppers have been seeking deals at the store since the closing was announced in November. Assorted clothing, some household goods, pet treats and Christmas holiday knick-knacks are among the limited items that can be found.
If you want a rack for hanging clothing, plenty are available.
Saturday morning there were almost as many fixtures for sale in the store as there was merchandise available.
A shopper also could find aged metal desks, a copy machine, file cabinets and a piece of Stark County history — employee lockers made by the industrial product division of Republic Steel.
Sue Lightfoot, of Canton Township, left with clothing items and a metal rack. She visited the store several times during the past week looking for deals.
Nathan Rees, of Canton, wrangled a display case for sunglasses into the back of his truck. He figured he has enough pairs of sunglasses to line one of the four sides, making storage a bit easier. Then again, he didn't know how his wife would feel about the display case coming home.
Lightfoot and Rees said they both took advantage of deals at the Sears store when it closed. While they liked the opportunity to buy items at discounted prices, they dislike seeing the stores close.
"It's just sad. Retail is just changing," said Rees, who works at a retail outlet in Belden Village Mall.
One factor is the Internet and lower prices, Rees admitted. "It's hard to beat the pricing when you don't have to pay the guy at the counter."
Lightfoot said she looked to Sears and Kmart for good products at affordable prices. "It's a shame," she said of the store closing. "I feel sorry for the people who are losing their jobs."
The decline of Sears and Kmart has been ongoing since the 1990s. The two chains once ranked as the leaders among U.S. retailers, and Kmart had more than 2,300 across the country in 1994. In 2004, Kmart acquired Sears and created Sears Holdings Corp., but that business filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
Kmart closed its store on Harmont Street NE late in 2016, and a year later closed the Massillon location. The company initially reduced the size of the Sears store in Belden Village Mall before announcing plans to close in October.
The Sears property at Belden Village and the store in North Canton are owned by Seritage, a real estate investment trust created by Sears Holdings several years ago. Part of the mall building has been converted into a Dave & Buster's entertainment center and there are plans for a restaurant where the auto center stands.
The property in North Canton is listed for lease by Seritage and for sale with Colliers International.
According to information posted by Colliers, the property includes the Burger King restaurant that sits close to the street and is in front of the 84,000-square-foot store. The property is roughly 9.5 acres and separate from a wooded 14-acre tract next door that is owned by Kmart Corp.