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'She is my blue light special': Last Kmart retail location in Michigan prepares to close its doors

Kmart in Marshall
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MARSHALL, Mich. — Attention shoppers, the last Kmart in Michigan will be closing its doors.

It's the end of an era for the retailer who has a near 60-year history in the state.

Store associates in Marshall confirmed the Kmart location would be closing in November but did not know the exact date.

On Friday, a frequent Kmart shopper on Friday said the parking lot was the busiest he had seen in years.

"I think it is a sad situation. They have been around for years. It is just sad all the way around," said longtime Kmart shopper Michael Roberts.

Say goodbye to the blue light specials as Marshall's Kmart location has already started with liquidation sales.

The customers were steady on Friday with people from near and far taking in their last memories.

"About 39 years ago, I met my wife, Sue, at Kmart. She used to wait on me at Kmart. She is my blue light special," said Michigan native Norman Smith.

"I started out in housewares, and then I went to camera and jewelry manager. Then I went to appliance manager," said former Kmart employee Sue Smith.

Kmart opened its first store in Michigan in Garden City back in 1962.

During its peak, the store had around 2,300 locations in the United States and over 160 in other countries.

"It has been an important resource for Marshall residents. You know, it was certainly a privilege having it here as the last Kmart in Michigan," said Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance CEO James Durian.

TransformCo, the parent company of Kmart and Sears, has been steadily closing stores nationwide.

FOX 17 reached out for comment but did not yet hear back.

Durian said he was surprised the Marshall location lasted this long.

"I think that, you know, part of that was due to the fact that they didn't own the building, and it was a good location. It got a lot of foot traffic, so I think that was a good reason for them to stay open. There’s a need for that kind of retail service in Marshall," said Durian.

Durian said he has already contacted the California businessman who owns the 90,000-square-foot building to make plans to fill it.

"I think it's not going to take long to fill that space. We've already received a couple of calls from businesses interested in using this space, so I think any negative impact will be short term," said Durian.

Kmart is currently hiring temporary employees to help with the closure. Many items in the store have been marked down more than 50 percent off.

"We had to stop at Kmart. It is our last chance to be in a Kmart. We are a Kmart family. We miss it, so we had to come see it," said Smith.

Nationwide, two other Kmart locations and seven Sears locations are also involved in the liquidation process. The firm, SB360 Capital Partners, is helping with the closing sales.

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