Kmart Plaza Shopping Centers

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terryinokc
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Post by terryinokc » 07 Feb 2007 15:45

This is a question that I've always kind of wondered about....were K-Mart Plaza shopping centers located all across the country, or primarily in the East and South?

All the ones that I remember were in the South and East.....I had seen other shopping centers with K-Mart and a grocery store or other kinds of stores.....in other parts of the country, but don't remember seeing the actual K-Mart Plaza sign.

We didn't have any K-Mart stores in Oklahoma until 1971----then they opened four or five around Tulsa. Rumor was that they wouldn't open any stores in Oklahoma City area until 1996--25 years later--because Oklahoma City was the national headquarters for TG&Y---and some kind of agreement had been signed by both parties. We finally got three or four stores here in the late 90's when Venture closed.....but they only lasted until the first round of store closings K-mart had.

Kresge had two stores here in Oklahoma City--again, very briefly---for a couple of years in the mid 60's. Both locations became TG&Y.

Anyone know of K-Mart Plaza centers in Texas or farther west?

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Post by TheStranger » 07 Feb 2007 15:50

The Foothill Farms and south Sacramento KMarts (the latter still operating, with the old signs and all) each are listed online as part of two individual "KMart Plazas" but neither had a sign to that effect.

I think the Woodland Kmart (closed for at least 5 years) was also in a KMart Plaza.
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Post by Groceteria » 07 Feb 2007 17:36

terryinokc wrote:Anyone know of K-Mart Plaza centers in Texas or farther west?
The 1964 shopping center guide I've referenced before (best dollar I ever spent at a thrift store) lists Kmart Plazas in the following cities:

-- East Gadsden AL
-- Westminster CA
-- Bloomington IL
-- Danville IL
-- St. Joseph MO
-- Charlotte NC
-- Eau Claire WI
-- LaCrosse WI

In addition, there were Kmart Shopping Centers in:

-- Champaign IL
-- Springfield IL

I imagine the number increased dramatically after 1964.

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Kmart Plazas

Post by TenPoundHammer » 07 Feb 2007 22:14

I would imagine that there were several Kmart Plazas/Shopping Centers/whatevers in Michigan. I believe that Port Huron and Portage had them. (Port Huron's no longer features a Kmart, although I believe it was still called Kmart plaza after Kmart left. It now has another name.)

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Re: Kmart Plazas

Post by Groceteria » 07 Feb 2007 22:44

TenPoundHammer wrote:I would imagine that there were several Kmart Plazas/Shopping Centers/whatevers in Michigan.
I'd think so too, especially around Detroit.

I believe there was a later version in Winston-Salem NC, where I live now. It's more the mid-1970s prototype, but there's a whole strip center with multiple tenants (and even multiple buildings) with the matching Kmart-style facade. Of course, the Kmart is long since closed in this one too.

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Post by rich » 08 Feb 2007 02:25

"K-Mart Plaza" was a name they used generically in many places for first generation stores, that had a grocery next door. Sometimes they'd have other businesses, like a fast food or a Ponderosa-type place on an outparcel. Often nothing besides K-Mart, it's auxiliary businesses (like the auto or garden center) and the grocery. They seemed to stop using the K-Mart Plaza toward the end of the era where they opened stores with a "K-Mart Foods" next door.

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Kmart foods

Post by TenPoundHammer » 08 Feb 2007 09:08

The nearest Kmart Foods to me that I know of was rather unusual in that it was attached to an enclosed mall (although neither Kmart nor Kmart Foods opened to the mall itself). There was also a Giantway (Mich.-based chain) behind the mall's other anchor (Federal's, later Burlington Coat Factory, then Phar-Mor). When Kmart phased out its Kmart Foods line, the regular store expanded into the Foods space.

Strangely, this Kmart co-existed for over 30 years with a Scott's 5 & 10 (later T G & Y) inside the mall. More info on this mall can be found at my webpage: http://angelfire.com/mi4/forgottenmi (forgive the plug).

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Post by dth1971 » 08 Feb 2007 18:14

Did you know some ShowBiz Pizza Place and Chuck E. Cheese's locations were next door to K-mart locations?

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Post by storewanderer » 08 Feb 2007 18:31

You should look into whether or not they ever operated inside Kmarts like Little Caesars does.
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Post by wnetmacman » 08 Feb 2007 22:20

My mother and aunt worked at the Danville, IL 'plaza' when it opened in 1964. The store was not built in the normal straight configuration, as most Kmarts were. The store sat to the side of the lot, and the grocery store was built in what would have been the front of the store, making it an L configuration. The store was converted to Kroger sometime in the mid 70s (which is all I remember it as) and was closed sometime around 1980. When the store was originally closed, Kmart only poked a hole in the wall and made a Home Improvement Center in the grocery space. Later on, when the Little Caesars partnership began, the restaurant moved in there from the center spot in the back of the store. As was with most cases of the Kmart Plaza, the only qualifier of the Plaza was the fact that there was a food store. Eventually, a few stores were added on the outlot of the Kmart.

The Champaign, IL plaza eventually was bulldozed for Super Kmart, and is now a Home Depot.

I remember seeing the Kmart Plaza sign at several locations, including Bossier City, LA and Tyler, TX. The Bossier City store was destroyed in a 1979 tornado, and rebuilt soon after. The only survivor was the Kmart Plaza sign. The Tyler store was somewhat larger, having an El Chico restaurant beyond the edge of the grocery store.
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Post by TenPoundHammer » 09 Feb 2007 18:32

storewanderer wrote:You should look into whether or not they ever operated inside Kmarts like Little Caesars does.
In Okemos, MI, there was a Kmart right next to a ShowBiz/Chuck E. Cheese's. The Chuck E. Cheese's wasn't accessible from within the Kmart, however. The former Kmart closed in the mid 1990s and has been split between Best Buy and Office Max, and the Chuck E. Cheese's is now Little Caesar's Caesarland, which appears to be their own version of Cheese's. I'm not aware of any other Caesarland locations.

By the way, I believe that this particular shopping center was called either Kmart Plaza or Kmart Shopping Center - it had "Kmart" somewhere in the name.

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Post by Groceteria » 28 Mar 2007 13:11

In some recent research, I uncovered that every Kmart in Greensboro NC through about 1980 was considered to be part of a "Kmart Plaza", from the standalone 1967 store with an attached Kmart Foods, to a 1976 strip center with a few other adjacent stores including a (non-Kmart) supermarket.

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Post by Dave » 28 Mar 2007 16:23

Groceteria wrote:In some recent research, I uncovered that every Kmart in Greensboro NC through about 1980 was considered to be part of a "Kmart Plaza", from the standalone 1967 store with an attached Kmart Foods, to a 1976 strip center with a few other adjacent stores including a (non-Kmart) supermarket.
When I think about it, there are at least three or four Kmart locations in the Richmond area that are in "no name" shopping centers - by that I mean I'm not aware of any particular name for the shopping center - they are shown on maps as "Kmart Shopping Center". All of the centers had grocery stores (a couple were Big Stars) at one time or another, and the ones I know of that are still housing Kmarts are now pretty much limited to having a Kmart and nothing else.

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Post by Super S » 29 Mar 2007 00:19

rich wrote:"K-Mart Plaza" was a name they used generically in many places for first generation stores, that had a grocery next door. Sometimes they'd have other businesses, like a fast food or a Ponderosa-type place on an outparcel. Often nothing besides K-Mart, it's auxiliary businesses (like the auto or garden center) and the grocery. They seemed to stop using the K-Mart Plaza toward the end of the era where they opened stores with a "K-Mart Foods" next door.
The former K-Mart on Americana in Boise, Idaho not only had a KMart Plaza sign out front, it also had a small reader board below the sign which listed the store hours. This store consisted of the main KMart store, and what was probably a grocery store next door. I say probably because I remember this space stood vacant for a while, and the U.S. Postal Service then took it over as some sort of annex to the post office that was located just behind the store. This KMart also had a seperate building, toward the front, northeast corner of the lot, that housed the Auto Center. It had no other buildings. This store closed I believe when a new store was built on ParkCenter Boulevard (which itself closed during a recent round of mass closings) and I want to say that the Postal Service eventually took over the entire K-Mart building, but am not 100% sure of this.

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Dave
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Post by Dave » 29 Mar 2007 07:33

The way that Kmarts were developed makes it hard to determine if some were really located in "shopping centers" at all. I know that some of the survivng Kmarts I'm familiar with have expanded into what was separate supermarket space or the adjacent space is vacant and apparently used for storage or another purpose (no "For Lease" signs). I suppose that now some have evolved from being in a "shopping center" to a freestanding big box.

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