On August 23, I visited the Kmart at 935 Sweetwater Road in Spring Valley by the 54 Freeway.
A lady with a blue shirt that read “Attention Kmart Shoppers” on the front was helping me.
“When are you guys closing?” I asked her.
“In November,” she responded, “It’s OK. I need to move on anyway. The last one is in Ramona.”
According to the Business Insider, “Sears is closing 46 stores; the closing locations include 13 Kmarts and 33 Sears stores. Closing sales will begin on August 30. The new list will bring Sears’ total store closures this year to nearly 300.”
“I didn’t even know they were closing, bro,” said Archie, a mechanic at RCR Smog Inspection, which is across the street on the north side of the store. “I’ve been going there since when it was a Kmart, then it became a Sears Essentials, then now it’s a Kmart again.”
“Why do you think they are closing down?” I asked.
“It’s because of Amazon, bro, the internet,” he said.
“Sears [and Kmart are] closing more stores as the company’s sales slide,” reported the Business Insider, “with revenue falling in the most recent quarter by more than 30%, to $2.9 billion, from $4.2 billion in the year-ago period.”
“Kmart is closing because the baby boomers are now gone,” said Brigham, a Spring Valley resident, “and I’m one of them.”
When I shopped at the Kmart, I noticed the sign that read 90 percent off of fine jewelry and another one that read 50 percent off clothes and shoes.
“That Bluelight Special sale was back in the day,” said the Kmart employee helping me earlier, “it’s non-existent now. They would get on the PA and say ‘Bluelight Special.'”
“There was a blue light spinning and I remember when a certain sale was announced on the public address system,” said John a customer, “a crowd of people would run towards it. That was in the 1970s and then in the 1980s, Kmart would advertise “Bluelight Specials” in our newspapers.”
John remembers when S.S. Kresge had smaller stores in the Mission Valley and Chula Vista malls, and the price labels were the same as Kmart’s. “I guessed that the ‘K’ in Kmart stood for ‘Kresge,'” he said.
In the last couple of years, many patrons complained on the Yelp and [Nextdoor] sites of a “smell or stench” inside this particular Kmart — which I couldn’t smell this day.
“I don’t know if it’s a sewage leak, dead critters in the walls or just somebody trying to win the blue ribbon for farting all day long,” posted Em, an Elite ’18 member on Yelp, “but it sure does smell something awful in there.”
When Juan T. posted on Nextdoor that the “Spring Valley Kmart is one of 13 stores in the United States being closed”; in less than 12 hours, his thread had seven comments that corroborated with Em’s review.