Monday, August 17, 2009

End of an era

When we moved to the Prescott area in 1980, KMart was where it was at ... the bee's knees ... the big deal. Yes, there was a Sears and there was a Pennys for Serious Household Shopping and Foxworth for a major building project. But for cheaper items, including Commodore computers, one patronized the Willow Creek KMart. There was a great nursery and what one might call an convenience building supply department, including lumber. We bought a lot of Good Stuff from KMart back then (including lumber and Commodore computers).

With the coming of WalMart and Home Depot, things changed. The original KMart huffed and puffed and added the Martha Stewart line of upscale goodies, but the Willow Creek store simply couldn't compete. Now it is about to become history.
I made a point of visiting today -- the parking lot was full for the first time in ages.

Everywhere, signs declaring that the End Times were near. Discounts of 10-30%.

Naturally, I checked out the boys' department for a potential tshirt; yes, I bought a purple item with twined dragons. Couldn't resist. My other purchase: three large plastic flower pots in a nice neutral color.

Other people were opening their purses wide for big items or large amounts. Bird seed and blankets, for example (above), or a Barbie bicycle (below). The place was jumping. (I wonder if many of these customers would normally be shopping at the Prescott Valley BigK store, which is not closing.)

As a punctuation mark to the sale: the sign man at the Iron Springs intersection.

Choice Links: For a scary picture of your brain on Google, you might read this article at Slate. Both Rich and Tombo have been up to Northern Arizona; Rich fell in love with a decaying diner in Winslow, while Tombo has pictures in which the forest fire up near Flag dominates the big sky in Jerome. Finally, Box Elder pays a wonderful, poetic left-handed tribute to August, the frumpy, sweaty middle-age of the year.


Steve said...

Tough times for all. WalMart bought a German store chain, but they didn't do well. I think they sold it.

David Kirk said...

So many stores have come and gone in the past few years ... goodbye Kmart!

Anonymous said...

The remarkable thing is how long Kmart has survived. For years I've seen them with 20 cars in the parking lot, of which 15 are employees. Across the street is a Walmart with 200 cars.

I guess it takes a long time for big empires to finally collapse.

quilteddogs said...

Too bad about Kmart. I much prefer it over Walmart.

Granny J said...

steve -- apparently WalMart and McDonald's are among the few chains profiting from the recession.

froggie -- actually, it is just "goodbye, this particular KMart". We have another, newer store in a nearby town which is by no means closing.

boonie -- that is certainly the case with the Willow Creek store, which has been going out with a whimper for years.

qd -- as a rule, I'd agree with you. But the Willow Creek store was an old facility, which just didn't have the choices offered at the WalMart a couple of blocks away.

Anonymous said...

How sad to see them close. :-(

Thanks for keeping us updated on local news. Even the sad news.

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

anon av -- Indeed, it is sad to see old-timers close, even though it was obviously in the cards from the day that WallyMart announced plants to revive the old Ponderosa Plaza site.

Melanie A. said...

Well, shoot. I remember how exciting it was when that KMart opened--I guess we were yearning for any sort of retail excitement back before Web shopping could bring anything to your mailbox.

Granny J said...

melanie -- when we arrived in '80, Prescott wasn't a retail wasteland (although the "we don't have it but we can order it for you" response was a tad annoying). However, my Mom down in Sun City was convinced that we'd have to drive down to the Valley every month or so to shop at a Real supermarket. (We did quite well in town for food...)

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

What is the origin of Kmart--was it started by Kressage(sp) 5&10???


Granny J said...

bro -- I believe it was the Kresge chain that morphed into KMart. SH Kress, the original 5&dime (and property of the famous poor little rich girl, Barbara Hutton) somehow disappeared into the mists of time, while Woolworth is known only by a tower in NYC and a foundation. There was a term similar to 5&dime used to describe the KMarts & their ilk, but it has disappeared as well.

Kathleen said...

*whew* another icon evaporates - glad there still is one in PV! Funny, when my folks moved to Chino Valley in 1986, they enjoyed shopping at the little local store. Then Safeway moved into town... We have seen a lot of businesses come and go out here.

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