Marshall Kmart set to be last of its kind in Michigan

MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) — An iconic company founded in Michigan will soon only have one store remaining in the state.

The Kmart on West Michigan Avenue in the City of Marshall will be the only store operating in the mitten after the end of January.

At its peak, the retailer had more than 2,000 stores across the country. It created the Blue Light Special, built its layaway program into a national name and ingrained the phrase “Attention Kmart Shoppers” in popular culture.

Roger Lewis has been shopping at the Marshall Kmart since it opened.

“It’s about the best thing in the area for like 10, 15 miles, 20 miles around. There’s no Meijer right here that competes with it or Walmart,” Lewis said.

Kmart sold off many properties in bankruptcy, but the Marshall location is leased, which could have helped keep it open.

Marshall City Manager Tom Tarkiewicz says it will be an honor to have the last store in the state.

The Kmart located in Marshall, Mich. (Dec. 3, 2020)

“Our citizens in the area enjoy having it here,” Tarkiewicz said. “We hope it continues to thrive like it has and it’s always hard to fill an empty big box store, especially in a town of about 7,000.”

Scott Fleming, the CEO of the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, says the store is one of the top in the country for sales and the community is doing everything it can to keep it around.

“The owner of the shopping plaza just paved the shopping center, so he is seeing it as promising that they’re staying,” Fleming said.

City officials hope the store will serve as an attraction to draw people in that are interested in the nostalgia of the store.

“Hopefully this stays around for a while and we can take advantage of it and promote it and use it to our advantage for tourism,” Fleming said.

Loyal Kmart shopper Marcia Baze says she will keep supporting the Marshall store as long as she can.

“We live in Coldwater and when our Coldwater Kmart went out, we just went to Sturgis. And then they went out and so we just came to Marshall here, and we really like it,” Baze said. “I hope they stay here forever.”

City officials say they have not heard any indication that the store will close and are hopeful it will remain open for many years.

As of Friday evening, Kmart’s corporate office has not responded to News 8’s request for comment.