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Blue light fades: Last Michigan Kmart closes in Marshall

A shopper who declined to give his name waits outside a Kmart store for it to open on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Anaheim, Calif. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving day this year. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Posted at 6:27 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 06:28:34-05

MARSHALL, Mich. (AP) — The last Kmart in Michigan has closed in the state where the former brick-and-mortar retail giant got its start.

Sunday was the last day at a Kmart in Marshall, 100 miles west of Detroit, City Manager Tom Tarkiewicz said Monday.

“They still had products they were selling,” Tarkiewicz said.

An email seeking comment from Kmart's corporate parent wasn't immediately returned.

The first Kmart store opened in Garden City, a Detroit suburb, in 1962. The chain grew to more than 2,000 stores across the U.S., but its fortunes changed as other big box retailers gained momentum.

Kmart reorganized under bankruptcy protection in 2002-03 and began closing hundreds of stores before merging with Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 2004.

Kmart's website lists 21 stores remaining in the U.S. or U.S. territories. It also sells goods online.

Tarkiewicz didn't know why the Marshall store was the last in Michigan to stay open but said he had heard it was considered to be a profitable location.

“It was busy,” he said. “We saw a lot of out-of-state cars. We're only 36 miles from Indiana.”

Tarkiewicz is optimistic the real estate will get a new life.

“The owner of the building is from California. He’s working on a sale agreement for someone to buy it,” Tarkiewicz said.