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Kmart, 7325 Two Notch Road: January 2016   18 comments

Posted at 1:33 am in closing

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This is the only store I have ever been lost in.

It was probably about 1965 when my mother took me here to do some clothes shopping. Now of course the clothes displays are shorter than almost all adults, but taller than almost all four years olds, and at some point I lost track of her among the racks and panicked, racing around the floor trying to find her. Since I didn't spend the rest of my life in the clothes department, I must have located her at some point, but *that* part of the debacle I can't remember..

This store was a regular stop for us throughout the 60s and 70s. We preferred the store brand jarred roasted peanuts to Planters and in those days when Sears was still in Five Points and Dutch Square was the only mall this store was always the closest place to pick up whatever odds and ends we needed. I brought my first record album here, which I still have, the Beach Boys two record compilation set Endless Summer for which I paid $5.25. Here I also bought the Focal brand camera tripod which I still carry in my trunk today.

After I left town in 1985, I rarely visited this Kmart and I remember noting when I came back to town in the early 2000s how threadbare it looked. Since it was still close, I did visit it every now and then, but invariably noted that whatever I had gone in for, they didn't have it, and gradually stopped trying.

(Hat tip to commenter joelc)

UPDATE 30 January 2016 -- As noted by a number of people, the store is now closed:

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Written by ted on November 17th, 2015

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18 Responses to 'Kmart, 7325 Two Notch Road: January 2016'

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  1. It is a shame what has happened to K Mart but I saw the writing on the wall even before they bought Sears, or was it Sears that bought K Mart.
    The last couple of times I went into a K Mart they did not have what I was looking for or when I saw something I was interested in, I could not find a price on the item much less a sales associate. I walked out both times.
    In the 60's and early 70's the K Mart on Garners Ferry Road is where my family and I bought all kinds of things. Albums, 8-track tapes, tape players and speakers, my parents bought toys for us kids there, fish and parakeets, clothes, household and kitchen items, auto accessories, rifles, scopes and ammo, sporting goods, bicycles, I even bought a mini-bike from that K Mart. Just a shame.

    Rick

    17 Nov 15 at 5:13 pm

  2. I remember getting my perscriptions at Kmart at Seven Oaks Shopping Center growing up...

    As I shopped the other Kmarts I felt like Seven Oaks had the best kept of them...After Seven Oaks's liquidated there was no doubt in my mind that Kmart was (more than likely) on the way out...

    The others either felt dated or even dingy sometimes.

    Lexington's I had a slight leaning towards because they had a Nathan's hot dog eating place inside and it had a couple of other formats prior to that I enjoyed but now that eating place appears to have closed when I was in earlier this month.

    West Columbia's used to have an eating place but it never worked out for me to go. I knew a lady that worked at Kmart at one point and she told me that while people did come in asking for it, it apparently didn't do enough business to stay afloat.

    I have been in Camden's Kmart a few times and it actually looks fairly well...I haven't seen the inside of Sumter's or Orangeburg's though...

    Andrew

    17 Nov 15 at 6:33 pm

  3. Believe it or not, but I used to like eating in the old Kmart "diners" when the existed. They used to have meatloaf, mashed potatoes and some kind of veggie that was actually pretty good. I also used to like to eat from time to time at the lunch counter at Eckerd's in Dutch Square. It reminded me of the lunch counters at the drug stores on Main St. from when I was a kid.

    Homer

    17 Nov 15 at 11:53 pm

  4. Funny memory from when I worked at the Kmart at Dutch Square back in 1977. They used to have surveillance windows all over the stores. You probably noticed them surrounding the store just below the ceiling. Each were equipped with a pair of high powered binoculars so the security guards could monitor what was going on. Sometimes the guards would 'warn' us any time a cute girl came into the store and we would go upstairs to 'keep tabs' on her. What the store didn't know was that one of the windows overlooked one of the the ladies dressing rooms. If the angle was just right, well, you got a free show.....

    Homer

    18 Nov 15 at 2:10 am

  5. Focal brand camera equipment was a great alternative to name brand items. I had a Focal tripod, telescope, lens for my Pentax camera and flash. The flash was dead simple, worked great and I used it for years on many cameras. Found this list of photography items K-Mart did offer, I had forgotten they also sold their own brand of film. Speaking of film, K-mart was my go to place to have film developed. It was a lot cheaper than places like Eckerds.

    http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Kmart

    ED

    19 Nov 15 at 10:18 am

  6. I agree with Ed on Focal equipment. I do not know what brand manufactured for them but a tripod purchased in the 70s is still a rock solid mount.
    The logo on it reads KMART FOCAL JAPAN

    Joe Shlabotnik

    19 Nov 15 at 11:19 am

  7. We always shopped at Kmart when I was a kid. I remember overtime we went Mom would let me and my brother get a Hot Wheels or Matchbox car. We also used to get Icees at Kmart on a regular basis. With this closing, does that leave the Lexington Kmart as the only one open? I think last year the discussion on this blog was that all Columbia area Kmarts would be closed by the end of this year with Lexington being the last one to go. Is that still the case?

    James R

    19 Nov 15 at 2:25 pm

  8. @Joe S - Now that you mention it, I remember FOCAL saying made in Japan. I still have an old set of FOCAL binoculars I bought back in the 70's.
    Japan was making some good stuff back then relating to optics and electronics. Most Japanese stuff now is designed in Japan but made, manufactured and assembled in other countries. Good designs but the quality is just not the same.

    Rick

    19 Nov 15 at 5:39 pm

  9. So far Kmart #7616 in Lexington & Kmart #4141 in West Columbia are continuing to operate.

    I can remember both having diners. West Columbia's had one as of ≈2002/03 that I tried to eat at but it never worked out. Lexington's I enjoyed several times but last time I was in there earlier this month it looked like it's closed up shop.

    As far as I can tell, Camden (#4873), Sumter (#7062) and Orangeburg (#3621) are going to continue to operate.

    Given the shape of Kmart (in general) I have my doubts about the long term vitality of that company as I sense that they've been sluggish to adapt to the times. Remember at this time last year Sears & Kmart closed a bunch of stores in the midst of the Christmas holiday shopping season...consequently some of the S&P type indexes decided to downgrade their rating of Sears...as I recall the only SC store to be impacted was a Kmart at 1403 N Kings Hwy. (Inlet Square Mall) in Myrtle Beach and given Ted's tendency to occasionally feature stuff from that area, I wouldn't put it past him to feature that one at some point...now Dentsville is losing their Kmart (and frankly I wouldn't be surprised to see Columbia Place Mall lose Sears given the shape of that store based on what I and others have noted)...

    Andrew

    20 Nov 15 at 12:09 am

  10. I'll have to check next time I'm in the attic, but I'm pretty sure my dad's old slide projector was a Focal. He would have never sprung for a Kodak.....

    Homer

    20 Nov 15 at 1:11 am

  11. Found myself in this Kmart earlier this week and it's in the last week but I've noticed they have the following left:

    - hair care products
    - toys
    - iPhone 4 & 5 accessories
    - some remaining clothing
    - notebooks (and other stationery)

    There are a few other misc. assorted items as well that might interest you but this is the final week for you to get them...

    Andrew

    7 Jan 16 at 12:08 pm

  12. My problem with KMart is that they are not a price leader. Their prices exceed, often by a large margin, Big Lots and Walmart. Outside of the occassional light bulb or tool, I find no reason to shop there.

    joelc

    10 Jan 16 at 5:26 am

  13. Well - another Kmart is history. Today was the final day. I went by this afternoon and there was very little left except for some jewelry, toys and various stuff. There were several people that shopping carts loaded with whatever they could find. One couple had the bed of their pickup loaded with toys and there were several others buying toys in mass quantities as well. I overheard that they were buying them for charities which is a very good thing. I guess this leaves only two Kmarts left; wonder how long they will last??

    Homer

    10 Jan 16 at 9:34 pm

  14. Well, I had meant to go by and get some more pix before the doors shut. Guess that's not gonna happen..

    I hope this huge lot doesn't stay empty long..

    ted

    10 Jan 16 at 11:54 pm

  15. I wish I had snapped a few photos but I didn't even think about it at the time. You didn't miss much, Ted. Empty shelves, a leaky roof and filthy floors was about it....

    Homer

    11 Jan 16 at 12:19 am

  16. drove by this place the other day and it is not closed up, the Kmart signs have been taken down.

    Mike

    18 Jan 16 at 5:47 pm

  17. I remember when Kmart at 7 Oaks Shopping Center closed, for a week after the last day they were selling the fixtures, etc. off so perhaps something like that is what took place here...

    Andrew

    18 Jan 16 at 7:59 pm

  18. Every time I went in there in the last 19 years we've lived in Columbia I swore I wouldn't go back. One of the first times we went there got a huge scratch in the door of our newest car ever at the time, even though we parked WAY away. Not to mention the perpetual disarray of the store every time we went there. The Advance Auto Parts across the street was attached to the K-Mart and Todd and Moore behind it on O'Neal Court was still open.

    vogel

    25 Apr 16 at 8:19 pm

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