December 30, 2011

Spotlight: Big Kmart - Jacksonville, FL


Big Kmart 5751 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32207
First of all, as most of you may have heard, Sears Holdings announced that they would be closing 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears stores. Stay tuned to Kmart World and Kmart World's Facebook page for any updates Sears Holdings may announce including the list of all locations that are being shuttered.

Run down looking Big Kmart building sign.
The same day that the news broke of the store closings story, I visited the Big Kmart on Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville, FL. This store was briefly shown in one of our features back in 2009. It is located at a fairly busy intersection in Jacksonville, almost directly across the street from a very large hospital. This store hasn't had a remodel in many years (as most Kmart's haven't) and is getting pretty run down looking, as you'll see in some of the pictures. But because of the proximity to the hospital and from all the traffic in the area, it has managed to stay in business and stay somewhat busy (for a Kmart store at least.) This location has been here more than likely since the late 60's and has an old Kmart Food's attached directly to the left of the store. The Kmart Foods spot is currently vacant and was previously occupied by a craft store.

Former Kmart foods spot.
Looking inside the former Kmart Foods spot
The location definitely lives up to its Big Kmart name, as it's one of the largest non-Super Kmart's I've been in. I'm not sure of the exact square footage of this store but it's on the highest end of the Big Kmart spectrum. This location originally featured a Little Caesars and many years ago it was changed to just a K Cafe. At last visit about four years ago, the K Cafe was still operating inside (pictured below.) After going to this store again a few days ago, the K Cafe is now closed and was turned into a Team Sports shop. One of the road signs for this Kmart had the pre-Big Kmart logo up until the early-00's, when it was finally changed to the Big Kmart logo.

K Cafe when it was still open in Sept. 2007.
K Cafe now a Team Sports shop in December 2011.
K Cafe label scar is still visible.
 This store is in somewhat of a disrepair. The floor tiles have been patched for one reason or another countless times. There is so many different shades of cream and white on the floor its ridiculous. Some of the associate help call boxes have been haphazardly removed from the poles. The back wall of the store has what looks like rust or some type of orange substance on the white painted cinder blocks. This is a nice store in that it's large and roomy and also does a decent business without a Walmart within several miles. Its just in desperate need of a facelift. If they put some money into a major remodel for this store, it would get even more business with the amount of people that go by it daily. Are you listening Eddie Lampert??

Tile floor patched so many times it's ridiculous.
Broken call box to nowhere.
The layout is a little bit different than the majority of Kmart's, as the electronics department is along the front wall of the store, close to the Pharmacy. For this being such a large store with lots of extra floor space, it has a laughably small, almost nonexistent large appliance department. There are about six total appliances on display in the middle of the electronics department, with an appliance department sign hanging from the ceiling. That sign is completely different than the rest of the department signs and thus looks out of place. This store features a large indoor Garden Center area and a fairly large outside area also. The clothing department being larger than most, features an expanded assortment of items. Looking at back wall of the store, towards the right side is the layaway counter and directly to the left of that is a small Olan Mills portrait studio. The store has nine front end checkout lanes and featured a few more that were taken out several years back. The former K Cafe is on the left wall, right next to the checkouts.

Typical Kmart Pharmacy.
Decent size Electronics department.
Here's the [extremely small] Appliance department.
Looking towards the indoor part of the Garden Center.
Olan Mills and Layaway along the back wall of the store.
9 checkout registers, with space on the right where a few more used to be.
That's about all that I know or can tell about this store. I don't really have much history on this store and haven't been about to find any from searching online. If any one knows anything more about it please leave a comment below. Leave your thoughts of this store below also.

Street sign, with whited out spot where the Kmart Foods sign used to be.
Closer shot of street sign.
Big Kmart.


Taken in Sept. 2007. Notice how the stripes are orange then, they are now red in the current pictures.
Kmart cart corral.
Looking down the hallway of the front of the store.
Closer shot of the former K Cafe.
Inside the K Cafe area. Door leads to a hidden section where the back of the K Cafe was.
Left corner of store looking towards the other end of the store.
Front alley of store looking towards layaway.
Right Corner of store looking toward the other end.
The extent of Kmart's refrigerated offerings.
Back alley of store looking towards the fitting rooms
In shoe department looking towards the service desk/store exit.
Former spot of the Kmart directory picture now covered over with sales ads.
Customer service desk.
Garden shop exterior.

26 comments:

  1. Nice post. How do you get good pictures inside of stores without drawing attention to yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wonder why they did not tear down the wall between the Kmart Foods store and the regular Kmart store and make it a Supercenter.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Usually I use my cell phone to take interior pictures since it's more discreet and it takes pretty good pictures. But in the case of this picture set my cell phone camera was not working and I had to use my regular camera, which is obviously harder to be discreet with. I made sure to keep the flash off and I'd make sure no employees were close by and then quickly take the picture. I was constantly on the move around the store also, didn't stay in one spot too long.

    As for your other comment, I'm not sure why they didn't do that. But it's not ever gonna happen now. This store will be lucky to ever get even a minor remodel.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Most of the Kmart Foods stores were small, and the Kmarts attached to them, less small. To put that into perspective, the old Kmart+Kmart Foods in town was about equal to Wal-Mart (not Supercenter) circa 1995. Kmarts that did survive the 1994 closings and did use the Kmart Foods were only big enough to be a reasonable sized Big Kmart.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I believe this Kmart was expanded on the right side at some point, which made it quite a bit bigger. Which would explain why this location is so large.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sales data:
    Annual Sales For The Year 2011 $18,019,439.23
    Annual Sales For The Year 2010 $20,488,195.93
    Annual Sales For The Year 2009 $19,622,701.89

    According to my internal source store opened on 02/08/1993

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That date cannot be correct. I grew up in the neighborhood and shopped there very often. Including the Food Store. I moved from that area in 1972 so it opened in the late 60s or early 70s. May be even before. It definitely was one of the first LARGE department stores in Jacksonville along with Zayres, JM Fields, Roses and Pic n Save.

      Delete
  7. store looks much older than 1993, but maybe it's just b/c of lack of major maintenance...
    nice pics. The appliances were added (most likely) a couple years ago post Sears merger as a way to "differentiate" Kmart from Wal-mart (press releases stated that quality Kenmore appliances would draw shoppers, and several Kmart stores had sections such as the Garden Center replaced with a mini-Sears appliance center) but of course, the slapshod method (nearly as poorly executed as Sears Essentials) as you can see evident in your photo probably draws about one shopper a year...
    Cheers,
    superkmart.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Store has definitely been there longer than 1993, That's probably around the time the store was expanded or remodeled last. I am from this area and this store was here long before I was born. As I said in the article it's been here since at the earliest the mid to late 60's, at the latest sometime in the 70's.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Really nice post with GREAT photo work!

    ReplyDelete
  10. From what I have heard most Kmart stores were expanded in 1991, but I am not sure about this store. This store looks like an early 70s store to me, it is definity not a late 70s store.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This store is 101,955 square feet. Still not sure when it opened though.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The shopping center was built in 1973, I am guessing that Kmart opened at the same time as the rest of the shopping center.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Awesome. I knew it had to have been built in the late 60's, early 70's. Where were you able to find that out and the sq footage?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Complete info on store:
    Store Number 4283
    Report Date NANANANANA
    Store Address 5751 BEACH BLVD JACKSONVILLE, FL 32207-5163
    Store Manager EVANS GREGORY
    Phone (904 ) 396-6931
    Store Fax Number
    Store Type Code
    Store County DUVAL
    Store Open Date 11/06/1969
    Store Closed Date


    District Manager D PYNCHON/JACKS FL
    District Manager Home Location 4286

    As an insider, what ever you need to know I have

    ReplyDelete
  15. What site do you use to find out information on Kmart stores. I use shcrealty.com, but that site pretty much just tell square footage and area demographics; not facts like when it opened or store managers. I need facts like this for a lot of Kmart stores, but I can not find a site that tells me facts like the date they opened.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi. As an SHC employee I have access to this. General Public does not. If you can post the store number, I can provide those details.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Would you happen to know when the final closing list is being released?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous SHC employee, please contact us by using the email contact link on the "Contribute to Kmart World" page. Thank You

    ReplyDelete
  19. The 1st rounds of store closing will start in February. So any week you should here the final list. The remaining store closings are stores the company is on the fence about. These are high profile stores that the company is afraid to loose as they have invested ALOT of money is.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That's unfortunate if they end up closing some of their good stores. I hate to see this happening to Sears Holdings. They brought it on themselves though, by not keeping their stores up with the times. I really hope these closings will help them and are not a sign of more bad things to come.

    ReplyDelete
  21. There are some really cool things I will be sending tuesday about the Green Kmart remodel pre-sears. Just wait till I get my IP blockers set.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Any contributions are very much appreciated. Just send them to the email link on the Contribution page. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Not many if at all left here in TX which makes this blog and pics more fascinating. The stores that are left elsewhere are in limbo. It is nostalgic and important to capture all of this while you can in case they all go away soon.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I worked at the Beach Blvd store from 1979 to 1982, serving time in the Appliance and Home Improvement departments. I actually met my first wife there. I believe this store was the biggest and the busiest in Jax at the time. The 1969 store opening date seems just about right, since it was starting to show some of its age when I started working there. By the time I started in 1979, the adjoining food store building was operating as a popular nightclub known as Nichols Alley. The club had a New York/Big Apple theme, and I believe had an old NY streetcar installed at the inside entrance that you had to walk through to get inside the club. I can remember working Friday and Saturday nights at the store, and the crowds of sharply dressed young guys and gals milling around in the store waiting on Nichols Alley to open their doors. I also remember the rock group Black Oak Arkansas playing at the club one night, and drawing a huge crowd. Sometime around 1980, Nichols Alley closed and a Chuck E Cheese-type Pizza Time theater completely remodeled the building and moved in. It was a big hangout for the families with kids for a couple of years before closing and remaining empty for a few years. From the interior photos of the store noted above, I hardly recognize this store now.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This store was closed this year. When I worked for K-mart in the late 90's, it was the highest volume store in the District at 22 million a year. I helped during Inventory a few times here. I was sad to hear that this one and the one in Fernandina Beach closed. That one was where I started my first job.

    ReplyDelete