May 17, 2018

Spotlight: Kmart - Burbank, CA

The Superstore Pilot store..
1000 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank, CA 91504

Today we are spotlighting the last store in our California series of posts, Kmart located in Burbank, CA. This location is 72.577 square feet and opened on November 16, 1989. The store was originally built in 1962 as a Zody's, which from research was a small chain of discount department stores out west. Despite Kmart still operating this location it is being marketed for lease by the owners of the shopping center. The store formerly had a Little Caesars Pizza Station in it, although I am unsure went it closed. It does not have a pharmacy, auto center, or garden center. Being only 72,000 Square feet, it is one of the smaller size Kmart locations and could be why this store didn't have any extra services. We have been told by sources that this store was remodeled in late 2017, not too long after we visited it. In 2010 this Kmart was in the news but not for a good reason. A man that was shoplifting from this store was stopped by police in front of the entrance in the parking lot, grabbed one of the officers guns and shot two of the responding officers.

There are three movie studios within a few miles of this Kmart, which makes the store a popular one for filming retail scenes in movies and TV shows. This store was used for the filming of the NBC TV show Superstore's original pilot episode in late 2015 or early 2016. You can read more about it here on Sears Holdings blog. After the pilot was filmed in this Kmart store and the show was officially picked up by NBC for a season, filming was moved to a sound stage studio with a mock discount store built for the filming of all other episodes. The exterior of this store was also used in the filming of the movie Larry Crowe staring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. The name of the store for that movie was Umart.

Photo courtesy of Sears Holdings

As we stated at the beginning of our post this store was not built as a Kmart and you can tell that it wasn't by the layout of things inside the store. The layaway counter is hidden way in the back left corner of the store in the middle of the kids clothing department. The whole length of the back part of the store has an odd drop ceiling. The emergency exit doors around the store you have to go up a small set up steps to reach the doors to get out. The customer service desk was recently updated, possibly for when the Superstore pilot was filmed. The jewelry counter area looks to have been updated also. This store has 10 registers, which is getting more rare to find that many registers in a Kmart store. Most Kmart's in recent years have removed and downsized the amount of registers in each store.

The exterior facade of the store was modified a bit in the past few years. There was a portion of the facade that was open with angled glass over the entryway as shown in the picture below. This part was walled over a few years ago, possibly for when the filming of the Superstore pilot was done.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user monroe3743

Well there you have it, the Kmart store in sunny Burbank, CA. These pictures were taken in the Summer of 2017, but the store is currently still operating. Let us know what you think in the comments and enjoy the rest of the pictures below!

March 31, 2018

Spotlight: Sears Grand - Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Grand no more.. 
Sears Grand 8250 Day Creek Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

Today we are spotlighting our first post of 2018 and a continuation of our California series of stores. This time we are going on a tour of the Sears Grand store in the Foothills Crossing shopping center located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Opening on Oct 30, 2004 prior to the Kmart merger, this store is 180,000 square feet and was the first Sears Grand in California and the fourth overall Sears Grand pilot store to open. At the time when it opened it featured all the hallmarks of the Sears Grand concept including books and magazines, baby supplies and toys, plant nursery, card and party supplies, healthy and beauty products, CDs and DVDs, cleaning supplies, and pantry (food) items. The store also featured the following services- auto center, sit down cafe, one hour photo, custom window blinds, key cutting, portrait studio, optical shop, and shopping carts that have a kid-friendly racecar theme with cup holders for mom and dad. The store carried hundreds of familiar brands including Lands' End, Craftsman, Kenmore, Cuisinart, Nike, Whirlpool, NordicTrack, CoverGirl and Huggies. You can ready the official press release for the store opening here.

Directory from when the store opened, half of the departments no longer exist today.

Fast forward to the present day and unfortunately this Sears Grand store and all the Sears Grand stores left no longer feature the things that made it Grand. Most all of the departments and services mentioned above no longer exist at this and all Sears Grand stores. The store also has shaved down it's operating hours since it opened, formerly the hours were 8am-10pm and now the store hours are 10am-9pm. Below you can see some of the former department signs still up but those items are nowhere to be found.

Former pet supplies department
Former pantry food department

Former health and beauty department

Former cleaning supplies department

Former toy department
Doing our visit to this store back in July 2017, we went in the afternoon and the store was almost completely void of customers, which wasn't a good sign for the future of this store. It's a nice location in a large, busy shopping area that is highly visible from Interstate 15. Being only 14 years old, the store is still in good physical condition beside needing a exterior coat of paint. The reviews for this store online unfortunately like most Sears locations aren't very good, mainly because of slow or bad service. Enjoy the rest of the photos from this store below and be sure to leave a comment on what you think!

Auto center, still open for business

Merchandise pickup drive in area

Parking lot almost devoid of customers

Outside seating area for the former cafe/bakery the store had

Former garden center/plant nursery

Former garden center/plant nursery

Because of the large spanish speaking population in the area, there are some signs in spanish

Looking towards the former pantry area

Former pet supplies department

Entrance to merchandise pickup area

All price check station have the original store directory

Former electronics/multimedia department

More of the former electronics department

This used to be the appliances department, it has since moved to the front of the store

Entrance to the auto center below the Diehard sign

All of those grey squares used to have brand name logos of merchandise carried on them

Entrance to the former plant nursery

All of the green squares used to the brand name logos on them of merchandise carried on them

This used to be the home department, it no longer exists and is now appliances

There used to be more registers on the other end but they have since been removed

Former portrait studio and one hour photo area

These registers have been removed and the counters just remain

The customer service desk used to be behind that curtain

Originally the former cafe/bakery and now a former dentist area

Former bedding and bath department which has be relocated