March 10, 2012

Spotlight: Sears Outlet / Former Kmart - Marietta, GA

Sears Outlet - Marietta, GA
Today Spotlight feature focuses on a very old former Kmart building that has been re-purposed into a Sears Outlet, a local thrift store, and a local automotive shop. This store is located at 1140 Roswell Rd in Marietta, GA

First a little history, originally this location was a Kmart and re-branded as a Big Kmart in the 90's. It's been in operation in the same location since 1964. The first Kmart opened in the US in 1962, so this store was definitely one of the first few ever opened. It's closure was announced in November 2008 for being an underperforming store. After the liquidation sale concluded, it closed for good in January 2009. This store had an auto center and at one time had some type of eatery inside of it. 

View from when it was still a Kmart, courtesy of Bing Maps.
I visited this store in January 2012 after it was reopened as a Sears Outlet. The Sears Outlet takes up a little over half of the old Kmart space and uses the main entrance and exit Kmart had. A wall was built directly to the right of the entrance and divides the store. The other half of the old Kmart space, which is the right half of the store, is occupied now by a local thrift store. A new set of doors were installed on the front wall of the store to enter the thrift store. Finally, the former Auto Center is now being used by a local auto shop, Masters Automotive. 

Old Kmart Auto Center, now a local auto shop.
The outside of the store received absolutely no changes from when it was Kmart, not even a paint job. The old Big Kmart, Pharmacy, and Garden Shop logo labelscars are very obvious and fully visible. The old outside garden center area is still there also. The only true change, as mentioned earlier is the addition of a set of entrance/exit doors for the thrift store.  

Looking the the Sears Outlet and the Thrift store.
There was also no renovations done on the interior of the store from when it was Kmart. Sears Outlet just brought in the merchandise and shelves/racks and opened up. You can tell by the inside of the store that this was a very old Kmart location, older than even most other Kmart's as evident by its 1964 opening. Upon entering the lobby of the store on the right wall there is an extremely ancient heater type machine that looks to be from a few decades ago. Inside the store, the ceiling height is considerably higher. With the exception of Super Kmart Center locations, the vast majority of Kmart's have the low ceilings. This makes most Kmart's feel a lot smaller than they really are because of their low ceiling heights. Another thing unusual is there are skylights in the ceiling, which is definitely a first for me to see in a Kmart building. It's especially unique because the ceiling is not a warehouse type ceiling but a drop tile ceiling. Finally, an interesting thing I noticed is that Sears Outlet was using some of the chairs from the old Kmart eatery.

High ceiling, looking along back wall of store.
One of several sky lights in the ceiling, a Kmart rarity.
There you have it, a nearly 50 year old Kmart building turned into a Sears Outlet. As always leave you thoughts about the store below in the comments and enjoy the pictures!

The old outside garden center.
The thrift store side of the building.
Big Kmart labelscar fully visible behind the Sears Outlet sign.
Sears Outlet side of the building. Old Pharmacy labelscar visible.
Wall on right was added to divide the Sears Outlet from the thrift store.
Looking towards the left side of the store.
Looking towards the back of the store.
Old Kmart eatery chairs survived the closing and got a second life.
Looking towards the front of the store.
Sears Outlet exit, look at those small, ancient doors.
As described earlier, the very old heater on the lobby wall.
Former Kmart road sign.
Google street view from when it was still Kmart.


  1. Wow skylights! Yeah, the store still looks shabby, wonder how long the Sears Outlet and/or thrift store will last...

  2. Wow... how patheti. They couldnt even PAINT the building.

  3. Annnnd this is why Sear and Kmart both are dying a slow death, give them 5 year and they will be out of business.

  4. We've been here three years and we are still going strong. Don't judge a book by it's cover, we have great deals and loyal customers.

  5. I went there yesterday and i still saw the sign marks of the actual kmart

  6. They really need to fix this place up. When I last went in 2013, there was a huge ceiling leak and I almost slipped on the floor. They could care less, knowing the building and how old it is.

  7. This was a Thrift City Department Store when first built in 1962. There was another Thrift City built on Bankhead hwy in City of Atlanta, Futon County across the Chattahoochee River at the sometime. There was also a grocery store in this Marietta store later. Jayne Mansfield was the celebrity for the Grand Opening

  8. This was the place in the 70's. Altermans ran the grocery section that was on the left (they ran Food Giant at the same time), they later converted the left rear portion to sell some building supplies, back when Handy City controlled that market before Home Depot. Garden center on the right was always super busy and if you wanted something from automotive you could slip in through the garden center and avoid the crowd out front. The front had a greeter, and older man at a podium who was always in a suit. He also controlled access to the bathrooms. I recall a big story in the MDJ when he retired. Also had a gas station out front that was later replaced with a Churches Fried Chicken. Sad to see it die, Kmart, the Big Chicken, the old Sears and Town & Country Shopping Center were the center of Marietta before Cumberland and Walmart.

    1. Thank you for sharing that bit of history on this store.

    2. Yes all so interesting. I remember being 3, 4 and 5. I never thought the big chicken �� Kmart would go out and didn’t find out until the other day when doing a search. How depressing. Surely there was enough business in the area? What happened?

      My family came all the way from Woodstock. I don’t think there was anything else then?

    3. I’d love a picture of that Kmart during 60s or even 70s if anyone has one.

      Debra Barton

  9. So interesting. This is were we shopped when I was little. I was born in 1963. It was always a treat and to see The Big Chicken too! That was the original one before being redone.

    I remember LUMS on the hill above. Another treat to go to. Hazy memories.

    Debra Barton, catswalkjpgr

  10. Saw Jayne Mansfield there at the opening. She had a mink stoll and was carrying a little poodle or some such little dog.