December, 2019: We Said Goodbye to the Somers Point, NJ, Kmart
As many of us are running around trying to finish (or start) our holiday shopping, it was three years ago this month that the Somers Point Kmart closed for good.
It was right around December 16, 2019, that there was not a car to be found in the parking lot of a once bustling store right on Route 9. And that empty parking lot was the final chapter in retail history for this once-huge chain of department stores in South Jersey.
Kmart's financial struggles have been building for years and a quick Google search about the subject will reveal hundreds of stories about the topic (The Detroit News has a good summary). But here's all you need to know about the last few years for Kmart: they had 3,000 stores across the country not too long ago. Heading into 2022, six will remain standing. Six. And two of those are in North Jersey.
Closer to home, 2017 was a dark time for Kmart. That was the year they announced dozens and dozens of stores would be closing. 2015 had claimed the store in Millville-Vineland, but in 2017, we lost the Kmart stores in Rio Grande, Pleasantville, and Manahawkin.
But while stores were closing left and right, the Somers Point Kmart remained open. At least for about two more years. But it wouldn't last long.
At the end of August 2019, news broke that the Somers Point Kmart was closing and liquidation would soon start to clear out the remaining inventory. Before Christmas 2019, the store was gone.
But as many old Kmart stores remain empty, this story has a bit of a happy ending. A new Target store opened in its place, which has been warmly welcomed by people in the area.