July 24, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Medina Kmart to close after almost 40 years

MEDINA — After almost 40 years, Kmart is closing its doors in Medina.

The announcement came this week from parent company Sears Holdings Corp., which plans to close 100 to 120 Kmart stores across the country, including at least six in Ohio.

The Kmart store at 1105 N. Court St. in Medina is among the “marginally performing” locations Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company of Sears and Kmart, announced this week it plans to close. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LIZ SHEAFFER)

Closing dates have not yet been determined, according to a company statement.

Medina store manager Chuck Rice said management learned of the closing Thursday morning, but said he couldn’t comment further.

Mayor Dennis Hanwell said the news is sad for the employees who will be laid off and the city.

“Obviously any time there’s downsizing, it’s adverse in this economic environment,” he said.

Hanwell said the city could not release employment or tax figures from the company.

Medina Economic Development Director Kimberly Rice said the closing may have a ripple effect through the plaza where the store is at 1105 N. Court St.

“That’s an anchor tenant for that plaza,” Rice said. “Not only is losing Kmart a bad thing, it’s also going to impact the other stores that rely on that foot traffic.”

Hanwell said the open building may provide an opportunity for a new business to come to Medina that wasn’t previously able to because a larger space was required.

Rice said the city would work “diligently” to fill the space, which is owned by Zaremba.

A Kmart spokeswoman said there are 1,278 stores in the nation, 58 of which are in Ohio, and 29 Kmart Super Centers in the country, with nine of those in Ohio.

Sears Holdings cited poor performance as the reason for the closings. Only 79 of the 100 to 120 stores expected to close have been identified so far.

“While our past practice has been to keep marginally performing stores open while we worked to improve their performance, we no longer believe that to be the appropriate action in this environment,” according to a statement from Sears Holdings.

“We intend to accentuate our focus and resources to our better performing stores with the goal of converting their customer experience into a world-class integrated retail experience.”

The 151,000-square-foot Medina Kmart opened at its current location in 1991 after relocating from what is now the Giant Eagle plaza on North Court Street.

Earlier this year, the store was downsized from a Super Kmart to a Big K after the grocery department was liquidated and a number of employees were laid off.

The Wadsworth Kmart closed in May 2010, which resulted in the layoff of 56 employees. It was one of 13 reportedly underperforming stores in the United States to close at that time.

Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or jpignolet@medina-gazette.com.