Grand Island Kmart set to close its doors

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Updated: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 06:29:04 CST

The City of Grand Island is actively seeking new businesses.

While recently stores like Bed Bath and Beyond have opened its doors, one major retailer is set to close theirs for good.

Come June, the Kmart on W. 13th St. will no longer operate in Grand Island.

Kmart's closure is bad news to some Grand Island residents.

"Well it's easy to go shopping in here and anytime I want anything I can get it right here." Said Alice Kistler, a loyal Kmart shopper.

Nestled in a shopping mall along highway 281, there's a consistent flow of shoppers Thursday morning, but Kmart's customer base isn't enough to keep the store open.

Both Kmart and Sears have been struggling since a merger in 2005, and the company started restructuring in 2011.

Howard Riefs, the Director of Corporate Communications for Sears Holdings said in a statement, "Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model."

Cindy Johnson with the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce says she wasn't surprised by the announcement.

"I would say the retail competition in Grand Island is pretty tough." Explained Johnson. "There are a number of retail stores that are aggressive in their business practices. Kmart is one that has struggled a little bit."

The store employees 55 people, and according to Riefs, most will have the opportunity to find work at another Kmart or Sears store.

Johnson says her concern is for surrounding businesses, calling Kmart an anchor to this strip center.

"Whoever's next to them and the next one and the next one, kind of count on Kmart to bring people to the complex." Said Johnson.

Kmart will remain open until early June. For you bargain shoppers out there, mark your calendar for March 16th, when the store will start its liquidation sale.

Questions about surrounding Kmart stores went unanswered.