Monday, February 23, 2015

Kmart Veterans near David Drive Metairie Louisiana

This Kmart has some interesting features that I have not seen in any other location. This may have been a Woolco location in the past, but I am not sure. This Kmart is located near the Metairie/ Kenner border at 7000 Veterans Memorial Blvd in Metairie.
A photo of the roadsign circa 2004 from my video archives. 
We start off with a very well preserved blood pressure machine from the 1980's. 
Here we can see part of the appliance section. The lights all across the store were lit in this pattern.
A look down the back aisle of the store. 
One of the back aisles that goes across the store. 
The toys aisle with the strange lower ceiling sections that run across the store in the middle. 
Garden shop.
The front of the store near the garden shop entrance. 
The main aisle on the far side of the store near the electronics. 
Two views of the electronics department from different angles.

Looking from the back center of the store to the main entrance. 
The back aisle of the store looking towards the clothing departments. 
Some views of the various clothing departments. 
This is the view you see as you enter the store at the main entrance.
Another look at the store from a different angle.

12 comments:

  1. This is one very odd looking Kmart. I don’t know if it was a Woolco, but it was probably something else before it was Kmart. The trapezoid facade is a familiar Kmart facade shape, but that trapezoid is far from the normal Kmart trapezoid format. Perhaps they built something to make it work with the existing building. The interior is also odd. The ceiling looks lower than the normal Kmart drop ceiling, but it’s hard to say. The big HVAC vents in a line are also odd. I’ve never seen a Kmart like that.

    The electronics back wall looks a bit different than the normal Kmart electronics back wall too. It looks like the electronics department might be smaller than normal, but maybe there’s more to it that isn’t in the photo. The lighting is like the other Metairie Kmart that you posted about the other day. I’m guessing that Kmart is trying to save energy based on this sticker seen at another Kmart in Florida. It probably saves a lot of money, but the plan might backfire if the stores are dark. If nothing else, it looks cheap.

    The store looks to be moderately busy based on the parking lot shot. That’s good to see. Again, I’m sure these Kmarts are doing at least decent business if they’ve survived this long in a region where most of the Kmarts closed long ago.

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    1. Take a look at the roof of the store as well, it has pyramid shaped points all across the roof. There was a Woolco in either this shopping center or another one just down the road, but I lost the downloaded article from the Times Picayune archives. It is not pictured but next to the Kmart is a Chuck E Cheese that has an identical large facade entrance. This store has been a Kmart for many years since at least the 1980's from what I can remember. The electronics section was smaller and closer to the size of a smaller Kmart store. I was not able to get good pictures since an electronics employee was walking around the area on my visit. This was a fairly busy store, but I went on the days when the kids in the area were going back to school.
      The Kmart you sent me the link to has many modern elements including the new clothes department signage. I also liked the movie endcap, I have not seen one of those anywhere else. There were also some photos of an old Winn Dixie Marketplace. Winn Dixie is big in Louisiana, but most of their stores have not been renovated since the early 1990's. There are a few exceptions, but if you want to check out a retro grocery Winn Dixie stores are the place to be.

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    2. Yes, those pyramids are very weird. I don’t know what those are about. Maybe they were skylights at one point? I suppose it could have been the Woolco in the area, but I really don’t know. There isn’t anything that is immediately obvious about who the prior tenant (if there was one) might have been. Perhaps the odd facade is more of a shopping center thing than something related to the prior tenant, but then again, maybe not. It’s hard to say without knowing who the prior tenant was.

      It’s good to hear that the store is doing pretty good business. It’s unfortunate that the electronics department is small. Like we’ve discussed earlier, it’s hard to say why some Kmart electronics departments are bigger than others when comparing stores of the same overall size. The lack of signage on the backwall of the electronics department is rather unusual for a Kmart as well. I wonder if it never had signage or if it had signage that was removed. Also, I wonder if the store had a Big Kmart sign on the outside before or if it always only had a regular Kmart logo. The sign from your old video says Big Kmart so obviously it was a Big Kmart at one time even if the other sign didn’t say so.

      The Kmart on that link was photographed before the new signage was put in here on the old Kmart World blog. It's nice that the store got new signs, but it looks like that store has other issues. The green floor looks really outdated and some of the tiles are mismatched. Kmart really should consider redoing the flooring with more modern tiles.

      The picture of the game case at that Kmart is interesting. The case is full, but it looks like the games are on clearance. The movie endcap seems to be some kind of old Disney thing that Kmart is probably recycling. It's eye catching if nothing else though.

      There are some Southern grocery chains that are famed for cutting edge stores like Publix, but there are others that are known for having outdated stores. Piggly Wiggly and Winn-Dixie would be those. I've seen some Winn-Dixie pictures that seem modern, but many others that show stores that are a generation or two behind.

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    3. The answer for what this was before is down in a comment below. This store had a red Kmart logo before the change to Big Kmart logo. I am not sure if it ever had the older 1970's logo, but I could be wrong. This was not my go-to Kmart so my memory is hazy before the early 1990's. All of the Kmart stores in the New Orleans area were converted to Big Kmart stores at about the same time.
      Louisiana also has old Piggly Wiggly stores in several parts of the state. The strange thing about those stores is that they do not have a bunch in any one metro area. They have a small handful or only one in the area they are at.

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  2. This store was a GEX Membership Department Store in the 60's and 70's. There also was a GEX store in Pennsauken, NJ that later was a Kmart which closed in 2003, and now is a Shop N Bag supermarket.

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    1. Thanks for giving us that info. The photos I found online definitely show the past of this store. This store looks almost exactly like one of the images I found.

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    2. You sure are welcome! GEX went out of business way back in 1973 (I'm assuming their stores all were pretty much identical and that most probably opened in the early-mid 60's). One question I have though is... did the Chuck E Cheese's here used to be a Showbiz Pizza from the 80's? Showbiz was a competitor of Chuck E Cheese's bought by them in the early 90's. Also, a number of former Showbiz locations that I know of were in former 50's/60's/70's supermarket buildings. So could this one have been a supermarket in those days?

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    3. Yes this was a Showbiz Pizza, that I can remember. I just can't remember if this Kmart store had the logo that was common in the 1970's early 1980's. I know that at one time the anchor to the East was a Delchamps, but I can't remember what it was before that.

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    4. Thanks for the information about GEX Membership stores. I don’t know a bunch about them so I never would have guessed that they operated this store before Kmart. I’m more familiar with Gemco/Memco. According to Wikipedia, GEX/GEM stores had appliance and electronics departments operated by Wards (the Wards that became Circuit City, not Montgomery Ward). That is quite interesting.

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    5. There was also a Circuit City location about a mile West of this store that opened in the plug entrance era.

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  3. If this store opened just after GEX left in 1973, it definitely had the Turqoise and Red logo. I had long wondered what this store was initially, because it's obviously not a former Kmart. There is a similar store with the triangular points on the roof in Mobile as well.

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    1. One of these days I may purchase access to the TP archives again. I have a few questions that I could answer with those old newspapers.

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