Saturday, December 12, 2015

Kmart Mandeville Louisiana Summer 2015

Here we are at the Mandeville Louisiana Kmart. This store is located a few moments away from the Causeway bridge which takes you to the South shore of the Greater New Orleans area. This is a 1970's early 80's style Kmart similar to most Kmart stores remaining in Louisiana. This is the cleanest and most organized Kmart store I have been to in a long time. The store had decent customer traffic for a weekend afternoon. 

The overhead advertisement is a newer feature to Kmart stores. 
Looking from the pharmacy to the front checkouts
A nicely stocked appliance and mattress section
Looking towards the garden shop
Inside of the garden shop, these were taken towards the end of Summer
From the garden shop entrance to the middle of the store
The back aisles of the store near automotive and sporting goods
Even without an on-site auto center you can still find batteries at Kmart.
Middle of the store aisle
Furniture displays
Music and movies, the product selection has been declining at many stores. Here they still have a decent selection.
A Kmart advertisement on the TV's and a peeling blue cover up with part of an old electronics photo partially visible. 
This aisle will more than likely be consolidated soon. 4 cameras being advertised for sale with over 10 lease signs surrounding the price tags for the cameras.
A wide view of the remaining electronics department
Home and kitchen in the middle of the store
More furniture and clothes 
Near the front checkouts in the middle of the store
Signs at the customer service counter
This is the first store I have covered with alcohol for sale. I wonder if the Super Kmart stores in Louisiana had alcohol. 
Now for the clothing departments
Greeting card section
More clothes near the front checkouts
Groceries, beer, and wine. If you want the strong stuff you have to go to the customer service counter. 
Back to the pharmacy for a better view of the area
Tools with the new shelf signage, a good way to cover up the shrinking shelf space as many items have been phased out of the stores. The far away wall has part of the electronics sign covered up since the electronics department was consolidated. 
More sporting goods
Another shot of the electronics area with one of the newer displays to be found at a Kmart.
Layaway, not much happening on this day
The customer service desk
An up-close shot of a random price scanner
Another view of the mattress and appliance department
The famous old school blood pressure monitor
Now for the outside of the store, which is hard to see because of several trees. This section of the building is being used as a baseball academy. This was probably the former auto shop, a video of the inside is located at this link


  1. Thanks for the detailed photos of this "home run" Kmart. As you say, this is one of the cleanest and most organized Kmarts I've seen. That's especially impressive given that it is a mansard slice facade store from the late 1970s/early 1980s probably. It looks like they did an odd semi modification of the facade, but they didn't update it as much as they did to some mansard facade stores. Obviously they did remove the "Big" part of the sign at some point.

    The organization of the store is nice, but there are still some things that need work. I don't know why this Kmart (and many others) covered up the photos in the electronics department instead of just removing them and painting the backwall. It looks pretty tacky even without the falling covers. Oh well. I see that Kmart has the latest CD/video releases like Michael Jackson's Bad, the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing, and the King of Queens. All jokes aside, the selection of music and videos is pretty good for a Kmart and I'm sure those oldie (the music are probably remasters) releases are probably good sellers these days.

    There are some oddities in the electronics department. For example, why do they have a $7.99 flash drive in a lock box when they have $36 SD cards that aren't in boxes? That seems a bit odd, but at least the selection is good. Some Sears stores, and maybe Kmarts, have eliminated most of the memory cards except for one or two models (I've gotten some clearance deals because of that though). Thanks for the photos of the blank cassette/CD selection. I see the Maxell UR 90s on the peg there which is good. It looks like this Kmart has both T-120 and T-160 Maxell VHS tapes. I didn't even know that Kmart had 6 packs of T-120s now. I wonder how much they are considering Sears wants $13 for a 2 pack.

    It's kind of odd that they have the camera info cards there given that they have cameras in the display case as well. It seems a bit redundant, but maybe they are different cameras or maybe they plan on removing the display case like other Kmarts have done. It's hard to say, but as you say, the card area is sparse anyway so they need to do something with it.

    I wonder how old the "new" spirits section sign is. It has a Big Kmart logo so it could be ~18 years old, but maybe it's much newer. Perhaps this Kmart sells hard liquor because the local parish/county laws are more friendly there for that stuff, but it's hard to say. Maybe they get good deals from a local supplier, who knows.

    Anyway, it's good to hear that the store is seemingly doing good business. At least this Kmart is operated in a competitive manner compared to most other Kmarts. Hopefully it'll stay open for a long time to come.

    1. This Kmart is the only one in the Northshore area. This Kmart serves a population of around 300,000 people in an area that has double digit population growth every 10 years. The Kmart is far enough from Walmart and Target to keep it competitive. It is also the most convenient large retailer for the thousands of people that cross the Causeway daily.

      One thing I forgot to mention was that one of the aisles in the electronics department had clearance toys. It seems like each store chooses what they are putting with electronics since the inventory is shrinking. It is a different story at Sears stores where vacuums and furniture have taken over empty electronics aisles.

  2. To answer the question, yes, the Super K stores in Louisiana did indeed sell alcohol. IIRC, there was a liquor store at the front in the 'mall' area, at least in Lafayette.

    Also, the facade hasn't been modified much. Only a layer of stucco and an arch at the top. The doors on the side were indeed the Auto Center. This is a 7000 level Kmart; it was the later early 80's variation. In this variation, the Auto Center was a drive through style, as opposed to the pull in style found on all the other versions. This store has been added to in the back end, and not on the sides like other similar stores like Longview (left side with new Auto Center) and New Iberia (right side into clothing, with elimination of the auto center all together). It is indeed a nicer store, and unusually busy, because nearby are Walmart and Target, in Covington. Mandeville only has a Walmart Neighborhood Market, no Supercenter.

    1. Thanks for the history of the Kmart stores in Louisiana, and clarifying the Super Kmart liquor setup.

      With the exception of the Slidell Town Square Mall, the shopping areas of St Tammany Parish look to be as busy as what you would find in Metairie.

  3. What exactly is "new" about the spirits selection? The spirits pictured all are pretty common and have been around for a very long time.

    Also, since the Kmart needs a sign to point out that they sell spirits, I must ask... are most big-box stores in Louisiana not allowed to sell spirits? I have been to Rouses and Rite Aid in New Orleans and they sold spirits but I have never been to a Walmart, Kmart, or Target in the state.

    On this subject, any of you who either read or write this blog would LOVE the Wine & Spirits stores (owned by the PLCB, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) in Pennsylvania. They can be really crappy from a shopper's perspective (or should I say drinker's perception), but I love the fact that no two are the same. They use many different logos, layouts, signage arrangements, you get the point, etc.

    1. This is the only Kmart that I noticed any liquor being sold in Louisiana. It might be a test for that store only. The selection is a bit underwhelming since they only have a small cabinet at the customer service desk.

      Many Walmart and Target stores sell liquor all across the state. Grocery stores and regular gas stations also have liquor sections. Some retailers have the liquor behind a register and others have a dedicated department with the anti-theft devices on the bottles. The New Orleans area is one of the only places in the state where you can purchase liquor bottles 24-7.

      Does the PLCB change up the product selection or do they carry the same liquors at each location?

    2. The PLCB has experimented with quite a few different store types. From 1933 to 1970 all their stores were of the "counter" model where all items were behind a counter and had to be requested for purchase. Virginia and Ontario both had liquor stores with this same model. Thankfully all three states have done away with that system. It wasn't until at least 2000 though that the last counter-style store in Pennsylvania was modernized.

      For much of the PLCB's life, all state stores were pretty much identical, and all were of the awful counter model. There still are some really dumpy state stores today (run down, dirty, tiny) but thankfully the PLCB now has premium collection stores (with a big selection of luxury wines), outlet stores (the only thing that makes them "outlets" is that they have certain items in liter size at a really good unit price), one-stop shops (state stores located inside supermarkets), and wholesale stores (which sell only to alcohol licensees such as bars).

      PLCB stores also are often kind of in "hidden" locations which makes them interesting to me. They are in strange locations because the state thinks this will cut down on impulse drinking. Also a lot of state stores are in buildings that no other retail tenant would want. For example, old firehouses and other historic buildings have been restored to be state stores but the downside of this is usually that the parking lots suck. But most state stores used to be in downtowns which meant the only parking was on the street and usually metered.

      Havertown, PA has a really strange Wine & Spirits store. It has a "premium collection" sign on the outside but is NOT considered a premium collection store! Yes it sells SOME "premium wines" but is not a premium collection store. The Havertown store has one wooden shelf with expensive wines on it but a premium collection store would have several aisles worth of them.

      Also, the Wine & Spirits store in Springfield (near Havertown) is a premium collection store but is not labeled as one. They had to put an "additional parking in rear" sign under the Wine & Spirits sign because the back parking lot is not obvious. This actually might be the only PLCB store that I know of to have two entrances/exits, but the back doors are locked at sunset for security reasons.

      Also, Newtown Square Shopping Center in Newtown Square PA has not one but TWO Wine & Spirits stores in it. This is the only place in Pennsylvania to have two so close. One is inside the Acme supermarket but another is tucked in a really awful location. It is at the beginning of an alleyway full of dumpsters in back of the Acme strip center! There were originally plans for the store inside Acme to be a private winery store, but the winery backed out and the PLCB came to the rescue. Ironically, the dumpy store in Newtown Square has a much better wine selection than the one inside Acme (which has a really pitiful wine selection), but the spirits selections at the two stores are identical.

    3. It sounds like the state stores are in terrible locations like you mentioned. Do you know if some of these hidden locations also lead to higher crime in the neighborhood around these stores? You really have to want a drink to go to an alley by some dumpsters.

      Do the state bar regulations make it easier to drink at a bar or do they have a membership program like dry counties.

    4. I don't think the stores themselves are crime magnets (but yes they do seem to have a lot of shoplifting, and armed robberies at them are fairly common). And I have noticed panhandlers in the parking lot at more than one location.

      Yes, the location of that one Newtown Square store is really strange, but none of the dumpsters are particularly close to the store. Newtown Square is also a really safe area and parts of it are high-income. I also don't feel endangered at that state store because cars coming and going from the shopping center (the back way in/out) pass by it constantly.

      Most state stores aren't quite as hidden as that one, but a lot of state stores are in shopping centers that themselves have poor visibility from the main road. And a lot of state stores are all by themselves, neither in strip centers nor downtowns.

    5. I am sure the population would prefer better ways to access liquor than the state stores.