Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kmart Pineville La.

Here is the Kmart in Pineville La. which is in the Alexandria metro area. Check out the road sign with the retro Kmart logo. 
Retro Kmart and retro Wendy's sign.
Garden shop sign from the original store signage?
Sporting goods looking towards the rest of the back of the store.
Looking from the electronics department to the front doors.
From the back of the store to the checkout areas.
From the middle of the store looking towards the pharmacy.
Pharmacy with a retro blood pressure machine which still works. 
The back corner of the store near Layaway and Auto.


  1. Part II:

    As for the Pineville store itself, I would say that the store was probably built sometime between the mid 1980s and the very, very early 1990s. Kmart used the "plain rectangular facade" design during that era. The Pharmacy sign (the one near the entry) and the Garden Shop signs also seem to be from that era. I would imagine that they are original to the store, but who knows with Kmart. It's possible that the store might be older than the "plain rectangular facade" era if it was another store before it was a Kmart, but it could be an originally built Kmart from that era.

    The vintage blood pressure machine is particularly interesting because it looks like it is operating and maintained. I wonder how many Kmarts still have operating vintage blood pressure machines. I've seen a picture or two of ones at other stores, but I have not seen a lot of pictures of them. I don't know if that means that most of them have been removed or not.

    It looks like the Walkman woman lives on at yet another Kmart in this region. The outdated electronics brands on the department signage aren't totally rare for a Kmart, but some of those brands don't even really exist anymore. White Westhouse used to be a house brand/exclusive brand for Kmart I do believe, but I don't think that has been the case for many years now and I don't think that the W-W name has been used on electronics for a long time now. I could be wrong about that though. I think I see some of Sony's newest cassette boomboxes (Sony CFD-S50) on the far left of your electronics department picture though. Kmart may not have any Walkmen anymore, but at least the Walkman woman can approvingly look at the Sony cassette boomboxes.

    This Kmart does not seem to be in as much disrepair as many other Kmarts that I have seen pictures of, but the store does look a bit dirty and a bit disorganized compared to other discount stores. It's probably an above average Kmart, but it's not as vintage as many other Kmarts so it does have that advantage.

    Some aspects of this Kmart remind me of the old FM 1960 and Jones Rd. Houston "mansard slice facade" Kmart. The Jones Rd. Kmart also had a Wendy's in front of it (the Wendy's is still there) and I believe that the shopping center also had a Sally Beauty Supply and Cato in it at one point. The Jones Rd. Kmart was also in a shopping center with a grocery store in it (Kroger, though the Kroger didn't last long), but many Kmarts were in shopping centers with grocery stores. The Jones Rd. shopping center also had a street sign pylon that looked somewhat similar to the The Pines shopping center pylon.

    I'll post replies to your other comments in the other posts in the next couple of days. I have some retail observations and updates that will take me some time to compose.

    1. I know Lufkin, Longview, and Bossier City all have the retro blood pressure machines. One of the other stores either Lake Charles or New Iberia had one but the retro logo was covered up by a sticker. I am hoping Kmart gets a different cassette walkman in to replace the one they sold. The only place left that I know of is Walgreens or CVS maybe that still had a cassette walkman for sale.
      I wonder if the Jones Rd. Kmart was part of a similar shopping center development as the Pineville center. Since so many shopping centers opened in the 1980's quickly I am sure some of the same measurements and store sizes were used across the nation.

    2. The 2 Kmart that had the retro blood pressure machine,

      1. Northlake Blvd, Lake Park, FL had one replaced recently .
      And one that has one left is the only one left in Broward County, FL is the Hollywood, Oakwood Plaza opened in 1994, left, in the circa 1994 store that has a Little Caesars inside, has the retro blood pressure machine with the pre-1991 logo left, That is so weird for a 1994 store

    3. Thanks for the information, I am sure that many of these machines have been breaking down over the years. Some may have new machines and some are probably getting machines from closed locations. I have only seen two newer machines out of maybe 12 recently visited locations.

  2. It would have been cool in a way to see the Kmart Australia logo on the Pineville store itself, but it would have been baffling in many ways as well. It would have been very odd to see Kmart spend that kind of money to put up a logo that isn't even their own, but I guess Kmart kind of did that with the street sign anyway. Oh well, the retro aspects of the Kmart Australia logo would have been interesting to see. In case you're wondering what the Kmart Australia would look like on a US Kmart, here's a picture of a Kmart in Australia with a design that looks just like the older 1960s "billboard facade" US Kmarts. Of course, US Kmarts are never decorated that festively for Christmas, but then again, perhaps we should expect this soon from US Kmarts given Sears' early Christmas setups.

    I didn't realize that the vintage blood pressure monitors were so common at Kmarts in this region. I wonder if they are still around at Kmarts around the country. I rarely see pictures of them, but maybe that's just because Kbloggers aren't taking many pictures of them or they are placed in a way that makes them hard to photograph. It's good to see that those vintage machines are still around and are still maintained at some stores.

    Perhaps the Jones Rd. and FM 1960 Houston Kmart shopping center and the Pineville Kmart shopping center had the same developers and/or owners at one point. That may explain the similar tenants. I suspect that the Pineville store is at least five years younger than the former Jones Rd. Kmart, but the store layout is also a bit similar. They aren't totally similar, but perhaps there were some layout changes at the Pineville store during the Big Kmart renovations. The Jones Rd. store was relocated to the FM 1960 and 249 ex-Venture so it never got the Big Kmart renovations.

    The shopping experience at the Pineville Kmart is probably still behind that at Target and even Wal-Mart stores in the area, but it's good to hear that it is better than other Kmarts in the region at least. It's interesting how the quality of Kmarts can vary so much in a region. I'm not sure why some Kmarts have better inventory management than others, but perhaps store management has something to do with that. Perhaps some stores just have better access to distribution centers. Anyway, I wonder how well this store is doing in terms of business.

    Hopefully Kmart will pick up another model of portable cassette players to sell at their stores. It's strange to have the Walkman woman up if they aren't going to sell Walkmen (or knock off Walkmen at least). I'm not sure what portable cassette players Walgreens and CVS have at the moment, but CVS has this Craig player listed on their website. Best Buy also has this Memorex player in stock at most of their Houston area stores (assuming that their online inventory is correct), but I'm not sure if Memorex is still selling that model. The Craig and Memorex look similar so maybe they are the same thing, but it's interesting that the Memorex has no mention if whether it's stereo or not. Some el cheapo players that don't list themselves as being stereo, like this Wal-Mart brand Durabrand player from a few years back that YouTube user vwestlife reviewed, are actually mono players. Perhaps the Memorex player is stereo even if it doesn't say that it is.

    Thanks for the recent new posts. I'll post replies to your other recent replies in the next couple of days. It will take me a little while to put everything together.

    1. Thanks for sending the image of the Australian Kmart, I think that logo looks much better than the Big K logo's I have seen. I have never been a fan of the Big K remodels and neither have consumers since Kmart's sales have been down since just after the remodels.
      The blood pressure machines are actually easy in most stores to photograph and are usually in a corner behind the pharmacy counter. I try to get images of stores without any people in the photo, but when I can't I will cover them up so they are not in the picture.
      I am only getting on the blog once a week or maybe twice but I am trying to make the most out of my time. I have 19 articles in progress and I have to manage my monthly data as well so I can't upload a lot of photos all at once. I had fallen behind a few weeks and did not post anything so I am playing catch up. I also have a few other places I intend on visiting before the end of the year to add to the blog as well so I will have between 25-30 posts total. I am hoping to get every Louisiana Kmart store still in operation and possibly a few more Texas Kmart stores.
      I am glad to see that some area stores still have cassette walkman's if I need to replace my Sony if the rubber bands don't help.

  3. The Big Kmart concept was a major failure on several different fronts. I don't blame Kmart for changing their logo in 1990-1991 though (that was pre-Big Kmart even though the logo was incorporated in the Big Kmart logo). Kmart's reputation was slipping by the very late 1980s and they knew that they had to improve their image. Kmart probably tried to diversify too much in the 1980s and that probably took away from their focus. I think that Kmart was almost doomed to fail even aside from that though. Discount stores and their shoppers had a bit of a stigma against them throughout the 1960s-1980s even though discount store shopping was very common by the 1970s at least. Of course, Kmart was the big dog then so they got a lot of the criticism and they were the subject of many jokes.

    Some people didn't want to shop at Kmart due to the stigma and jokes about shopping there so they looked at alternatives. The outdated look of Kmart's logo and stores didn't help any I'm sure. Kmart tried to rebrand themselves in the early 1990s with the new look and some new store designs/renovations, but the designs were duds even when they were fully implemented (most redesigns were half-baked anyway) and customer service quality dropped even more. Meanwhile, Target and Wal-Mart were upping their game in the early 1990s right at the time that discount store shopping became Americana without most of the stigma that existed in the early days (though Wal-Mart's low prices and some stores going out of business helped make large discount stores more of a default option). The rest is history I guess. Perhaps Kmart's rebrand would have worked if they had good store designs and customer service/inventory to back it up, but we can only guess about that now.

    Anyway, that's just speculation on my part. Perhaps Kmart would have been better off keeping their classic logo or a variant of it like the Australia logo, but it's hard to say. Perhaps enough time has passed that Kmart needs to rebrand away from the 1990s and 2000s era logos and perhaps they should consider something like the Australia logo with the hopes that some shoppers will be nostalgic or something. That would be a long shot though IMO and I doubt that Lampert would financially back any sort of serious reform anyway.

    It is nice that some portable cassette players are available, but I fear that all of the currently made portables are of substandard quality. All of the ones that I've seen have questionable user reviews (though some of that might be because people today don't understand how to use a cassette player) and they all seem quite cheap (none of them have rewind buttons for example). Probably the best of the current models is still Tozai quality, but maybe I'm wrong about that. You may have to look at ebay or the flea markets for a good quality vintage Walkman/portable cassette player if the current players are as bad as I fear that they are. Hopefully you'll be able to fix your Walkmen so this will be a moot point though.

    I'm glad that you're still finding time to publish updates to the blog. A lot of retail blogs are not updated at all or are updated very infrequently now. I'm certainly glad that this blog is still updated since it covers retail in this area.

    I'm noticing now with the new comments feed that you're getting a lot of user comments to old posts aside from the ones I post. Certainly there are others who are enjoying your blog. I'm looking forward to seeing some of these new posts that you have.

    1. Actually, Big Kmart prevented Kmart from declaring bankruptcy in the late-90's. Floyd Hall was the CEO in charge at the time, and in 1995 Kmart was so in debt with a bond payment due that would have caused it to file bankruptcy if he hadn't renegotiated it. He then rebranded to Big Kmart, adding a pantry which would cause Kmart to have its highest sales per square foot in history. If increasing sales and preventing bankruptcy is a failure, then you have no idea what a success is.


    2. While I agree that the Big Kmart concept initially kept the company from filing bankruptcy, it was too little too late. By the mid 90's Kmart had practically stopped building Super Kmart stores when they should have continued to go after Walmart and their Supercenters. Sears also went down a similar part with the Sears Grand concept. The concept would have worked if they had stuck with it and replaced their ancient stores. Instead they only rolled out a handful of locations and had their last large scale department store renovations wrapped up in the late 1990's.

      Walmart and Target were expanding and replacing locations with newer, larger stores. In comparison, Big Kmart was mostly a repainting and refreshing of most of their same old stores. A slightly expanded food pantry was really the only change to the product selection inside of the store. During this time Target also moved into parts of the US where they had not previously been such as New Orleans.

  4. Back to this store, though. I remember a blue light special event, and I remember an in-store demonstration for knives... Again as a very young child though.

    I've found the organization / stock is about par for any big box. Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it's good.

  5. Looks like my other comment is AWOL

    There was a Super Kmart I. Alexandria that didn't last long. It was HUGE and full service like modern walmarts but it just didn't last.

    I'm guessing the pineville kmart opened very early 90s as we used to shop at the super1 in Alexandria because the pineville super1 hadn't opened.

    1. Thanks for the comment, I wonder if the spam filter picked it up accidentally. I am guessing that Louisiana had at least 3 times the amount of Kmart locations in the 1970's/ 1980's that the state currently has. Several small locations were closed and only the New Orleans metro area has more than one. Many of the Super Kmart stores in the Houston area closed in 2001 just before Kmart exited the Houston area. I am hoping that Kmart holds on and improves their sales, but without major improvements to the stores it will probably not happen.

    2. As I recollect when the Alexandria Super K closed, the origiinal store on MacArthur did $20M/year. After the store moved, it still did $20M/year, and with the added merchandise, that meant they lost business.

    3. That is not a good sign when a store moves to a larger location. I wonder how many Super Kmart stores this happened to?

    4. Kmart and Super 1 in Pineville opened in 1988-89, prior to the new logo.

  6. Former Kmart locations in LA:
    Shreveport - Mansfield Road at Bert Kouns - a former Grant's store
    Shreveport - E. 70th St. at Youree - now Belk
    Ruston - I-20
    West Monroe - original on W. Cypress near Thomas Rd., Super Kmart near I-20 replaced in 1994, also closed.
    Monroe - Louisville Ave next to Mid City Mall
    Alexandria - original on MacArthur Blvd. at LA28 cutoff to Leesville, Super Kmart replaced in 1994, closed 2000.
    Leesville - Just east of US171.
    DeRidder - 171 on north side of town
    Sulphur - I-20 at Cities Service Road
    Lafayette - NW Evangeline Thruway
    Lafayette - James Comeaux Rd near Pinhook
    Lafayette - Ambassador Caffrey near Johnston, replaced by Super Kmart 2 blocks north in 1994, which closed in 2003.
    Baton Rouge - 4 locations on College Drive, N. Airline, Siegen Lane and Florida Blvd., all but Siegen closed in 1994 for Super Kmart, which also closed in 2003.
    Hammond - W. Thomas, former Woolco, closed 2002
    Thibodeaux - LA1 North, former Woolco, closed 2002
    Boutte - US90, former Woolco, closed before 2002
    Cut Off - LA1, former Woolco, closed 2003
    Slidell - W. Gause Blvd, closed 2002

    There are a couple in New Orleans and the surrounding areas that have closed as well.

    1. Out of all of those, I only visited the Amb Caffery Super K and Slidell Gause Blvd. I am surprised that DeRidder had one and Natchitoches did not have one.
      I will soon feature the Gretna Kmart which was closing on my visit. Stay tuned and thank you Scott for this huge list of lost Kmart stores. Keep up the comments we appreciate it.

    2. Thanks for the great list of former Kmart locations in LA, Scott. I know I for one would enjoy hearing any other information or anecdotes you have about Kmarts in this region.

  7. This store was built in the very late 80's. It was one of the last built with the old turquoise and red logo. It kept that logo until the BigKmart remodel.

  8. Still open in Louisiana:
    Bossier City - Texas St. at Airline
    Pineville - 165 at Cottingham Expressway
    Lake Charles - Across from McNeese
    New Iberia - Admiral Doyle at Lewis
    Houma - Park St.
    Gonzales - Airline Highway
    Mandeville - 190 at the Causeway Approach
    Metairie - 2 locations - Veterans and Elmwood
    Kenner - Veterans

    1. I would have really enjoyed seeing this Kmart before the Big Kmart days. It looks like little by little the Big Kmart logos are being phased out and the stores will just be regular Kmart stores again. Big Kmart was really not much of an improvement in the first place but it was a change.
      I think there is one in Monroe that is still open also. I have never been to Monroe, but I intend on checking that area out one day.

    2. On a related note, the Kmart in Plymouth, IN, is slated to close. That itself wouldn't be highly special news, but a photo of that store exists from it's opening in 1990. The store's design isn't exactly the same as the Pineville store, but maybe the signage was the same. Here is a 1995 photo of a 1988 built Kmart store in Hamilton, Montana, that has the original signage. That store has a somewhat similar design to the Pineville store. Maybe that signage was similar to what the Pineville store had.

    3. Neither the Monroe or West Monroe stores remain. They consolidated into the Super K which closed in 2002. My list is complete for Louisiana.

    4. Yes you are right, I thought they still had one. It is one of the larger cities in Louisiana and they don't have a Kmart.
      The Kmart above does look like the Pineville store. Thanks for sending over those links.

  9. There were similar stores to Pineville in Baton Rouge (Siegen Lane) and Long Beach, MS. Siegen closed in 2002, and Long Beach was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.

    1. I remember passing by the Mississippi store years ago. I think I went to the Siegen Lane store back in the 90's, but I can't remember for sure.

  10. The Hamilton, MT store appears to be very small, in the 50-60K sq.ft. range. It appears to be a scaled down version of Pineville.

    1. From the few photos I can find online, it looks like this store had/has a modified old school Kmart logo. I would really enjoy seeing this store.

    2. I actually did not realize that the Hamilton, MT, Kmart may still have vintage signage until you made your reply, je. I looked at the store on Google StreetView and it seemed to still have vintage signage as of 2012. That would be a fantastic Kmart to visit if the signage is still vintage even if the store itself isn't all that vintage by Kmart standards.

    3. To see any US Kmart store with vintage signage would be really cool. I hope they did not replace it with a new red logo, the old one looks like it was still in good shape.

  11. This is a Backroom level

  12. Love the nostalgic vibe of the Kmart in Pineville, La. The retro Kmart logo brings back memories! Can't wait to visit and explore the garden shop for some greenery. Hoping to find some great deals and Vouchers to make the shopping experience even better.

    1. Sorry to inform you, but this store closed several years ago.