Another big-box store leaves Carson

After months of wondering and repeated assurances the Carson City Super Kmart was a valuable store to the corporation, the other shoe dropped on Tuesday.

The store will be closing in a couple months, leaving Carson City with empty shells at both ends of town where big-box retailers used to be.

It's another short-term blow to the sales-tax base, coming a few months after Wal-Mart moved across the county line, and we feel sorry for the people who lost jobs.

But there was some inevitability to the closure. Kmart is a company in deep trouble -- the closings are part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization effort -- and is likely to struggle for a long time.

Despite the happy spin put on things locally, Kmart said Tuesday it was closing "under performing" stores, so the Carson City store evidently wasn't doing so well.

Employees, city officials and shoppers would have appreciated some advance notice, or at least an honest assesment of the store's future, but we suppose that's water under the bridge now.

Looking for a silver lining, though, we have to figure Carson City shoppers will still be buying groceries and clothes and other items they used to find at Kmart. So some North Carson businesses -- like the Albertson's across the street, Safeway and Grocery Outlet -- should benefit.

Yes, we expect more people will be making the drive through town to Wal-Mart. So Douglas County gets a bit of a benefit.

While there are things shoppers will miss about Kmart, we have a hard time bemoaning the loss of a big-box store. Kmart's announcement shows how a corporate decision can, in a blink, throw the lives of thousands of employees into turmoil and affect the welfare of hundreds of communities -- without a thought about the future of the communities themselves.

For the millions of dollars Carson City consumers poured into Kmart, what do they get? A big, empty parking lot.

The days of homegrown stores, with owners loyal to the community and dedicated to making it a place where they want to raise their children, may seem to be a thing of the past. They're not.

And it shouldn't take the closing of a big-box store to remind us of the choice we make every time we spend a dollar.


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