South Tahoe Kmart – one of last in the U.S. – to close in August

Kmart in South Lake Tahoe is expected to begin closing this week and will shut down for good in August.

Kmart in South Lake Tahoe is expected to begin closing this week and will shut down for good in August. Photo: Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Kmart, the once iconic retailer known for its BlueLight Specials and for offering competitive prices to those of Target and Walmart, announced this week its South Lake Tahoe location will close this summer.

The store at 1056 Emerald Bay Road will begin shutting down this week and will close for good on Aug. 22, officials confirmed to the Tahoe Daily Tribune this week; there are about 20 employees currently working at the store.

Founded in 1899 in Garden City, Michigan, Kmart Corporation — which at one time boasted more than 2,000 storefronts across the United States and enjoyed major revenue success in the early 90s — has been in sharp decline the past 25 years.

Kmart first began closing stores in the mid-90s and filed for bankruptcy protection for the first time in 2002. It’s been downhill since, with the company merging with Sears in 2004, followed by hundreds more closings, thousands of layoffs and several restructurings, all leading up to Sears Holdings’ 2018 bankruptcy.

As of June 2021, according to Kmart’s website, only 39 open stores remain in the U.S., six of which are in California (including South Lake Tahoe) and none in Nevada.

However, perhaps a sign of the company’s decades-long downfall, those numbers apparently are not accurate.

For example, California’s Costa Mesa, McKinleyville and Ramona locations are all permanently closed, with the latter two shutting down permanently in 2020 and the Costa Mesa store closing this spring, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, Kmart announced this week its store in Freedom, California, will also close its doors on Aug. 22, according 
to a June 15 article from The Pajaronian.

The only other California Kmart still open is in nearby Grass Valley, meaning currently there are just 3 remaining open locations in the Golden State. 


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