Do You Miss This Berkshire County Department Store?
Cover Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash
And then, there were three.
After having more than 2,400 stores at one time, Kmart is down to three stores in the United States: Westwood, New Jersey; Bridgehampton, New York; and Miami, Florida. They recently closed their fourth store, in Avenel, New Jersey.
Berkshire County, of course, is no stranger to Kmart closings. We used to have three Kmart stores in the Berkshires, located in North Adams, Pittsfield, and Great Barrington. The Pittsfield store closed in 1997, the North Adams store closed in 2002, and the Great Barrington store closed in 2016. In addition, there was also a Kmart in Bennington, Vermont that closed in 2018. And, did you know, the Pittsfield store which opened in 1971 was not only the first Kmart in Massachusetts, but in all of New England? Suffice it to say, Berkshire County and Kmart have a long history.
I remember going into Kmart as a kid with my parents, and then later as an adult. As a kid, I didn’t hate going to Kmart but I didn’t love it either. They had toys, but not as good as Toy Works or KB Toys. They had videogames, but not as good as Babbage’s or Electronics Boutique. They had clothes, but not as cool as…well, ok, I never had cool clothes as a kid, so that didn’t matter much.
As an adult, I appreciated the stores much more. Those boring household products that I didn’t care about as a kid suddenly had much more value as an adult, especially the good deals they tended to have. I don’t really remember Blue Light specials too much, which were popular from 1965 through 1991. They were brought back briefly here and there, but never stayed.
It also got me thinking how much the retail landscape has changed. If I told you in the 80’s or 90’s that there would eventually be only three Kmarts in the entire country, I probably would’ve been laughed at. But times do change, and it makes me wonder how some of the retail giants of today will look in ten, twenty, or thirty years…if they’re even still around. Who knows, maybe Kmart will make an amazing resurgence themselves! Probably not.
As a fun bonus, here’s a YouTube link to an old Kmart commercial. Do you have any Kmart memories from the Berkshire County stores?
New Kmart Stores Commercial (1991) - YouTube