By late March, over 150 Kmart and Sears stores will close their doors. One hundred and eight Kmart stores and 42 Sears stores are affected across 40 states. Twelve of which are in Ohio, the closest being the New Boston Kmart located at 225 West Ave., in New Boston and the Chillicothe Sears located at 1075 North Bridge Street.
The Kmart in Chillicothe, 1470 North Bridge St., was not affected by closures and will remain open.
As of Jan. 5, 2017, New Boston Council Member Mike Payton said the village has still not been officially informed of the closure. However, according to released material by parent company Sears-Holding, the New Boston Kmart closure was announced Jan. 4, 2017.
“We’ve not officially been told anything, but we will hate to see them go if it is true,” said Payton. “We’ll be hurting for those who are affected and will lose their jobs. These corporations focus on the profit and not the human side of things. Kmart has been a part of the community for a long time, they’ve always provided for the community in terms of employment and support. We will hate to see them go and will do whatever we can to assist the displaced workers.”
When contacted, local Kmart representatives deferred to corporate for comments.
The parent company, Sears-Holding, issued a statement saying, “The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take actions to strengthen the Company’s operations and fund its transformation. Many of these stores have struggled with their financial performance for years and we have kept them open to maintain local jobs and in the hopes that they would turn around. But in order to meet our objective of returning to profitability, we have to make tough decisions and will continue to do so, which will give our better performing stores a chance at success.”
Former employee Kevin Myers told the Daily Times he was not surprised when he heard the news of the closure.
Myers left the company in November of 2015.
“It felt like the mentality among employees was always not ‘if’ the store was closing but ‘when’,” explained Myers. “It really affects morale on doing a good job because you think ‘why put in so much effort in something that’s going to inevitability fail?’”
With the closure of the New Boston Kmart, the smaller businesses in the plaza may be affected by lesser traffic. Other businesses within the plaza include Praises Christian book store & gifts, Label Shopper discount clothing, Cosmo Prof professional hair supplies, H&R Block, Dollar General and Blackburn’s Grocery.
Sears-Holding also stated that impacted employees will receive severance and will be able to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores.
Ohio Means Jobs representatives met with Kmart officials on Jan. 5, 2017 to inform workers about their services and their options for jobs moving forward.
“We have a variety of job search services that are going to help them go back to work hopefully before they exhaust any unemployment,” said Ohio Means Jobs representative, Luanne Valentine. “We meet with managers and employees to let them know how they can apply for unemployment because many times in a facility closure we see that people haven’t applied for unemployment in a long and a lot of those systems have changed over the years. We also offer individualized job search services that can be accessed through our Ohio Means Jobs center as well as potential funding for tuition, books and fee costs that are associated with skill re-training.”
For more information, please visit www.ohiomeansjobs.com or call 740-354-7541.
Kmart stores closing in Ohio:
- 1500 Coshocton Ave., Mount Vernon, Ohio
- 185 Upper River Road, Gallipolis, Ohio
- 1005 East Columbus St., Kenton, Ohio
- 225 West Avenue, New Boston, Ohio
- I-70 & Mall Road, St. Clairsville, Ohio
- 3515 N. Maple Ave., Zanesville, Ohio
- 1284 Brice Road, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Sears stores closing in Ohio:
- N. Maple Avenue, Zanesville, Ohio
- 2000 Brittain Road, Akron, Ohio
- 1075 N. Bridge Street, Chillicothe, Ohio
- 1701 River Valley Circle, Lancaster, Ohio
- Richmond Mall, Richmond Heights, Ohio
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.