In 1984 Kmart was the Place to Be


I remember how excited my Mother was when the first K-mart appeared in out county. We went on opening week (it was near the Pathmark we shopped at) and waded through the crowds. With its glossy aisles and flashing blue lights around every corner it was a shoppers paradise. It quickly became a regular stop on our shopping trip for clothing, toys and school supplies. I could not always count on a toy when we went up there, but I could usually count on a hot dog and a soda from the little food place at the front of the store. That ALWAYS made the trip totally worth it.


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6 thoughts on “In 1984 Kmart was the Place to Be

  1. K-mart was the first place I ever saw a Pac-Man machine. Right up at the front, between the Icee counter and one of those riding horses!

  2. Lots of K-Mart memories. We used to go there often, and my mother and aunt would send us off to check out the blue light specials. Also remember eating at the cafeteria style restaurant they had, loved sliding the tray down the line to choose some food, with pudding at the end. Also remember knocking over a mannequin one time and my uncle had to stand it back up. That K-Mart is, amazingly, still there in the same spot and still open. A huge Walmart is about to open so the K-Mart days may finally be numbered, sadly.

  3. O_O There was a time when you did NOT have a kmart??
    Kmarts have existed around here since before the dawn of time (back to the mid-70s at a minimum). I fondly remember the resteraunts they used to have. As a kid, I remember going there at xmas time (all the time really, since it was the major department store at the time, but xmas especially), I remember the strips of suckers (red & green at xmas, rainbow during the summer), the plastic candy canes full of sixlets candy, and coloring in the coloring contest entry while sitting in the resteraunt after shopping, with the cart full of stuff sitting just outside in the actual store.

  4. I always felt like the area I lived in was always a few years behind for national chains. I did not step foot in a Walmart (I didn’t even know how big a chain they were) until I was visiting my sister in Alabama in the late 1990s. Now though it seems all of these big box stores and fast food franchises have fully enveloped the region.

    I wonder if I was a kid, if I would still get excited when a new one opened?

    @Drahken – I love that you could just leave you full cart inside the store.

  5. We didn’t get a walmart around here until the mid 90s or so, I remember what a huge deal it was when it first rolled in. (I also remember playing the TMNT arcade game & the simpsons arcade game in their entryway.)

    That original kmart from my childhood is still there, although it used to be an anchor store in an attached mall, but said mall no longer exists. All the other stores closed one by one, then they just tore down the whole mall except for kmart. It’s a shame, I have so many childhood memories of the place. It was where I had -always- gone to see santa at xmas, it had the only arcade in town, it had a group of those coin op kiddie rides & one of those phone/fairy tale booths in the hallway. (Anyone here remember those phone/story things? They were designed like a castle tower, had 6 or 8 phones around them, and you listened to a fairy tale.)

    One of the reason the carts were unmolested is that you left them there BEFORE checking out. You would shop, park your cart by the diner (ours was a diner setup, not a cafeteria one), eat, then go to the checkout lane & actually pay for the stuff in your cart. As a result, there wasn’t any point in anyone “stealing” anything from the carts.

  6. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Lots of my Atari 2600 boxes safely stashed away still have the K-Mart sticker price on ’em.
    Asteroids has its 59$ (pretty sure) sticker.
    Left it there to remind of the high value of this cart, as I found it to be most successful at bringing home the arcade magic for friends and family, on my beloved console.

    Our K-Mart also had a camera & photography section where one could find Super 8 clips of classic movies and cartoons in the display cases. Many celluloid purchases were made over the years, and enjoyed on hot-buttered popcorn nights.

    And K-Mart was *the* place to go for Star Wars merch, when the ’78 Mania made our brains explode with glee at the mere thought of a Wookie.
    Very fond memories of that store.

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