K’s Merchandise Closing All Stores

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Founded in 1954 in Decatur, Illinois, K’s Merchandise Mart is (or was, depending on when you read this) a hard-lines merchandise wholesaler not unlike the now-defunct Service Merchandise chain.  Like Service Merchandise, it has fallen on hard times as competition from stores which offer overlapping merchandise at competitive prices, more convenient locations, or both have flooded the markets where K’s operates.  Earlier this year, a Boston-based bank offered K’s a cash infusion to avert bankruptcy.  K’s used the cash to spiff up its stores, namely the furniture and jewelry departments, and anticipated larger sales from these modifications in order to pay off the bank and get back in the black.  Unfortunately, the increased sales never materialized, and K’s has been forced to pack up and march out.   All 17 of K’s stores in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri will liquidate and close when the walls are bare, including the Rockford location I shopped at as a kid.

K's Merchandise in Rockford, ILWith the closest Service Merchandise in the Chicago area – over an hour away from where I grew up in Janesville, WI, we shopped at K’s Merchandise for those crazy times we needed wholesale hardlines and needed them fast.  K’s was never a fancy store, and I personally thought the concept was easily duplicated at specialty electronics, jewelry, or general discount retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.  In fact, I haven’t even been inside a K’s store in over a decade, a testament to the loss of my need for the store.  In addition, just last week when passing a K’s incidently I had wondered about their viability.

The stores themselves were never fancy in decor, in varying conditions physically, and until very recently never attempted to update themselves as Service Merchandise did toward the end of its run, modernizing many of its stores.  Perhaps the only interesting thing about K’s is the logo, and the memories you have if you ever shopped there.  Feel free to post comments about K’s, too.

21 Responses to “K’s Merchandise Closing All Stores”

  1. The K’s Merchandise here in Champaign is located in an old Venture building outside Market Place Mall. Their old location on the west side of town is now an employment retraining center run by the community college. We usually only shopped there at Christmas for toys.

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  2. So, this is one of those stores were you pick something out of a catalog and then the clerk goes and gets it? I remember Consumers Distributing (CD), which is gone, BEST, which was a grander concept, but also gone, and Service Merchandise, also gone (I thought). Guess that whole concept is past its time.
    Scott

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  3. Wait a minute now, Service Merchandise may be liquidated in store form but their online outfit still exists. Check it out here http://www.servicemerchandise.com/

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  4. Yes, chairman Raymond Zimmerman brought them back as an internet-only venture in 2004, about 2 years after all the stores closed. He also operates from Boca Raton, FL, instead of near Nashville, where the original headquarters was. To acquire the name and logos from Service Merchandise, he had to purchase them at an auction. A similar venture also began in 2004 with the resurrection of Montgomery Ward in internet-only form, except unlike the new Service Merchandise online-only retailer the new Wards appears to have nothing to do with the old company and is now headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa! Kind of random.

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  5. What the hell!!! Both Service Merchandise AND Montgomery Ward are back as Internet stores!?!??! I didn’t know. I went and checked out their sites. Ward’s still has the same crappy stuff… I’d swear it was the same store.
    I can’t believe I didn’t know this!
    Scott

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  6. Is it just me, or do a lot of these K’s stores look like converted Ames, Hills, or Venture locations?

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  7. I’m sorry to see K’s Merchandise closing. I bought my wife’s engagement ring at their location in Cape Girardeau, MO. Still have the wife and the ring. We also bought one of our son’s strollers at the K’s in Paducah, KY. Even though we moved to Ohio, still liked going to the stores… much like the Service Merchandise’s I remember as a kid.

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  8. I was at a K’s Merchandise store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I bought a Pentax camera which cost me about 60 dollars. The camera was the last one in the store’s electronic department. There is no user manual, no warranty, just a camera thrown in the box.

    My receipt states that all warranties still effective even though all goods purchase is final sale.

    I called Pentax and they informed they don’t even make that camera. it sounded like to me it was an old camera.

    I tried to return it to K’s Merchandise for something else which would have cost me more money but they wouldn’t hear of it.

    Can you help me? I would like to package it up and send it to K’s headquarters so they see what I was sold and the condition of it. I realize the store is closing its doors but they don’t need to deceive the public by selling junk.

    Thank you
    NBoddicker

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  9. I am really sorry to hear that K’s went out of business. My husband and I bought our rings from there, and I was hoping to get a wrap for my engagement ring from there. It seemed to be the only place that I could find that had one to fit it. My husband also worked at the one in Quincy, IL. We have since moved back to VA, but I still remember that store very well!

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  10. The bad thing about the K’s in rockford, is, it’s in a horriably bad spot. RIght off Mulford and East State, going East further on State brings you right into Target, and going until you hit Perryville you hit WalMart and Sams.

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    William Kazak Reply:

    @Zimmy, I used to live in the Mulford Park Apartments across the street from the Rockford store. Inside, the store was very clean. K’s sold the best oak colored bookcase and my wife and I bought two of them already assembled!

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  11. K’s Merchandise could have been a good place to work for, it WAS a good place to work for, untill the greedy piece of shit District Manager rolled into the store telling you what and how to do something, He thought he knew everything, with 17 store do you actually think that a company would NEED a DISTRICT manager, please, what a waste of money, Phil Pierce thought he was Gods Gift to retail. Fuck You Phil!!!!

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  12. K’s Merchandise in Bloomington IL had two location. Pre 1997, K’s was located at Veterns Parkway (main drag in Bloomington/Normal) and College Ave. It shared a parking lot with Menards.This location was in Normal, kiddie corner to College Hills Mall, now the Shoppes of College Hills. In 1997 Wal-Mart built a new supercenter a couple of blocks north of K’s. K’s moved into the old Wal-Mart location in a shopping center at Veterns and Clearwater Ave (about a half mile south of their first location and located in Bloomington). K’s never seemed to be busy and the strip center soon deteriorated. Staples, Subway, and other stores left the place The parking lot became home to antique car shows in the summer. With K’s gone, the strip center has got to pot, Outback and Ruby Tuesdays are the only places left now selling something recycled. This K’s is currently on the market being offered as a “former Wal-Mart location”, which it left 10 YEARS AGO. The original location was torn down along with the Menards and made into a big box centers: Petco, Office Depot, Bed Bath Beyond etc

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  13. my wedding ring came from k’s about 5yrs ago(still have all paper work) and i noticed a few days ago that a diamond is missing.so who do i contact now that all stores are closed?

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  14. I used to work at the K’s here in Springfield..it was my first job, and I loved that place and my coworkers. They laid me off and eventually closed down, its a goodwill now. I go in there sometimes and think of the fun i had there, I sure miss that place..but I guess everyone must feel that way about their first job :\ .

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  15. I need to find out where they got their rings from. I lost my wedding ring and need a replica, an identical one. Please help!

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    denise Reply:

    @Dee, …did you find out if there is still any warranty…if someone took over their warranty?

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  16. My husband bought my wedding rings at K’s. They are supposed to have a warranty on them but now that the store has closed, I am guessing that no longer matters. I lost a diamond out of my ring and it’s going to cost me $140.00 to get it fixed. Hard lesson learned!

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  17. Could you give me a call about your company 260-740-8548 Robert hardy

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  18. i need paper work on an item that i bought who or how do i get in contact with someone 260-740-8548

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    Prange Way Reply:

    @robert hardy, We have no affiliation with the former K’s Merchandise stores, but I found a website with a number for extended warranties that may be able to help you. http://www.ursdealer.com/YourServiceCenter/warranty.shtml Best of luck!

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