Some stores are slow when it comes to standardization of their logos or decor, but perhaps none have been more notorious for this than Kmart. Even after their moderately successful rebranding campaign that began in the early 1990s, many of the chain’s stores held onto the older vintage logo scheme, and many (most?) never got interior facelifts.
Even after the merger with Sears, when the company began experimenting with Sears/Kmart hybrid stores (Sears Essentials) many of the interior elements had been left untouched. Judging by how much more successful Sears Grand was, and the fact that Sears Essentials is already being retired, I think that we can guess what that taught us.
Unlike many of the old retail chains that we’re so fond of (Caldor, Bradlees, Venture, Prangeway, and even Ames), Kmart’s stores have rarely been terribly pleasant. When they’ve tried, they’ve built nice spaces, but most of the time they haven’t.
When I took a road trip up to Vermont a few weeks ago, I found the Kmart above with its old logo intact on the city’s south side strip (along US-7). It’s one of the first of its kind that I’ve seen in years, so I figured I should swing in and snap a few pictures. I also have these other photos of old Kmarts in Sacramento and Iowa City that have been sitting on my hard drive for awhile. I have no idea who took them or where they came from, so if they’re yours and you want credit then please let me know.