Shoppers seeking bargains as local Kmart, Sears locations shut down

Shoppers seeking bargains as local Kmart, Sears locations shut down

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Attention shoppers: There are only a few days left until several retail stores in Columbus and Phenix City permanently close.

One Sears store along Whittlesey Boulevard and two Kmart locations, on both sides of the river, have been ordered to clear their shelves by Sunday, Mar. 26.

Shoppers tell News Leader 9 the bargain hunting feels like a double-edged sword for them.

They're happy they've found bargains on things like dresses, summer clothes, even food, and toys, but they don't want to see these stores go away for good.

Sears and Kmart share the same parent company, Sears Holdings, and announced just months ago three area stores would shut down - adding to a total of 30 locations across the country also closing.

Galinda Mullins, who was born and raised in Columbus, said her parents used to take her to the KMart on Macon Road in the 1970's.

She said she remembers that being the highlight of her weekend, especially after eating french fries from the restaurants inside the store.  She said she feels like she's losing a part of the community, and doesn't know who will come in to take over the location.

"I mean, I'm sure they're going to find somebody to move in, but I would like for it to be family oriented," Mullins said.

Sara Barnes was out shopping with her children at the Sears in North Columbus. She said it's depressing to know the store, as well as the two other KMarts, are closing. She said she knows what she would like to see open soon.

"A bargain hunt," Barnes said. "Obviously, I'm shopping here because there are bargains, but you can get a lot of good bargains, good quality stuff at a cheaper price."

Shopper Shameka Wade would like to see a trendier business open its doors in North Columbus. "Maybe a Trader Joe's or something," she said.

These shoppers also told News Leader 9 they knew when it comes to clearance sales, what they're buying can't be refunded, so they came in already looking for specific bargains.

The other thing they're doing- telling everyone they know to rush over to the stores, since they said some parts of the stores felt already empty and deserted, with unused shelves as a sign people are buying all sorts of items.

"It's like a tomb," Galinda Mullins said. "You can see some of the lights are not on, so you know things are dying down."

News Leader 9 reached out to Sears Holdings for comment; no word yet on future plans or when new businesses will set up shop in the commercial plazas.

Reports last year showed Sears' stock price declined 60 percent, despite the market hitting a record high. Those same reports also said the store chain, at one point in 2016, lost more than $9 billion.

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