Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Missing K Mart in Bad Axe
Big bath towels. Bowls and dishes from the Sandra Lee kitchen line. An occasional bottle of nail polish. Office supplies and drug items. Clothes for kids and teens. A lawn table and chair set that is fourteen years old. Martha Stewart Christmas items. And toys.
These are some of the items that I purchased at the Bad Axe K-Mart store. Since that store closed last spring, I've had to adjust my buying and, in some cases, shift to another retailer or find another K Mart.
Now I know that I could start doing the Walmart thing, but I was so influenced by Dr. Ken Stone's presentations in Huron County before Walmart opened in Bad Axe that I'm still not a WM shopper. Ken Stone, an Iowa State University economist, conducted studies in the 1990's that showed the effect of a Walmart on surrounding towns. He theorized that people drove to the bigger town and left their dollars there, not in their own smaller community.
Looking back, it pretty clear that small towns were in a decline for a long time before Walmart came to town, but it was that boost of getting everything in one place that took even more retail businesses away from the little towns and handed it to the bigger towns that hosted a Walmart.
Now it is a different day and a different era, with the advancement of internet buying and the ubiquitous brown UPS trucks and Priority US Mail that allows us to order diapers and coffee and books, delivered to our doorsteps.
Back to K-Mart. The corporation announced this week that even more Michigan locations will be closing, including the one in Bay City.
The Bad Axe store was a dandy. The aisles were wide. The floors were sparkling clean. The staff was helpful. The inventory rotated regularly. It was darn good competition to WM.
And I miss it, that big Bad Axe K-Mart store.