By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer
The beloved-by-the-Boca Square neighborhood Kmart, just east of I-95, at 1401 W. Palmetto Park Road, celebrated its last day in business on Sunday, Oct. 6 by offering its loyal customers 90 percent off remaining store merchandise.
Shoppers perused the few remaining aisles looking for a bargain, be it a decorative wooden plaque with a moose labeled “Life Is Better At The Cabin,” a rack of DVDs, or clothing.
Before leaving the store for one last time, shoppers made sure to find out where the next nearest Kmart location is – on Lantana Road and Dixie Highway, 1201 S. Dixie Highway., Lantana, 33462, 561-586-7222.
Employees who wished to stay on with Kmart are transferring to the Lantana store.
Sears and Kmart merged, Nov. 17, 2004, (becoming a major new retail company Sears Holdings Corp.) in an effort to strengthen the stores’ retail market share.
Since then, Sears, the anchor store in Boca’s Town Center Mall closed in April 2018, and now in October 2019 Boca Kmart has closed too – as dot.com shoppers, who prefer to shop online, become more of the norm.
Boca Kmart employee Mark McClure was pictured outside the store on Monday, Oct. 7, where dual “Store Closed” signs were posted on both doors, and another worker was still cleaning up the floors inside the now vacant store.
McClure said he has worked at Boca Kmart “for at least 2 years. It’s kind of a sad thing, with the store closing. Some of the employees were here when the store first opened!”
McClure comes from a long line of proud retail workers. Both his father and his grandfather worked for Publix; his dad for 16 years, and his grandfather for 25 years.
That Monday, the proud, red, Kmart sign affixed to the top of the building, had already been removed.
What will the store shell become? And would plans come before the City of Boca’s Development Services Dept.?
“If another big retail store were to come in, and the use is already there, all they would really have to do is pull permits. However, if the store footprint changes, e.g. they demolish the building, then it would have to come through us, said Amy Price of Development Services. “I had heard a Chili’s maybe, although I believe they were looking at the bank property by Denny’s, not the Kmart property — or I’d like to
see a Target — but right now it’s a lot of talking, a lot of gossip on Facebook. Nobody really knows,” she said.