West Town Market Square business owners concerned about Kmart closing

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Rick Milton doesn’t look forward to seeing Kmart close in West Town Market Square shopping center on Washington Road.

Jim Lovekamp and his grandson, Jack Swan, leave Wild Birds Unlimited in West Town Market Square. Business owners in the shopping center are concerned about the closing of Kmart.  LaTINA EMERSON/STAFF
LaTINA EMERSON/STAFF
Jim Lovekamp and his grandson, Jack Swan, leave Wild Birds Unlimited in West Town Market Square. Business owners in the shopping center are concerned about the closing of Kmart.

The owner of Rick Milton Photography is among several owners concerned about how their businesses will fare when the anchor tenant leaves the shopping center.

“It’s absolutely awful. With them being our anchor, I just think that when they leave, a lot of traffic is going to go with it,” Milton said. “I’m not looking forward to it closing. You go into a shopping center, and you pay shopping center rent for the exposure. You have an anchor in your shopping center, and that’s supposed to bring the street traffic and sidewalk traffic in. We’re not going to have anything to do that now.”

The Kmart at 3830 Wash­ing­ton Road, one of three Kmarts in the area, is expected to close near the end of Sep­tem­ber, according to Sears Holdings officials. It will begin liquidating merchandise Sunday.

Ken Badke, the owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in the shopping center, said he is “very disappointed that Kmart is closing.” He has a loyal clientele, he said, but Kmart brought in foot traffic and new customers. Other stores in the shopping center depend on Kmart for customers, he said.

His business has been in the shopping center for seven years, after moving from Augusta West shopping center.

“I’m very concerned at what may come in there and how long that space may stay empty,” Badke said.

The Washington Road location is great, but when his lease is up in three years, Badke said, he might consider moving, depending on how things turn out with the Kmart retail space.

On the other hand, Neil Grice, a pharmacist at Martinez Apothecary, a pharmacy in the shopping center, said the closing of Kmart could affect his business in a positive way.

“Some of those patients are going to have to have a pharmacy to go to,” Grice said. “We’ll be another choice for the folks that have been going to Kmart that want to still stay in this area to get their medications filled.”

Still, the closing could be a drawback because the store has been a fixture for more than three decades, he said.

“It could potentially hurt the whole shopping center as far as traffic goes,” Grice said.

When the Food Lion grocery store on Evans to Locks Road closed in February, it was the anchor of its shopping center. Salon Pur hair salon felt the impact of the closing, said owner Stephanie Holmes.

“Now we have no walk-in traffic,” she said. “I have my clientele, but not too much extra.”

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omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 07/05/12 - 11:27 pm
3
1
Maybe we can get an Aldi's in

Maybe we can get an Aldi's in there? or it'll end up being a furniture store for a year or 3 before having a year long going out of business sale.

InChristLove
22452
Points
InChristLove 07/06/12 - 09:41 am
0
0
Adi's is a great idea!!!

Adi's is a great idea!!!

Pumped Up Kicks
185
Points
Pumped Up Kicks 07/06/12 - 10:24 am
0
0
Will miss the K

I will miss running in to shop at the Big K. Hopefully something bigger and better will take its place and these business owners will still get the foot traffic they need to stay afloat.

Fiat_Lux
15002
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/06/12 - 10:52 am
0
0
And so the world turns...

Think Southgate Plaza.

I hope West Town fares as well as the National Hills shopping center did after Dillard's closed down. Of course, National Hills has a Fresh Market and, obviously, the Augusta National to help out there. That one probably wasn't going to totally crash no matter what, even if the National's denizens had to buy it themselves. Perhaps they did, after a fashion.

gcowlin
9
Points
gcowlin 07/06/12 - 11:11 am
0
0
Good Riddance

For the sake of the other tenants there, I hope the space does not stay vacant for too long. However, K-Mart is a victim of its own management. The place was generally filthy, according to the folks I know who've been in there in the last couple of years. I haven't been in there since 1996, when they refused to accept my out-of-town check for some infant formula and kitchen utensils. I had just arrived at Ft. Gordon, was in uniform and had orders in my hand, discussed it with the manager, all to no avail. I left, went down the street to Wal-Mart where I had NO problems, and have not darkened their door since. Good riddance, I say - make way for something better.

Fiat_Lux
15002
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/06/12 - 11:29 am
0
0
Maybe MCG will buy it.

You never know.

countyman
19542
Points
countyman 07/06/12 - 11:29 am
0
0
There's absolutely zero

There's absolutely zero chance of Aldi located there.... Aldi is coming to the old Golden Corral property in Martinez on Bobby Jones/I-520....

I could be wrong, but I'm not expecting any big time retailer to open in this area.... The Martinez part of Washington rd(Pleasant Home rd-Club Car) really needs alot of work first...

I know the Evans portion of Washington rd is much newer, and you have acres of vacant land surrounding the area.. West Augusta which is similar to Martinez still managed to build a Sheraton, Holiday Inn Express, Mercedez-Benz showroom, renovate Chick Fil A, Kroger Shopping center expansion, Five Guys, expanded Frest Market, Legends Club, Electrolux, etc.. Not to mention the future plans for an Four Points By Sheraton, another upscale hotel next door, 7k sq. ft. center replacing a gas station including Pho Bac restaurant, two 4k sq. ft. retail buildings/new acess rd infront of Kroger, business moving into the old Famous Daves/Flying Cowboy...

People were moving to Martinez, and then Evans became the 'new' area of CC.... I think the best chance for new retail growth in Martinez would be portion of Furys Ferry not in West Augusta..

Fiat_Lux
15002
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/06/12 - 12:09 pm
0
0
@Countyman

I agree about Fury's Ferry over Washington Road, but that's also the area that recently lost a Food Lion, so...

West Augusta/Martinez is changing a lot. It is still to be seen if things change everywhere as they have in places like Kingston.

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