Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

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Andrew T.
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Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by Andrew T. » 27 Apr 2008 02:35

Today, I found myself waxing nostalgic over the issue of Kmart interiors.

Image

Once upon a time, 'tis true, practically all stores had these orange-painted walls.

Image Image

Here are a couple styles of interior signs (going by my memory, which hopefully isn't failing me in the details). The orange/red/white signs would logically have been contemporaneous with the era of orange walls, while the white/red/black signs (I assume) are from the mid-to-late '80s.

The Princeton, WV Kmart store (R.I.P.) employed a mismatch of orange walls, old white/red/black signs, and older orange/red/white signs as late as 2000, when it closed. (I still miss that store today, although that's probably fodder for another thread.)

It's kind of funny, actually: In the latter half of the '90s, they went to the trouble of replacing the original exterior and roadway signs with the modern "white mart written inside red K" logo, yet they never bothered removing the ancient orange/red/white "Records" sign hanging over the CD racks, or indeed tinkering with the interior at all.

So, here are a few questions:
  • Does anyone have a good idea of when Kmart's once-ubiquitous orange walls actually first began to be employed? I did come across this lively K mart commercial (allegedly from the late 1970s, although I wouldn't be surprised if it's older) where the interior walls are many things, but orange isn't one of them...
  • Likewise, when were the orange walls last used? This video clip shows an interior with white walls detailed with thin black and red stripes by the ceiling line, so I assume the style changed at the same time that for interior signs did.
  • Finally: Are there any Kmarts left in operation today that still feature orange walls, or indeed any interior decor from the 1980s and earlier? (I'm not optimistic given the conspiring effects of time, several waves of store closings, and the "Big K" conversions of a decade ago, but I figure anything's possible...)
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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by wnetmacman » 27 Apr 2008 09:57

If my memory serves, this interior started appearing in 1978-1979. I base this on my hometown Kmart experience. The Longview, TX Kmart was built in 1976 with the previous interior, and it was green. The store was repainted almost a year or two later. When this store was expanded and updated in 1991, in a couple of places you could see the green walls coming back from the 70's before they hosed the place down in white.

The red/black/white scheme began appearing in the mid 80's, but only in more popular stores. It also employed grey walls if I remember, with the font in either red or black.

I believe most of these stores were painted over either when Kmart reimaged itself in the late 80s/early 90's (to the red/white scheme) or in the Big Kmart debacle of the late 90's, however, as we all know, some of the original Kmarts (Sacramento comes to mind) were left out or forgotten.
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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by runchadrun » 27 Apr 2008 12:33

Until recently the Northridge, CA, store had some of the black and red signs but they have been replaced. The Electronics department had large raised letters on the wall with a garish background color (I don't remember what color--my brain has blocked it out), which has been painted over with an even more garish color of red.

They have done a small amount of superficial updating of the store but it's slated for closure and demolition in early 2009 so there's not much point. In fact I was surprised they even changed the signs.

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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by luckysaver » 27 Apr 2008 13:27

Orange is the new Sears type theme.

Some stores still sport 1970's/1980's signs. Diamond Bar has an old "garden center" sign adjacent to the Purrfect Auto Center.

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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by Jeff » 27 Apr 2008 20:26

Rosemead's Kmart had the orange the entire life of the store. It opened in the late 70's and closed in the early 90's. Never remodeled. This was also true for the old Beaumont store before it moved across the freeway in the early 90's.

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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by Andrew T. » 29 Apr 2008 21:23

Thanks, guys.
luckysaver wrote:Some stores still sport 1970's/1980's signs. Diamond Bar has an old "garden center" sign adjacent to the Purrfect Auto Center.
Somehow, it seems that the blue/white "Garden Shop" exterior signs have some of the highest survival rates of any vintage Kmart miscellany. There are several such signs illustrated in this photo set on Flickr.
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by submariner » 29 Apr 2008 22:43

Not exactly random, but I was bored one day and started playing in Microsoft Office Visio and came up with a couple concept designs for Kmart stores, since even current remodel jobs for Kmart stores look half-assed... and this (I think) would be a big sales help to modernize the storefronts. The top version is for new construction or major rebuilds, the lower one is to accommodate the standard Kmart facade that many (if not most) stores share...
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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by javelin » 29 Apr 2008 23:34

I'd prefer if they go back to the red and green logo of the 80's.

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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by submariner » 30 Apr 2008 01:27

javelin wrote:I'd prefer if they go back to the red and green logo of the 80's.
The Australian Kmart has a good, modern rendition of that logo (they were started by the US Kmart but later sold to Cole's Ltd.)

http://www.kmart.com.au
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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by TenPoundHammer » 29 May 2008 16:11

I don't remember our local Kmart (opened ca. 1985) ever being orange. Then agian, the store was expanded by 1991. I do recall that it had the black/red department signs until about the mid 1990s, however. If I recall correctly, they went to a white on red department signage for a while as well.

Last I checked, which was probably a few years ago, the Kmart on Miller Rd. in Flint still had red-on-black department signage. This Kmart was never a "big Kmart", and is probably about half the size of a typical Kmart store. It's very run down and dumpy; I have no idea how it's managed to stay open.

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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by winndixiepublix » 13 Nov 2014 16:04

The Lake Park/Northlake, FL Kmart a (ca.1974) location has the 1970's/1980's orange decor in the back of the store , since the store was remodeled around 1991/96 , the wall was place to cover that 70's wall



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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by BillyGr » 13 Nov 2014 21:21

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYxXuY6_Png - This is the same video referenced in the 1st post but titled Kmart 1978 commercial, and this version is advertising a particular store (Solon, OH) grand opening.

The storefront in the video looks much the same as our local store that closed in June, which I figure gives it an opening of 1974 (40 year lease or lease renewal ending since the lease not being renewed was the reason it closed)?

Though I don't remember ever seeing the interior shown in the video, so that must have been a later version.

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Re: Older Kmart interiors (orange and otherwise)

Post by TW-Upstate NY » 14 Nov 2014 21:31

The interior shown in that video would be in the 73-74 timeframe because the Dickson City, Pa. K-Mart (the store I "grew up" with so to speak) had that exterior and those exact same wall graphics and it opened in late 1973. To my knowledge, it's still open and I haven't seen it on any of the recent closing lists. Have not set foot in the place since 1980 so I imagine a lot has changed.

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