Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Original Big K










Well, Big K, we hardly knew ye, and now you’re leaving us again. That’s right, the many Kmart stores which for some not well-explained reason took on the “Big K Mart” identity in the mid-90’s are being restored (thankfully) back to just “Kmart”, with a logo closer to their original 1960’s look, albeit with a single color, red. And a familiar sight to many Kroger shoppers is their age-old “Big K” private label brand, probably best recognized in recent decades on their soft drinks, but we’ll talk about that later.

Aside from these, however, was a Mid-South based chain by the name of Big K, which enjoyed a good deal of success as a regional discount store operation in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Big K was a division of Nashville-based Kuhn Brothers Company, Inc., which was founded as a variety store chain in the teens. The information I’ve been able to find about the Kuhn stores, which unfortunately is minimal, indicates that that they were very much cast in the standard Woolworth/Kresge variety store mold. As such they faced similar problems as those firms did in the fifties –footprints too small to accommodate a growing range of popular consumer goods, rising operating costs of counter service as opposed to self service, and most importantly the decline of downtown business districts with the advent of shopping centers with their vast availability of free parking.

In 1962, that historic year for the discount industry, Kuhn’s launched the first of their Big K discount department stores. Kuhn’s employed a strategy similar to Wal-Mart, opening the Big K stores in small-to-medium sized towns within a four-state market area – in their case Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. Like Wal-Mart, they avoided the larger markets which were likely to be heavily populated with Kmart stores, as Atlanta most certainly was. Kuhn’s-Big K , as the company was renamed, would eventually adjoin the Wal-Mart market area, but there was very little overlap. The Kuhn family and Sam Walton, who were acquaintances, had chosen (for a time at least) to honor an old unwritten code between regional retailers to stay of each others’ territories. Of course another unwritten code, every bit as popular as the first, was to scrap the previous code and build right in your fellow retailer’s backyard. When Wal-Mart opened a store in Jackson, Tennessee, the heart of Big K-land, The Kuhns retaliated by opening stores in West Helena and Blytheville, Arkansas.

By the end of 1973, the company operated 57 Big K’s and 27 Kuhn’s Variety Stores, and had pushed into eastern Arkansas and Missouri, Wal-Mart’s operating area. The Big K stores carried the standard discount store mix of apparel, sporting goods, hardware, toys, etc., and averaged 45,000 square feet. There were three larger stores (65,000-75,000 square feet) ringing the Nashville area, the company’s home turf. In 1977, Kuhn’s-Big K moved into the South Carolina region with its acquisition of Edwards, Inc., a Charleston-based chain of 33 stores in South Carolina.

Soon after the Edwards purchase, the Kuhn’s - Big K operation spun into decline, losing money and experiencing management turmoil. In 1981, Chain Store Age characterized the company as “a broken chain”, citing increasingly intense competition, the strain from the Edwards acquisition and cost overruns on the company’s fancy new Nashville headquarters complex. The magazine was also critical of the Kuhn family’s management approach. Predictions of Big K’s demise were aflight.

Discussions regarding a possible acquisition by Wal-Mart had begun some months before the Chain Store Age article appeared. Wal-Mart, traditionally committed to internal growth, had only one major acquisition under its belt at the time, having purchased the 21-store Mohr Value chain, an Illinois operation, in 1977. When it became evident that Big K would be forced to sell out, the ideal store sizes (directly in line with Wal-Mart’s at the time), respectable customer base, and most of all the chain’s prime locations in new, adjoining territory made the proposition too powerful to resist. Even so, Wal-Mart’s board of directors was split down the middle over the idea. Sam cast the deciding vote in favor of the buyout, and the deal was done. Incidentally, Wal-Mart’s indecision over the buyout paid another dividend – as they hemmed and hawed over the prospect, the value of Big K’s stock continued to fall. The initial purchase price, according to the Wall Street Journal was $17 million in December 1980. By the following June it was $12.9 million, and by the time of the actual buyout in December 1981, it was $7 million - $2 million less than Kuhn’s -Big K had paid for the Edwards chain four years earlier. Sort of gives a new, unwanted meaning to the word “discount”.

The first photo, location unknown, is from 1973. The second and third photos are from the Dickson, Tennessee store and were taken the following year.

51 comments:

  1. An oddity of the Kuhn's Big K purchase was the Commerce, GA store, identified as Walmart Supercenter #3 in its current location. Most former Big K's were numbered in the 600's and a few the 700's. Walmart Supercenter #669 here in Dalton, GA is the successor to the Big K store with a Wal-Mart Discount City relocation in between.

    There is a 600 series Walmart in Big Stone Gap, VA likely the lone vestige of Kuhn's Big K in that state if not the only Big K.

    The second picture of the Dickson,TN store closely resembles the old Big K in Cleveland, TN, which has been a Buy 4 Le$$ and FoodMax warehouse store and currently a superstore Christian Bookstore. Alas, the facade was altered during its stint as a warehouse supermarket.

    Big K's financial troubles were evident even to my young eyes in 1980-81, as the stores were caught in a time warp, for example, even though Disco was dead by 1980, you would not know it buy their music department. Also, the interior was very similar to Wal-Mart circa 1971-bargain tables, pipe racks, color scheme and all. I don't know any Big K that was ever updated beyond its opening appearance.

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  2. Just remembered their jingle, which likely was the jingle for the chains entire lifespan-"Shop Big K, your King of Values. Your one stop shopping center is Big K"

    My brother swears they sold Kroger's Big K soft drinks, but I don't recall them in the stores. In the late 80's-early-90's, some regionals did sale Rocky Top Cola, Bluefield Beverage Company, Bluefield, WV which is the Kroger subsidiary that manufactures Big K cola, including area Kmarts before American Fare brands and Fleming's Bestyet Brands.

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    1. They did not sell Big K cola - no connection between the 2 companies.

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  3. I live in a surburb of Nashville and I remember Big K. I loved it. not very many people remember it but I do.

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  4. "building right in your competitors backyard".

    I wish I could remember the discount hotel chain (HoJo?) who chose their locations by the simple expedient of building across the street from their slightly more upscale competitor (Holiday Inn?).

    Dave, Disco was dying by 1980 but it wasn't quite completely dead. You still saw disco records available for sale in many places. They didn't completely vanish until 1983ish. You also have to recall this is pre-MTV and (largely) pre-completely centralized control of product mixes.

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  5. I remember the former Big K stores in Nashville as Wal Mart's. Amazingly, they seemed like they had been little touched in years, although one in West Nashville was in a perpetual state of remodeling. By late 80s standards, they were crowded, neglected stores with narrow aisles, but still did a very good business.

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  6. I remember the Big K in Decatur Alabama located in the Southland Plaza shopping center. I remember its going out of business sale (1980 ish?) but I can't recall if the location became a Wal-Mart.

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    1. The one in Decatur was in the Southland Plaza shopping center. After WalMart bought the chain, they did not locate a WalMart in the old Big K location.

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  7. I remember a Big K in Richmond KY. When it closed I do not think a Walmart went in. I only passed through from time to time visting relatives. I think iot became a grocery store.

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  8. Ken - A lot of the Big K stores really weren't around long enough to justify remodels. Seems like their heaviest openings occurred during the 1973-76 period, less than ten years before they sold out.

    Thanks for the jingle lyrics. I'm always glad to learn those!

    I would be suprised if the Kroger Big K brand was sold anywhere else, but I know Kroger has contract-processed food for other retailers. One example was the "Clover Valley" brand for Dollar General. When that brand was introduced, it was 100% made by Kroger-owned plants.

    Anonymous 1 - Thanks.

    Derek - Sounds like HoJo was very happy to let Holiday Inn foot the bill for their site research. They obviously trusted their instincts. Flattery at its best.

    Lowe's and Home Depot have shadowed each other pretty well over the last decade, though I think that's slowed down a bit.

    I agree on Disco. I grew up in Chicago, the home of the famous "Disco Demolition Night" at Comiskey Park in 1979, where the fans tore up the playing field between doubleheader games on summer night. The White Sox had to forfeit the second game. I was all too happy when disco was finally dead in the early 80's, but now I have to admit that I like many of the songs!

    Anonymous 2 - West Nashville - Was that the Charlotte Pike area? Bellevue wasn't really developed then, was it?

    Anonymous 3 - Thanks!

    Dwayne - Not all Big K stores became Wal-Marts. They culled out some of the locations early on.

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  9. This Big K chain always fascinated me. I first heard of this store a few years ago on the Discount Stores of the 60s site where I think there is a photo. The funny thing is the font and logo look almost like that of the Big K Kmart! Kmart had to have known about this past chain when they renamed their stores Big K back in the 90s. Or were they just clueless and it was a big coinky-dink?

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    1. KMart began using the "Big K" logo when the copyright expired on the Kuhn's "Big K" logo. Yes, it was years after the buy out but typically copyrights on names last 20 years.

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  10. yeah, it was Charlotte Pike

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  11. Thank you for doing a piece on this long unheard of chain, I was hoping to find more pics and info on it and thankfully you have provided them.

    If I'm not mistaken they were purchased later by Wal*Mart.

    It looked like a really cool chain, I'd doubt anyone would be caught dead with a big and bright neon sign like that nowadays LOL, the electricity cost were probably high to light and maintain that type of sign.

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  12. Didi - "Clueless" wouldn't necessarily surprise me. I think one reason could have been that when they switch from their original logo to the lone letter K, it looked tiny up there along those huge storefronts, and they threw the "Big" up there to fill the space!

    Mark - No problem, and thanks for the comment! Wal-Mart did buy them out, as mentioned. And I agree, you just don't see those huge neon signs anymore!

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  13. Just found your amazing blog. This is gonna take awhile to digest....

    Big K ... wonderful memories of childhood discount shopping!

    They weren't in Mississippi (where we lived in the '70s), but two stores in Alabama - where most of my family is from - stand out back in the day: Jasper (Jasper Square) and Troy* (Troy Plaza). The Troy Plaza, opened in 1970-ish, originally housed Kress, then it became Big K before Sammy W. gulped it down whole.

    I vaguely remember the "Your King of Values" jingle (and Fred's similar slogan, "Your Key to Value"), but the Big K jingle I remember the most - from the mid '70s - went: "For big, big savings / More people are shopping / At Biiig K!" (a back-to-school variation in 1976, to the same tune, went "Back-to-school scholars / Can save more dollars / At Biiig K!"

    This trivia just sticks to my brain like barnacles.

    * = side note: Troy Plaza closed in the late '80s, but stood vacant and rotting until the early 2000s. That's right - Troy, Alabama had its own Dixie Square!

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    1. Kuhn's 5/Dime were in Mississippi! I was born in Pontotoc where my dad was the manager of the Kuhn's. We moved to Booneville a couple of years later when my dad was transferred to that store.

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  14. Talmadge - Thanks for those great Big K memories, and another awesome jingle! I never shopped at Big K, but we did frequent a Fred's store on visits to West Tennessee.

    I didn't realize that Kress had shopping centers. I mostly associate them with downtown locations and cool and varied 1920's/30's storefront designs. Thanks again!

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  15. Kress indeed had a shopping center presence ... two that I know of in the '70s: Tupelo Mall (Tupelo, Miss.) and Troy Plaza (Troy, Ala).

    It was my first exposure to Kress, so ironically I didn't know it was mostly the old "downtown/city center" variety merchant until later.

    The Tupelo Kress was a lot smaller than the one in Troy. I seem to recall it being about the size of a present-day Dollar General. It was still in business when we left there in 1978, but the Kress in Troy was short-lived (1970-74ish), before it was reflagged as Big K.

    That was a great store. Even as "dated" as it might've been in 1981, it was fun shopping there.

    Here's another dead discounter I just remembered: Gaylord's. Bright yellow "Waffle House"-style individual backlit letters.

    Now what was it I had for breakfast yesterday? ;-)

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  16. Talmadge - I've seen many pictures of "downtown" Kresses (and a few in the flesh), but never a shopping center version. Thanks for mentioning that. Gaylord's was a southern Alabama operation, right?

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  17. I live in Pulaski TN and we had teh Kuhn's Variety Store, not a Big K. But if we wanted to shop in the bigger store we would goto Columbia TN they had a Big K, However in Feb 1979 a Walmart opened in Pulaski TN. About the same time Kuhn's closed. Shortly after that I remember they announced Big K in Columbia was closing as it had been purchased by Walmart. But I wish we had Kuhn's & Big K back and never heard of Walmart, it destroyed small business in our town.

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    1. My dad was the associate manager of the Big K in Columbia from 1969 - 71. He had managed several Kuhn's 5/Dimes and they sent him there to learn the new larger store. We left Columbia for him to open the new Big K in Dyersburg, TN and then in '74 to Elizabethtown, KY to open the new store there.

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    2. I just discovered this discussion. I was in an Antique Mall yesterday and found a glass ashtray that had Kuhn's Variety Stores printed on it. This prompted an internet search. There was still a Kuhn's in Clarksville, TN when I was in college (1968-1972). I don't know when it went out of business. I was delighted to run across a piece of my childhood history and it got me interested in knowing what happened to this chain. I'm really enjoying the posts.

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  18. "Let's shop BIG K, the King of Values, where you can save, day after day. Something something departments, Quality at a price, there's a BIG K store near you and THEY"RE OPEN NIGHTS! Let's shop Big K, your King of Values! And your One Stop Shopping Center is BIG K!"

    I used to use these jingle lyrics when "We Are the World Came Out' in the '80s. Sing the lyrics above with "We Are the World" as the melody. Works well.

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    1. 99 big departments

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  19. Anonymous - LOL! I dig that. You and I must think alike. Talk about the inescapable song, at least in 1984-5. I like the Big K lyrics better! Maybe Prince would have come through and actually sung his part on these!

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  20. Fun to see those pictures. I live in Dickson and was in high school when the Big K store shown shut down. If it was indeed purchased by Wal-Mart, then Wal-Mart decided to open in a different location. I recall that Wal-Mart did open their store here around the same time as Big K's demise, but it was in a different shopping center, down and across the highway.

    Our Main Street also had a Kuhn's store. It became something known as Main Variety (in the late 70s?), though I believe both Kuhn's and Big K might have existed here in Dickson simultaneously for at least a short time.

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    1. They did exist simultaneously for a while. My parents both grew up in Dickson Co. and my dad worked for Kuhn's/Big K for 23 years and was part of the Big K team during the buy out. Wal-Mart didn't always move in to existing stores because the stores were needing too much remodeling or were not large enough.

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  21. I worked in management for Kuhn's Big K from 1976-1981 at 4 of the TN stores. Also helped relay some of the Edwards Stores in SC in 1978. Those were the good old days. Been a Police Officer since I left Big K and don't miss the endless hours and rat race of department store work. But it produced some fond memories and friends!

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    1. My dad was the first manager of the second store of Big K's in Kingsport He started in Kuhn;s 5 & 10 in Tullahoma, It wasn't as much "bad management" but too many "family" members taking position they were not qualified for. The Edwards acquisition was at the wrong time with interest rates over 10 percent and a RECESSION with 10% inflation that broke their back. Hard times for RETAIL in general.

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    2. You might have known my dad. Ralph Martin. He was in TN till about 75, Glasgow KY till 77 or 78 and then Charleston SC for 2 years.

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  22. The last poster before me , Mark Moody , I remember the name form Big K
    I was in mgmnt from 1974 to 1981 with Big K , at that time Wal Mart bought the Big K chain and I wa swith them about 16 years, Appreciate this page, lots of memories.. Any body remember Fasion Adams, Bob Potter, Don Howell?

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    1. Bob Potter is my dad! He retired from Wal-Mart a few years ago after 48 years in retail. Don Howell retired around the same time and lives in the Richmond, KY area. Mr. Adams passed away several years ago.

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    2. Bobby Potter and Sherman Bowlds were great friends that help remodel many Kuhns Variety stores in the early 60"s. Sherman spent 21 years with wal mart and 51 years in retail and now lives in nashville tn.

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  23. I found this blog looking online for Kuhn's artifacts and memoribilia. I basically grew up in Big K and Wal~Mart stores. I'm not sure who the last poster is ... but I certainly remember Bob Potter. In fact, I talk to him almost daily. He is my dad. He served at Kuhn's stores in Dickson (hometown), Dyersburg, Nashville, and Columbia, TN; Pontotoc, MS; Owensboro, KY and opened the store in Elizabethtown, KY in 1974. When Wal~Mart completed the merger with Kuhn's in 1981, Dad was a Regional VP and was lucky enough to continue his career as District Manager. He continued that job until he retired in 2006 with 48 years of retail experience. Thanks to everyone for this trip down memory lane.

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    1. I just bought one yesterday! That's how I found this blog. I was wondering what had become of Kuhn's. I bought a glass ashtray with Kuhn's Variety Stores printed on it. It is in excellent condition.

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  24. BLS
    Was employed by Kuhn's from 1966-1968. Started as buyer in health & beauty aids & school supplies w Gus Kuhn. Had introduced Aquanet Hair Spray to firm....which they promoted heavily. After Service Merchandise pulled out of the leased Department at Charlotte Ave, set up photo departments. Was promoted to Director of Advertising & wrote and developed the "Big K" jingle.

    "Let's shop BigK, The King of Values, 99 big departments, quality at a price......" It was produced at a studio in Nashville on Dickerson Rd. Performed by the Willis Bros. and arranged by Bill Purcell (not the Mayor,,,,now Dean of the Music School at Belmont University)

    When I started with them im 1966, they had 3 Big Ks (Hopkinsville, KY; Kingsport, TN; Shelbyville, TN. Fasion Adams had been recently hired by Jack Kuhn (He had been w W.T. Grant, lived in Murfreesboro, TN) & Don Howell, I believe, managed the Shelbyville store. I left them to purchase a local pharmacy. By the way, Jack Kuhn had instructed Sam Walton, on his visits to Nashville, on how to transition from a variety store to a discount store (evidently the pupil out did the teacher) I helped to open stores in Nashville (Charlotte Ave), Campbellsville, KY, Athens, Al, Athens, TN, Rome, GA, Sheffield, AL, Cookville, TN, etc.... What caused their demise was that they closed on the Edwards acquisition prior to taking possession of the store, and the Edwrds management sold virtually all of the contents of the stores at give-away prices, so that when Kuhns took over all they got was empty stores.
    Kuhn's Variety Stores were in small towns, where the rents were lower and employees were plentiful and inexpensive. In transitioning to Big K stores, their main focus was to keep payroll costs below 5%. I believe that it was Simon Weil's idea to transition to discount stores. after he retired, Jack Kuhn took over the helm aided by his brother Gus Kuhn and his two bothers-in-law Gil Fox & Carl Goldstein. They had beaten Kresge to the name "Big K" and Kresge settled on K-Mart. Kuhn's, while I was there, could not sever their beginings as a variety store and always felt "If Woolworth didn't do it, we shouldn't either. I departed due to a disagreement over using Centralized/Group Advertising & the use of T.V.

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  25. Anonymous (BLS) – Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing those interesting details from your career at Kuhn’s/Big K, particularly the insight into the Edwards buyout. The articles I read in researching for this never got to the crux of the matter as you did in a couple of sentences. Fascinating stuff! Unfortunately it appears they followed Woolworth a bit too closely, as they failed to take advantage of the discount opportunity to the full extent themselves with Woolco.

    I remember the Aqua Net brand as being a hot product at the time, so that had to be a real feather in your cap, and the jingle…fantastic.

    I would love the opportunity to contact for more detail on this if you wouldn’t mind emailing me at pleasantfamilyshopping@hotmail.com - and thanks once again!

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  26. I was born in 1970 and grew up in the country between McKenzie and Huntingdon, Tennessee (Carroll County). I remember that there was a small Kuhn's store on the court square in Huntingdon. I will never forget the really cool and nostalgic smell of the store whenever you'd walk in. The toy aisles were downstairs in the basement, and I remember walking down the old, wide and creaky wooden staircase to visit the toys. This was a Tuesday afternoon tradition for me, my mom, and my mom's parents. I sure wish I could find photos of this store now.

    I also remember when the very first Wal-Mart stores came to Jackson, Tennessee (Carriage House Drive), Paris, Tennessee, and Huntingdon, Tennessee. This was in the mid to late 1970s. Big K was everywhere, but Wal-Mart suddenly came along. I never thought I'd find a blog about this.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. the old building is still there jimmy watson put half his lumber business in there. wilson clinic is an apartment building,health department(sheriffs office now) court theatre is still in business.The old fred's is a restraunt. the town has changed.

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  27. quote:
    "I remember a Big K in Richmond KY. When it closed I do not think a Walmart went in. I only passed through from time to time visting relatives. I think iot became a grocery store. "

    I live close to Richmond, so I can fill in the gaps here. When Big K closed, it DID become a Wal-Mart (I distinctly remember the "Wal-Mart" "Discount City" signage with the individual block letters and overhead lights for them (rather than the traditional interior-lit lettering one would be accustomed to). Wal-Mart remained in that location until late summer 1988 when it became an anchor in the new Richmond Mall (I entered classes at EKU that August). After Wal-Mart vacated the building, it became a cut-price "warehouse" grocery store for awhile called Super 1 Foods (which closed in the mid-90s). After that, it became an indoor flea market (which it remains to this day).

    Meanwhile, in a move seemingly calculated to one-up Kmart (who had built a brand new store in a brand new shopping development in 1992), Wal-Mart moved out of the mall into a stand-alone SuperCenter around 1993, which they built directly across the road from the new Kmart. Their strategy seemed to pay off, though. The Big Kmart found a hard time competing with the SuperCenter (presumably because of the 'all under one roof' idea) and ended up closing around the end of the decade (though the official reason for that location being closed was lease-related). It sat vacant for several years and has since been split up into a Hobby Lobby and a smallish Office Depot.

    Wal-Mart maintained a discount store monopoly in Richmond until just a couple years ago (2009, I think?) when regional retailer Meijer moved into town a new, humongous shopping development just off the interstate.

    Whew!

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  28. Kress also had a store in Enteprise, AL, about 30 miles south of Troy, AL. It was on Rucker Blvd. Big K was where the old WalMart used to be on the bypass. The "new" supercenter is located next door.

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  29. I worked for Kuhns-Big K for almost 11 years from Asst mgr to stor manager.. I was working there when Wal-Mart bought us out
    Manuel Stricklin Sr

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  30. I also worked for Big K for about 11 years. I started as a trainee at #53 Hopkinsville Ky and my last store as manager was #78 in Newport Tn. I was caught up in the buyout and was transferred to Elizabethton Tn while it was closed for a complete makeover. I soon realized that it was time for me to move on and I purued a new business venture. I loved my time with Big K and wish I had the opportunity to thank the Kuhn family for the training I received and for the trust they put in me. William R. Ewing

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    1. William - It's always great to hear from folks who worked in these great store back in the day. Thanks! Stopped many times in Elizabethton for this or that (at the Wal-Mart there, since Big K was already gone)on trips from Nashville to the NC mountains.

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  31. The Big K jingle is a great example of memorable advertizing. It has stuck in my head for 40 years -- except for one phrase (which ironically no one on this site has quoted either):

    Let's shop Big K, the king of values,
    The place you save day after day.
    99 big deparments, quality at a price.
    da-da-da-da-da and easy parking
    And they're open nights
    So shop Big K, the king of values.
    For your one-stop shopping center
    It's Big K.

    I would be very grateful to know that one phrase as it has haunted me for decades.

    from Nashville, TN

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    1. Thanks for supplying those lyrics - now I'm curious about the missing line too! Hopefully someone can fill in the blank for us!

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    2. "Plenty of free and easy parking"

      At least, that's how I remember it.

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  32. For anyone that might be interested in some old novelty items that some of the Big K management employees were given over the years....I found my brass belt buckle that has the Big K "King of Values" logo on it and a slightly worn black key fob with the Big K logo on it.

    Mark Moody
    Dyersburg Tennessee

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  33. Quote: "The Big K jingle is a great example of memorable advertizing. It has stuck in my head for 40 years -- except for one phrase (which ironically no one on this site has quoted either):

    Let's shop Big K, the king of values,
    The place you save day after day.
    99 big deparments, quality at a price.
    da-da-da-da-da and easy parking
    And they're open nights
    So shop Big K, the king of values.
    For your one-stop shopping center
    It's Big K.

    I would be very grateful to know that one phrase as it has haunted me for decades.

    from Nashville, TN
    *******************************

    From Cookeville, TN store in 1969 to early 70's I remember your missing line.
    It was "Lots of free parking". I could possibly be Plenty of free parking but that has one too many syllables to keep the same rhythm.
    Also, your last line doesn't quite seem right to me but I am just not sure what it would be instead.
    Thanks!

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  34. Actually, I am not really sure where your information on the source of those three photos are, but your identity of them is incorrect.
    The 2nd photo (with red-and-white Ford truck with cattle racks on bed) is not Dickinson, but the Shelbyville, TN Big K store. The white Oldsmobile that is three cars to the right was my mother's car, in fact. The adjoining building to the right of the Big K entry, as you look at the face of the store, was a nice sit-down restaurant in the day, and there was actually another store on that end. The store building STILL resides in the Shelbyville 'Big Springs Shopping Center' (an L-shaped strip mall) at the intersection of Lane Parkway and Cannon Blvd, in Shelbyville. After Big-K closed, it became the first footprint of Wal-Mart (they took over the building's lease), before a Super Wal-Mart was build on the South end of Madison Street. I remember buying Icee's at the Big-K at that location. Check the architecture against 'Shelbyville Wal-Mart - first location', to see the 'strip mall' stores to the right, that are present in this photo.

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