Sunday, March 21, 2010

"First In Line" at Kmart

From 1975. Of course, three weeks later, these folks were covered with a foot of snow. But when the new Kmart finally opened, doggone it, they were first in line!

You have to admire that kind of tenacity.


  1. That's a good looking sign. The scene is very 1975, but it's very well composed as well.

  2. The first in line and the store hasn't even been built yet.


  3. Where was this photo taken?

  4. Blimey! The good folk of Troy, Michigan are keen, aren't they?! :)

  5. Steve – I agree – well composed, but it provides further proof that the 70’s were the “decade that style forgot”, at least as far as everyday clothes went. I was a bit older than the kids in the photo were at the time, but I definitely remember the “bright yellow shirt/uncombed hair” look.

    Hindsight has elevated the Kmart logo to classic status, at least in my opinion, but that was designed in the 60’s! ;).

    Mike – That’s for sure!

    Chris and Randy – This photo was staged for publicity purposes, of course, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the “new store location” was completely fictional. I can’t say that for sure, though.

  6. Even though this is all imaginary of course, I like how the guy is just finishing painting the last letter on the sign for a store that hasn't even broken ground and people are lined up with shopping carts.
    I imagine this group just roaming through the praries of the mid-west looking for future sites of new construction.
    Great photo!

  7. Oh, good ol' K-Mart. We had one less than a mile away from us, right by Lambeau Field, in Green Bay (same logo, and that store opened in '67). My sister and I would walk there on Sunday afternoons and try on the makeup and spend our hard-earned allowance money. :D Thanks for posting this!

  8. It reminds me of a much simpler time. The aqua color of 'mart' always cracked me up, like it was a throw back to the late 50's. I suppose it probably was given K-Mart's birth in the early 60's.

    I was in a Big K last weekend on a Friday night and it was like being Elvis Presley. We had the store to ourselves at 8:15 pm.

    I can remember waiting for my mom to finish her shift at K-Mart on a Friday night in the 60's the last customer usually left well after 9:30

    The place rocked on the weekends. But no Wally World, Target and the like.

    Just as I said a much simpler time.

  9. They're starving for some good ole fashioned Kmart. Hurry, Dave, and build that store for them.

  10. Sadly, today that gifted sign painter would be replaced by a vinyl banner. Not too many real sign painters anymore.

  11. Great looking sign. i love kmart.

  12. Oh, I'd love to see another Kmart open in THIS era...

  13. I recall a similar sight, though it was closer to 1980, with the sign in the field minus the anxiously awaiting shoppers. Alas, I don't that anyone today would anxiously await a new Kmart, that is, if Sears Holdings were to build one.

  14. I'm just imagining the nearby snakes and assorted creatures of the field.

  15. Michelle – Makes you wonder where they got the shopping carts…swiped from another store? :)

    Mel – Wow, your Kmart was within walking distance? All we had that close by was 7-Eleven! Glad you liked this.

    Slick – I never realized how much I liked the original Kmart logo until they changed it in the early 90’s to the simple letter K with the script “mart” inside it. The old one just seemed so much more distinctive after that.

    I don’t set foot in a Kmart often at all these days…we don’t have them near us anymore, so it only happens when I’m on the road. Invariably, the stores resemble a ghost town. I truly wonder how they stay in business.

    I’ll bet your mom had some good stories to tell about Kmart from that era. They were on top then, no doubt about it!

    Didi- I would if I could!

    David – Sign painting is a great lost art, for sure.

    Sarees – I agree.

    Jonah – I’d love to see them open a new store – anywhere!

    Ken – You never know – I think if Kmart were to build new from-the-ground-up stores, you might be surprised at the reaction. It would generate a lot of buzz, given the last 15 years or so of gloom and doom press about Kmart. I think it be enough of a shock to pique curiosity in many people.

    DewN Nitek – Hadn’t even thought of that – eew!

  16. I'm in this picture. My father worked for K Mart. This was completely staged--it was taken across the street (Coolidge) from the old K Mart headquarters in Troy, in a vacant lot that is now home to the northern part of the Somerset Collection. There was a "follow-up" photo taken at the K Mart which used to be at Opdyke and South Boulevard.