Michigan State University

March 1, 1962 : First Kmart Opened in Garden City

Jon Harrison
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Photo of 1s KMart in Garden City

On March 1, 1962, the S.S. Kresge Company opened the first Kmart store concept at the corner of Ford Road and Middlebelt in Garden City. The store is still open today. The more than 1,300 Kmart stores are now part of Sears Holdings.

Kmart's world headquarters were originally located in Troy, Michigan in Greater Detroit, but since the purchase of Sears, it has been relocated to Hoffman Estates in Greater Chicago, Illinois.

More than one hundred years ago, Sebastian Spering Kresge opened a modest five-and-dime store in downtown Detroit...and changed the entire landscape of retailing. The store that Kresge built has evolved into an empire of more than 1,500 stores and an Internet presence that reaches millions of customers. The Kmart name has become a symbol of Americana, standing for quality products at low prices.

In 1977, nearly 95 percent of S.S. Kresge Company sales were generated by Kmart stores. To reflect this dramatic impact, the company officially changed its name to Kmart Corporation. Ten years later, Kmart sold the remaining Kresge stores to fully concentrate on discount merchandising.

On January 22, 2002 Kmart filed for Chapter 11 protection, but emerged on May 6, 2003.

In January 2017, Sears announced the the Garden City KMart will be closed during 2017.

The chain purchased Sears for $11 billion in 2005, forming a new corporation under the name Sears Holdings Corporation.

Photo of 1st KMart shortly after its opening, courtesy of “The S.S. Kresge Story”, a 1979 book by the company founder’s son, Stanley S. Kresge.

Sources :

Detroit Historical Society Facebook Page

Sears Holdings Corporation Corporate History

Kmart Wikepedia entry

KMart entry from Encyclopaedia Britannica

JC Reindl, "Kmart to close 10 Mich. stores, including original one in Garden City", Detroit Free Press, January 4, 2017.

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