The end came quietly over Easter weekend.
While COVID-19 had everyone’s collective attention, the Kmart in Kill Devil Hills shut its doors for the final time at 5 p.m. last Saturday, unceremoniously ending the retailer’s presence in North Carolina altogether.
Transformco, which acquired both Kmart and Sears out of bankruptcy in 2019, confirmed in February the 111,000 square foot store would be closing after 28 years.
A liquidation sale turned up a few deals, and the number of vehicles in the parking lot always made it look like the store was busy.
But as the inventory shrank, added with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, a creeping sense of the inevitable set-in for those who passed through the sliding glass doors at 1901 North Croatan Highway.
Over 3,500 Kmart and Sears stores have been shutdown, costing about 250,000 jobs, over the last 15 years.
Outer Banks locals have a long wish list for the 14-acre plot between the highways valued at more than $6 million.
But the owner still hasn’t made known yet what they plan to do with the property.
The gray cinderblock building, with cedar shakes on multi-tiered porticos, still has the trademark big K on the front, for now.
And the lights are still on inside, with a few pallets stacked to the left and an almost forlorn-looking mop bucket to the right, for now.
But the party’s over.