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Mason City KMart set to close this spring

This news story was published on January 22, 2014.
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Sear and Kmart

Sear and Kmart signs in Mason City

MASON CITY – As Mason City leaders continue to give huge tax breaks to new big-box retailers locating on the city’s extreme west side, older, established merchants and businesses continue to suffer, diminish and ultimately close, with the Mason City KMart being the latest casualty.

Today, a spokesman from Sears Corporate Communications confirmed a news tip NIT had received in recent days, saying that the Mason City KMart store will close in late April. The store will remain open for customers until that time.  The store opened in June of 1972.

“The store will begin its liquidation sale on February 9,” said Howard Riefs, Director of Corporate Communications for Sears, the parent company of KMart. “Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model. These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail – at the store, online and in the home.”

Mason City KMart shopers

Mason City KMart shoppers

The store in Mason City has 49 employees. Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores. Most of the associates are part time/hourly.

Last year, the Mason City council and mayor approved hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives for Marshall’s Department Store to locate to the Indianhead Shopping Center. The developer, North Iowa Growth, LLC, will receive economic development grants of tax increment (TIF) – totaling $480,000 over 7 years.

Southbridge Mall, another old retail center, is struggling and may lose two anchors in the near future. JC Penney is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and the store is noticeably more bare than in previous years. The west entrance to the store was closed, as well.

Perhaps the best example of old retail in Mason City peetering out into nothing is the Southport Shopping Center. A former Target Department store was once located there, until it collapsed from neglect. A green tarp surrounds that property now, infested with weeds and debris. City leaders have taken no action to clean up the mess, and the eyesore sits on the city’s southside year after year. The other anchor at Southport, Sears, rarely has more than a few cars in the parking lot.

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24 Responses to Mason City KMart set to close this spring

  1. Mrs. Opinion Reply Report comment

    January 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t think you can even can compare Kmart with Marshall’s. I would never shop at the Mason City Kmart.

    I personally am happy that Marshall’s is coming to town, though I feel it might take away business from Younker’s and J.C. Penney.

  2. Rastaman Reply Report comment

    January 23, 2014 at 12:16 am

    When the Blue Light specials come to an end, where is LVS, maybe and observer going to buy a soul?

  3. John Reply Report comment

    January 22, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    HyVee is buying the property… HyVee gas, etc. Henkel is set to start construction in the Spring. I would guess Sears will close soon too. Sad.

  4. big d Reply Report comment

    January 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Kause Mexicans Are Rich Too. KMART. Really??

  5. same Reply Report comment

    January 22, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Dont worry everyone mercy will take that over just like every other property in this town. They will either kick them out or wait for them to close and snatch it up.

  6. LVS Reply Report comment

    January 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    This a shame to have this old business go down, not to mention the people who will now be out of a job. Mat is correct in his view that the city has no business setting up winners and losers in the retail world. especially with out tax dollars. I don’t want to go so far as to say this is why K-Mart is closing but it certainly isn’t fair to the other retailers in town such a Kohl’s and Target. Walmart will stand on it’s own.

  7. I researched it Reply Report comment

    January 22, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    HOW you’re blaming Kmart closing on City leadership is beyond me. Have you been to Kmart recently? It’s dirty and unorganized. Their merchandise is more expensive than Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. If you take away pricing, customer experience, and overall quality of merchandise, then there isn’t much that is going to save you.

    The City Council has some issues but the lead in to this article is ridiculous. Some businesses fail on their own accord. The good news is that with a location right in the middle of town, a larger, better run business could easily take on that building and be profitable.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      January 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Giving tax breaks to new businesses that compete with established businesses is wrong. KMart has been here for over 40 years, paid taxes all those years, been a good neighbor and business here. Why does Marshall’s deserve tax breaks to compete for the same retail dollars? If Marshall’s believes there is money to be made here, let them come, but why finance them at the expense of other businesses that are already here? This policy has helped drive KMart and Sears and others down over the years. Bookmeyer and his predecessors have created the dead city we now live in with their unfair policies. As he and Brent Willett strive everyday to do nothing other than build their resumes and leave the city in shambles, those of us left to live here now watch the destruction take place.

      • I researched it Reply Report comment

        January 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        I understand where you’re coming from but think Kmart is the wrong arena in which to make the argument. If the store was doing its job in keeping up with customer expectations or even merchandising up to date products (the electronics section itself is generally a couple years behind with brands I’ve never heard of), then I’d be happy if the city did what it could to help out. But Kmart has been putting out a sub-par product and customer experience for years now. You don’t make life more difficult for automakers to save the long standing horse and buggy business. Sometimes you have to move on.

        I’m sorry, but this just comes across as you taking advantage of a poorly run business reaching the conclusion of its business model to take another shot at city government

        • Awareness/Fed up Reply Report comment

          January 26, 2014 at 8:39 am

          Kmart is not product out if date and their prices are comparable to the other stores. Maybe if they had the tax breaks as other stores they might be able to stock more, carry different brands, update their building as do the other Kmart’s in thriving cities. There is a bigger picture here that your blinders are stopping you from seeing. Put them all on the same playing field with the same rules and see who makes it. To top it off it’s not like these new businesses are large enough with high paying jobs. These businesses are not going to produce any good for our city to survive. They are businesses that you spend you spend your money at, few employees with low wages. It does not generate the economy. A factory or product generating buisness bring a good # of employees, should be higher wages where the employees can spend there money else where in the community. Why Marshall’s would even want to come is beyond me, there are not enough big wage producing buisness in this city to keep it open long. They are coming because of the tax break, it will take our money and when the tax break is done they will fold up and leave…another empty space….just wait and see…..

          • LVS

            January 26, 2014 at 10:54 am

            @Awareness–Actually, I think you will find that just like Sears, K-Mart has been mismanaged from the top and is now in a survival mode that is failing. The CEO and others at the top are now doing everything they can to guarantee their excessive bonuses and that means shutting down stores to put extra dollars into the operating dollars. It is a short term deal just to pay them and the shareholders on the backs of the employees. It is their management decisions that have killed them. Penny’s will probably be next.

      • Philosophus Reply Report comment

        January 22, 2014 at 2:54 pm

        Good point Marquardt makes, and a perspective I’ve not thought about until now. Longstanding taxpaying businesses in the community and new companies brought in with tax breaks to help facilitate real estate transactions, competing for essentially the same market: Chinese made goods. Wow. Matt has me thinking now for real.

        • Just a thought Reply Report comment

          January 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

          The fact that the business itself is failing is the only one I need to hear. They aren’t closing because of a building on the west side of town under construction. They’re closing because nobody shops there. The market decided Kmart has to close. Not Bookmeyer or the NIT.

        • Matt's good friend Reply Report comment

          January 22, 2014 at 4:55 pm

          It’s all the same cheap crap made by small suffering children in second and third world countries, just sold off a different shelf. Just the kind of sadistic evil capitalism that a fat red cat like Eric Bookmeyer and his sleazy pals would lap up. He is both the prize hog and the farmer; he is fattening himself here in River City at the expense of the citizens so he can sell himself to the highest bidder in the future when he is no longer mayor. Make no mistake about it, the only real talent Eric has is kissing the hairy wide pasty white asses of people in this town who think they are elite. What a massive joke being played on us all.

          • Just a thought

            January 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm

            What does that have to do with the topic at hand? At all?

          • Ben

            January 25, 2014 at 11:52 pm

            Bookmeyer is a younger version of Carl Miller. Both of them are a couple of egocentric scam artists.

          • Philosophus

            January 26, 2014 at 8:45 am

            Yeah, I agree with you about the exploitation of poor people in far away lands ending up as products on our shelves. Americans are collectively guilty of so much and still they see themselves as so morally righteous, even though evidence stares them right in the face. They’ll just smile, and say “Oooh goody, I can’t wait to meet my boyfriend at a restaurant after I’m done shopping at Target!” It’s hard! I know it is. But dammit, someone somewhere is going to have to draw the line. It needs to be done. AMERICA NEEDS TO SHUT DOWN COMPLETELY and rebuild itself. ALL FOREIGN IMPORTS NEED TO END for a period of ten years until America learns how to care for itself again.

            I’m so sick of this bullshit.

      • Obsessive Behavior Reply Report comment

        January 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm

        No, your wrong Matt, Sears and Kmart are both going out. Because they don’t really have anything anyone wants. They can’t match the prices, or the product of the other stores.

        And, it’s obvious that I’m right. As Sears and Kmart are failing all over America, not just in Mason City.

        So, it’s not tax incentives to get in new business, when old ones are failing, that is causing Kmart to close. That’s actually a smart move.

        But what isn’t a smart move, is to endlessly blame Bookmeyer and the council for all problems on earth. Next thing you’ll be saying, is Bookmeyer is responsible for the cold outside.

        It’s the same reason your not a council man now Matt. A insane obsession to blame everything on Bookmeyer because you don’t like him.

        I don’t doubt for a minute you would now be on the council, except for this “Bookmeyer is the devil” complex you seem to have.

        It’s simply not true, no one could be as bad as you say Bookie is… And there is no proof to back up anything you say about him. Other then videos that you made harassing Bookmeyer, everywhere he went. Wake up, you have a lot going for you. If you want to meet your full potential, rethink your obsession…

        • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

          January 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm

          I never said Bookmeyer is the devil. You have misquoted me, and I’m astonished by that. What I said was, Eric is a slovenly, drunken buffoon, as I have witnessed his malfeasance in person, as have dozens of others, including Brent Trout. Enough proof for you? At any rate, there are plenty of Sears and KMart stores doing great all over America. The truth is, if KMart and Sears are such poor retail competition, why does Marshall’s need a $480K tax break to come here and compete with them for the (very limited) retail dollars that are spent here? Your arguments are garbage. Next, you change the subject and talk about the council election because you ran out of bullets on the main point of the story. Pretty typical of troll who can’t even spell his own name. I believe I explained, I ran for city council on my terms, and I do not wish for different results. I am perfectly content making NIT a success and debating nameless trolls on a daily basis. Perhaps I will run again in 2015. Time will tell.

          • Redneck

            January 24, 2014 at 1:01 am

            Matt. Run for mayor.

          • I researched it

            January 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm

            1. Kmart and Sears are not doing well all over America. In 2013’s first and second quarters they lost a ridiculous amount of money. In the second quarter alone of 2013, they lost $194 million. A year earlier in the same quarter they lost $132 million. Sears of course owns Kmart and they’re both in a similar slide. As a single company, it has posted 27 consecutive quarters of declining sales, culminating in $534 million in losses as of 2013’s third quarter. Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert had to admit late last year that he no longer even owned a controlling stakes in the company due to distributing some 7 million shares to investors pulling out of his hedge fund.

            Sears is in serious trouble. No tax break for Marshall’s is going to change that and as long as it’s just for a couple/few years, I can see how a small town would want to attract businesses to the area. We make it back when they sell merchandise and pay our citizens. It’s not a lot but beats Sears’ empty parking lot. It makes fiscal sense. I guess I don’t see how you, as a conservative (I assume), can argue for ignoring the market (in the case of Kmart and Sears) to keep these two longstanding local retailers afloat when they clearly can’t do it on their own. The market has given them a death sentence.

            2. “Slovenly, Drunken buffoon, Your arguments are garbage, Troll”

            I want you to do well in this town, Matt. The facts aren’t good enough to put someone in their place so you resort to middle school name calling? I like your passion but the name calling and low blows are going to keep you out of any meaningful office. You ran on negativity and while it gets good feedback from the people who already agree with you, it doesn’t exactly inspire anyone else to get out and listen. It comes off as whining. Please stop. You lose credibility before you even have a chance to make a point. You’re losing me as a supporter

          • Matt Marquardt

            January 24, 2014 at 5:42 pm

            You are the definition of a troll. You can’t even spell the name your mom gave you. Sorry if the truth stings. As Eric can attest (his own wife forgot his last name and kept her own), booze soothes those kinda wounds; just play nice with the bar staff and you can have all you afford. Let’s debate using our Christian names, or don’t you feel up to the challenge? Anyway, I wouldn’t give Marshall’s a red cent to come here, although I wouldn’t discourage them from setting up shop. I said so during the campaign; that’s old news. If I run again in 2 years I’ll say the same thing and a lot more. It will be a rip-roaring good time. And really it’s no secret that Sears and KMart are not real strong companies in the 21st century. Sears will close in Bookmeyersville soon enough, leaving yet another rat-infested, crumbling box inside our city limits that we can all stare at as we drive down our cracked, bumpy, cigrette-butt-covered-pot-hole-filled roads. They could do better here if our leadership were friendly to them instead of selling them out at my (tax dollar) expense.

          • Election Ob.

            January 26, 2014 at 2:36 am

            Matt, if you want to be on the council or mayor even. all you have to do. Is give a positive message! Not a negative one, keep off Bookmeyer. Look how Bookmeyer won last time. He ignored you, and everyone else that was talking chit about him.

            It’s politics 101, you rarely win a election on a negative message. People want to have hope, when you tell them no hope, they no like, you comprehendo kemosabe?

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      I agree, Kmart lost their market share all on their own.