On This Day in 1962, the First Kmart Opened in Garden City, MI
The world's first Kmart opened on March 1st, 1962 in Garden City, Michigan.
Well, I guess you learn something new every day. The world was first introduced to the infamous Kmart right here in Michigan in 1962. Now just to clarify, the first actual "Kmart" store was known by a co-founder as a "bantam" Kmart and opened in January of 1962. That particular store was meant to be something different until late in the planning stages. The Garden City, Michigan location was the company's first ground-up full-size Kmart and boasted 80,000 square feet in space.
Even though the first Kmart opened in 1962, the company itself has roots going all the way back to 1897. The founder of the company that would eventually become Kmart, S. S. Kresge, opened his first-ever five-and-dime store in Tennessee. The company grew and was eventually incorporated into the S.S. Kresge Company.
After the first stores opened in 1962, the company continued to grow and saw its highest number of stores in 1994. In that year, Kmart had a total of 2,486 stores around the world. Of that number, 2.323 of the discount stores and Super Kmart locations were located in the United States.
After a collapse, rebranding, merger, and a couple of bankruptcies, Kmart is all but extinct. As of today, exactly 60 years from the opening of the first ground-up full-size store in Garden City, there are only a handful of stores left in the world. A few Kmart stores can still be found in California, Florida, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.
The full story of Kmart and the company itself is actually pretty interesting. Read more about it here.