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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Store closings affect BG

Last week, the Kmart Corporation revealed its list of 283 locations nationwide that will go out of business, including 10 in Ohio.

Among that list was the Kmart in Bowling Green.

In January, Kmart announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and would have to close many of its locations in the hopes of getting back into the positives.

According to Stephen Pagani, media relations director for Kmart, closing the stores is necessary because they are “nonprofitable,” and it will save the Kmart Corporation $550 million this year. However, none of the stores soon to close are expected to reopen even after the company gets out of the red.

“It’s very, very unusual for us to close a store and then reopen it,” Pagani said.

The Bowling Green Kmart will begin its liquidation sale tomorrow and will officially close within 45-90 days after that.

“At the latest, we’re looking at late June (for the closing),” Pagani said.

After Kmart goes out of business, 60 people will be out of a job, said Jennifer Ruhe, executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce.

“That’s something you don’t want to see,” Ruhe said. “It’s always a loss when you lose jobs that offer (real world) experience.”

However, while that is the main concern, it is not the city’s only concern over the store’s closing.

According to Ruhe, the city has been working to develop the south end of Main Street, where Kmart currently is. Recently, a Home Depot was built and there have been plans for other stores submitted, Ruhe said. She is concerned that the loss of Kmart could slow that progression.

“There’s going to be an empty building right in the middle of new development,” she said.

Ruhe said the city had hoped the corporation would have left the Bowling Green Kmart open because business could have picked up once the south end of town had been developed. However, she did say that something will most likely take its place.

“I would expect we’ll start to see inquiries, but so far I have not heard anybody express any interest or any plans being made at this time,” she said.

While the city will still have Meijer and Wal-mart, which offer similar products, the competition level among the stores will decrease when Kmart closes.

This could hurt employment hours and wages, Ruhe said.

“The less (stores) you have, the less likely it will remain competitive for pay scale and things like that,” she said.

City officials are not the only ones concerned by the coming loss of Kmart. Area patrons expressed sadness in seeing their store close.

Bill Peters, a resident of Bowling Green, said he has shopped at Kmart ever since the store opened.

“It’s been a favorite store of mine for a long time,” he said. “I prefer shopping here to Wal-mart or Meijer.”

Bowling Green resident John Bechstein said he feels the same way.

“It’s a nice place to come to and get things cheaper,” he said. “It’s bad that it’s closing.”

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