One Is the Loneliest Number: The Last Kmart in New York
Kmart is now the retail equivalent of the vaquita, the world’s most endangered sea mammal: only around 10 left in total.
Once a thriving retail behemoth, Kmart stores were as much a part of the commercial landscape as McDonald’s. As a kid, it was not uncommon to pile into dad’s station wagon and head on down to Kmart in search of rock n’ roll cassette tapes and action figures.
The first Kmart opened in 1962. At the height of its popularity, Kmart operated close to 2,500 stores globally. The former New Hartford store is now an At Home home goods retailer. The former Herkimer location remains vacant.
If you want to visit New York’s last Kmart, you’ll have to go downstate. It’s located in Bridgehampton, a hamlet in Suffolk County on Long Island. The official Kmart website still lists three other Kmarts in downstate New York, but they closed sometime in 2021.
Kmart was often a no-frills shopping experience, with the exception of the “Blue Light Special” gimmick. At certain points during store hours, Kmart would announce on-the-spot sales highlighted by a blue strobe light. This helped people stay in the store longer, as customers waited with anticipation to see what items would be discounted.
Kmart filed for bankruptcy twice, the first time in early 2002 and the second in late 2018. Their decline coincided with the rise of other more popular retail giants such as Walmart and Target. And then, of course, came Amazon, which certainly didn’t help either.
Attention Kmart shoppers: you will soon cease to exist.