901 US 27 North, Unit #100, Sebring, FL – Lakeshore Mall
This Kmart opened in 1992 as one of the original anchors to the Lakeshore Mall, replacing an older, smaller store (#9024) in the older part of Sebring near downtown. Even though I read that this Kmart was one of the chain's top performing stores in Florida, that didn't mean anything, as this store closed for good in March 2018.
While I have some photos of the remainder of Lakeshore Mall to post in the future, today's post will look at the mall's Kmart store. The Kmart was my primary reason for visiting this mall, and what I took the most photos of, so it will get its own stand alone post. To start off our tour of the Sebring Kmart, we find ourselves standing outside the store's main exterior entrance. The main access into Kmart is though their mall entrance, which is located down a short corridor that can be accessed via the archway that says "Lakeshore" on it. This store does have a side entrance through the Garden Center, located behind that tree under the Kmart logo, which seems to be the popular entrance into the store for locals.
What you see here is what is considered the front of the Kmart, which faces out toward US 27. This is technically the left side of the store though.
Going under the archway we near the mall entrance. Going through these doors will take us into the corridor where Kmart's main entrance is.
Here is what Kmart's main entrance looks like from inside the mall.
During my visit here, I finally remembered to get a picture of the store map! This store has a layout that's pretty close to (yet slightly different in some cases) from a typical early 90's Kmart layout. One main difference is that the entrance is in the middle of the store rather than off to one of the sides like a typical 90's store. As Retail Retell noted, "Looks like they've actually tried to keep this directory somewhat updated, too! I was hoping to see one of these at either the Greenville or Memphis Kmart, but no luck :(" It's amazing what a little bit of Sharpie and white out can do!
My trip to this store marked my first visit to a Kmart after the new "Bluelight is Back" campaign rolled out. Like in most stores, this display, complete with the bluelight itself, was located near the front entrance. While a bluelight special didn't go off while I was here, I did accidentally find a bluelight special item while looking around the store.
All of these toys were located in a special section near the front of the store, as Christmas was soon approaching when I took these pictures. The actual reason I took this picture was to capture some of that new signage hanging above the toys, showing how Kmart has sold over 1 million lollipops, over 2.8 million Hot Wheels cars, etc.
Here we're looking into the front right corner of the store from near the registers. While the front end of this store is set up like a 70's Kmart, the rest of the store is pretty much a 90's layout.
The former KCafe located in the front right corner of the store. The former Cafe space is now used to house part of the girl's clothing department.
The main aisle that runs along the right side of the store can be seen in this image. Also seen here is some of the new signage that came out as a part of the "Bluelight is Back" ad campaign. I know most of you have probably seen this stuff by now (as it's been out for over three years now - this signage was much fresher when I first posted these photos to flickr in early 2016!), but this was my first time seeing it, so it found its way into quite a few of the pictures I took this day.
The fitting rooms were located along the right side wall near the back right corner of the store, between the men's and baby sections. The main back aisle dead ended into the fitting rooms.
Leaving clothing now, here we're looking toward the left side of the store from the main back aisle. Unfortunately, this view got blocked by that display of kayaks.
Going a little further down the main back aisle, still looking toward the left side of the store, we find the sporting goods and furniture departments.
Turning around to look back down the main back aisle, where the fitting rooms are visible way off in the distance.
Here's a look into the back left corner of the store, home to the automotive department. As the series of signs say, the Layaway counter and restrooms are back here too.
A slightly tilted photo of the Layaway alcove. I would have tried to straighten it, but doing so would have chopped off most of the layaway sign. There were quite a few people back there at the layaway counter, probably because at the time this photo was taken, Christmas was less than a month away. Also, the bench those two ladies are sitting on is an old ’Thank you for shopping the Saving Place’ bench, which actually predates this store (as “The Saving Place” tagline was retired in 1990 - this store came along two years later). I didn’t have the time to wait around for an unobstructed view of the bench, so this was the best I could do.
The left wall of the store can be seen here, looking from automotive down toward toys.
Another look down the main back aisle, looking once again toward the right side of the building.
The electronics department, like in many Kmart stores recently, gave up a sizable amount of floor space in order to expand the appliance selection. And by expand, I mean give more room to the six different appliance options they already carried before electronics was shrunken in size. For the amount of space they gave to appliances here, this store should have a larger appliance selection than what you see here, as most of that empty open space looks like a waste. Anyway, this department is located in the center left portion of the store.
Another look at the wide open appliance department, but from a different angle.
Here's a closeup of the electronics sign. While Kmart shrunk most of their electronics offerings to practically nothing, most of their stores still seem to have a decent selection of TVs. That one TV just didn't want to cooperate though.
Leaving Electro-pliances, we now return to the main aisle that runs down the left side of the store. From this vantage point, we are looking toward the front of the store. Toys lie straight ahead, with seasonal just beyond that.
It's never too late for a little bit of Christmas! This was the "trail" through the Christmas tree forest in the seasonal department, and they had a nice little set up here. The trail will lead you into the Garden Center, where we will pick up in the next photo...
The interior portion of the Garden Center, looking toward the front. The Garden Center entrance, slightly out of view in the left portion of the background, is a popular entrance and exit for locals looking for a quick in and out of the store. Also for that reason, there was a fairly long line at the Garden Center register. As andsome96 commented, "I've always liked these open indoor Garden Shops that Kmart starting building in the early 90s. It's certainly better than the dark, narrow ones they built prior."
A look from the interior side of an emergency exit leading into the outdoor portion of the Garden Center, complete with a giant 90’s Kmart logo.
Going out into the outdoor portion of the Garden Center. I know some of you are mesmerized by these year round Garden Centers (or as Retail Retell put it, "Jealous might be more like it, especially if the temps stay steady ;) We're on a rollercoaster in these parts!"), as I did take this picture in December.
A view of the exterior side of the emergency exit door we saw a few photos ago, and some plants that got toppled over in the wind.
Another view of the emergency exit door. In this photo, you can see the Kmart logo a little bit clearer.
The outdoor portion of the Garden Center here is actually quite large, but at the time I was here, was less than 50% used. This is what the back most portion of the Garden Center looked like - wide open and empty (except for a few random fixtures). I'm not sure if during the summer months they use this space for more plants, or if this is how this area is year round. I'm leaning toward the second option myself. Sunshine Photos agreed with my thoughts, saying "Considering how Kmart is, the second option is probably more likely. :P"
Some random fixtures and items thrown in a corner in the large, unused portion of the Garden Center. The wall on the right is the back wall of the indoor Garden Center.
What you see here is the extent of the used area of the outdoor portion of the Garden Center.
Returning to the main store, here's a look down the left side wall. The entrance to the Garden Center is through the opening on the left.
Now that we're back inside the main store, we'll continue now with a quick look at the grocery section. This is a look down one of the grocery aisles, looking toward the infamous Kmart coolers.
Even though this store didn't get the minor 2014/2015 grocery department upgrades, they still had a decent and presentable looking grocery selection here.
The paper products aisle.
A look down the main center aisle, looking toward housewares and the right side of the store.
The pharmacy box, as viewed from one of the main center aisles that runs from the front to the back of the store.
A fairly obstructed view of the pharmacy, which like in most stores, received some updated signage recently.
A closeup of the pharmacy window. The pickup/drop off area was all the way down at the far left of the row of windows.
Returning to the main front aisle, here's a look back toward the Garden Center. The pharmacy is off to the left in this picture, but out of view.
Returning to the front end, here we see the registers, customer service, clothing, jewelry, and the former KCafe (off in the background).
And here we return once again to the main entrance. With that, we complete our tour of the Sebring, FL Kmart located at the Lakeshore Mall. But outside of those doors, there’s much more to this mall that we haven’t seen yet. I’m sure most of you have been waiting to see what the rest of this mall is all about, outside of Kmart. The next My Florida Retail post will take us deeper into the mall, where we'll explore the 4 other anchors stores and the mall corridor itself in more detail.
One final thing to note before I conclude this post, one thing I noticed while I was at the Sebring Kmart was that Kmart had started using these Bluelight special stickers to tag the prices on certain items, items which I believe were featured as bluelight specials. I found this tag on a bottle of flavored water while strolling through a grocery aisle, accompanied by many other bottles of water with this tag on it in the same spot. I bought one of these bottles of water, and the girl at the register had to manually enter and override the price into the computer since the computer didn’t recognize the bluelight special price any more (I think someone forgot to remove the stickers once the special ended).
Anyway, more from the Lakeshore Mall to come soon! Until the next post,