1501 US Highway 1, Vero Beach, FL - Indian River Plaza
As I slowly work my way through these photos I have of the closing of the Vero Beach Kmart, we've finally come to the halfway point. Today's post brings us the third of my five installments documenting the closing of this store, today's pictures coming from a visit in mid-October 2019, approximately a month into the store's closing sale. Even a month in, the store was still fully in-tact with a mostly complete selection of product, although there were some noticeable spots where product was beginning to empty.
Unlike last time, when we visited just after the liquidation started, a month into the sale and the front windows were now plastered over with various store closing signs. Since the outside of the building lacked the traditional giant yellow banner, these signs in the window were the only message to the outside world that this store was soon to be no more.
Stepping through the front doors, more of the usual store closing messages and signage appeared on this board inside the vestibule.
Entering the main store itself, we are greeted by the jewelry counter, which featured some of the steepest discounts in the building at the time of my visit (70% off everything, with a coupon for an additional 10% off as well). At least with Sears and Kmart, they seem to want to get rid of the jewelry as fast as possible at these closing sales, so they always put huge markdowns on that merchandise from the start.
Leaving the jewelry counter, we'll turn to the right to begin our usual loop around the store. Like I said before, things still look fairly normal as far as the amount of merchandise goes. If you were to remove the tacky closing signage (which actually multiplied since our last visit), this scene wouldn't look too different from a normal day here.
From the front of the grocery department, here's a look across the width of the store.
The grocery aisles looked quite perfectly stocked still. Either the employees still cared enough at this point to keep the place looking good, or this stuff just wasn't selling.
At least for this side of the aisle, there's a reason it wasn't moving product as fast - alcoholic beverages weren't part of the store closing discounts, as usual in these closing sales.
The seasonal department was still fully stocked with patio furniture sets at the time of my visit. Had the store closing not begun, these patio sets would have eventually been consolidated into the corner to make room for the Christmas tree village over here. Yes, in Florida, it's completely normal in the wintertime to see Christmas trees displayed next to patio furniture!
More store closing signage hangs over the main aisle, this one cutting toward the back of the store alongside toys, sporting goods, and hardware.
Near the toy department was this bin of plush Monty Mongooses (or would the plural be Monty Mongeese? I'm actually not sure on that one.) Monty Mongoose was the monster mascot used for Sears' Toy Department revival around 2018, back at the time when everyone decided to expand or add a toy department following the demise of Toys R Us. It doesn't appear like his plush version was ever very popular, as I've seen full bins like these for sale at a number of Sears and Kmart stores following his debut and demise shortly thereafter.
While Kmart may not have had the chance to set up the Christmas tree displays yet, they did get in their shipment of Christmas trees. Since there wasn't anywhere else to put them, the Christmas tree pallets were wheeled out from the backroom and lined up in the middle of the aisle, with some overflow pallets placed in the furniture department too.
Tools and a wall of toy shopping carts - a scene that would only be fitting for the start of a store closing sale.
As usual with Kmart closings (and Kmart in normal everyday operations too), you never know what kind of outdated products will be found in the back, or haven't sold in many years. Just looking at how faded that Duracell charger is, I can assure you it's been hanging on that hook for a while! That charger is for the original version of the iPhone and the iPod Nano, a product I don't think most mainstream retailers have sold in years. But as you know, Kmart is America's #1 source for technology items from 15 years ago!
Getting into the store's very back corner, we find our first totally empty aisle, one of very few at the time of my visit. As the closing went on, these departments in the back right corner would begin to consolidate into the front and middle part of the store, with this area being the first to get completely dismantled.
Leaving the hardlines side of the store, we'll being our transition into clothing and the other softlines departments.
Layaway, which was once located in the back of the electronics department, had transitioned into being in the back of the men's clothing department as the electronics selection shriveled away into nothing during this store's final years.
Lots of extra clothing racks were pulled out into the middle of the main aisles to allow for additional product to be sold during the liquidation event.
The front doors can be seen in the distance here, marking the approximate halfway point through the sales floor.
Lots and lots of clothes for sale. Most clothing was at 50-60% off too, so Kmart really wanted to burn through the remaining clothing inventory with that steep of a discount this soon into the sale.
Turning the corner, here's a look down the left side of the store. The infant's department is located to my right.
Here's a look across the left side of the building again, this time as seen from the front left corner and former KCafe.
This store's KCafe had been turned into an extension of the clothing department in recent years, and for the liquidation sale it remained just that.
Back up front, the check lanes begin to come into view.
The store's Kmart canopy is seen here, complete with the store's modern variant of the Bluelight underneath it - you can't get much more of a Kmart-y sight than this (well, you can, if only there was a roof leak above this! 😃). As I told you last time, this store was enforcing the whole "we can't sell you anything with a logo on it" rule as part of the fixture sale, as I learned when asking if I could buy a basket, however...
…someone named Edward found a way to convince the manager to sell him the Kmart canopy! So Edward, if you're reading this, please share with me your ways!
Hopefully Edward's backyard has been livened up with his new Kmart canopy, a nice centerpiece to any patio, right? Anyway, here's another look across the front lanes, with Kmart's service desk located just beyond the canopy.
As I was leaving, I saw this interesting sight at one of the check lanes. Kmart must have gotten a shipment of Sears bags by accident, as that's what was being used at this lane for purchases. Since Sears and Kmart are the same company it's probably a common mistake to happen, but this was my first time seeing something like this in person.
And while this store lacked the traditional closing banner on the exterior - don't worry - it did find itself a home here. Instead of hanging the banner on the front of the building, the banner found itself a home in front of the check lanes, right under the store's thank you sign. It's actually a quite fitting placement for the banner, actually, as all that now reads 'thank you for shopping your Kmart store closing'!
Back outside, that concludes today's installment of Vero Beach Kmart closing photos. Just two more of these posts to go before I can finally wrap up this series - only going on two years after this place actually closed for good! It's slow progress, but I suppose it is still progress though.
More to come soon, so until the next post,
P.S. - Posting on AFB resumes next Sunday, so be sure to head over there for that!