Sunday, August 8, 2021

Kmart - Vero Beach, FL - The Klosing Kontinues

Kmart #7294
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!


  1. I'm pretty sure my old iPod touch, which I still own, would work with that Duracell charger! Still... I wouldn't buy anything that looks like that...

    Did you happen to purchase a Monty Mongoose for yourself? Frankly, I'm surprised they even bothered producing a plush of him at all, given the state of affairs the company was in at that time.

    I wonder if the canopy was to be sold without the topper (i.e. just the frame). If not, then yeah, Edward certainly got a good deal, haha!

    1. I figured there’s probably more demand out there for an older Apple charging cable than something like blank VHS tapes, but with the package in the condition it was in would probably turn off most people from buying it!

      I actually didn’t buy a Monty Mongoose for myself, even though I came across them at three different liquidations that I can recall. Monty just didn’t scream “Sears” or “Kmart” to me, even though he was created exclusively for the Sears toy department. If they were a plush Mr. Bluelight instead, I probably would have grabbed one.

      That’s a good point about the canopy, but I don’t think the label specified anything besides the fact the canopy was sold to know for sure what was included with the purchase. But for all I know, Edward could have been the manager himself!

  2. This mansard slice facade Kmart appeared to still be in pretty good condition even with the closing sale already having started. I'm sure things will start to look worse in future installments! As for the bargains at the jewelry counter, I don't know if they were really bargains. I can't speak for Kmart, but at Sears here at least in modern times before they left Houston, would regularly have jewelry on sale for up to 90% off. Although Sears wasn't as bad as Macy's, JCPenney, and Kohl's are at selling just about everything at ~70% all the time (and still being expensive, lol), their jewelry department did seem to operate on that principle.

    I wonder what the deal was with that stained floor by the beach balls. I know here at the local mansard slice Kmart, the FM 1960 W & Jones Rd. location here in Houston that relocated in 1997, there were some stained floor tiles that stayed that way for many years...if not decades. One was in the paint department where someone obviously spilled a can of paint. The other was in the health & beauty department where someone obviously spilled some hair dye. Those stains just stayed there for years. Ah, the stories a Kmart floor could tell, eh?!

    I wonder if the Edward who bought the canopy was none other than Eddie Lampert himself? Ok, probably not, but you never know! Having said all of this, Texas Kmarts and Sears were willing to sell of things with store logos on it. A fellow retail enthusiast gifted me with Kmart and Sears baskets that they had no problem buying. I guess it just varies depending on who is running the liquidation sale.

    I do remember seeing 'Monty Mongoose' in the Sears toy departments. I was wondering who that figure was. I can't imagine too many kids were bugging their parents to buy them a Monty Mongoose! It kind of reminds me of the 1980s when Kmart sold athletic shoes under their own Trax brand. Wearing Trax was a major social faux pas in school! Kids who wore Trax were teased about chasing after blue light specials, lol. It's kind of a shame that was the case, but it is what it is...or in this case, it was what it was. Discount store shopping had not yet been normalized and Kmart jokes were common then. By the time Walmart rose to prominence, it was no longer a secret that just about everyone was shopping there.

    The West Oaks Mall Sears here in Houston had some smoke detectors and fire extinguishers for sale in similarly yellowed packaging. I know fire extinguishers go bad after a while so I was surprised they were still selling that ancient merchandise. Of course, as far as Kmart closing sales and electronics go, I wonder if you found any old VHS tapes at this closing sale? Maybe another random Randall's Remarkable card like you found at the Fort Pierce Kmat?

    I'm actually surprised I never saw Kmart bags at Sears. I've seen Albertsons bags before at Randall's, but maybe that was intentional. I've seen photos before of a regular Kroger somewhere which was using Dillons bags that I suppose were sent to them by mistake.

    These photos were uploaded to Flickr a long, long time ago, but have you ever seen the photos of the former Temple City, CA Albertsons that was in a Kmart shopping center? If not, you'll want to see these! That Albertsons had some ancient decor in it when it closed. Link:

    1. Compared to other Kmart stores, this location wasn’t in that bad of shape. It received a “refresh” around 2017, which cleaned up some things a little bit to make the place a little more presentable. As we go on, conditions will continue to deteriorate here. Next time we’ll see more of a mess, and in the last installment departments will begin to be taken down. I don’t shop for jewelry often, so I really can’t attest to how good of a deal there was to be had on the jewelry here. I do know jewelry stores are known for inflating prices and having chronic sales, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Kmart was doing something similar.

      I believe that stain by the beach balls was revealed following the 2017 “refresh” where some shelves were moved around, exposing a stain that had long been hidden under a shelf. I don’t remember what department was there prior, or what could have been there a long time ago. I can only imagine the things that floor could have seen though!

      Eddie Lampert does live in Miami, and a Kmart canopy would look very good on the patio of a multi-million-dollar waterfront mansion, right? 😊 Probably a long shot, but you never know… I’ve been pretty hit or miss with the logo thing at liquidations I’ve been to in Florida, but my odds tend to favor the miss side of things…

      Monty Mongoose had his picture appear on a lot of advertisements for the Sears toy department, but it didn’t seem like he was being pushed enough to warrant a bunch of kids wanting a Monty of their own! (Actually, most in the 18 and under crowd look at me with dazed looks when I even mention Sears or Kmart, as they don’t even know what either store is).

      I actually don’t recall seeing any VHS tapes during any of my liquidation visits here, so unfortunately, the Vero Beach Kmart was completely sold out of that Kmart product staple! I do have some other relics to post later in the series though, although mostly relics relating to Kmart themselves rather than outdated products (or Houston-based supermarkets!).

      I haven’t seen those pictures of the Temple City Albertsons before – thanks for that link! That décor looks like something straight out of the 1970’s! Very neat it lasted that long!

    2. What I wouldn't give to visit a Kmart in 2021. We are well over 1,000 miles away from an open Kmart store now in Houston.
      This store has held up pretty well and has a mix of old and new department signage. I enjoyed this post and photos, great job!

      I have been to well over a dozen Kmart and Sears stores and store closings since 2017 and never saw a Monty Mongoose plush doll. Our local Sears stores had cardboard displays and window cling-ons with Monty Mongoose when Toys came back for a short while.

    3. For a Kmart, this location got a decent amount of attention in its later years, which was nice to see. Glad you liked the post too, and I still have some more photos of this store to upload another time. I was lucky enough to visit the last Miami Kmart about a month ago, and I hope to get those photos posted before long as well, as seeing a live Kmart in 2021 was an interesting experience, and I'm sure you and others would like to see the conditions of the store as well.

      I remember the Monty Mongoose signage and cling-ons as well. The three times I remember seeing the Monty plushes were at the closing of the Vero Beach Sears (mid 2019), the closing of this Kmart (late 2019), and the closing of the Lantana Kmart (early 2020), so they all ended up at closings that happened back to back. I don't remember the Monty plushes at all from when Sears was still operating normally, but I could have missed them then.