Grim Season for Binghamton Kmart Employees
The display sign was dark but the lights were on inside the nearly-empty Kmart store in the Binghamton Plaza. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]Several dozen people who worked for the Binghamton Kmart store are out of work just two weeks before Christmas.
An employees shirt sported the phrase that had been heard so often inside the Binghamton Plaza store. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]The department store was a fixture in the Binghamton Plaza on the city's North Side for several decades.
Howard Reifs, a spokesman for Kmart owner Sears Holdings, said the store closed on Sunday.
A few final sales were being made after the store officially closed on Sunday. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]Reifs said employees "have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores." He did not indicate how many of the 69 people who worked at the Binghamton location might be offered other jobs.
Many local Kmart employees have said they don't intend to seek other positions with the company.
A woman who said she had worked at the Binghamton Plaza store for 29 years indicated she hoped to find a job elsewhere. A man who had worked there for the past year said he planned to collect unemployment and wait awhile before looking for work.
The planned closing of the Binghamton Kmart store was announced on September 16. A liquidation sale started a few days later.
Things were quiet inside the store Tuesday evening, with all of the merchandise long gone and a handful of employees working amid empty shelves, desks and other fixtures.
The store is expected to continue selling the remaining fixtures through Saturday.
The owners of the Binghamton Plaza and city officials have been discussing the future of the property after the closing of its biggest store.
Kmart once operated three busy stores in Broome County. The company first closed down its poorly-performing outlet in the Vestal Plaza. Its Endicott Plaza store unexpectedly ceased operations when it sustained heavy flood damage in September 2011.
For the first time in decades, the holiday scene was dismal inside the Binghamton Kmart store. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.