Remember when we had three Kmarts in the Binghamton area - Binghamton, Vestal, and Endicott? Back in the day, these stores were a great value for lots of items that you would find in a department store.

I grew up in the Corning and Elmira areas and frequently shopped at the local Kmart. And when our stores became Super Kmarts, that was big news. As more and more modern department stores came on the scene, we found ourselves visiting Kmart less.

The last Kmart I regularly visited was in a town close to where I camp in Pennsylvania. This particular Kmart was clean, well organized, friendly staff and the prices were low on most products, including lower sales tax. Most of the items I purchased were for my campsite. I got great deals on clothing, shorts, t-shirts, lawn chairs, fountains, tents, a toaster oven, gardening supplies, craft items, and the list goes on and on.

They even had the blue light special still going on at various times. It was a place to go during our camping vacations to find great deals on stuff we didn't really need. And we earned points on everything we bought. Those points added up fast, and we ended up with quite a few items for just points.

Eventually, the store was closed as were so many other Kmarts around the country, including all other remaining Southern Tier stores. Now there's news from the Buffalo News that there are currently six Kmarts left in the United States, with two slated to close, leaving just four left.

There are two in New Jersey - Avenel and Westwood, plus one on Long Island, N.Y. and one in Miami, Florida according to the Buffalo News. At its peak, there were around 2400 Kmarts in the United States and Canada. The last California Kmart closed in December of 2021.

Now, when I travel into town from camp to visit one of my favorite diners for breakfast, I glance over at the sprawling section of the plaza where the Kmart once stood, and wonder what, if any store will ever replace the Blue Light Special.

via Buffalo News