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mediamongrel

4 Kmarts, but 3 Walmarts? Oddities abound...

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For most cities Kmart doesn't even begin to touch Walmart's territory. Ignoring all of the profit totals (and foot traffic), it is still interesting to note that Asheville still has more Kmarts than Walmarts. As far as I can tell the Kmarts (Tunnel Rd, Patton Ave, Brevard Rd, and Hendersonville Rd) still outnumber the three Walmarts (Bleachery Blvd, Airport Rd, and Hendersonville Rd). The more interesting aspect though is that there seems to be a Chick Fil A near every Kmart (excluding Patton Ave.)

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For most cities Kmart doesn't even begin to touch Walmart's territory. Ignoring all of the profit totals (and foot traffic), it is still interesting to note that Asheville still has more Kmarts than Walmarts. As far as I can tell the Kmarts (Tunnel Rd, Patton Ave, Brevard Rd, and Hendersonville Rd) still outnumber the three Walmarts (Bleachery Blvd, Airport Rd, and Hendersonville Rd). The more interesting aspect though is that there seems to be a Chick Fil A near every Kmart (excluding Patton Ave.)

It is rather odd that there's that many Kmarts, but I'd say Walmart in Weaverville is closer to downtown than the Walmart on Airport Road.

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It is rather odd that there's that many Kmarts, but I'd say Walmart in Weaverville is closer to downtown than the Walmart on Airport Road.

If you go by mileage you're right. The Walmart on Airport road is very busy though, while the one in the Skyland area (near Sitel) is usually always slow. I don't think anyone knows that one is there since it re-opened.

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For most cities Kmart doesn't even begin to touch Walmart's territory. Ignoring all of the profit totals (and foot traffic), it is still interesting to note that Asheville still has more Kmarts than Walmarts. As far as I can tell the Kmarts (Tunnel Rd, Patton Ave, Brevard Rd, and Hendersonville Rd) still outnumber the three Walmarts (Bleachery Blvd, Airport Rd, and Hendersonville Rd). The more interesting aspect though is that there seems to be a Chick Fil A near every Kmart (excluding Patton Ave.)

All of those Kmarts, save the one on Brevard Road, were here before Asheville ever had a Walmart. It's not as if they sprung up in competition to Walmart. Also, the Chick-fil-A's were also added well after the Kmarts were established.

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All of those Kmarts, save the one on Brevard Road, were here before Asheville ever had a Walmart. It's not as if they sprung up in competition to Walmart. Also, the Chick-fil-A's were also added well after the Kmarts were established.

I never said they "sprung up," just pointing out that 4 Kmarts are a lot for any point in time in a city like Asheville. Most bigger cities like Charlotte or Greensboro only have 1-2 Kmarts, not 4.

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I've always found that odd as well. Columbia and Raleigh have retained most of their original Kmarts as well, whereas cities like Spartanburg have lost ALL of their Kmart stores yet some small towns have been able to hold on to theirs. Go figure.

Maybe for Asheville's case, the anti-Walmart sentiment from a good bit of the population helps keep the Kmart stores in business.

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I never said they "sprung up," just pointing out that 4 Kmarts are a lot for any point in time in a city like Asheville. Most bigger cities like Charlotte or Greensboro only have 1-2 Kmarts, not 4.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you did say that. What I meant was it's not as if Kmart came along after or alongside new Walmarts. Given that in the 70's and 80's when pretty much Kmart was the only store of it's type in town, except Roses and the defunct Sky City chain, it's not surprising there are four. At least not to me.

Do you know how many Kmarts cities like Charlotte or Greensboro had prior to the growth of the Walmart chain? It would be interesting to know that.

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I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you did say that. What I meant was it's not as if Kmart came along after or alongside new Walmarts. Given that in the 70's and 80's when pretty much Kmart was the only store of it's type in town, except Roses and the defunct Sky City chain, it's not surprising there are four. At least not to me.

Do you know how many Kmarts cities like Charlotte or Greensboro had prior to the growth of the Walmart chain? It would be interesting to know that.

I do not know how many Kmarts those cities had, and it would probably be too hard to find out unless you have a lot of time to look through archived photos of those cities and actually count the different locations. I'm sure Kmart wouldn't want to publicize the locations that have closed over the years either. Just going by demographics, I'd be willing to bet the Greensboro/Winston-Salem areas had more Kmarts than Charlotte. Of course, as you mentioned, back in the 70's and 80's, Roses had quite a few stores as well. A search on the tax info. showed that the average Kmart store (in Western NC district) averaged around $9 million dollars in sales last year (2010). Thinking in terms of what it must cost to run a store, I am surprised that these stores are still open.

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I think it's odd that all of the K-Marts are still open as well. I mean any time I go it's almost empty, and I go like maybe once a year or less haha. But if you include the Weaverville store then technically there's 4 Walmarts in Asheville. Just wish they would expand Target at Southridge and make it a SuperTarget :)

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I think it's odd that all of the K-Marts are still open as well. I mean any time I go it's almost empty, and I go like maybe once a year or less haha. But if you include the Weaverville store then technically there's 4 Walmarts in Asheville. Just wish they would expand Target at Southridge and make it a SuperTarget :)

Yes, we were wondering if the Weaverville store should be considered Asheville, rather than the Airport Rd. store which is pretty far away from Asheville center to be honest. Then again the three Kmarts are within 12 miles of each other if you travel from the Skyland one, up Hendersonville Rd. to 240, stop at the Tunnel Rd. Kmart, then get back on 240 and head to the Patton Ave. store. The Big K near the Biltmore Mall is kind of lost in the shuffle.

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I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you did say that. What I meant was it's not as if Kmart came along after or alongside new Walmarts. Given that in the 70's and 80's when pretty much Kmart was the only store of it's type in town, except Roses and the defunct Sky City chain, it's not surprising there are four. At least not to me.

Do you know how many Kmarts cities like Charlotte or Greensboro had prior to the growth of the Walmart chain? It would be interesting to know that.

I grew up in Greensboro during the 70's and 80's and I remember three K mart stores (W. Market Street, Randleman Rd and Carolina Circle Mall). At the time Greensboro's population was between 140 to 150k. There is one K-Mart now and atleast 3 Walmart stores (2 super and one regular).

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K-Marts exist in abundance in Asheville because of the limited availability of developable land. As an example, look at the WalMart built on Swannanoa River Road. Can you imagine the cost to clean up a former bleachary?! They did it because it was one of the only sites available at the size they needed in proximity to other retail. The Original K-Marts have valuable real estate, and they are staying put. In Charlotte, Winston, or Raleigh, a larger store site was available just a mile down the road, so the large format WalMarts were able to come in and suck the business away.

This land availability issue has been an issue impeding the growth of Asheville for decades. If you read the city plans of the 70s and 80s they basically write off manufacturing and industrial development due to the inability to provide appropriate flat land for their development.

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K-Marts exist in abundance in Asheville because of the limited availability of developable land. As an example, look at the WalMart built on Swannanoa River Road. Can you imagine the cost to clean up a former bleachary?! They did it because it was one of the only sites available at the size they needed in proximity to other retail. The Original K-Marts have valuable real estate, and they are staying put. In Charlotte, Winston, or Raleigh, a larger store site was available just a mile down the road, so the large format WalMarts were able to come in and suck the business away.

This land availability issue has been an issue impeding the growth of Asheville for decades. If you read the city plans of the 70s and 80s they basically write off manufacturing and industrial development due to the inability to provide appropriate flat land for their development.

The Biltmore Mall is a perfect spot for a future Wal-Mart Supercenter, considering most of the tenants have left.

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2 more tenants recently moved out of the Tunnel Rd. Kmart plaza, Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant and The Hot Dog King. Apparently the landlord must be raising the rent like crazy this year.

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I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you did say that. What I meant was it's not as if Kmart came along after or alongside new Walmarts. Given that in the 70's and 80's when pretty much Kmart was the only store of it's type in town, except Roses and the defunct Sky City chain, it's not surprising there are four. At least not to me.

Do you know how many Kmarts cities like Charlotte or Greensboro had prior to the growth of the Walmart chain? It would be interesting to know that.

I know there was also a Kmart In Lenoir up until a few years ago.

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I wonder if the eventual plan is for Sears to leave the Asheville Mall and rebuild the K-Mart store across the street as a freestanding Sears or Sears Grand or something. That would leave space at the mall for a Macy's

I guess I must be in the significant minority but I find myself going to Sears fairly often...

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I'd go for that plan. Sears could move to a smaller, more economical space and presumably make more than enough $$$ on the sale of their mall property to fund a renovation at the Kmart site. I'm sure mall management would love to trade out Sears for Macy's.

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I'd go for that plan. Sears could move to a smaller, more economical space and presumably make more than enough $$$ on the sale of their mall property to fund a renovation at the Kmart site. I'm sure mall management would love to trade out Sears for Macy's.

That plaza though is in a state of ultimate deterioration. I doubt whoever owns it would want to spend big money for renovation, and in return just get a Sears. I don't think a freestanding Sears would attract any more shoppers at all. If they want to eliminate the ghetto look and reputation of that plaza across from the Asheville mall, they would need to gut the enitire property (and parking lot) and think more upscale. Like I have said before, Asheville natives would jump at an IKEA, with their quirky (and inexpensive) furniture and such. Or maybe something along the lines of a few higher end restaurants (not crap like Applebee's or Olive Garden). Or how about a Costco or other wholesale foods company? But while faced with dire financial straits, I doubt Sears/Kmart will ever be building any new stores again, especially putting money in to that location, where the only anchors now are Tunnel Vision, Tuesday Morning, a Dollar Store, a Radio Shack, and a barber shop.

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I'd go for that plan. Sears could move to a smaller, more economical space and presumably make more than enough $$$ on the sale of their mall property to fund a renovation at the Kmart site. I'm sure mall management would love to trade out Sears for Macy's.

Do anchor stores in mall properties typically own their stores? I always assumed they were leased.

Edited by Lootles

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That plaza though is in a state of ultimate deterioration. I doubt whoever owns it would want to spend big money for renovation, and in return just get a Sears. I don't think a freestanding Sears would attract any more shoppers at all. If they want to eliminate the ghetto look and reputation of that plaza across from the Asheville mall, they would need to gut the enitire property (and parking lot) and think more upscale. Like I have said before, Asheville natives would jump at an IKEA, with their quirky (and inexpensive) furniture and such. Or maybe something along the lines of a few higher end restaurants (not crap like Applebee's or Olive Garden). Or how about a Costco or other wholesale foods company? But while faced with dire financial straits, I doubt Sears/Kmart will ever be building any new stores again, especially putting money in to that location, where the only anchors now are Tunnel Vision, Tuesday Morning, a Dollar Store, a Radio Shack, and a barber shop.

IKEA? In that traffic dense area? IKEA likes places where they can spread out with a huge parking lot, etc. It's too restricted for a Costco as well. Big hill and highway to the north and east sides of the property and restricted by South Tunnel Road and Overlook Village to the west and south. There isn't enough room for the huge mega stores like you mention.

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Ikea ain't gonna build in Asheville, end of story. They tend to have a VERY large catchment area and Asheville is probably considered to be on the fringe of the area served by the Charlotte store. If another one ever gets built in NC it will probably go in the Triangle (or between the Triangle and Triad in Mebane). There's an outside chance that Upstate SC is on their (very) long term radar but that's the closest Ikea will ever possibly come to Asheville. Long before any of these, I would expect places like Upstate NY, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Nashville (all of which are significant population centers without an Ikea within driving distance) would be targeted first.

On the other hand, I think Costco would make sense for that spot. As I recall, the Home Depot on Fairview Road was originally built as a Costco so clearly they're at least somewhat interested in E. Asheville (Sam's, their only potential area competitor, is on the opposite side of town.)

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Ikea ain't gonna build in Asheville, end of story. They tend to have a VERY large catchment area and Asheville is probably considered to be on the fringe of the area served by the Charlotte store. If another one ever gets built in NC it will probably go in the Triangle (or between the Triangle and Triad in Mebane). There's an outside chance that Upstate SC is on their (very) long term radar but that's the closest Ikea will ever possibly come to Asheville. Long before any of these, I would expect places like Upstate NY, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Nashville (all of which are significant population centers without an Ikea within driving distance) would be targeted first.

On the other hand, I think Costco would make sense for that spot. As I recall, the Home Depot on Fairview Road was originally built as a Costco so clearly they're at least somewhat interested in E. Asheville (Sam's, their only potential area competitor, is on the opposite side of town.)

This is true. Costco originally built the building that is currently Home Depot. It was built and sat empty for quite a while before HD moved in. Personally, I'd love to see a Costco come to the eastern side of Asheville/Buncombe County. It's ripe for development. I've often wondered why someone doesn't develop the former Beacon Mfg. property in Swannanoa into some sort of retail/outlet center.

That being said, does anyone know what is going in in the vacant building next to Michael's store in the Riverbend center? The last few weeks the facade has undergone a facelift on that section of the building. Several years ago I suggested, via their website, that it would be a good location for a Trader Joes. Not that I expect that to happen.... but one can hope!

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Do anchor stores in mall properties typically own their stores? I always assumed they were leased.

Yes. Typically a Belk or a Sears would own the property the building occupies, as well as the parking lot around it. That is one reason you will often see emergency exits to either side of an entrance to an anchor store. They cannot evacuate you through an adjacent property.

I think the Kmart site would be ripe for a mixed use lifestyle center... a mini biltmore park if you will.

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I think the Kmart site would be ripe for a mixed use lifestyle center... a mini biltmore park if you will.

A pseudo Biltmore Park in the Kmart Plaza? You are describing two VERY different demographics. People that hang out at the Kmart plaza and ride the bus, typically don't go to Biltmore Park. If they could shop at REI, and eat at P.F. Changs, they wouldn't be in a plaza that houses Kmart, a Dollar Store, and two shut down restaurants. (Hot Dog King & Guadalajara)

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If they honestly do anything to this plaza, I would just bulldoze it, and create a wider Tunnel Road or interchange.

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