HARRISONBURG, Va.--- Two Kmart stores in the Valley will close their doors this year, after the company said their leases were not renewed.
The Harrisonburg and Winchester Kmarts will close to the public in early June. The store in Harrisonburg has 79 employees, the store in Winchester has 91. Some of the employees will be eligible to receive severance pay and can apply for open positions at remaining Sears or Kmart stores.
Kmart sent the following statement regarding the closings:
"Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model. These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail-at the store, online and in the home."
For customers like Jeremiah Knott, going to Kmart is a family tradition. He has been coming to this store for more than 25 years.
"This is a disappointment because this is a Harrisonburg family store. I mean this is where I grew up seeing this store and there are so many stores like this that have gone out of business," said Knott.
"I'm really not surprised in that we have Target, we have Wal-Mart. They have done a little more to keep the store upscale and to attract potential customers," said Kmart customer Ms. O'Connell.
Harrisonburg Mayor Ted Byrd said the city has not been officially notified about the closing. Therefore, he cannot comment on the matter. It is unclear what store will replace Kmart.
The store in Harrisonburg will start its liquidation sale on March 16. The Winchester store will start it on April 3.
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