Kmart will close its doors in June

CLOSING: The Big Rapids Kmart will close its doors to the public in June. 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, said Howard Riefs, director of Sears Holdings Corporate Communications. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

CLOSING: The Big Rapids Kmart will close its doors to the public in June. 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, said Howard Riefs, director of Sears Holdings Corporate Communications. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

BIG RAPIDS — Attention Big Rapids Kmart shoppers, the blue light will go dark for good in June.

The Kmart store in Big Rapids is scheduled to close to the public in early June, said Howard Riefs, director of Sears Holdings Corporate Communications.

“Until then, the store will remain open for customers,” Riefs said. “The store will begin its liquidation sale on March 16.”

Store closures are part of a series of actions the company is taking to reduce its ongoing expenses.

“By closing some of our retail outlets, this will also help adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” Riefs said. “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.”

The Big Rapids Kmart has 49 employees. Those associates who are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores, Riefs said.

“Most of the associates are part-time, hourly employees,” Riefs said.

The business’ closing is a surprise to city officials, who commented that the loss of nearly 50 jobs will have an impact on the local economy.

“The obvious loss is the 49 jobs,” said city Treasurer Jon Locke. “It impacts local businesses and city revenue as well. We also will see a loss of revenue from personal income tax because 49 people will no longer be working.”

Kmart employees who live inside the city pay a 1 percent tax on their income and those living outside city limits pay 0.5 percent, Locke added.

According to documents from the City the total amount of property taxes paid by Kmart in 2013 was nearly $4,900. Of that amount $1,181 went into the city’s general fund, and nearly $640 went toward retirement and building allocations for the Department of Public Safety. Other taxes went to the State of Michigan, schools and county.

In order to claim property taxes when a business is closing the city issues a jeopardy assessment of property tax.

“That accelerates the due date for their property taxes,” Locke said. “We won’t see a property tax loss to the general fund in 2014.”

Officials from Michigan Works! have been in contact with the local store manager and will be setting up meetings for employees to inform them of the services they offer.

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Posted by Lonnie Allen

Lonnie is the Pioneer's city/county reporter. He also coordinates the Gardens and Growers page. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8328 or by e-mail at lallen@pioneergroup.com.

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