By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – The announcement by Sears that it would soon close three Kmart stores in Michigan – including Super Kmart, 21111 Van Born – wasn’t unexpected by city officials. The retailer expects to shutter nearly 70 Kmart and 10 Sears outlets nationwide in its struggle to regain profitability.
According to company releases, the Taylor franchise likely will close its doors by September, and liquidation sales are expected to begin this month. The plan includes closure of Kmart in Houghton Lake and Sears in Midland.
While regretting the loss of a retailer that had long been a community staple, city officials said signs of economic progress continue throughout the city. Last month saw the long-anticipated grand opening of Cinemark’s “NextGen” theater at Southland Center, part of a $50 million investment in the mall and surrounding areas.
“We’ve ended up stronger than anticipated,” Mayor Rick Sollars said of economic development in the city. Plans are underway for an outdoor plaza to join the theater at the rejuvenated mall, which has added more than 20 new tenants in the past year.
Sollars said interest in the Eureka Road corridor continues – to include street repairs this spring courtesy of Wayne County – with the anticipated razing of the former Gibraltar Trade Center ready to pave the way for retailer Menards, and in turn the neighboring buildings in the complex.
Elsewhere in the city, local officials helped celebrate “grand re-opening” events last month at Burger King, 12900 Allen Road, which had closed for renovations, and at Gardner-White Furniture, 7680 Telegraph Road. The Michigan-owned furniture chain invested more than $500,000 to renovate its 40,000-square-foot outlet, which has operated for 35 years in Taylor.
(James Mitchell can be reached at email@example.com.)