At one time K Mart was your first choice when you needed to buy something. The thousands of stores across the country as well as the stores dotted all over Orange County would be teaming with customers every weekend.
Up until 1990 K Mart was the second biggest retailer in The United States with only Sears ahead of it then in 1990 Walmart pushed K Mart in to third. What followed was a steady decline of K Mart which rapidly increased after be taken over by Sears and years of underinvestment.
In Orange County yes there was always a few Target stores from the early 1980’s with Huntington Beach, Fullerton and Anaheim coming to mind but they were outnumbered by K Mart locations. Walmart didn’t show up until much later but as the 1980’s turned in to the 1990’s K Mart began closing Orange County stores as quickly as Target opened new ones.
Stores such as Home Depot, Costco, Tj Max and Marshall’s slowly took its business as the K Mart stores even today look stuck in the 1980’s with outdated stores and equipment. By the time Walmart had arrived and, made a big presence in Orange County K Mart was already in steep decline.
The Costa Mesa store on Harbor and Wilson is the last remaining K Mart in Orange County and, its sad to see the current state of what once was a leader in retail, The store itself has been up for sale online which means if a buyer comes along the last K Mart in Orange County will close.
Inside the store it looks like a store on its last legs with the outside garden, appliance and electronic departments long since removed. Merchandise in the store has been stretched out to fill the space with often one item down one side of an aisle or clothing racks spaced out to fill empty areas of flooring.
The staff is friendly although as you might expect limited with low foot traffic. I would be surprised if this store remains open for too much longer which would be sad for the employees and legacy for this company that once was a big part of America and Orange County’s history.