Save Big As We Say Goodbye to Missoula’s Kmart

By ERIN TURNER

Missoula is soon to lose a retail store that many of us grew up in!

On September 30, the Missoula Kmart will close its doors for good. Those of us who grew up in Missoula remember the mini-carousel in the front of the store, the café/restaurant in the back that had the best burritos in town, and, of course, the Icees in the striped cup. Kmart has been a Missoula landmark for many decades.

Being a kid in the 1970s and 80s, I have fond memories of Kmart since it was one of the only stores on the west side of town. It was always a treat to go and shop there. I loved those burritos in the café, was fascinated by the blue light that moved around the store, and if I was a well-behaved girl, I always got to ride either the electric horse or carousel on the way to the car!

It is sad to see the end of an era, but being the eternal optimist, I always look for the rainbow in the storm. And guess what?! The rainbow here is that everything in Kmart is on sale….that’s right, everything in the store is a blue light special!

The boys and I went to see what we could find the other day. Some things are only 10% off, so don’t be fooled into thinking that everything is clearanced to rock bottom prices yet. You have to look on the shelves to see what percentage the items are marked off.

The highest percentage off right now was the jewelry – it was marked at 70% off. This would be a great deal for Christmas gifts if you have people in your life who love jewelry!

Missoula's Kmart is closing on September 30.

Of course, the boys went and checked out the toys. Some were marked only 10%, but they did score a Nerf weapon (Oh, Lord help me!) for 20% off. Since they had been pricing them on Amazon and Walmart.com, they were thrilled at Kmart’s sale price! They also checked out the sporting goods but didn’t find any super deals. Maybe we’ll keep checking to see if they mark more things down as their closing date nears.

I stocked up on pool chemicals that were 20% percent off bringing down the price to the lowest I’ve seen in Missoula yet this summer. I also stocked up on big boxes of Ritz-type crackers of crackers that were marked down to 70 cents! I use these in recipes as well as snacks, so 70 cents for a big box was a screaming deal. I also picked up some washcloths and other bath items for 25-30% off.

Kmart isn’t the only store closing in Missoula this summer. The Dollar Plus in the Holiday Village is closing as well. We stopped in there when everything was 30% off but this last week they began marking everything down to 40% off!

It’s a great place to stock up on some essentials. I stocked up on paper lunch bags, paper plates, plastic silverware, aluminum cake pans, household cleaners, basic seasonings, and bath supplies like soap and shampoo. They are also selling all their shelving, bins, and other fixtures too. So if you are in need of those items, this would be a good place to go for a super deal!

It is sad when businesses can’t stay open but it is the unfortunate reality of life, our current economy, and the nature of business. Both these stores had a good run in Missoula and we bid them a fond farewell.

But before they close their doors for good, all you deal-seekers need to make stop by and do a little stocking up. Take advantage of the last blue light special this town will see!

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Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, and sticking to a budget in her blog archive. And be sure to check out the Missoula Save it Club.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

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