The Kmart in Martinez on Washington Road is closing its doors for good. (WRDW-TV / July 3, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, July, 3, 2012
MARTINEZ, Ga. -- There's bad news for more than 75 Martinez employees, as Kmart has announced plans to close its Washington Road store later this year.
It's the latest in a handful of other stores to close down this year.
Dolores Faglier has been shopping at Kmart since she moved to Martinez.
"I've lived here about 37, almost 40 years in this neighborhood, and I've always come to Kmart," Faglier said.
She was not happy to hear that her store is being shut down.
"Well I'm kind of upset because I come here quite frequently. I get my prescriptions here. I like the personal attention that I get here," Faglier said.
"Every time you turn around, some store is closing down. So what about all these people with no job?" Points out another Kmart shopper, Lillie Collins.
It's been a rough year for some businesses in Columbia County. Three Food Lions, a Ryan's Buffet and Mike's Furniture have all already closed their doors.
"It's not a reflection of this marketplace or the demographics. They are issues that these companies are grappling with internally," said Troy Post, the executive director of the Columbia County Development Authority.
But the county is working to help uplift the area, applying for an opportunity zone along the Martinez corridor of Washington Road. This means businesses could earn tax credits for moving in.
"It's an attractive incentive for somebody who's opening up a business or a retail chain that may be looking at a facility like this," Post said.
From April to May, Columbia County's unemployment increased .07 of a point to 7.3 percent. With the latest news, another 77 employees will be out of jobs.
"Some of them [Kmart employees] I've been seeing here for many, many years, and I feel sorry for them," Faglier said.
"We're having a harder time as it is. And more places that close, mean more people out of jobs," Collins said.
But for now, Faglier will have to start looking for a new store.
"I'm gonna miss it," she said.
We're told the county will know more about their opportunity zone application later this summer.
News 12 contacted Sears Holdings, the company that owns Kmart. They tell us the store will close at the end of September. The only reason that they were able to give us for the closing is that the lease was not renewed for the location.
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