By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – Mackie Gann doesn’t mind making the drive from her home in Iuka to Corinth to shop at one of her favorite retailers, Kmart.
“I love coming over here,” she said on Wednesday while filling a shopping cart at the store.
But until last week, she had to put off her trips to the store, wondering if and when it would reopen.
Last May, heavy storms left several stores in Corinth flooded and damaged, including her beloved Kmart.
Like the Kroger on the other end of the Fulton Crossing shopping center, Kmart was flooded with more than a foot of water.
While other stores opened, it wasn’t until January that work began on Kmart.
Store Manager Sam Woody moved from the St. Louis area to Corinth in December.
“Everybody has been especially anxious and excited” to get the store reopened, he said.
With a chance to start over, the store “is bigger, brighter and better,” Woody added.
Featuring wider aisles and lower shelves, the store is more customer-friendly and accessible, he said.
The feedback from shoppers has been positive.
“It’s very hard to have a soft opening in a small town,” he said, laughing. “We’ve been top 10 in sales in the region since we opened last week, and the region includes St. Louis and Memphis. The reaction has been all positive.”
Gann said she missed being able to shop at Kmart during the intervening months but got regular updates on how things were going.
“I have a friend in Iuka that helped with the reopening who let me know what was happening,” she said.
As for the new look of the store – which includes a new paint job on the exterior to match the rest of the shopping center – Gann said she “loved it.”
“Oh, my goodness, it’s wonderful,” she said.
And just as wonderful, perhaps, is that the store was able to hire 75 people, many of whom had worked at the store when it was forced to close last year.
Woody said more than 200 people applied for the jobs.
Kmart, with more than 1,300 stores in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, opened its Corinth store in November 1992.
Last week, Sears Holding Corp., Kmart’s parent, reported fourth-quarter net income of $374 million, or $3.43 a share, compared to $430 million, or $3.74 a share in 2009.
Revenue fell 1 percent to $13.14 billion. Sales at Sears stores open for at least a year – a key retail metric – fell 4.5 percent, while Kmart sales rose 2.5 percent.
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or firstname.lastname@example.org.