Maui Kmart’s blue light goes dark June 18

With some loyal associates staying until the very end, the island’s first-ever big-box store is working to have everything gone by closing day

The last day that Kmart will be open to the public is June 18, a manager at the Kahului store said Monday.

“Everything must go,” manager Jarett Chytka said. “By the 18th, we need to have everything out.”

A liquidation sale began March 30, and the store still has “quite a bit of merchandise” to be purchased, from clothing to shelving units to toys and shoes, Chytka said. Items are selling from 40 to 75 percent off, though discounts change from day to day.

Officials with Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company of Kmart, confirmed the store’s closure in March. Kmart was the first big-box store to open on Maui, in April 1993. Costco moved in next door in 1995, followed by Walmart at the nearby Maui Business Park in 2001 and Target at the Puunene Shopping Center in 2015. A manager who declined to be identified said in March that sales had dropped significantly since Target opened.

Maui’s only Kmart is one of the latest in the national retail chain to fold. In September, Sears Holdings said it would close 64 Kmart stores in 28 states, followed by announcements in December and January that 108 more Kmart locations would close.

Chytka said there are close to 80 staff members at the Kahului store. Some have already found jobs with new employers but planned to stay on until the final day.

“Our staff is top notch,” he said. “Some of them have been here since the store opened . . . and they’re staying till it’s closed. We’re just lucky to have great associates.”

Chytka said he wasn’t sure what time the store would close June 18, explaining that it depends on how much merchandise is left by the end of the day.

“We just appreciate the support of the community over the years,” Chytka said. “A big mahalo to the community for the support, and all the associates.”

Located on Dairy Road, Kmart is open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

* Colleen Uechi can be reached at cuechi@mauinews.com.