...before Covid was declared a pandemic and we forced to shelter in place. I was among those going to the Hollister, California Kmart store as it prepared to shut its doors. I went as often as I could once the store announced it was closing. The announcement was made in November 2019. For the first time since the store opened back in 1990, all registers were open as people were coming in looking for discounted stuff. I was in and out of the store a lot in December and January, seeing what was left and for how much. By January, the store was condensing its remaining merchandise to the front of the store and the back of the store began to look like this:
As the days went by, I found more stuff I wanted, including a pair of shorts that were 90% off. I was amazed to find clothes and shoes that were in my size. It seemed like mostly the bigger-sized clothes and shoes were left. All the books I got from Kmart then all got read during the pandemic.
A year ago today, early in the morning was the last day I was at the store and got the aforementioned shorts. I was told via Facebook the following morning that everything was gone by then, except the fixtures that they were selling.
At the same time, the Taco Bell nearby was remodeling. It shares a parking lot with the now-shuttered Kmart, as do Foster's Freeze and a tile store in a building adjacent to Kmart. It looked like the tile store and Foster Freeze were going to have the parking lot to themselves for a while. Then Covid hit, the fast food chains went drive-thru only and the parking lot was mainly deserted. The shuttered store and parking lot remain empty a year later.
It was sad to think the people working at this store were losing jobs. But that was before the pandemic hit, causing others to lose jobs. I was kind of glad the closure occurred before the shelter-in-place order. I would not have wanted to go looking for discounted stuff under those circumstances. Even if the store had stayed open, they would have faced the same consequences as all other stores--they too would have gotten stripped clean of toilet paper and hand sanitizer at the start of the pandemic.
Now a Dollar General has opened in Hollister, on a different side of town. I have yet to see that store and am hesitant about doing under the current circumstances. I'd felt the same way about a Big Lots store that recently opened in nearby Gilroy, but finally visited that one on MLK day. It was the first time I'd driven my new car (that I got in December 2019) to the nearby town. The Big Lots store was not busy that day. So why am I so hesitant about this new store in my town? I guess in both cases it was just the anxiety I've developed over going to stores during the pandemic. I was also hesitant about going to Big Lots when I did not plan to get anything there. But I'm sure I can find some essentials at Dollar General. But given the distance from my house, it does not seems like I'll be going often, when Dollar Tree is much closer--across from where Kmart was.