OAKDALE, Calif. — The last Kmart in Stanislaus County is preparing to close their doors by the end of this year at their Oakdale location.
This marks another round of closures for both Kmart and Sears, now owned by the same company, across the country.
"After careful review, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the Kmart store in Oakdale, California. The liquidation sale is expected to begin in mid-September and the store is planned to close by mid-December. We encourage customers to continue shopping on Kmart.com for all their product needs," Larry Costello, a spokesman for Kmart and Sears said.
It's a loss causing waves across the community of Oakdale.
"What are we going to do?" worried Patti Albarico, who said she has lived in Oakdale for the last 20 years. "We have nothing here. Nothing."
Kmart has been a store on which Albarico said she relies.
"I've always been told that this store has done so well because there is nothing else that they wouldn't close. So I was just shocked," she said.
And it turns out, this is a store the entire town has spent decades relying on, as the only big box retailer for everyday household goods in the city of Oakdale.
"When I want to get something simple, like a shower curtain or sheets or something simple like that, I won't have that convenience anymore when they're gone," said Kathy Stallings.
"It's a huge loss, it really is," said former Riverbank City Manager Rick Holmer.
Holmer said back in the 90's people from surrounding towns like Riverbank had no other choice but to rely on this Kmart, too. He was there for the ribbon-cutting as they became a Super Kmart.
"As we were driving back, I had the mayor with me and she said, 'Rich, I can't even buy underwear in Riverbank!'" Holmer recalled. "And I said, 'Well I'll try to do something about that to make your life a little bit easier.' But we were very envious of Oakdale at the time."
Locals say, after this location closes in mid-December, they'll have to make the drive to more developed areas like Riverbank or Modesto to visit similar stores.
"I don't drive, so it's more convenient for me to come here to do my shopping than go to Riverbank or Modesto," Stallings said.
"You don't have a Super Kmart, you don't have a Target, you don't have a Walmart, you don't have a Sam's Club, you don't have a Costco," Holmer said.
In the meantime, many people are keeping their hopes up for something similar to take its place soon.
"I'm just really sad to see it go," Albarico said.
A spokesman for the company refused to comment on how many employees worked at the Oakdale Kmart location, but they did say liquidation sales are expected to start mid-September.
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