Poconos Coal

Kmart closing store at Schuylkill Mall near Frackville

K-Mart closing in Frackville

NEW CASTLE TWP., Pa. - Kmart in the Schuylkill Mall near Frackville, Schuylkill County, will be closing its doors for good before the end of the year.

"Our area here depends on Social Security and black lung, and once the checks come in," said Ed Pautienus of Frackville. "Kmart was a blessing to go to because they had everything you needed. Where are you going to go now?"

Kmart's 80 employees have been given pink slips. That's on top of the 84 people who lost their jobs about a month ago when the mall's Sears store went out of business. The two retailers are owned by the same company.

The mall was a bright spot when it opened in New Castle Township in 1980, but things have since changed.

"The mall has been going downhill for a few years now," said John Susan of Frackville.

Bon-Ton is the only remaining large-scale department store in the mall. Dunham's Sports, Black Diamond Antiques, and Blum's Bid Board now fill some of the former anchor store locations.

Kmart will officially close in mid-October. We are told employees will receive severance and can apply to other store locations, the closest of which is 20 miles away.

In a statement, company representatives said, "store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model."

CBRE|FAMECO, a real estate services company hired by the mall, issued this statement:

"We have valued Kmart as a tenant at Schuylkill Mall for many years, and are obviously disappointed that they will not be extending their lease at the end of its current term. Candidly, this is not a big surprise, as Kmart and Sears have been realigning their corporate strategy, and as a company, now operates fewer than ½ the stores that existed (3500) when the companies merged, with approximately 200 stores closing in 2014.

"In anticipation of this potential closure, the landlord engaged CBRE|FAMECO to pursue replacement tenant(s) in the event Kmart did not extend their lease, effectively trying to get in front of the decision, proactively, rather than reacting to the official notice provided today. This is also our first notice that Kmart has formally decided to close their store at Schuylkill Mall."

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