editor's pick ARCHIVES: Looking back at Kmart in Central Illinois Jul 25, 2020 Jul 25, 2020 0 Kmart was once a major retail force in the region. Let's look at the photos. Kmart Bloomington's Big Kmart closed in January 2015 after 52 years in the Twin Cities. When it opened in 1962, it was only the fifth Kmart in the nation. Locally, the store helped lead the migration of retailers from downtown Bloomington to the city's east side. The site has now been redeveloped into several smaller stores that are part of the Empire Crossing shopping center: Dick's Sporting Goods, Home Goods, Five Below, Carter's Oshkosh B'gosh and DSW-Designer Shoe Warehouse. DAVID PROEBER, PANTAGRAPH FILE PHOTO 042116-blm-loc-3petsmart Work continues Wednesday on converting the former Kmart at 1608 E. Empire St., Bloomington, to house Dick's Sporting Goods as part of the transformation of the former Colonial Plaza shopping enter into Empire Crossing. STEVE SMEDLEY, The Pantagraph 030416-blm-biz-2dickssporting Gill Brockway of Bloomington with Local 362 watches as demolition takes place on the front of the new Dick's Sporting Goods in Bloomington, formerly Kmart. LORI ANN COOK-NEISLER, THE PANTAGRAPH December 14, 1974 December 14, 1974 A LOOK BACK 1986: Sarah Buster of Decatur looks at an Angel Tree in the Kmart on Pershing Road in Decatur. Gerald Kilian, manager of Lincoln Kmart, introduced the tree last year to benefit children whose parents are on public aid. Other Kmarts participating are: Decatur, Mount Zion, Mattoon, Champaign, Urbana, Effingham, Danville, Bloomington and Jacksonville. H&R file photo 122514-blm-loc-2kmart Kmart customer Carletha Pegues of Bloomington finds some help on sizing from employee Maria Wells, a softline department worker with 34 years with the company. DAVID PROEBER, The Pantagraph 122514-blm-loc-3kmart Dennis Love, hardlines manager for the Bloomington K-Mart looked over old photos of the store when it opened and later changed its name to Big K-Mart. The store has seen numerous additions over the years that extended it past its projected lifespan. DAVID PROEBER, The Pantagraph UAW HELPS TOYS TOTS LEAD SAS United Auto Workers Local 2488 member Bill Chapman, left, of Bloomington, has been volunteering for Toys for Tots for twenty years and was at the Bloomington KMart during Wednesday while shopping for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots of McLean County. The Pantagraph/STEVE SMEDLEY STEVE SMEDLEY, The Pantagraph Goodfellow shopping day 1 s.JPG Allyssa Grayson, 12, left, and Kailya Brooks, 10, of the Boys and Girls Club browsed the aisles as they shopped for gifts for family members Saturday morning at Kmart in Bloomington. The Pantagraph sponsored the event which included breakfast with Santa, gift shopping for family members, and present wrapping. Stephanie Oberlander, The Pantag Brownies gift wrap at Kmart.JPG From left: Danielle Jefferson, 13, Jill Barth 8, of Brownie Troop 716, and Casey Jefferson, 9, of Brownie Troop 716 wrapped gifts Saturday morning at Kmart in Bloomington. Members of Brownie Troop 716 were wrapping gifts and donating all proceeds to victims of Hurricane Ivan in Grenada. Stephanie Oberlander, The Pantag Julie Chilton; Rhonda Massie Nicole White, a volunteer, watches as Kamin Elmore, 8, places a bow on a present for his mother while shopping at Kmart witht the Boys and Girls Club as part of the Pantagraph Good Fellow Fund Saturday (Dec. 16, 2006) in Bloomington. (Pantagraph/CARLOS T. MIRANDA) CARLOS T. MIRANDA, The Pantagrap Bell ringer 1 Archie Harris, Salvation Army bell ringer, left, collected a donation from Brad Secord of Bloomington, who was shopping at Kmart, Wednesday morning. Harris, a retired Illinois State University swimming coach, said he volunteers to ring the bells about 8 or 9 days each holiday season. David Proeber, The Pantagraph Collecting for Clare House Brownie Troop 716 of Holy Trinity Elementary School collected much needed items for Clare House and The Jesus Coffee House Sunday afternoon at Kmart in Bloomington in December 2003. Brianna Parrish, left, of Chenoa and Jill Barth of Bloomington handed out information on the collection. Lori Ann Cook, The Pantagraph 101814-blm-loc-3kmart Elijah Doage, 9, and his brother Colton Doage, 10, right, shop for Christmas presents with the help of Julia McKee in 2005 at the Kmart. Children from the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal bought presents for their parents as part of the Goodfellow Fund program. The store has been linked with charitable giving since its opening. Carlos T. Miranda, Pantagraph file photo 0 comments Tags Evergreen Related to this collection Local Area locations of tween retailer Justice to close as part of bankruptcy filing Updated Jul 25, 2020 Stores in Forsyth, Bloomington and Tuscola, as well as Champaign, Springfield and Peoria, have been identified for closure.