As a kid, I can remember my mom dragging me to the Corbin Kmart when it first opened in October 1978.
At the time, it was kind of a big deal. Wal-Mart didn’t exist in these parts at the time.
The Corbin Kmart was huge or at least it seemed that way to a seven-year-old, whose mom was dragging him around the store as she and her friends shopped for what seemed like an eternity.
I will admit that the “blue light specials” were kind of neat. For those too young to remember, Kmart would bring this flashing blue light around to various parts of the store during various times in the day, and announce limited time specials on certain items during the “blue light special.”
In other words, as long as the blue light was flashing, you could get item for the marked down price.
Later, I can remember my dad taking our cars to have them worked on at Kmart’s service department. It wasn’t a little service department. This thing ran the length of the store or at least the better part of it.
While Kmart started out as an interesting store, it never really seemed to evolve much over the years, which probably explains the company’s demise.
The Corbin store’s building seems largely the same as it was when it first opened in 1978, except the service department is no more, the blue light specials are gone, and the area where they once served ice cream, hot dogs and soft drinks is just kind of an awkward space where they have tried to just throw in some more merchandise.
I think I can speak for many residents in Corbin and London, which is also losing its Kmart store, when I say that I hate to see these businesses close and the employees lose their livelihoods. However, change is inevitable.
While it is disappointing to see these stores close, I am also excited to see what else will eventually move into the Corbin and London locations.
I can remember Roses closing in the Trademart Shopping Center in probably the late 80s or early 90s. This was a so-called “anchor store” and big deal at the time too. Eventually Penney’s moved into Rose’s old space.
The Corbin and London Kmart stores are located in a couple of pretty prime real estate spots in terms of locations for businesses. I will be curious what the future brings for these two locations. I suspect that neither will sit empty for an extremely long time.
Now for a few other thoughts before I conclude this column.
• I found Trent Knuckles column last week interesting about answering some big objections that some have regarding Senate President Robert Stivers proposed legislation that would allow Corbin to annex some land in Laurel County around Exit 29.
One of the objections to the plan that Trent mentioned is people’s concerns that the Corbin Independent School District is going to muscle into Laurel County and raise everyone’s taxes or something like that.
Trent mentions that this shows a lack of understanding regarding school system boundaries and city limits, which is something that I don’t think the vast majority of the general public understands. One doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the other.
Let me offer an example of one voting precinct in Williamsburg to prove my point.
Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz has to have multiple different ballots printed for this precinct on a regular basis.
There are people in that precinct that live in the Williamsburg city limits and the Williamsburg school district.
There are also people in that precinct that live in the Williamsburg city limits, but not in the Williamsburg school district. Then, there are people in that precinct, who live outside the Williamsburg city limits, but live inside the Williamsburg school district.
There are also those in that precinct that live outside both the Williamsburg city limits and the Williamsburg school district. (Be glad that you are not an election worker in that precinct.)
Does it make sense to have the city limits boundaries different than the city school boundaries? Not really, but this is the government we are talking about.