Kmart is making a bold promise. To make shopping fun again. After spending a morning at the grand re-opening of the Des Plaines, Il store, I believe them. I left my house on a very rainy morning to visit what I thought was going to be a very laid back media event. Boy was I wrong, and in every way possible. The store was buzzing as I pulled into the parking lot, and a line was wrapped AROUND the building. The morning and afternoon were jam packed with events ranging from a live DJ, a slam dunk contest, vendor booths, and a gym shoe decorating contest. The parking lot was FULL despite the overcast weather, and people were ready to experience a fun afternoon.
Somehow I forgot that Scottie Pippen was going to be there in the MORNING instead of the afternoon, and every Bulls fan from the 90s seemed to be present. I will admit, I loved the dream team from back in the day, but I do try to give celebrities and athletes their space – even in events like this, because HELLO, everyone wants to take a photo with you, and I had a job to do. Fortunately, the Chief Marketing officer, Kelly Cook, had other plans for me.
Exhibit A. Mr. Pippen was quite cordial, and incredibly tall, or I’m incredibly short. Either way, this photo solidifies the fact that I am concentrated awesomeness.
Kelly Cook is a firecracker herself. Donning jeans, a tee, a blazer and smokin’ hot red lipstick, along with tennis shoes emblazoned with runway roadkill, I was immediately impressed. She’s been with the company for a little over a year, and explained that she loves Kmart because it’s iconic, full of friendly and warm people, and in the throes of brand transformation. She shared one of her favorite Kmart memories of a relative dropping her wedding ring in a blue light special bin, and having the store manager find it and give it back. She wants people to feel ridiculously awesome when they are shopping in any of the Kmart stores that she oversees. She was ridiculously awesome to interview at nine in the morning.
I had a chance to interview her during the grand opening and asked a couple of questions about why we should be visiting Kmart more these days. Here are three reasons that she gave right off the bat:
1. Children in Kmart can now visit the Happy to Help counter with their parents SYW account number, and they can pick out toys for free. A great way to keep kids calm in the store. Or at least try. I just happen to leave mine at home when I can (and I GET that everyone can’t do that, so I’m not telling you to.)
2. They are now leasing to everyone, despite credit. Now before you get your britches in a bunch, know that they are not trying to create debt for anyone. Everyone won’t get the same amount of leasing, you know, so as to not create a bubble of debt, and you’ll have a limited amount of time to pay it back. They are attempting to help you get through a crunch, not be a crutch.
3. They are offering a fresh or it’s free promise. That way, that produce that you buy will be guaranteed to last more than the car ride home, otherwise it’s free. When you’re on a budget, and you need to make sure that your family is eating food, it shouldn’t matter the name of the store that you’re getting it from. If it’s a store qualified to sell food, then the food should be fresh, and Kmart is standing behind that.
Walking around the store was fun. I mean, I’ve been in Kmart plenty of times before – as a matter of fact, it’s where I shopped right before my Shot At Life summit in DC earlier this year, and always a staple around Christmas time – but there’s a different feel when there’s a live DJ, and blue light specials every 20 minutes. I snagged several things for myself including some fantastic sunglasses with a retro feel, and a sweater that I’m sure will bring me much joy during the fall.
I picked up more that I have photos of at the moment, but you can always check out the #shoppingisfunagain hashtag on Twitter, IG or Facebook and see what’s going on at Kmarts all around the country! Blue light specials will abound, and I’m SURE with every holiday in the book seeming to come up soon, it can be a stop that you’ll enjoy!
I can’t wait to share more of what I learn as the year goes on. Stay tuned!
I was invited as part of the media to cover the grand re-opening of the Kmart in Des Plaines, IL. All thoughts and opinions are my own.