We Read the Comments: Requiem for a Kmart

When controversy happens… when tempers flare… we read the comments, so you don’t have to.

Kitten Reading Internet Comments

Emergency kitten

Minneapolis is finally getting rid of that darn Kmart. Now, there is good and bad to that, as it is was a critical store for people nearby. Similar options require more transit or walking. However, Kmart’s also been in a death spiral and I suspect even as a nearby shopping option for those communities, it was in decline.

You’d think this would be cause for comment joy? Well, partly. These are the comments, after all. Which means everyone with an axe to grind about bike lanes will be out in force.

The comments of each article are rated on a scale of 1-5 stars, where 1 means “reading these made us feel dumber,” and 5 means “we have hope for our civilization and it won’t take hugging a sheep to cheer us up.”

StarTribune: Minneapolis will buy out Kmart lease, reopen Nicollet

We’re going in! Let’s see if the commenters can turn something beautiful into something awful. 432 comments.

  • “So we have a possible pandemic threatening well over million lives at our shores, with a President in complete denial, and the headline is about demolishing a K Mart off of eat street.”
    It’s news, dang it.
  • “City owned and bought – now the council and leaders can put up affordable housing on either side of the street, apply their dreamer development/affordable % requirement theories, and see how it works out for them.”
    Housing? BRING IT!
  • “I would think the brilliant council would put a track in the middle of the store.  Choo choo.”
    Inevitable choo choo reference.
  • “Don’t get your hopes up… They’ll probably open it up only for bikes.”
    Don’t get my hopes up like that. It would be beautiful. Snif.
  • “Hopefully Nicollet will only reopen to transit motor vehicles and include good pedestrian and bike facilities. People have been getting around without cars going through there for decades.”
    Yes! (Note: I think this comment was written by a streets.mn regular.)
  • Someone calling themself ILUVINSTANBUL says: “These clowns can spend $22M of our money with nothing to show for it but Fletcher is afraid to spend a million or two to hire additional cops.   What is wrong with this city?”
    Well, perhaps they should go to Istanbul instead?
  • Several comments provided much needed context: “I grew up 2 blocks from the property, I remember when they built it. Believe me when I tell you, nobody was complaining about Nicollet closing when they opened both stores. People in the surrounding area loved it because it was closer than going to Sears and Applbaums at Chicago and Lake. These stores were state-of-the-art when completed. Kmart had a full video game arcade, auto repair, and cafeteria, and the Super-value had car port for loading groceries and in house butcher, and deli.The area has long changed and the property is blocking progress. Time to tear it down, about 15-20 years late IMO. “

The comments actually skew to the positive. I may have just pulled out some of the extremes.

SCORE: 3.2🌟. 3.2, like the beer.

MinnPost: Minneapolis’ decision to buy and demolish Minnesota’s last Kmart, explained

MinnPost feels like a safe place to go. Will it be? 12 comments.

  • Issues of housing needing to be near shopping are pointed out: “The closing points about shopping are important too. We put some focus on affordable housing in our urban planning, but need to include planning for affordable & reasonable access to necessities too.”
  • Somehow, MP is the first place I saw a comment about the Minneapolis council being pawns of Big Developers. Now, I didn’t make it through all 400 Strib comments. Still, kinda wild to find it here and not every three comments there.
    “You may be sure that developers (in collusion with their bought-and-paid-for hacks on the Minneapolis City Council) have their own ideas on the subject. . .”

SCORE: 4.0🌟. Bonus was given for only having to read 12 comments.

WCCO: Minneapolis Reaches Deal to Close Lake Street Kmart

Went to Facebook for this, as WCCO doesn’t allow comments on their site. Understandably. 362 here on the Facebook.

  • Good and bad. Unfortunately it takes an affordable place of shopping for the neighborhood – for a road that most of us have figured out how to live without.” While true, given Kmart’s death spiral not sure how long distribution was going to continue to keep the store stocked with anything, either.
  • I moved here 6 years ago and the only thing that I have ever known about this store is that there was a dead body in the trunk of a car, that became a big enough case that everybody mentions it when driving by this store.” I did not know this story!
  • Some solid St. Paul shade thrown: “Hope they straighten that mess out and run the streets straight through. It’s like being in St Paul down there!”

Remarkably, none of these comments mentioned crime, choo-choos, or affordable housing in a negative light. It is almost like being forced to comment with real names associated to real Facebook accounts promotes some sort of coherence.

SCORE: 5🌟. I almost don’t believe it, but there it is. So I am going to quit here.

 

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8 Responses to We Read the Comments: Requiem for a Kmart

  1. BetsyLarey March 8, 2020 at 11:53 am #

    Thank you so much for the round up of the comments. You saved me a lot of time, I was very interested on what people thought. Great summary! I do feel bad for people who lived close by and depended on it.

  2. angela March 8, 2020 at 3:24 pm #

    Spending Millions on a store that will eventually close is waste of money.This is the onlyKmart store in MN left it is likely is it on life support I am not sure if any Sears left so it wouldnt have been viable to operate one store in the state..

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller March 8, 2020 at 7:29 pm #

      The lease wouldn’t end just because the store closes. The general belief is that it’s very tenant-friendly (ie cheap rent) so the leaseholder would likely have been able to profitably find a new tenant.

  3. jen March 8, 2020 at 4:35 pm #

    Shut it down!

  4. T March 8, 2020 at 4:55 pm #

    Hopefully an eat street Northeast subway can be considered connect to the orange line and Northeast Minneapolis and a future Greenway rail

  5. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller March 8, 2020 at 7:30 pm #

    Yes, Julie, that is me. Let’s start advocating for infrastructure here that priorities transit and active transportation and not cars.

  6. MICHAEL March 10, 2020 at 6:02 am #

    Nobody seems to care this is costing dozens of people their jobs. Kmart is more than just a struggling chain, this is a career for many people who have spent decades at these stores.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller March 10, 2020 at 9:53 am #

      The store (and chain) wasn’t long for this world regardless and hopefully any redevelopment will include new retail jobs.

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