Over the last few years, the writing has been on the wall that Kmart was going to close in Caledonia.
Each year the list would come out. The Kmart in Burlington at the Fox River Plaza, 1120 Milwaukee Ave., closed in 2011 and the Kmart at 2211 S. Green Bay Road in the High Ridge Centre closed in early 2017.
Following those closures, there was further speculation the Caledonia store was nearing its end when the location was put up for sale as a “redevelopment opportunity.”
Then this August, the Kmart in Caledonia was put on the list of closures. Just before Christmas, the Kmart on Douglas Avenue officially closed its doors, leaving not only a huge gap in the Douglas Avenue shopping center, but in Caledonia as a whole.
Now if anyone from northern Racine or Caledonia wants to do any shopping besides grocery shopping, they need to leave the county and go up to Oak Creek or drive about 20 minutes to Mount Pleasant’s stores because for the most part those are the closest stores to go buy a shirt or socks, shampoo or a new mixing bowl.
As is often the case, you don’t appreciate what you have until you lose it.
Caledonia has officially lost its one big shopping store. Now it’s time to try to entice another to come to town.
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In Burlington, Big R has replaced the former Kmart there, which has given western Racine County shoppers another good place to get many of life’s basic necessities. That could be a good option for the east end of the county as well.
While Caledonia has a history of saying no to development, now is the time to say yes.
Caledonia village and town boards in recent years have rejected several proposals for Walmart to come into the area, first when Walmart proposed going to 4 Mile Road and Highway 31, then when it proposed going to the southeast corner of 4 Mile Road and North Green Bay Road.
The intersection of 31 and 4 Mile would have made sense, but 4 Mile and Green Bay wasn’t logical because that area wasn’t designed for that much traffic.
After the second Walmart proposal failed and after Kmart was labeled a “redevelopment opportunity,” we wrote in this space: “That’s two strikes now for Walmart store proposals in the village. Perhaps the third time will be the charm, if the company can find the right size and the right location.”
The Kmart site could prove to be the good-luck charm for Walmart, or for any other big retailer looking to move into the area.