The announcement of the closure of Billings' Kmart store marks the end of decades of the company's presence in town. Not only was Billings once home to two Kmart stores, it also saw Kmart's predecessor, S.S. Kresge, open and close.
S.S. Kresge store in West Park Plaza, 1982
The precursor to Kmart was S.S. Kresge's chain of discount variety stores, founded in 1899. The company opened its first Kmart store in a Detroit suburb in 1962. West Park Plaza was home to an S.S. Kresge store, shown in the background of this 1982 photo. The store closed in the mid-1980s.
"The Kmart Story 1962-1970"
An ad in The Billings Gazette heralds the opening of the city's first Kmart store in April 1970.
Kmart grand opening ad, 1970
An ad in The Billings Gazette invites customers to the grand opening of the city's first Kmart store on April 9, 1970.
Waremart store, 1977
In the mid-1970s, a Waremart discount food store opened next to the Kmart at 2424 Central Ave. When the store closed, Kmart expanded into the space.
Intersection of Central Avenue and 24th Street West, 1978
The intersection of Central Avenue and 24th Street West is seen during a construction project in 1978. The old revolving Kmart sign is visible to the left.
Heights Kmart, 1986
The Heights Kmart store is seen during construction in December 1986.
Heights Kmart grand opening, 1987
Mr. Peanut and Icee Bear greet customers at the grand opening of the Heights Kmart in March 1987.
Heights Kmart, 2001
The Heights Kmart is seen in 2001. The store closed the following year.
Heights Kmart, 2005
The former Heights Kmart store sits empty in 2005. The store closed in 2002, and the building later became home to a dietary supplement facility.
Black Friday shoppers at Kmart, 2009
Shoppers line up at Kmart on Central Avenue for Black Friday deals in November 2009.
Kmart at 24th Street West and Central Avenue in Billings Friday, a day after the announcement of the store's closure in late July.