Thirty-one years ago, Kmart opened in Ripon with great fanfare: customers strolled the wide aisles of Ripon’s newest box store while being entertained by clowns, balloons, hats and other giveaways.

The 70,000-square-foot store employed 100 and gave Ripon a new place to find just about anything they needed for their home.

The great promise fulfilled Nov. 20, 1988, however, wouldn’t survive the struggles of its parent company. Kmart Corp. eventually was sold to Sears Holding Corp., which famously has suffered for years.

Those troubles caught up with Ripon over Labor Day weekend, when news of the Ripon Kmart’s closure broke.

In the months since, the store has slowly sold off its inventory with increasing price cuts — cuts that reached as high as 95% when the store finally closed Sunday.

Top, a few of the last shoppers to enter Kmart in Ripon walk through the doors about 15 minutes before the store closed for good Sunday evening.

Above left, Kmart employees disassemble shelving units last week Friday as the store became increasingly bare, and as the units themselves were sold.

For more photos related to Kmart's closure, see the Dec. 19, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

Recommended for you