RIPON’S KMART IS one of only five left in Wisconsin. 
						         Tim Lyke photo
RIPON’S KMART IS one of only five left in Wisconsin. Tim Lyke photo

     If all the Kmarts of the world were on an island off the coast of Fiji with a new store booted off every week, Ripon’s would  now be viewed as a “Survivor.”

     Every week it seems the tribe has spoken as more of the 2,323 stores are told to remove their Big Ks.

     Owner Sears Holdings, which hasn’t made a profit since 2010, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy that forces it continually to liquidate assets to remain afloat.

     Thirteen states have no more Kmarts and so have no more assets to unload.

     That means that the ranks of the 300 or so Kmarts in the remaining 37 states are diminishing, with the survivors wondering whether and when their time will come.

     With the Dec. 27, 2018 announcement that 37 more Kmarts will close, including Wisconsin stores in Oconomowoc and Cudahy, only five Kmarts remain in Wisconsin: Caledonia, Kenosha, Mauston, Waupaca ... and Ripon.

     Whether the blue light is flickering over the Ripon location, its continued existence in the wake of so many store closings suggests the Ripon-area market has been viable for the corporate parent of 1200 W. Fond du Lac St. ...

     But can Ripon’s sole big-box retailer survive? And if not, would another major discounter move in to replace it?

     And could it acquire another “big box store” to replace it? ...

                               — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the Jan. 31, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.