Oak Harbor Kmart to close

By Jessie Stensland Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor’s Kmart is closing its doors for good in late April, according to a company spokesman.

Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holding Corp, said 68 employees, mostly part-time and hourly workers, will lose their jobs.

And another commercial property will sit empty in the city.

Kathy Reed, director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said an inordinate numbers of businesses have closed in recent years. The lot of the old Ford Dealership remains empty, the Whidbey Furniture building is deserted and several buildings downtown are vacant — including the large property of the former Armed Services YMCA.

Kmart Corp. owns the 89,000-square-foot building and the 1.48 acres it sits on. The assessed value is $925,000, according to the Island County Assessor’s website.

Riefs didn’t say what, if anything, the company plans to do with the property.

He said eligible employees will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at Sears or Kmart stores.

Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company of Sears and Kmart, announced in 2011 that at least 100 stores will close because of declining sales.