LOS BANOS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Kmart in Los Banos is closing, leaving nearly 70 people in search of new jobs. But local leaders say they're already working to replace the big-box retailer.
This Kmart has been a staple in Los Banos for 25 years, but residents recently learned it will be closing in just a matter of months.
"It's really sad for this side of town because even though we're a small town, it's still nice to run into someplace, get what we need, run back out and get to our busy days," Los Banos resident Karen Pereira said.
Kmart has been shutting down hundreds of locations in recent years to reduce expenses as it deals with dwindling sales. Now, as this store suffers the same fate, city planning officials say they're looking at new ways to create access to the site from Highway 152 and working with the property owner to attract new businesses.
"It's really hard right now to secure a really large anchor tenant; it's just easier to divide up the building and put in three or so tenants in there," assistant planner Stacy Souza Elms said.
The same strategy is being considered for the large building Lowes left in 2011. Elms says it recently closed escrow and is now in the hands of a new developer who wants to divide the space for multiple retail chains.
"There's a new junior high being built right behind the Lowes building, so a lot of development is happening around in that area," Elms said.
The city also recently completed expanding a Walmart into a supercenter, a 99 Cents Store is coming to the corner of Ortigalita and 152, and a Prime Shine Car Wash will be built on a lot off H Street.
"Another positive is the amount of single-family residential permits that we've issued this year. So far we've issued 82 from January 1st to July 30th, which is great," Elms said.
The hope is those new rooftops will lead to more new retail and fewer closures.
Kmart representatives say a liquidation sale will begin at this store on Aug. 30, and it will close to the public in mid-November.
Los Banos Kmart slated to close in November
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