Keeping in mind this month’s Coconut Post theme — Endless Summer— it seems appropriate to point out that Kmart on St. Thomas carries a terrific selection of fun-in-the-sun lightweight fashions and beach attire all year long. In other words, you can always count on Kmart to help you enjoy Endless Summer in paradise.
Kmart carries everything from beach toys to swimsuits and coverups as well as sun hats and more. How convenient for travelers who forgot to pack a bathing suit!
You’ll also find beverages and snacks from nearly every name brand under the sun — as well as beach bags and coolers to pack them in and go.
A peek into retail history reveals that in 1899, Sebastian Spering Kresge opened a modest five-and-dime store in downtown Detroit. Everything in the store sold for 5 and 10 cents. Essentially, that concept changed the entire landscape of retailing. By 1912, the business had expanded to 85 stores.
In 1937, Kresge opened a store in the country’s first suburban shopping center — Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. By the 1950s, it was evident that the company needed updating in order grow in a competitive retail environment. The change came through Kresge President Harry B. Cunningham.
Under Cunningham’s visionary leadership, the first Kmart discount department store opened in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan. Seventeen additional Kmart stores opened later that same year.
In 1977, nearly 95 percent of S.S. Kresge Company sales were generated by Kmart stores. To reflect this dramatic impact, the company officially changed its name to Kmart Corporation. Ten years later, Kmart sold the remaining Kresge stores to fully concentrate on discount merchandising and in 1990, Kmart unveiled a bold new logo and modernization program.
Three years later, on June 3, 1993, Kmart opened its doors in Tutu Park Mall — essentially reshaping the shopping experience for St. Thomas residents and visitors. Until that time, there were no one-stop chain stores on island to purchase home goods, furniture, appliances, fashions, accessories, health and beauty aids and toys, etc. under one roof.
In 1998 Kmart opened a second St. Thomas location in Lockhart Gardens. The chain also expanded to serve St. Croix and Puerto Rico.
Unfortunately, when Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the islands in 2017, all of the Kmarts on St. Thomas, St. Croix and Puerto Rico incurred varying degrees of damage and Tutu Park Mall was hit the hardest.
Find them on Google Maps HERE.
The good news is that nine months later, on June 22, 2018 — exactly 25 years after the grand opening — after extensive renovations, Kmart in Tutu Park reopened to serve grateful shoppers. Improvements included expansion of the pharmacy by an additional 500 square feet.
Today, Kmart in Tutu Park also features the convenience of an on-premise Little Caesers Pizza as well as the Island Cafe where you can enjoy everything from classic breakfast and lunch favorites to local dishes such as oxtail, curry chicken, red pea soup and more.
A BIT ABOUT THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS
John Philips, a member of the 1960s pop group the Mamas and the Papas, wrote “Creeque Alley,” a song recounting the group’s extended stay on St. Thomas in 1964. The title references Creque’s Alley(the proper spelling) a narrow street connecting waterfront and Main Street between Trompeter Gade and Royal Dane Mall. At that time Hugh Duffy of the infamous Duffy’s Creque Alley in Charlotte Amalie hired the struggling band to entertain patrons while Mama Cass waited tables. Duffy himself is immortalized in the lyrics, “”Duffy’s good vibrations, and our imaginations can’t go on indefinitely…”