It is the end of an era for many Michiganders as the final Kmart location has closed its doors.

When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, there was one department store that my sister and I loved to go to with mom, and that was Kmart.

Sure there was Sears, Hudsons, and JC Pennys but those were at the mall. They were not the same as going to Kmart when you are in grade school.

I grew up on the east side of Michigan, so Meijer had not spread across the state yet and there was no Walmart yet.

As soon as we would walk into Kmart, I can still remember the smell of fresh popcorn throughout the store and those tasty frozen Cokes. Yes frozen Cokes, this was way before there were 7-11s on every corner or every other gas station was serving up frozen drinks.

This was also a time when a parent could leave their child in a section of the store and not worry about them being taken. I love music and mom would drop me off in the album section of the store. I would start at the letter A and read the back cover of every piece of vinyl all the way to the letter Z.

I remember a little restaurant in the back of the store and occasionally mom would treat us to a Kmart burger and fries. Those were good times when I was a grade-schooler.

It was the Kmart on Dort Hwy in Flint that I have the most memories of. When the announcer would say, "Attention Kmart shoppers, we have a blue light special in children's clothing," and then all the shopping carts would rush that way for a deal that would last about 15 minutes.

When I saw the final Kmart in Marshall, Michigan had closed its doors, I can't help thinking a little piece of my life had also closed with those doors.

According to WOOD, Kmart was the original state where the retail chain got its start. The first Kmart was built in Garden City in 1962. The chain grew to more than 2,000 stores across the U.S., but its fortunes changed as other big-box retailers gained momentum.

So long Kmart and thanks for the good times.

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