It’s only June, but a San Diego-based nonprofit organization is feeling like the Grinch came early this year after a Kmart store abruptly shut down, taking layaway merchandise with it that the nonprofit planned to give as presents to children in need this Christmas.
Aaron Reynolds runs Skate Everyday, an organization that, among other things, holds a “Breakfast with Santa” event each year where gifts are given to local children.
He said he was already in the process of preparing for this year’s holiday event and had put nearly $300 worth of merchandise on layaway at the Kmart at 5405 University Ave. when he learned the store was suddenly closing. That merchandise was intended for the kids’ holiday event.
Reynolds said he never received any notice about the closure and had already put $100 down on the merchandise and was going to make another payment on Wednesday when he found out the news.
“We had hats, beanies, scarves, school supplies, backpacks actually on layaway at this Kmart. This Kmart closed its doors on us [and] they did not give us a call,” he explained.
Reynolds said this will cause a major snag in his organization’s plans.
"At this point in time our event is in jeopardy because a lot of our products were going to come from this Kmart,” he said. “We pretty much need help. We're a small organization but we like to do big events for the actual public. [We’re] hoping at Kmart will give us a call and a miracle can happen.”
NBC 7 received a statement from Kmart Thursday regarding the closure of the University Ave. store.
Spokesperson Howard Riefs confirmed the store closed to the public on Wednesday. The location employed 73 associates both part-time and hourly. Riefs said associates who are eligible will receive severance.
Riefs also said refunds will be given to all customers – including Reynolds – who may have put items on layaway at that Kmart store.
The spokesperson said that specific location was losing money, so the company had to make the decision to close it.
“Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model. These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail – at the store, online and in the home,” Riefs said in his statement issued to NBC 7.
Another retailer has signed a contract to take over the lease of the former Kmart building, but that retailer has yet to be formally announced.