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Closed Kmart in Michigan to get makeover, thanks to U-Haul

Closed Kmart in Michigan to get makeover, thanks to U-Haul

U-Haul’s new location in Manistee is set to employ between 10 and 15 permanent employees.

FILER TWP. , MICH>— U-Haul Moving and Storage of Manistee, which opened at a former K-Mart superstore location in late September, is looking to renovate the building at 1560 U.S. 31. U-Haul acquired the property on Aug. 8, 2022. 

“We are currently going through the site plan approval process before beginning to renovate the existing building,” said Jon Gilmore, U-Haul Company of Northern Michigan president.

Once the building is fully renovated, Gilmore said the location would offer more than 700 climate-controlled self-storage rooms, along with a full line of U-Haul services, including professional hitch installation, propane and more. The U-Haul location currently offers access to truck and trailer sharing, portable storage containers, boat and RV storage and moving supplies. 

“We intend to hire at least 10-15 permanent team members to staff the new store,” Gilmore told the News Advocate, adding that U-Haul would “look to hire locally to promote job growth within the Manistee community.”

U-Haul was named a “Best for Vets” veteran-friendly employer by The Military Times in 2020, and actively recruits veterans, giving them preference in the hiring process, Gilmore said. Those interested can find U-Haul careers at uhauljobs.com. Current hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. U-Haul also encourages local contractors to bid on the upcoming construction work and expects to create 20 temporary construction jobs, Gilmore added.

The abandoned Kmart before U-Haul started to remodel and renovate it, turning it around from an eyesore to a successful business

Closed Kmart in Michigan to get makeover, thanks to U-Haul

The acquisition of the former Kmart was “driven by U-Haul corporate sustainability initiatives,” according to Gilmore. “U-Haul supports infill developments to help local communities lower their carbon footprint,” he stated in an email. “The adaptive reuse of existing buildings reduces the amount of energy and resources required for new building materials and helps cities reduce their unwanted inventory of unused buildings.”

Kmart opened the doors of its Filer Township location in June 1992. The Kmart and its Big K Express station closed in September 2016.

“This building has been vacant for several years and it takes a special type of business to fill such a large space. U-Haul is perfect for this property because we can fully utilize the space,” Gilmore said, adding that U-Haul will do it “without the environmental impact of a new build.”

U-Haul currently operates a neighborhood dealer location at Saddle Up Grocery in Bear Lake, and at other spots in Parkdale Township, Benzonia, Mesick, Honor and Hart. 

Gilmore also noted that communities across the region had been “underserved when it comes to our line of services.”

“We’re excited to bring our adaptive reuse program to Manistee (and) we’re eager to open this store on the lakeshore because we have nothing like it in this area,” Gilmore said. “Our goal is to bring the current U-Haul service roster to this community and to provide residential mobility, and a clean, secure facility for storing personal belongings.”

“We look forward to being a member of the Manistee community for years to come.”

Scott Fraley is a reporter for the Midland Daily News in Michigan. He grew up in Genesee County and received a bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan. Aside from writing, he enjoys his time as a hobbyist fish keeper who takes breaks for stargazing and bird watching.

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