Elkhart Kmart closing, tourism industry hopeful for re-development
64 Kmart locations across the nation will be closing their doors.
Three locations will be closing in Indiana, including one in Elkhart.
And while some will be losing their jobs, it’s not all bad news for those in Elkhart County.
The tourism industry in Elkhart County is looking to the future and looking to build on the success of exit 92.
North Pointe Plaza along the toll road and exit 92 is losing a main anchor when Kmart will close its doors in the fall.
With that, however, comes new possibilities for re-development and a chance to cash-in on tourism dollars.
Mike Huber is the Director of Destination Development.
“We’ve got about a third of the County’s total lodging stock with-in a mile of this exit.”
According to the Elkhart County Visitors Bureau, in 2015 alone, Elkhart County had over 330 million dollars in direct visitor spending.
Over 45 million cars travel the toll road every year.
“We are really trying to aggressively promote more people to get off the road here at exit 92 and stay in the hotels and eat in the restaurants in North Pointe.”
Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese released this statement to ABC 57 News:
“As mayor, I never want to see a business leave our community. My thoughts are with the employees and families who will be impacted. The news will not deter our efforts to transform North Pointe Plaza into a destination spot for the thousands of people who travel the Indiana toll road each day.”
“We think in the long term, re-vitalizing North Pointe and the neighborhood to capitalize more on visitor base is going to help us achieve our long term goal.”
Achieving that goal means research and studies by the city and the re-development commission.
“The study did look at a water park resort and hotel. It’s something that the proximity to the toll road and 45 million cars that travel it are seen as an asset.”
Huber says they are still looking at studies and looking at the best possible fit, as they continue to grow tourism in Elkhart County.
The Kmart in Elkhart will begin liquidation in just three days.