Yesterday was the last day that K-Mart traded in Katoomba, a sad day for the area (according to K-Mart’s website the Katoomba store is still listed, this would need to be fixed, anyone going there it is a ghost store and no one is there). If you want to go to K-Mart now you have to travel to Penrith which is a 39.26km drive and takes about 40mins depending on traffic or how fast you drive. Lately we have had many stores close and change here. Coles left the old building that they rented from Woolworths and moved into the new building they have built – it is a very nice shopping experience now in the new store. Since K-Mart was in the same complex that is owned by Woolworths they had to vacate as well, hence yesterday the last day of trading.
From what I have heard about town and it depends on who to speak to as you get a different story, Woolworths is going to build a new store where the old Coles used to be, also where K-Mart used to be the talk is that we will get a Big W. We really need the Big W now and not sure on the Woolworths being in Katoomba also, as we have Aldi around the corner and Coles just down the road. Franklins used to be here as well but they have closed up shop also. Maybe it is just the fact that they need to be placed close by to allow competition?
Some of the discussion has mentioned that Woolworths are going to knock down and build a bigger and better store. Not sure if that will happen but the shops are a bit dated and a renovation might be a good idea. Others that I have spoken to believe that this knock down and rebuild will take about a year and then after that time we will have the new shops there. It is sad to see the area lose a good all-purpose shop like K-Mart. If you need something up here K-Mart was the place to try first and most likely they had it.
I feel sorry for the employees of K-Mart Katoomba, if they did not get employed elsewhere within K-Mart or found employment locally with another business these people are unemployed which is just sad. I hope that the people that worked so hard at this store manage to find employment elsewhere and quickly. It is hard being far away from other shops and having a major shop close is going to impact the area greatly. It is good that other shops are moving in and allowing for change in an area that is changing for the better, however it is a real shame that the crossover is such a wait. Waiting over a year for these new shops will make people in the Blue Mountains travel to other areas, Lithgow or Penrith to do their shopping and sometimes this is not very practical if you have young kids with you at all times.
One question I do have is that we have only recently had a new Woolworths open in Leura and now the talk is that we will have one in Katoomba. Leura is 2.7kms away and only a 6min drive, so not sure why we need another one so close. I am not sure if that is what they are planning but this is what I have heard around town and as said you get a different story depending who you ask.
The only thing I know is that while we all wait for new shops to come we have no shops to help us now. Losing K-Mart will be a negative to the area and it is sad that K-Mart executives did not think about relocating in the area rather than pulling up stumps for good.
Katoomba is getting a makeover with bigger and better shops coming; however people are left with nothing while waiting for the next best thing to arrive. Have you had major shops leave and never come back? How has this impacted your area? Send in comments and why not continue the discussion on our twitter or facebook pages.