American Fare, Kmart’s “hypermarket” Days

American Fare and the birth of the warehouse shopping experience.

 

By J Blomqvist

Remember Kmart?! As of August 2021, there are NO Kmarts in Georgia, according to the Kmart.com website. One of Kmart’s retail experiments pre-dates Sam’s Club and other warehouse shopping stores. It was called American Fare and it opened in Stone Mountain in 1989.

DHC Blog: American Fare

1989

Kmart joined forces with the now defunct Bruno’s supermarket chain to form American Fare. Stores were opened in Stone Mountain, Charlotte, NC, and Jackson, MS. The stores were behemoths (Stone Mountain measured 244,000 square feet), filled with a full-sized grocery store, a garden shop, home goods and furniture, clothing, and more! A new hypermarket was born.

DHC Blog: American Fare

1989

DHC Blog: American Fare Clothing

1989

Martha Stewart, “Charlie’s Angels” star Jaclyn Smith, and model Kathy Ireland featured their brands of women’s clothing and home goods.

DHC Blog: American Fare

1989

It even had its own music store (“Entertainment Zone”), a 1-hour photo processing shop and a book store. Later, a Warner Brothers (think Space Jam and Scooby-Doo merch!) store would inhabit one of the open store spaces! Stores within stores.

DHC Blog: American Fare

1989

DHC Blog: American Fare

1989

American Fare also had a food court, including a TCBY! (This Can’t Be Yogurt!), Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and more.
By 1992, the partnership with Bruno’s ended and there would be no more American Fares by 1994. The opening of Super Kmarts soon followed, as did Walmarts and other warehouse shopping centers. But American Fare stands as one of the first in the history of hypermarkets. In 2021, Kmart locations in the states are down to a handful. It’s fun to look back at DeKalb’s Kmart/Bruno’s retail experiment!

DHC Blog: American Fare

The building now belongs to the DeKalb County School System.

The current address is

1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard

Stone Mountain, GA 30083

With the exception of the Google Maps screenshot, all photos were taken by the author in 1989 and are part of the DHC collection.

 

If you like this story, be sure to check out a previous post on another retail adventure story in the Atlanta-area… 

https://dekalbhistory.org/blog-posts/treasure-island-discount-store-an-iconic-mid-century-roof/

https://dekalbhistory.org/dekalb-county-archives-research/dekalb-history-center-collections-subject-files/business-industry/

 

Resources:

kmart.com

https://skycity2.blogspot.com/search?q=american+fare

https://www.groceteria.com/2008/01/09/american-fare/

https://www.kmartworld.com/2011/06/special-report-american-fare-or.html

Contact DeKalb History Center