By Ron VandenBoom
by Ron VandenBoom
The Havre Daily News
Friday, May 14
There will not be a new building and there will not be a full-size grocery store, but the Havre Kmart will be expanding the grocery section in its current store as the local operation converts to the Big K format.
According to Steve Harr, manager of the local Kmart, more than 1,000 Kmart stores around the country have already undergone the conversion and Havres store will be the fourth in Montana to experience the change.
Kmart stores in Bozeman, Helena, and Butte, have already undergone the conversion or are currently in the process, Harr said.
The conversion is expected to begin June 7 with the arrival of the project coordinator and if all goes according to plan, Harr said the conversion should take about nine weeks and be completed sometime in August.
A grand reopening will be scheduled after the conversion is complete, Harr said.
Harr said the expanded grocery area will be located in approximately the same area in the store as the current grocery area but will contain an expanded pantry.
The new expanded grocery section is expected to include items such as eggs, frozen pizza, milk, bread, deli meat, chips, and some canned goods, but will not be, according to Harr, a grocery store in the traditional sense of that term.
The grocery items will be displayed on counters that Harr said will be 60 feet long as opposed to the 25-foot long counters that are currently being used in the store.
The conversion will go well with the full service, one stop shopping concept that Harr said, stores already completed say has been good.
Room for the expanded section will be gained by reducing some departments in the store that are less productive and by expanding into areas currently not used.
Harr said confusion, clutter and chaos will be kept to a minimum during the conversion by keeping other departments where they are and by providing employees that can direct the customer around the mess to the department they are looking for.
It will actually give us more room, Harr said when asked whether the conversion would mean a reduction in space available to other departments. We will actually gain space.
Harr used the term better department flow, to describe the change.
Kmart will continue to release information and updates on the conversion as it progresses, Harr said.