Thursday, March 24, 2022

Nikon 120 f4 Medical Micro: In Depth Review

Tech Specs

Focal Length: 120mm
Dimensions: 5.9” long x 3.9” wide
Weight: 31.4oz.
Maximum Aperture: f4
Minimum Aperture: f32
Diaphragm Blades: 7
Front Element: non-rotating, non-extending
Optical arrangement: 9 elements in 6 groups
    Thread On Attachment: 2 elements in 1 group
Autofocus Mechanism: NA
Closest Focus: 13 inches
Maximum magnification: 2:1 (that’s double life size!)
Filter Size: 49mm

Nikon made its first micro lens for cameras (rangefinder) in 1956: a 55mm f3.5 capable of producing images at half life size. With the advent of the Nikon F SLR system in 1959, Nikon started producing SLR micro lenses by lifting the optics from the rangefinder version and dropping them into a F-mount housing. Nikon's first SLR macro, a 55mm f3.5 (what a surprise!), which came to market in 1961. Shortly thereafter, in 1962, Nikon came out with a 200mm f5.6 Medical Micro that could go up to 3x life size and incorporated a ring flash unit that would more than compensate for the lack of distance (and blocking of light) from lens to subject. The ring flash was powered by a large and cumbersome battery pack. Fast forward 2 decades to 1981. Nikon came up with the model being reviewed here, the 120 f4 Micro Medical. While trading off 3x magnification for 2x, the new lens was powered by a substantially smaller battery pack (8 AA batteries), which made it much more practical for real world usage all while retaining the ring flash. Nikon ceased production of this lens in 1998 and, since then, the highest powered Nikon micro lens only goes to 1x life size. In contrast, Canon produces a truly stunning lens that can go to 5x life size, or powerful enough to fill a full frame with a grain of rice.



Build Quality
This oldie is built to the typical standards of its time: rock solid as in out of solid metal. Funny how Nikon (and everyone else) is now churning out mostly plastic junk lenses and selling them for thousands of dollars, isn't it? Needless to say, this lens could be used as a weapon if necessary.

Good and bad here. With no electronic AF system, this lens should outlast the photographer using it. Unfortunately, this lens does have the ring flash and, after being out of production for 25 years, parts may be hard to come by should something go wrong. If the ring flash were to die, it is very unlikely that a repair could be made, which negates the main selling point of the lens: thanks to the ring flash, available light doesn’t matter. However, the lens is still 100% fully usable, albeit with a lot more difficulty. My advice: if your ring flash were to die, it’s time to invest in a macro lighting system.

AF Performance
This lens has no real focus capability! However, as real macro photographers all know, moving themselves rather than focusing the lens is the way to go. In practice, set the lens to the desired magnification and then move back and forth to achieve focus.


Well, there’s no real objective way to test for sharpness as the focal ratio of the lens is tied directly to its magnifying power, unlike traditional macro lenses, like my 200f4 AI Micro. Long story short, with the close up attachment in place, this lens will capture images at .8x life size at its lowest setting while automatically at its maximum aperture f f4. As the magnification goes up, so does the focal ratio. By the time the lens reaches its maximum magnification of 2x life size, it has stopped itself down to f32. As anyone familiar with photography knows, a lens will, at some point, hit what is called the diffraction limit, which is just a fancy way of saying that, come a certain f-stop, the sharpness of the lens will actually start to decrease rather than increase. Generally, most lenses peak in overall sharpness across the frame from f8 to f11, after which the sharpness will actually start to decrease. For anyone who has made it through all of this technical mumbo jumbo to this point: this lens is not at its sharpest at 2x life size, its main selling point. However, this is more than offset by the fact that this lens can to to 2x life size at all and, as seen in the samples below (all taken at 2x life size), it looks pretty doggone sharp.


This lens focuses down to 2:1, or double life size when used with the thread-on close up adapter, otherwise it focuses to ‘just’ 1:1, which was already double the native magnification of any contemporary Nikon micro lens.

See also: Half vs. Full vs. Double Life Size: how big is the difference?

Forget it, there is no infinity focus.

Can’t see any even in extreme lighting conditions (thanks to the ring flash).

Where else can you get a Nikon micro lens that goes above 1:1 magnification? Nowhere, save the older 200 f5.6, which I have never seen anywhere on the used market. On the other hand, the trade offs that went into making this lens almost a microscope have a price, namely that this lens can only do micro and nothing else. Any other micro lens can also be used for any other photographic purpose to varying extents. This lens? Nope, it’s a one trick pony but, the one trick that it does do, it does extremely well.

To put it plainly, there isn’t any competition besides the already mentioned 200 f5.6 Medical Micro, which can go to a whopping 3x life size. On the other hand, 1:1 macro lenses can be made to go to 2:1 by extension tubes, but all of these will create the same problem: namely blocking one’s available light, which is a non issue here thanks to the built in ring flash. On the other hand, any other traditional macro lens will be much easier to use.


Book pages.

Camera case foam

Cat claw husk


Hair brush bristle

Hand towel

Japanese beetle

Metal nail file

My wrist

Pencil point

Pencil eraser

Pool cue scuffing tool

Quarter edge



Razor blade

Newsprint standard size

Speaking of easier to use . . .

While any experienced photographer can usually just take a lens out of a box, pop it on the camera, and start making pictures, such is not the case with the 120f4 Medical Micro. This being a film era lens (when changing ISO mid-shoot was not an option), there is actually a 24 page manual on how to use this lens. While not a huge read by today’s standards, for 40 years ago, this was a big deal.

As for my experience with this lens, I can’t comment on everything in the manual for the simple reason that my lens didn’t come as a full kit. What I do have are the DC power unit (powered by 8 AA batteries) and the 3 pin flash sync unit, which mounts into the camera’s hot shoe.

The book starts out with the most basic operation: mounting the lens. If you’re reading this, I’ll assume you know how to mount a Nikon F-mount optic. . .

The next few pages of the book deal with the power options. In my case, this is limited to the battery powered DC unit and the 3 prong sync cord, which plugs into the lens on one end and then goes into the camera’s hot shoe on the other.

The next step is vitally important if you’re shooting film, as it’s a must to set the film speed on the lens as the output of the flash is directly tied to the film’s ISO rating. Higher ISO, weaker flash. Lower ISO, stronger flash. In practice, the ISO setting ring is held in place by a screw. To move the ring, loosen the screw and adjust the ring accordingly. For the young macro shooter, it may come as a surprise to see that the highest ISO setting on the ring is for 800. Yep, back in the day, ISO 800 was really pushing the limits of film technology.

Next section of the book, the shutter speed setting, is largely out of date unless you are using an old film camera, which will have optimal settings outlined in a handy chart.

The next couple pages of the manual deal with focusing and setting the magnification.

The next section deals with mounting the close up adapter. Itself, the 120 f4 Medical Micro has a magnification power of 1:1 but, with the adapter, it goes to 2:1, or double life size. In practice, I had a hard time threading the adapter onto the lens, no doubt to at least 25 years of adding/removing it and the resultant worn threads. In the product shots in this review, the adapter is always on the lens. A table of reproduction ratios, focus distances, depths of fields, and subject field sizes follow for with and without the adapter.

Next up: a very cool feature for early 80s technology: magnification ratio imprinting on the image. To record your magnification on the image, simply press the ‘data’ button and go.

The next page deals with using the lens with the ring flash turned off, which can really come in handy if your ring flash were to die.

Next up: how to operate the focus assist lamp in situations with dim lighting. Unfortunately, you may be out of luck in locating a replacement bulb come 2022 if yours were to burn out.

The next point is moot unless you have a film camera or a newer digital one, recommended focusing screens. As someone who has shot an old film camera (a Canon FT QL), the old pre AF cameras were much easier to manually focus than the new ones, and anything to make focusing easier should be utilized because, at 2x life size, to call the depth of field razor thin is putting things mildly.

The book wraps up with a few pages about cautions (remember, this lens is electronic), lens care, recommended accessories, and tech specs.

If you’ve made it this far into this review, you want this lens as there's no other lens offering such a combination of high build quality, optical excellence, insane value, and not to mention greater than 1:1 magnification as this one, save the 200 f5.6 Medical Micro, which I have never seen on the used market. Sure, you can pay a lot more for a current macro lens for AF capability, stabilizers and ‘only’ 1:1 magnification but real macro photographers don't use AF. On the other hand, the real problem comes via its strength: it does great micro, but that’s all it can do and if the flash unit were to go bad, you might be out of luck for getting it repaired. Bottom line: if you’re very serious about micro photography and have to go beyond 1:1 power, this lens is for you. For anyone else (namely casual micro shooters, beginners, or anyone not wanting to go beyond 1:1), any more traditional optic is the way to go but, if you’re really big on making small objects look huge, this is the optic for you and don’t wait around if you’re lucky enough to come across one, they don’t come up often or last long when they do pop up on the used market!

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Friday, November 12, 2021

Lorain Super Kmart Closing Photos

 It has been 5 years since the Super Kmart/Kmart Supercenter in Lorain, Ohio closed down in September, 2016. Having a camera always on hand and realizing that this was only 1 of 4 such stores left in the country, I decided to document the closing process for myself. Well, fast forward to 2021 and with the brand itself on the verge of going out of existence (the last Super K, in Warren, Ohio closed in 2018), I figured it may be a good idea to post my photos and story online as a means of historical preservation of a brand that is about to become a memory.

I began my career at the Lorain Super Kmart Center mid-way through college as an overnight stocker with the intention of working my way through college by night, attending classes by day, and then leaving upon landing a job in my chosen field upon graduation.

That didn't happen. I ended up working at Kmart for 10 years until it was announced that the store was going to be closing in September, 2016. I landed another job in August and was not around to see the final tear down after closure. But from May into August, there was a lot to see and, after being with the store so long, a lot to stare at in total disbelief.

For a bit of history, the store opened in 1993 after Kmart decided to close its aging Amherst store and relocate just across the Lorain border. The Amherst store was a standard Kmart but the new Lorain store was an all-in-one hypermart, adding a full grocery department along with fresh foods and not to mention a lot of floor space.

I remember the store when it first opened. It was absolutely enormous, far bigger than any other store in the area. About the only thing bigger than the store itself were the crowds. Despite living less than a 5 minute drive from Super Kmart, we hardly ever shopped there because we didn't want to have to deal with the crowds. It took a really good sale to get us through the doors, only to often find whatever the sale item we wanted was out of stock. Talking to coworkers who had been there from the start, I learned that doing $400,000 a day in sales (roughly 800,000 in 2020) was the norm upon opening and that it was virtually impossible to stock on 3rd shift as customers would often pull merchandise straight off the pallets. As for the merchandise that did make it to the shelf, it didn't stay there long. The store stayed busy 24/7.

Starting in the mid 2000s, we finally decided to try Kmart again. More businesses had gone in and the crowds were not as large as they used to be. There were a lot of good sales at the store and that, along with the fact that the crowds were smaller and the sale merchandise was no longer sold out in the first day, kept us coming back. Interestingly, I learned of the overnight job openings on a sales receipt.

In my 10 years there, I got a front row seat of what could only be called the slow death of the Lorain Super Kmart. The first year or so there the store was extremely busy. It was the norm to have between 8-10 pallets of freight a night in my departments. The store would typically stay busy into the 2am hour, get pretty quiet from around 3-5am, and then start to pick up again in the 5am hour. Holiday eves? The store was busy all night.

The first obvious blow came in 2008 when the economy crashed in the fall. Following the recession, there was plainly a lot more seasonal merchandise getting marked down on clearance than there had been the previous year. To make matters worse, a lot of the ordering was done automatically by computer based on the previous year's sales. Needless to say, it took a year to play catch-up with the lower sales, which made 2008 the year of the clearance department.

The next punch came in 2009 when a Super Walmart moved in less than a mile down the street. Knowing what was coming, a lot of coworkers were predicting the end of Kmart before Walmart even opened. Yes, Walmart hurt our business going into the 2009 Christmas season, which meant more clearance merchandise. However, come the following spring, business was bouncing back as the novelty of the new Walmart was wearing off.

2010-2011 were pretty steady years, albeit not at the volume of the pre-recession years. Good news in 2010, the same year I switched from stocker to checkout supervisor, was the addition of a Little Caesar's in the old floral area. In addition, we got a lot of new fixtures in the fashions area as well as in fresh foods. Fashions was now graced with modern-looking 2 and 3-tier tables as well as mannequins while produce, bakery, and deli got wooden display shelves. The biggest aesthetic improvement was in produce, where attractive wooden tables replaced clunky-looking metal bunkers. There was even talk of getting new outdoor signs that would be around twice the height of the current ones, which would make the store visible from nearby OH-2/90. However, that never came to pass.

Despite the improvements, all was not well. News that Sears Holdings, Kmart's parent company, was not doing so well came in early 2011 after it was announced that over 100 Kmart stores would close nationwide thanks to poor Christmas sales across the company in 2010. Knowing that we were still doing pretty good and the fact that we were the only Kmart within nearly an hour radius, there wasn't too much worry.

Going into 2012, what was the biggest wallop, at least for the overnight business, came in the form of an announcement that the store, which had been open 24 hours since the start, would no longer be 24 hours. Instead, all the Super Kmarts in the country would close at midnight and reopen at 6am. For the stock crew, the only change was a shortened shift, from 10-7 to 10-6, because we no longer would have a 1 hour lunch thanks to the fact that we would be locked in overnight and thus would need to be paid for the entire time we were there. As for the cashiers, those who didn't come to stock or quit were sent to days. I switched from checkout supervisor back to stock to stay on 3rd shift. The night closure started just past Easter and went through the summer, robbing us of our peak months for overnight business as the warm weather meant that people stayed up, and shopped, later. Good news came in August when it was announced that our store would go back to being 24 hours just in time for Labor Day. The bad news was that the 24-hour signage wasn't put back and the return to 24 hours was poorly publicized. The answering message on the store phone? It continued to say that we were closed from midnight to 6am for almost a month after reopening to 24 hours. In the end, we were back to 24 hours but the damage was done as overnight business was never be the same again as a lot of shoppers, including many regulars, had converted to Walmart.

From here on out, it was all pretty much downhill as the store became slower and slower as evidenced by the checkouts surviving on less and less staffing and less and less straightening of the sales counters that needed to be done overnight. The amount of freight we got in also started to noticeably go downhill, too. By the time the closure was announced, 4 pallets was a heavy freight night for one area. The times of rushing to get one's freight done, trash thrown away, and returned merchandise put back where it needed to go were a distant memory.

One highlight in the 2012 to closure time period was news that the Lorain store would be used for online order fulfillment. Instead of shipping from warehouses, Sears Holdings started using stores to fulfill online orders as it attempted to tap into the online shopping market without needing to open dedicated online order fulfillment facilities. This started in fall of 2013, just in time for the Christmas season. The demand was huge, so much so that, for the only time in my career there, we were allowed overtime. One week I worked over 62 hours. Unfortunately, this was not to last as, after Christmas, the store hired a bunch of people just for the purpose of taking care of online order processing. Another bright spot: the addition of a Rad Air auto repair shop in the old Penske truck rental area in 2013. True, aside from drawing in people who may shop in the store while their car was being worked on, Rad Air did not bring in direct money but it was still good to have a tenant moving in, rather than out, for a change.

The final few years just had me really shaking my head at the conditions of the store. Thanks to Obamacare, all part timers were limited to 29 hours come the start of 2014, shifts were shortened to 7 hours, and no new people were hired (on 3rd shift, anyway) to pick up the slack. This problem was compounded by what many people thought would be the store's lifeline, the online orders. Why? People who were scheduled to work the floor were pulled to work on order fulfillment. Result: the store conditions went downhill even though less people were shopping. The store was often quite the mess compared to the way it had looked just a few years previously. Customer service also suffered because there were often just a few people actually on the floor.

Being limited to 29 hours after years of working around 40 forced me to find a second job. I got in with the company that cleaned the store, which provided a unique perspective to witness the store's decline. The best indicator of how much business was coming in the doors? The amount of bathroom supplies used on a daily basis. Second best: the amount of trash. By the end, we spent more time trying to look busy than actually cleaning the store.

In addition to the cluttered look and lack of customer service available, another put-off for shoppers was the building itself. With Sears Holdings in dire straights financially, corporate was never in any hurry to pay for building repairs. The roof was full of leaks and whenever it rained outside, it probably would rain inside somewhere, too. Little Caesar's dough machine was breaking down a lot, which meant no pizza, early closings, and a lot of people taking their money elsewhere. Coolers and freezers were constantly having problems and merchandise was having to be rushed back to the stockroom freezers and coolers where people couldn't buy it. One night in the middle of winter, we actually pushed the cooler merchandise out to the outdoor garden area in shopping carts because it was so cold that the food would stay okay. On top of that, several coolers and freezers on the sales floor leaked and had to be surrounded with rags and rolls of paper towels at their bases so as to keep the sales floor dry. The bathrooms were a mess as some of the toilets leaked at the base. One bathroom even had a leaky pipe under the tile and the floor was always wet from water bubbling up through the concrete slab. Out of order signs and plumbers became regulars. For probably close to 6 months starting around Christmas, 2013, the only lights in the parking lot were 2 portable diesel powered light towers as something had happened to the electric supply line. As a whole, the store simply looked dirty and outdated. In comparison, the Giant Eagle in Amherst, opened in 1996, still looks like new (and is still doing good business, to boot!).

Of all the problems above, one that out-did them all were the cash registers. As old as the store, they were constantly freezing up during transactions. This was probably due in large part to all the programs that were loaded onto them throughout the years as computer technology was obviously much more primitive in the mid 1990s than in the mid 2010s. In fact, the software used to run the store dated to the late 1980s. Needing to reboot the register wiped out everything that had been scanned and meant that everything needed to be scanned again once the register came back up. To make matters worse, the tendency to run slow and freeze increased when the store was busy as the system obviously couldn't handle everything at once. The store was essentially using late 80s technology up until its close in 2016, not good. In the final year of operation, the problems got so bad that the entire system would crash and getting back online never had certain time frames. Probably at least a half dozen times (that I know of) we had to close because we couldn't sell anything and had no idea when the problems would be fixed and the registers would be operable again. Needless to say, it isn't fun showing up to work at a locked building and having to call the customer service desk in order to be let in.

In all, going into 2016, things were not good. The store was typically like a ghost town by midnight, even on the weekends. To make matters worse, Dollar General stores were popping up like weeds all over the Lorain area, draining more of our business. Kmart made an inexplicable move when it stopped carrying anything to do with video gaming and computers in early 2015. The electronics section virtually died. As if customer service was not being neglected enough already, what can only be described as a purge of full time hourly workers took place in 2015 as roughly a third of full timers were let go on corporate orders as a cost cutting measure. In the following months, a lot of the remaining full timers either took buyouts or found other jobs. Another purge of remaining full timers took place a few months later. Hundreds of years of combined experience and knowledge were lost and what positions were retained became part time for the most part. As bad as things were, we were the only Kmart for a wide radius and we were doing way more business than the Sears store in neighboring Elyria.

In January, 2016, we stopped 24 hour operations again, now being open from 7am to 11pm. Stock stayed as overnight, though, so I stayed put. More bad news came when it was announced that the big stockroom freezer and cooler units for perishable food storage would be shut down. Refrigerated food would be moved into the milk cooler and the bakery would now have to share a freezer with prepackaged frozen merchandise. Between overnight closing and the stockroom freezer/cooler shutdowns, I really was wondering whether the store would survive the year as a Super Kmart, if at all. We all held our collective breaths. On April 23, it was announced that the Lorain Super Kmart, only 1 of 4 left in the country, would close in September.

The text from my parents asking if I heard that the Lorain Super K was closing had to be the biggest surprise that I ever had the displeasure of waking up to. Sadly, the only thing that surprised me was that the Elyria Sears store wasn't closed down first.

For roughly the first month after the closing was announced, it seemed as though the whole store would not be closing. The hours were unchanged and the weekly ads continued to circulate as normal. Looking closely, though, things were starting to change. The Ohio Lottery machines got pulled, layaway stopped accepting new orders and became payment and pickup only, gift cards and magazines (save Sears gift cards) were pulled and, to me, most surprisingly, online order fulfillment was shut down. Little Caesar's, which was set to remain open through Memorial Day, got shut down early, before Mother's Day. So much for free lunches (they often left 3rd shift the leftover pizza).

Things began to noticeably change come mid May. The first big change was in the ads. The weekly circulars ceased and were replaced by a store-exclusive 'customer appreciation sale.' Appreciate the customers for what? Not shopping at the store and putting us all out of work? Thus gone were the item by item sale signs, replaced with blanket markdowns of entire departments of varying percents off the regular price. The pharmacy also shut down before the end of May, directing now- former customers across the street to Walgreen's. The so-called 'customer appreciation sale' ran for about a month, concluding in mid June, at which point the store 'went dark' for about a week before the official liquidation sale commenced. Supposedly, liquidation sales in the state of Ohio are limited to 90 days, thus the delay that would push the conclusion to mid September, which was when the store was set to close. Then came an item of absolute laughter: 'now hiring' signs went up along with 'store closing' signs. Why? Management had foreseen (correctly) a mass exodus of workers.

For the most part, June was business as usual by all appearances, albeit all of the 'liquidation' signs.

By the time July rolled around, it was clear that the store was closing. Little Ceasar's was now cleared of all equipment, the stock-especially in what could be termed as 'essentials' (grocery and health and beauty) were rapidly selling down, and empty areas of the vast 200,000 square foot store were becoming marketplaces for hugely overpriced (I wanted to buy some!) store fixtures. The stockroom was now bare as what can only be described as a gross excess of hardlines and especially fashions inventory was finally moved to the sales floor as merchandise began to sell down. Hardlines and fashions were, by all appearances, normal thanks to the fact that our excess inventory could finally be moved to where people could buy it.

By the time August arrived, Lorain Super Kmart was a shell of its former self. Bakery, deli, meat, dairy, frozen, and produce were all history while dry grocery was hanging on by a thread. Hardlines and fashions? They were still pretty full as, during the liquidation process, the liquidator had brought in a ton of non-Kmart merchandise, which quickly filled the shelves and prevented these areas of the store from going barren (thus the lack of pictures as obvious changes were lacking). August also witnessed the departure of our last front-end tenant, U.S. Bank, which left at the start of the month. Ironically, there was a sign redirecting customers to the U.S. Bank located in the Super Walmart, less than a mile down the road. By mid month, most of the grocery side of the store had become a fixture-mart, full of old store fixtures still priced at far more than one would expect at a liquidation sale.

It was at this time, mid August, that I was lucky enough to find a new job, thus ending my day-by-day front row seat to the death of the Lorain Super Kmart.

Still, even though no longer employed, I remained curious (after all, during my time there, I'd probably spent more waking hours at Kmart than anywhere else). On September 17, 2016, 1 day before the store was set to close, I was in the area ( I had also moved) and decided to drop in. What I saw would have been mind-blowing to any former employee. To my surprise, the store was actually quite busy (a special 'thank-you' to everyone who shopped elsewhere until our liquidation sale, upon which you dropped in like vultures over roadkill). All of grocery had been crunched into half of aisle 1. I bought the last 2-liter of Diet 7-Up. All of the coolers in dairy and frozen were gone, replaced by their outlines of filthy floors covered with what looked like mildew and/or congealed dirt. The old produce and food court areas were still jammed with unsold fixtures (still grossly over-priced). The stockroom coolers? Still unsold, they were literally being cut apart and sold as scrap. All of fashions and hardlines had been moved up to the front of the store just opposite checkouts. As for checkouts, none of them worked unless you were buying grocery merchandise. For everything else, someone accompanying the cashier had to hand key in the UPC (barcode) of anything else in order to tell the cashier what to charge (at least I got my 7-Up in a timely manner).

Thus was the end of my association with the Lorain Kmart Supercenter and, one day later, the store itself.

The Rad Air auto repair shop, located on the building's South side in the old Penske Truck Rental location, hung on through mid 2017 when I presume the lease expired. At about the same time, local newspapers reported that Meijer expressed interest in the former Super Kmart site.

For that entire time from Rad Air's pull-out until around Thanksgiving, the store remained fully accessible in that anyone driving by could pull up into the parking lot, drive by the empty store, get out, and peer inside. It was around this time that I drove up when I was in the area. Strangely, the lights were all on, illuminating the vast expanse of the now-empty building. The fitting rooms had been disassembled and the entirety of the building was wide-open. Easily identifiable were all the entrance doors throughout the building, as labeled below.

Shortly after that visit, things changed. Meijer inked a deal to buy the site and concrete barriers soon arrived, blocked off all the entrances, and bulldozers appeared. The writing was on the wall.

Demolition started with all glass removal from the entrances and food court. From there, the bulldozers started knocking down the building in the Northwest corner (old dairy/frozen area) and started moving Southeast. The last wall of the store to fall was the South entrance to the main store leading to the entrance to the enclosed part of the garden center. By the start of 2018, the building was reduced to a heap of rubble. Even the light fixtures in the parking lot were removed.

Throughout 2018, Meijer was busy finalizing designs and getting permits. The site remained unchanged save for debris being hauled off until early 2019, at which point the parking lot was ripped up and construction of the Meijer store began. All that remained of Kmart were the painted over signs along Cooper Foster and Leavitt (OH St. Rt. 58). By the time mid 2019 arrived, the paint had faded, making it possible to read the old lettering once again, but not for long. The signs were removed in October, the beams repainted blue, and new Meijer signs appeared come November. Work on the site continued into 2020 and the store opened in July, 2020 and appears to be doing quite well.

And now for the pictures of the closure. Here's a link to a large album of when the store was still operating normally.

NOTE: A few of these pictures became corrupted through copying. I have included them anyway in the interest of historical preservation. 


Magazines gone, all vendor stuff gone

All gift cards are gone save Sears Holdings.


Coolers done, doors removed.

Backroom freezers shut down, dry grocery overstock now.

 No more layaway.

Lotto machine is gone.

 All magazines gone.

Little Caesar's was closed down early.




Pharmacy closed forever-customers redirected across the street to Walgreens.


All the equipment is now cleared out.

Vendors no longer servicing their coolers.



What's left of dairy.

Frozen meat's last stand.

Last of the fresh cut meat.

All of what used to be fresh cut meat (above photo the tiny bit on the right).

Fresh seafood is done.

Frozen seafood cooler empty.

No more milk.

The last of the fresh produce.



All the books are gone.

The former K-Cafe/Dollar Store



Bakery and deli done.
Ditto above photo.
Dairy/frozen empty.
Frozen empty-note the area blocked off with shelves.
Old K-Cafe/Dollar Store is now (over-priced) fixture mart.
Dry grocery tear down begins.
Dry grocery empty.
Health and beauty tear down begins.
Former produce area now table mart.
U.S. Bank-our last front end tenant, now gone.



Dairy frozen gone.

Dairy frozen gone 2.
Dairy frozen gone 3.
Fashions backroom.
Grocery gone.

Grocery back room-former cooler straight ahead as dark doorway.


Former dairy/frozen.

September 14, 2016, only 1 more day to closing. The store was pretty busy so I didn't feel comfortable pulling out my camera and taking a bunch of pictures (all others were taken during the overnight shift when the store was closed).

Much of the rest of the store.

Pretty much the entire back of the store from the fashions midway. This picture was taken from former home fashions and sweeps up the former (from right to left along the walls) infants, toys, sporting goods (the lit black case is where the guns used to go), automotive, do-it-yourself/furniture, and electronics (you can still see 3 TVs at upper left). Infant/toddler clothes used to be around the fitting rooms while lingerie and girls' was opposite them and boys' behind them. At this point, whatever merchandise that remained was pushed to the front third of the fashions area opposite checkouts. 


After the Closure

At the North (grocery) entrance looking as far North as I can. Bakery and deli would be out of view to the right of the rightmost door.

The same entrance again, but looking straight back. The fitting rooms would have blocked the view to the secondary general merchandise backroom door.
Moving to the South (general merchandise) entrance and looking North. This view sweeps up much of the previous picture but from a different viewpoint. Note the public restroom entrance, which was obscured by pillars in the previous picture.

The South entrance looking South. The entrance to the garden area would be at left but is obscured.

Looking straight into the old garden shop. A surprise was awaiting to my right . . .

The wall separating the rest of the store from the garden shop was gone! It never crossed my mind that it was not built in to the store. Awaiting me was a view encompassing most of the store up until the grocery area.

The old checkout area is circled. The doorways at right are where our tenants used to be.

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