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Rural King coming to former Kmart

Farm supplies, equipment retailer closes on purchase of vacant store

Rural King, a retailer of farm supplies and equipment and general merchandise, closed this month on its purchase of the former Kmart building and parking lot on Plank Road, next to Logan Valley Mall, according to one of the principals in the limited liability firms that had owned the property since the 1960s.

Rural King purchased 10.8 acres, not including two outparcels, one of which has been sold for a car wash and the other of which is under a tentative sales agreement, said David Cohen of CF Altoona LLC and Altoona Associates LLP.

A Rural King real estate executive to whom the Mirror was referred for comment has not replied to three voicemails.

Founded in Mattoon, Ill., in 1960 and still headquartered there, Rural King has more than 100 stores in 13 states — Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia, according to the company website.

There is a Rural King location in State College.

Rural King is “America’s Farm and Home Store,” selling “a broad range of necessities, essential goods, food, feed, seed and other farm and home products,” the company website states. “(A) product mix with items such as livestock feed, farm equipment, agricultural parts, lawn mowers, workwear, fashion clothing, housewares and toys.”

The company intends to renovate and reuse the about 97,000-square-foot building, as far as he knows, Cohen said.

The building was constructed in 1967 as a Kmart, Cohen said.

The Kmart store closed in 2019.

There were obstacles to the sale of the property since then, including problems connected with COVID-19, Cohen said.

Hoped-for deals with two prior purchasers collapsed, according to Cohen.

The two outparcels, on either side of the main entrance, next to Plank Road, are each 1 acre.

Hutton of Chattanooga, Tenn., owner of the ModWash chain, plans to build on the right side, from the perspective of someone looking at the property from Plank Road.

The former Kmart Auto Center building stands on the other outparcel, whose prospective buyer is finishing “due diligence” and seeking permits, Cohen said.

He can’t say what the buyer’s intentions are for the property and doesn’t know whether the buyer plans to renovate or raze, Cohen said recently.

Once that buyer closes, the ownership group of which Cohen is a member will be fully divested from the Altoona property, Cohen said.

The owners were originally from the Midwest and at the time were investing in Kmarts in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Cohen said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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