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Save Kmart petition drive being conducted

By By Paul Keane
Publisher
The Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce has begun a petition and letter-writing campaign to try and keep Kmart Corporation from closing its Atmore store.
On Tuesday, the corporation announced that more than 300 stores – including the one here – will close approximately by April 1. The Chamber and City of Atmore are taking an aggressive approach to try and persuade officials with the company to reconsider the decision.
"It's going to impact all of us," said Chamber Board President Peggie Byrd. "We need to send letters and petitions to try and see if they will reconsider their decision on the Atmore store."
Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said his office has been in contact with officials at both Kmart and United Corners, the company that owns and leases space in the shopping center where Kmart is located. He indicated that some progress has been made, but that other contacts are also being made, including some by U.S. Congressman Jo Bonner.
"I spoke with Art Jones, a vice president with Kmart," Shell said. "He said he was impressed by the outcry from people in Atmore, and he was especially impressed that Jo Bonner was the only congressman to contact him about the closures.
"I told him that Kmart was a very, very important part of our community, and I emphasized that this store has been supported very well by the community. I feel like we had a very good conversation."
Emilie Mims, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, and her staff have organized a petition drive to try and convince officials to keep Kmart open locally.
Petitions are available the Chamber, area businesses and the offices of The Atmore Advance. All petitions and letters will be collected at 12 p.m. Tuesday and next-day air shipped to the corporate headquarters of both Kmart and United Corners.