While Kmart moved out of its 3555 O'Neill Drive location in March 2017, the automotive repair business leasing space in the back remained open.
But now that a buyer has purchased the 120,000-square-foot building and wants all the space for itself, the Auto-Lab of Jackson Complete Car Care Center has closed.
The 6,000-square-foot facility closed Dec. 30, and the business had a liquidation sale Jan. 15.
"I don't want this community to think that this business failed or that we bailed or that Kmart threw us out - it's none of those things," Owner Dave Ziolkowski said. "Bottom line is, they have a buyer for the building and the buyer doesn't need us."
Blain's Farm and Fleet, a Wisconsin-based general store chain, is moving into the former Kmart building. It will have its own automotive service center, once the store opens in fall 2018, spokesperson Gayla Kirshner said in an email.
Warranties given to customers at the Jackson Auto-Lab will be honored at all other Auto-Lab locations, Ziolkowski said. There are multiple franchises across the state, including in Lansing and Marshall.
Auto-Lab could reopen in Jackson under new ownership, Ziolkowski said. He's spoken with others interested in taking over the name and customer base. He's also talked to people seeking to become a new business owner.
Those interested can call 810-923-0431 or email [email protected].
Ziolkowski had a 15-year lease with Kmart, opening almost six years ago. The business would have continued operations if Blain's allowed it to stay, he said.
The automotive center was operated by Kmart, but became storage space about 15 years ago when the retailer began ditching that business model.
With 5,000 annual customers, Ziolkowski said his business made $500,000 a year.
This story, by Taylor DesOrmeau, first appeared on mlive.com