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MCMURRAY (KDKA) — The Kmart in McMurray closed on Oct. 14. For manager, Joshua Englert, and his 49 employees, it was more than just a place of employment. The employees say it was Josh’s dedication and sense of humor that kept them close.
So, when Josh considered his final announcement, he crafted his words very carefully.
“Attention Kmart shoppers, it’s now 4:25, and your McMurray Kmart will be closing for the last time in just five minutes.”
Josh says throughout the final day, “I was just trying to stay strong for the people and do what we needed to get through the day. But when I put the emotion into it, it got to me.”
“I wanted to take this opportunity not to sell you 40-cent plaid skirts of 5-cent panties, but to thank you for supporting a lifetime of memories.”
The Pleasant Hills father of two started at the Parkway Center store, went to manager training, then worked in Williamsport for seven years before returning home to the Monroeville store, then McIntyre Square, and then McMurray.
“It’s been my career, and I have nothing but gratitude for what the company has done for me,” he said.
“A sincere thank you to the people who have made this store their second home. I’ve worked here 18 years, more than half my life, I’m the man I am today because of the people that I’ve met here at Kmart.”
Of his employees Englert said, “We were a family.” And with his voice shaking, his announcement continued.
“We’ve always worked to get together to get through the stressful times. The inventories, the Black Fridays, the long lines for Tickle Me Elmos and Playstations when we only had three of them.”
Josh never intended his video to go viral on Facebook.
“I wouldn’t have filmed up my nostrils if I thought it was going to get all these views,” he said.
But his words and his emotions have hit a chord across the country and prompted lots reactions, and people sharing.
“I think most impressively is all the stories I’ve heard and how positive it’s been with people,” he said.
There have also been several job offers that he is serious considering. Josh carries no animosity towards online shopping that is changing the consumer landscape.
“I don’t think retail or brick and mortar is dead, I think people like the human element that we provide for them,” he said.
“Thank you deeply to the Kmart McMurray team, you all have made it all worthwhile.”
After the store closed that final day the entire team went to Texas Roadhouse nearby.
“We had an amazing meal and laughed and cried together,” Josh said.
And the next day, the long-term, full-time employees went back to work.
“We had to clean it out, we had to gut it,” said Josh.
Something he says was not easy.
“Once again the time is 4:25, your McMurray Kmart will be closing at 4:30 thank you.”
Whichever job he chooses he says he wants to make sure it involves working “with people, customers, clients, associates. I have to be with people.” With the big red K now solidly in his rear-view mirror, Josh will head to Mexico on a previously planned vacation and make a decision about his future when he returns.