By George Warren

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — A once-mighty retailer that boasted nearly 2,500 stores in its heyday ends its West Coast presence this weekend by liquidating virtually everything in its Grass Valley location.

“Poor Kmart,” said Sharon Sweet of Nevada City, who stopped by Friday morning looking for bargains. “Finished. Over. Done with.”

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The Grass Valley Kmart was one of only a handful of Kmarts left in the continental United States.

A sign outside the store said the liquidation sale would run through the weekend, but a look inside suggested the end could come sooner than that.

“I was here about a week-and-a-half ago and there was quite a bit [of stuff],” said Hector Aguilar of Sacramento. “But now it’s down to the last bone.”

Most of the store was cordoned off with the last remaining merchandise moved toward the check stands. Women’s bathing suits were selling for 99¢ and toddlers’ dresses for 79¢. Signs advertised all the shelves and racks for sale, too — including the sign advertising the liquidation posted in front of the store.

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But not everyone who dropped by the store was looking for a bargain.

“I used to work here a long time ago so I thought I’d come by and say goodbye,” said Shawn Sutton of Penn Valley. “It’s kind of a sweet and sad moment at the same time. I miss it.”

Kmart’s demise certainly leaves a hole in Nevada County’s retail landscape, but it’s only temporary. A Citrus Heights contractor pulled a $500,000 building permit at the beginning of December to begin remodeling work for Target, which will take over Kmart’s lease.

“Target will be good,” said Joanne Haines, who lives near the shopping center. “It’s sad to see something go, but there are always new things coming. So we’ve got to keep positive, right?”

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Retail analysts say this will likely be the final holiday season for both Kmart and its sister company, Sears.