New Ulm woman carries torch for closing Kmart

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Photo by Dave Engen

By Sasha Aslanian

Marge Hames, a 74-year-old retiree in New Ulm, is protesting the closing of her local Kmart.

“Kmart may have been a [chain store], but I always felt it came up like a local store. I don’t like that the ownership doesn’t care what the store means to a town,” Hames told the New Ulm Journal in March when she began her protest.

She’s been out every day since late March (except Sundays) and will be there until the store closes in early June.

Her one-woman campaign inspired communication professors Dave Engen at MSU Mankato and Robert Jersak of Century College who were looking for a story to tell about neighbors. They recorded Hames for a short doc competition for the Third Coast Audio Festival.

“The story is about Kmart, yes,” writes Engen. “But really it’s a story about loyalty and faithfulness to her neighbors.”

Listen to the doc here. It’s a lovely audio portrait of a determined neighbor, an unexpected object of affection, and two teachers with ears and hearts for a good story:

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