Founder of K-Mart Dead at 56

Boston, MA

Benjamin Kent, whose K-Mart brand opened 11 stores around New England, has died of a heart attack, according to a statement given by his wife. He was 56.

Kent died Wednesday at his Worcester, MA, K-Mart while giving a lecture on store organization. While presenting, Kent suddenly complained of left arm pain and fell unconscious. No one present knew how to stabilize a heart attack, and paramedics were unable to revive him.

Kent was an executive for the Target corporation until it went bankrupt in 2024. Using money he received from the will of actor Michael Archer, Kent purchased the then-defunct K-Mart brand and revitalized it, opening three stores within two years.

Ownership of the brand will pass to Kent’s wife, artist Gloria Kent, who plans to stay out of the day-to-day operations of the business, leaving management to her two sons.

Kent is survived by his wife Gloria, two children—Michael Timothy Kent and Samuel James Kent, and two grandchildren.

A private memorial service is planned.