Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Rockport Closing, Tanger Outlets, Southaven, MS

Today's post highlights DeSoto County, MS, retail.
As we approach three years since the date of this event, now is probably as good a time as any to finally dust off my photos of the liquidation sale at the Southaven, MS, Rockport shoe store. Part of the Tanger Outlet mall in Southaven, this Rockport location closed in July 2018 alongside the entire chain. Rockport-brand shoes are still made, but now are only sold online and in non-proprietary brick-and-mortar stores.

Beginning with some looks at the façade of the store. Pretty generic Tanger storefront. If you look closely, you'll see Wilsons Leather and Bass were Rockport's neighbors. Both of those have since closed up shop, too. But that's a post for another day...

As we enter the store, the above two pictures take a look immediately to the right and straight ahead toward the back, respectively. Like most outlet stores, this location was pretty shallow but deep. Obviously, the layout consisted of just multiple rows and aisles of shoes. However, for the liquidation, a folding table had also been set up here at the very front of the store, stocked with plastic buckets of socks and such.

While liquidation signage is very commonplace these days, getting the opportunity to take close-up shots of it isn't. So, I took advantage. I've always been oddly fascinated by this stuff, particularly the percent-off signs. I have a strong desire to get out a Sharpie and just write merchandise categories on a bunch of those things. (And you wonder why I operate a retail blog.)

Glancing down the right-side wall -- home to men's shoes -- followed by the view back up toward the front doors. The large store closing signs up there felt rather large for the space. Note, next to the repeating "men's" and "women's" category names, all of the cute phrases and whatnot. Here, for example, we get "shoes you could sleep in (but probably shouldn't)."

A couple of views over to the women's side of the store. That particular "nothing held back" sign was placed smack on top of one of the women's category names -- good thing there are plenty of others in the store to compensate! Note also, on the display shelf in the bottom picture, the unique use of clipboards to post advertisements or special deals. Of course, at this point they were all being used to show the liquidation discounts, as can also be seen in the photo below...

Pretty much the entire back half of the store was dedicated to the clearance department, with orange signage to separate it from the rest of the store. Most outlet stores are set up in this way. Many also face the similar challenge of how to differentiate themselves identity-wise, given the tight spaces and standardized layouts. Rockport achieved that fairly successfully here, I feel, with its clipboards and cute (if cliché) phrases, as noted above. We'll also see later that its checkout station had a nice attitude to it, and in the image below you can see how its shoe fitting benches also fit into that environment. I get kind of a sophisticated, muted/understated vibe from it all.

I don't believe we totally intentionally set out to stop here on this day, especially since I am notoriously not one for shoe shopping. However, this visit turned out to be quite fortuitous. I had not really had a need for dress shoes up to this point, but I was pretty satisfied with many of the ones I tried on here, so we wound up buying several pairs (or "several pair," as I believe is more grammatically correct to say), including the pair I wore pretty much every day on my internship last year. Since that time I have bought additional Rockport shoes from their continuing retail channels, too. So, they inadvertently gained a loyal customer from their going-out-business sale!

A couple more views up toward the front of the store, as we prepare to head back that way. If you're not familiar, the way many of these outlet stores work -- at least, in the shoe category -- is that those fixtures lining the perimeter walls consist of both customer-facing stock (the shelves on the bottom) and additional storage space (hidden behind the cloth banners on top, which lift up to reveal additional shelves underneath. They magnetically reattach to the metal lip below when they are let down). This allows the stores to maximize the amount of product on hand without having to sacrifice square footage for a large stockroom in back. At Tanger Southaven in particular, I know the Clarks shoe store is set up in the same way, and I'm pretty sure Skechers is also, although it has a much larger space to work with, too.

As I mentioned, much of the store's personality came from very small elements here and there; the register was where the highest amount of all that was concentrated. Check out that very cool desk! I don't quite know what exactly to describe that metal/mesh-on-wood look as, but it kinda reminds me of the style of old-school radios for some reason. What does it bring to mind for y'all?

Completing the ensemble at the "front end," so to speak, were the two black lamps serving as light fixtures over each of the registers, as well as the wood-framed Rockport logo on the wall -- again, a common trait at most outlet stores, since there are so few opportunities to actually get any other obvious branding inside the limited spaces. I like how the panorama my Google Photos app put together for me turned out.

Closing things out with a close-up of the ubiquitous "STORE CLOSING" sign in the front window of the Rockport store... followed below by a humorous scene from another, different shoe store at Tanger, where a box of shoes in the clearance department was marked a whopping zero percent off :P  What a steal, haha!

Hope y'all enjoyed this quick, long-overdue post on the Southaven Rockport closing. If you did, that's good, because I have several other Tanger (and non-Tanger) small store closures in my archives that will likely pop up on the blog here and there over the years. However, none of them are very time-sensitive (given that they're all already long-gone!), so I wouldn't necessarily expect them to show up at specified times or regular intervals.

If you didn't, well, then maybe you'll like the next post I'm planning a little better -- coming next month, a return to our Lost Histories series, focusing on another broken chain. I know I just did one of those in January, but it's been a looong semester for me, and this one is actually quite timely to share, so hopefully I'll enjoy writing it and you'll enjoy reading it! Until then and as always, thanks for reading, and have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are :)

Retail Retell

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Contributor Photo: Seessel's Express, Truse Pkwy, Memphis, TN

Today's post highlights Shelby County, TN, retail.


Hi everyone! First of all -- I want to give a very big shoutout to my friend, Albertsons Florida Blog, for stepping in last month on my behalf. Have you read his post yet? If not, you absolutely should! It's awesome -- check it out here. And if for some reason you're not a regular reader of his blogs yet, be sure to start following those as well. He runs both his namesake Albertsons Florida Blog as well as My Florida Retail (where I've also written a post or two!).

I'm glad AFB was able to keep our quarterly Fred's series rolling, also. I'll be back in June with my own next entry to that series. And I hope to be back, finally!, with a nice big lost histories post next month -- something I've been itching to get back in the saddle with. In the meantime, though, I am still quite busy with other matters, so this month's posts are going to remain on the shorter side. I hope to get one written at the end of the month, too, but for now, tonight I get to share with you something amazingly cool that popped into my inbox this week courtesy of our Nashville friend and contributor Mike B....

Courtesy Mike B.

...a vintage photo of a Seessel's Express gas station/convenience store! How cool is that?! Photos of Seessel's seem to be pretty rare on the internet, so this is a real treat. (And on that note: if you have any Seessel's photos hanging around, please feel free to email them to us at midsouthretailblog [at] gmail [dot] com! I'd love to see them...) Here we're looking at the Seessel's Express in the parking lot of the Truse Parkway Seessel's store, built by Albertsons in 1999. This station faces Poplar Avenue and the very prominent i-Bank Tower across the street.

Mike says the photo paper indicates this film was printed in May of 2002 -- so, not too long after the Truse store opened, and in fact right about the exact time that the Seessel's name was to disappear entirely! If you're unfamiliar with the whole Seessel's story, I encourage you to check out my past entries on the subject here. Long story short, Seessel's was owned by Albertsons for a few years, but then Albertsons realized their buyout of the previously family-owned chain wasn't leading to a whole lot of success in the Mid-South, so they exited the market, selling all of the Seessel's stores to Schnucks. Schnucks would rebrand them to their own name, before ultimately also exiting the Mid-South in 2011, selling out to Kroger. The Truse Parkway store has survived through all of those ownership changes, and remains operational today as a Kroger store.

Courtesy LoopNet

Prior to Albertsons' ownership, Seessel's didn't have any fuel centers of its own; once Albertsons took over, the new stores they built in the Memphis metro area were basically full-blown Albertsons in all but the name, such that Albertsons introduced its own store models, décor packages, etc. to the region. Alongside all of that, Albertsons also brought in its Albertsons Express fuel center/convenience store concept, resulting in the Seessel's Express gas stations like the one from Mike's photo above.

When Schnucks took over the Seessel's chain from Albertsons, they had no past experience with operating fuel centers or convenience stores, but instead of closing the Albertsons-built fuel centers, they decided to tackle them as a new challenge, and converted them over to the brand-new (and copycat-named) Schnucks Express concept. In the LoopNet photo above, we can see what this same Truse Parkway Seessel's Express station looked like during the Schnucks days -- not very different, haha! In fact, everything looks identical, aside from the signage on the wall of the convenience store having been swapped out for new "Schnucks Express" lettering. Before I saw Mike's photo, I was actually under the impression that Schnucks even reused the old Albertsons-era "Express" lettering, simply swapping out the Seessel's wordmark for their own; but we can see from his pic that in fact the Seessel's "Express" letters matched the font of the Seessel's logo, so Schnucks's "Express" lettering was indeed brand-new.

Courtesy Yelp

Here's a closer look under the canopy at one of the entrances to the convenience store. The way this particular station is structured is with the convenience store in the middle of the property, with the canopy stretching off to either side of it, effectively creating double the fueling bays. The blue awnings above the doors and windows are original from the Seessel's/Albertsons days. Schnucks did not alter them in any way -- and in fact, I'd be curious to know if they remodeled the interior any, either.

Courtesy Google Maps

In contrast, once the store was sold to Kroger, the convenience store was rebranded under Kroger's KwikShop banner -- remodeling the interior and removing the old Albertsons awnings, as is shown in the Google Maps photo above. While not all of the former Seessel's stores are still operating as Kroger today, a majority of them are, and I'm pretty certain that every single one of the fuel centers is still under Kroger's ownership -- or, at least, that of KwikShop. While they used to be part of the same company, Kroger actually sold KwikShop off in 2018, so technically they are no longer affiliated with each other.

As a result of that aforementioned sale, the KwikShop-branded fuel centers and C-stores on Kroger properties in the Memphis area -- such as the Truse Pkwy one we've been focusing on in this post -- dropped the KwikShop branding and swapped over to a more generic Kroger branding, to match the stores themselves. The photo above shows the Truse Pkwy KwikShop as it appeared in 2015; the photo below shows it once it had rebranded to a simple Kroger fuel center, in 2018. Both of these images have actually been published before, either on my blog or on my flickr page.

At first I thought that the KwikShops-turned-Kroger Fuel Centers were going to close their C-stores, since it was my impression that the sale of KwikShop and its sister operations across the country represented Kroger's wholesale exit from the C-store business; but it appears that, here in the Mid-South at least, Kroger has continued to operate all of the convenience stores it acquired from Schnucks in the 2011 buyout, so that's good to know. One of these days I'll have to check one or two of them out; I feel like there may even be some old Albertsons interior décor relics to be found hiding away in one of them, if I'm lucky -- wouldn't that be nice! (By the way: for a taste of what the interior of an Albertsons Express would have looked like, check out this post from AFB.)

That will do it for this quick post. I hope you've enjoyed this photographic timeline of the Truse Parkway Seessel's/Schnucks/KwikShop/Kroger fuel center and convenience store. Thanks again to Mike B. for sending in the Seessel's Express photo, and to AFB for filling in for me last month. Please be sure to check back soon for more new posts! Until then, and as always... thanks for reading, and have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are :)

Retail Retell

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

When Fred's Went Frolicking in Florida

     Hello there readers of the Mid-South Retail Blog! Unfortunately your usual blogger, our good friend Retail Retell, is a bit busy this March, so the MSRB's next installment in the recurring Fred's posting series has been thrown into my hands. For those of you who don't know me, I'm AFB, curator of my namesake Albertsons Florida Blog in addition to My Florida Retail, two blogs where I bring the internet coverage and documentation of stores around Florida. Florida is a bit outside of the usual scope of the Mid-South Retail Blog, but I think this next installment in the Fred's posting series will serve as a way to tie these two regions together. A Memphis-based Mid-South retail institution, Fred's Super Dollar once covered a territory that spanned as far north as Indiana and Illinois, as far west as Texas and Oklahoma, and as far south as the Greater Orlando area in Florida (the short-lived Auburndale, FL Fred's store, about an hour southwest of Orlando, would have been the southernmost store ever in the chain's entire 72 year history). But before we jump into the primary subject of today's post, I'll give everyone a quick recap on Fred's history in Florida, with a tour of a former Floridian Fred's store to follow. Today's Fred's installment will be a bit different that what we've seen on the MSRB in the past, but it's an interesting little glimpse into a market where Fred's just never caught on...

     While Fred's had operated stores in Alabama and Georgia for years, Fred's wasn't very ambitious when it came to making a push into the last missing piece of their Southern footprint: Florida. Fred's opened a lone Floridian outpost in Fernandina Beach in the early 1970's (a town just south of the Florida/Georgia border on the Atlantic Coast), but that was the entirety of Fred's Floridian presence for the next 25 years. In the late 1990's, Fred's tried to establish a second Floridian store in Pensacola, a store which failed after only two years in business. While the Pensacola store's quick demise seemed like a sign to not proceed any further, Fred's wanted to make one last attempt at Florida. Come 2002, Fred's began its most ambitious push into Florida at a time with the company was in peak expansion mode. Beginning with a store in Crystal River, Fred's would go on to open 21 additional stores in Florida as the decade progressed, these 21 stores clustered within the Floridian Panhandle and curving down the peninsula toward Orlando. While the expansion seemed promising, Florida was already a stronghold with Fred's competitors Dollar General and Family Dollar. Being a new brand in the strange retail market that is Florida, Fred's was put to the squeeze almost instantly after opening their first stores (essentially falling into the same trap as Rite Aid during their ill-fated Floridian expansion in the early 1990's - trying to go against two well-established brands that already dominated the market - Eckerd and Walgreens being the two in Rite Aid's case). By the end of the 2000's, Fred's had begun to struggle in Florida. In 2008, Fred's closed half of those 21 new stores opened as part of the Floridian push, marking the beginning of the end. Fred's never opened another new store in Florida after 2008, with more closures trickling out in the coming years. By the time 2019 came around, Fred's last year in operation, only 6 stores remained open in Florida, nearly all of them located in small towns in the Panhandle. If you're curious as to where all the Floridian Fred's stores were through the years, I complied all the locations into this table, viewable in the My Florida Retail Info Database.

     If you follow My Florida Retail, you'll remember I did a post about Fred's in October 2019. That post documented the closure of the Fred's store located in Green Cove Springs, FL, a small town southwest of Jacksonville, and the only one of Fred's final Floridian locations to not be located in the Panhandle. These last few photos you've seen were a sampling of the photos I took during my visit to the Green Cove Springs Fred's store, my full coverage of which you can view here. That visit was my first and only experience at an operational Fred's. Since Fred's stores were rather rare in Florida, it was a chain I never got to experience much, but I'm glad everything worked out and I got to visit at least one location before the chain went under completely. While it would have been nice if I saved those photos of the Green Cove Springs Fred's store for today, I was still able to dig into my archives and come up with an alternative solution to present some Floridian retail with a Fred's twist. Now that all the introductory fluff is out of the way, let's pack the car, grab a slice of key lime pie, and head south to Florida for today's Fred's subject, located in the Space Coast city of Titusville:

     While many readers of the Mid-South Retail Blog may have never heard of Titusville, you're probably quite familiar with the complex located on the barrier island just off the coast of Titusville: the Kennedy Space Center, headquarters of NASA. Many NASA employees call Titusville home, and Titusville's economy and retail scene is very closely tied to whatever NASA is up to. While retail in Titusville has fluctuated as space programs get added and cut, Fred's short run in Titusville wasn't attributed to that, but more so Fred's troubles catching on in Florida as a whole. The complex Fred's operated out of in Titusville was very much effected by the city's economic swings, but that's a story for another day.

     The building you see here is part of the quaint little Titusville (née Searstown) Mall, one of those tiny small-town malls that were quite popular in the 1960's and 1970's. Titusville Mall opened in 1966 as the city was booming with an influx of new residents to work on the Apollo program, NASA's program that was to get man on the moon - a moment in history achieved only three years after the mall opened. Titusville was a hopping place in the late 1960's and early 1970's, spawning a second mall of similar design to this one just a mile up the road in 1968. As you can guess by the mall's original name, the original anchor lineup at Titusville Mall consisted of Sears, in addition to Woolworth, Publix, Eckerd Drugs, and a small movie theater. The building that is the subject of today's post was the mall's Publix anchor, with Publix remaining at the mall until 1986, when a newer store opened a few miles to the west of here replacing this one. I'm not sure what exactly occupied this building between Publix's departure and Fred's arrival, but I'd have to guess something was in here, as Fred's didn't come into the picture until 2006.

     Like most Floridian Fred's stores, the Titusville Fred's only lasted a handful of years - 4 specifically in this case - before closing for good. September 2010 was when the Titusville Fred's served its last shoppers before slipping into the dark voids of retail history. In an article about Fred's closing, the company's then-CFO stated, "the chain does an annual review of its stores and found that "business performance dropped significantly" at the Titusville location". Since the store only lasted 4 years, this place must have seen a huge drop in sales rather quick. For a mall that's seen a lot of ups and downs in tenancy, the loss of Fred's was seen as a big hit, as the store was quite popular with people who lived in the neighborhood surrounding the mall. For the people living around the mall, Fred's was a convenient place to shop for household essentials, especially since a lot of the town's retail has moved west and south toward newer subdivisions and the Interstate in recent years.

     After Fred's left, their former building sat vacant until Wildwood Antique Mall was bright in to fill the void in 2012. Wildwood Antique Mall was a chain of antique malls that expanded quickly across Florida in the mid-late 2010's. Wildwood Antique Mall grew to 9 locations throughout the state by 2019, the year the company declared bankruptcy. Wildwood's bankruptcy proceedings exposed some shady business practices by the owners, practices that seemed to have played into the company's route to bankruptcy. While Wildwood Antique Malls still exists as a chain with three locations now, many of the former locations spun off into independently owned antique malls following the bankruptcy - the Titusville location doing just that, now operating as the Titusville Antique Mall. One thing I've learned from visiting a few of these antique vendor places is most of them are rather low budget operations in terms of remodeling - this one being no exception. While the real fun begins inside, I'd like to point out the antique mall's exterior sign. Even though the sign is just a flat panel against the wall, it's in the exact place and of the exact dimensions as Fred's exterior sign (not the greatest image but the best I can do), covering the scar left behind when Fred's sign was removed.

     The old Publix building has seen some modifications through the years, and a lot of the modifications we'll see today were most likely done by Fred's. While there aren't any pictures of it online, when this Publix originally opened, it had a modified version of Publix's classic 1960's Wing Store exterior. The reason for the modification was because one quarter of the Publix store is inset into the mall building, leaving a smaller chunk of facade exposed compared to a typical store. After Publix left, the building was remodeled to have a more generic design like we see today. Stepping onto the store's front sidewalk, here's a look at the front entrance into the antique mall. I'm pretty sure Fred's was the one to reconfigure the entryway into this double door design, as most Fred's stores I've seen have a similar entryway setup (much like I saw in Green Cove Springs, and like Retail Retell has shown us in the past). Fred's seemed to place their service desk between the two sets of doors, with the check lanes spanning off to one side of the service desk.

     Stepping inside, we'll discover just how many antiques one can stuff into a former Fred's store (answer - a lot!). Like most vendor malls, there are little booths arranged in aisles along the old sales floor, filled to the brim with all kinds of objects. However, amongst all this antiquity, a very obvious Fred's relic remains. I'm sure the regular readers of the Mid-South Retail blog will spot it, although I do have some close-ups of that relic coming up shortly...

     In this photo were standing along the left side of the sales floor, looking toward the front wall. Unfortunately, I'm not too familiar with Fred's to know exactly what departments were where when Fred's was here, as I'm not sure how standardized Fred's layouts were (or if they varied greatly from store to store). However, I can pinpoint one department in this store, and that's Fred's old clothing department. We're standing in that right now, as the wood flooring in this corner of the store was used exclusively in Fred's clothing sections. The Green Cove Springs Fred's I visited had clothing in the same location we see here (front left corner), so it's possible the layout in Green Cove Springs was similar to what would have been used here.

     While it may be unclear how Fred's had things arranged while they were in the building, I can assure all of you that Fred's spent some time in this building. Looking up toward the ceiling, we have a tell-tale sign of Fred's 4 years in this space still going strong 11 years after Fred's left - that stripe on the wall! That purple and green stripe is an obvious reminder of Fred's late 2000's decor, the decor that would have complimented this logo.

     Fred's stores weren't very common in Florida to begin with, and what few traces of Fred's there were in Florida got wiped away pretty quick as these spaces were rolled over to new tenants. That's why I found it interesting to see the Fred's striping on the walls of the antique mall all these years later, an interesting reminder of another chain that came to Florida and slipped into our obscure retail history.

     Looking across the width of the building, you can probably get the feeling this was a really big space for a dollar store (it was Fred's Super Dollar after all!). At 30,000 square feet, this building was average size for a Publix of the time, but even today, that's a lot of space for a dollar store! The size of these stores was one of Fred's differentiation points from the competition, and made these stores a big hit in smaller towns where stores tend to be small and lack a lot of variety. The fact that Fred's offered pharmacy counters was another differentiating factor, however, I'm 99% sure the Titusville Fred's (and just about every other Fred's in the Floridian peninsula) never had a pharmacy. Some of the panhandle Fred's stores that made it to the end had pharmacies, but those were relatively uncommon around here. I know in Fred's later years pharmacies began to have a more significant role in operations, so it's also possible the Floridian store's lack of pharmacies played a role in their short life as well.

     Not Fred's related at all, but I thought all the old advertising signs in this booth were really cool. These antique malls usually have lots of cool stuff for sale, although I tend to think of these places as a hands-on museum more than anything else (usually because a lot of the stuff for sale is really expensive, but still fun to look at and browse).

     Looking across the back wall of the store, this is where the building's life as a Publix becomes more apparent. The ceiling drops lower back here to mark where Publix's former service departments were located. Most likely Fred's had the lower ceiling area walled off as backroom space when they were here, the antique mall breaking though the wall to open the former backroom space up for more booths. 

     The antique mall was making use of whatever rentable space they could find, even the maze of hallways in the back of the store, like we see here.

     In this photo were get a glimpse of the old backroom warehouse space. The layout of the backroom space is still very Publix-like, with the space wrapping around the salesfloor in an L-shape. What we see here is the very back of the store, with this corridor wrapping around to the right side of the building. There's still a very strong backroom vibe in here, with the pipes running across the ceiling, dim lighting, and scuffed-up floors.

     We'll pop back onto the salesfloor through this little corridor, the salesfloor located through that open door straight ahead.

     On the right side of the building now, here's another look across the back of the store.

     The right side wall is visible here, complete with its Fred's stripe.

     I believe the front right corner, which we're looking toward here, was home to Fred's grocery department (going off the layout of the Green Cove Springs store).

     On the right side of the building is another opening into the old stockroom, which I popped into for this photo. This side of the stockroom was roped off to store supplies and equipment for employees, however behind the rope I spotted another relic of this building's past. The relic in this picture is not from Fred's though, but Publix. That green and white checkered tile pattern through the opening in the wall is something I've seen in other former Publix buildings, although I don't exactly know what that tile was from. If there are any Floridians reading this, maybe you can provide some insight on what went with that tile (as I'm not too familiar with the original, unaltered Wing Store layout).

     Spinning around from that last picture, here's a look at the other side of the side stockroom, which someone set up to look like a (a very retro) living room display. Even though this is an old supermarket stockroom, it (strangely enough) makes for a cozy living room.

     Back on the salesfloor, we'll get a few more glimpses of Fred's striping as we peruse the remainder of the store.

     It looked like there was a scar of some kind on the wall, but it seems most likely that scar was from a vendor's display and not something from Fred's.

     Now that we've seen most of the store, I think it will be fun to finish our tour with a few retail goodies I spotted during my visit:

     Since this building was a former Publix, I had to share this picture of some old Publix toy trucks for sale at one of the booths. While the truck on the bottom is supposed to resemble a 1950s design, I believe these particular trucks were issued for sale in the late 80's or early 90's, based on the packaging of the smaller truck on top. Either way, these are a nice little piece of old-school Publix, from the days when Publix was a just a small Floridian chain. (And I'm sorry Publix keeps coming up so much in this MSRB post - Publix has a way of slipping into many aspects of Floridian retail history!)

     Since this Fred's was located in the former Searstown Mall, I thought this Sears branded nativity set was a fun relic to include in this post. The Sears store at the other end of the mall actually lasted for quite a while - until 2018 - the name of the mall changing shortly after Sears's closure that year.

     While Publix and Sears are fun and all, I tried to seek out some Mid-South related relics amongst the booths to include in this Mid-South Retail Blog post. This University of Tennessee Coke bottle is a little bit closer to home for that purpose, but I eventually found something directly related to Memphis as I browsed through the booths:

     Holiday Inn - the hotel chain that can trace its roots back to a single location at 4941 Summer Avenue in Memphis! Digging through a rack of old road maps within one of the booths, I pulled out this 1967 directory of Holiday Inn locations (which had a really nice graphic on the front of the iconic "great sign", a long gone piece of our roadside history). I came really close to buying this, but it was in somewhat rough shape for the price the person was asking for it, so I passed (although I don't think old motel directories have a high turnover rate if I did want to go back and purchase it, as I didn't take this photo all too long ago...) Anyway, in addition to the fun graphics on the front, I also took a picture of the page listing all of Holiday Inn's locations in Memphis at the time this guide was published in 1967 (which includes the original location on Summer Ave., which appears to have been long since demolished). That's the only location I looked up from those listings, but it's still interesting to know about Holiday's Inn's connection to Memphis. At the top of the listings is a map of the Memphis area from 1967 (for the roadgeeks in the room to peruse), with some fun things like the I-240 beltway shown under construction, and US 51, the famous Elvis Presley Blvd., shown with its original name - Bellevue Blvd.

     While that was a fun little tangent, let's get back on track with Fred's! Looking toward the front of the building (which was buried and obstructed by vendor booths), we get one last glimpse of Fred's stripe before we head back outside...

     Stepping into the parking lot, we see the old Publix/Fred's building attached to the neighboring mall. While we're here, I'll give you guys on the Mid-South Retail Blog a small taste of the Titusville Mall. It's a fun little time-warped mall that's had its share of ups and downs, but still seems to hold its own, even with a big empty Sears on the other side of the complex in the present day.

     Stepping through the mall entrance by the old Fred's, this is what we see. Yes, it's an old mall with an old feel, but the owners try their best to upkeep the place, fill in-line vacancies, and fix what needs to be fixed.

     Here's a look toward the mall's center court, which is still very much a relic from the mall's last major renovation in 1985. The Bealls Outlet you see in front of me is located in the mall's old Woolworth store, but has been home to Bealls Outlet for many years now. I believe Bealls Outlet is the last chain store operating in Titusville Mall following the departure of Sears, with all the other tenants being locally-owned these days.

     I have full coverage of the remainder of Titusville Mall to come to My Florida Retail eventually, so we'll head back outside for one last look at the mall's former Fred's store to wrap things up. I hope you guys enjoyed this different (but hopefully still interesting) take on the MSRB's ongoing Fred's series. Retail Retell should be back with his usual Fred's coverage for the June entry to this series (or at least I hope he is, as I'm running dry on Fred's content if I have to get called in again!) Plenty more to come here on the MSRB in the coming months, and if you want to see more from me, you can always explore the craziness that is Floridian retail on the Albertsons Florida Blog and My Florida Retail. For coverage of stores closer to home, Retail Retell also has weekly uploads on his flickr photostream too. There's always something going on in the retail blogosphere, so there's never a shortage of stuff to discover! Anyway, that's all I have to say for this post, so as another retail blogger once put it -  until next time, thanks for reading, and have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!