|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 :)