Sunday, January 17, 2016

Rite Aid and Goodwill Bookstore (former Super D Drugstore), Horn Lake, MS

Today's post highlights DeSoto County, MS, retail.

Happy New Year everybody, welcome to 1996!

...In reality, of course, we just began 2016, twenty years later, but we might as well be stepping into the 90s with today's look at the Horn Lake Rite Aid, untouched likely since its opening day. Walgreens, as you may recall, recently announced their intention to buy Rite Aid, which is big news in areas where Rite Aid has a big presence; for us in the Mid-South, however, where Rite Aid has a small presence - what few stores remain locally are all (as far as I know) of the 90s diamond-window design, as seen above at a Rite Aid-turned-Dollar Tree in the North Memphis community of Frayser - it's similarly small news. Still, it's always worth it to photograph something in the event that it may go away... that's why I've really grown to love retail photography: equal parts for personal enjoyment, the art of photography, and the ability to document the industry and therefore have a bank of photos to fall back on if and when anything changes.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: the Horn Lake Rite Aid. This store sits at the corner of Goodman and Tulane Roads, not too close to any other drugstores in the area. It is also across from Horn Lake City Hall. Below is a photographic tour of the store... enjoy!

The exterior of the store. The blue banners are looking a little worn.

A shot of the diamond-shaped windows that give this store design its name. The drive-thru pharmacy winds around back and down the left side of the store.

The front entrance is angled so that upon walking into the store, the straight path down the middle is in reality splicing the store as viewed from the outside into two triangles, like you might cut a sandwich diagonally.

Beauty Shop is on the left as you enter, with the checkouts (which I didn't get a picture of) to the right. FoodMart is straight back at the end of the center aisle.

The refrigerated/freezer cases for FoodMart angle off to the left. Note the sort of roof over them: I believe that's typical of Rite Aids, at least older ones. Looks like the leftmost part of the FoodMart sign was pushed out of place at one point, too.

A look up and to the left at the aisle signs for the food aisles. I'm thinking all those dark portions among the ceiling tiles conceal security cameras.

A look from FoodMart back down the center aisle toward the entrance.

Turning left, here's a shot of the right side of the store. The low-hanging lights are over the greeting cards aisles.

A close-up of the signage for aisle two, as viewed from behind. Not only is the design indicative of the store's décor offerings: from what I noticed, food was the most prevalent item in the place, and overflowed the designated FoodMart area!

Along the side wall is this area, comprised of movies, music, and software. While the décor is obviously 90s, I think overall it looked less outdated than this particular display.

All those boxes continue off to the right into the former photo area. I don't know if this was restock day or if this is a normal sight at this store. Either way, it's clear photo is no longer in use.

A more zoomed-out look at the former photo area. I'm assuming the sign above once said "PhotoShop," as it does here in this store BatteryMill Retail on flickr photographed. Maybe the original sign pieces were flipped around and what's now facing us is the backs?

Looking from FoodMart down where the center aisle branches off to the left and heads toward the pharmacy.

A slightly closer view of the pharmacy. I didn't venture too close because that's where all of the activity was. You can also see the GNC LiveWell signage.

Taking a detour down what appears to be the cooking and cleaning aisle, I was able to frame this shot, which I'm very proud of! In the center diamond window you can see the Horn Lake water tower, which is across the street alongside the aforementioned city hall complex.

A close-up of the back of one of the endcap signs. Call me crazy, but I actually like this décor! Their new stuff - what has been dubbed the Wellness remodel, and as seen here on Random Retail's flickr page - is much more modern, though.

Now a look into the cosmetics area and across the store. The front wall facing Goodman Road is to my right in this pic, and the one across the way faces Tulane Road (the same wall in my first shot of the store at the top of the post).

A somewhat random shot I took of a cotton ball display. I've always rather liked Rite Aid's logo, so it's disappointing to me that it's nowhere to be found in the exterior building design or interior décor packages of these 90s stores. What looks like a later design of this décor package does feature the logo shape in the aisle signs, though: see PlazaACME's photo on flickr here.

Here's a look at the Beauty Shop signage from behind. Obviously, since both sides of this sign are openly featured, it was printed on both sides. The PhotoShop sign mentioned earlier only faces out, which lends credence to my theory that the back of the sign could be what faces out now as it is not printed with any text. Then again, if the back of the sign was to simply face a wall, who's to say it would have had that design printed on it in the first place?

The thank you sign above the doors. "It's not just a store. It's a solution." ...but maybe the brand is actually only a solute waiting to be dissolved in Walgreens' solvent.

One last look at the store as we step outside.

That's a wrap from the Horn Lake Rite Aid! I hope to get to my only other local Rite Aid, on Stateline Road in Southaven, sometime soon. It, as well as this Horn Lake store, isn't located in a particularly noteworthy or populated retail area, which may bring both stores profits from longtime customers, but probably doesn't ever drive in anyone new. We'll see what happens to them if/when Walgreens assumes ownership...

Speaking of drugstores not located in the most viable areas, though, the last part of this post is devoted to one such store: the former Super D Drugstore also in Horn Lake. The store - seen above in the form of a screenshot from this PDF file on the DeSoto County Chancery Clerk website - looks to be in a prime location: beside other retail and on the corner of a cross street and US Highway 51. The trouble is, that cross street wasn't a through street until last year, and that other retail never really took off, despite this site being just south of Horn Lake's famous (if faded) Bullfrog Corner.

If I'm reading this DeSoto Times article correctly, this Super D opened in 1992; I'm not certain when it closed, however. It is pictured above courtesy an archived real estate listing from LoopNet. It appears Goodwill Industries Manasota (yes, our local Goodwill stores were operated out of Florida until recently!) purchased this store just days before Christmas 2008, and was likely up and operating in 2009. I remember going in here once when it was a full-fledged Goodwill store.

Per the Memphis Business Journal, Goodwill converted this location to a Goodwill Bookstore in 2011, relocating from the perfectly-named-for-a-bookstore Golden Oaks location near Kohl's in Southaven. Understandably, a bookstore takes up much less square footage than a full-line Goodwill; as such, a wall was constructed that divides the 7,000 sq. ft. building into 2,000 sq. ft. of retail space ("featur[ing]...[a] kid's area with a big-screen television") with the remaining 5,000 sq. ft. to be used as a donation center and otherwise earmarked for future use as corporate offices.

However, that hasn't really panned out yet. For starters, the kid's area never came to fruition. Additionally, the recent change of hands - all North Mississippi Goodwill stores logically, if not willingly, recently became a part of the Memphis Goodwill division - has stalled the corporate office plans further, though reportedly it's still in place. In the meantime, the back area has been used to hold giant bins of books to be sorted and delivered to all Memphis area Goodwills. A tough job for sure, and one made harder within the last few months by a mini-employment crisis at the Tupelo Goodwill Bookstore and a subsequent inability of corporate to hastily remedy the situation. As you might be able to tell, I visit this store and talk to the employees semi-frequently, and I have a lot of respect for what they've been put through recently. And if you're reading this, hey guys! :)

If you look closely, you can see the labelscar of the previous "6396" digits in their original Super D placement underneath where Goodwill has them now.

That does it for me for this post! Enjoy the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday tomorrow, and until next time, have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Closings and Openings in Memphis and the Mid-South

Today's post highlights Shelby County, TN, retail... and then some.
While I do have a blog post planned for this weekend anyway (that I hope you guys will stay tuned for!), I figured I might as well post some breaking news as it's, well, breaking. Kmart is dropping their oft-used axe on another round of stores, this time with twenty plus confirmed: see this link for more.

The final remaining store in the Memphis metropolitan area on Austin Peay, formerly a Super Kmart Center and pictured above, is among those closing, as well as the Greenville, MS, store. I mention that store because I recently did a photo tour there; technically, it isn't actually within the county graphic of the Mid-South that makes up our logo and therefore our coverage area. While the Corinth, MS, store is not on the list, I have to wonder if it will wind up on it... also, I'm thinking (but not 100% certain) that that store may be the last Kmart left in the entire Mid-South as defined here for blogging purposes. EDIT - Also closing is the Sears on Poplar Avenue in Memphis. UPDATE: ONLY the Poplar Ave. Sears is closing. The Memphis Kmart is remaining open this round of closures.

Elsewhere, there is a new store opening in Shelby County: Designer Shoe Warehouse is prepping a second location (their other being in Germantown) across from Wolfchase Galleria, in what is left untenanted of a closed OfficeMax. Above is the store as it appeared in July 2015 when Five Below was constructing their store; below, in December, with Five Below now open and the remainder of the former OfficeMax still mostly intact. I imagine DSW will alter that, though. Per the MBJ, look for them to open in early May. Additionally, the new Walmart Supercenter in Horn Lake, MS, is projected to open by next month, according to WMC Action News 5.

Last but not least, I wanted to take the time to give some free publicity to the aforementioned Memphis Business Journal website. As much as I wish I could, I don't have the time or resources to report every store opening, closure, or relocation in the Mid-South, so I really encourage you to check out the MBJ's Retailing and Restaurants page. There, you can be up-to-date on the latest retail news in the metro market (though for the moment, it appears as if this Kmart news is a first alert here on the blog - thanks AFB for the tip!).

I'll try to make it to the Memphis Kmart before it closes to get a photo tour there. In the meantime, look for a photo tour of the Horn Lake Rite Aid to be posted this holiday weekend. Until then, have fun exploring the retail world (growing or shrinking as it may be...) wherever you are!

Retail Retell