Monday, September 4, 2017

Cordova Walmart and Arby's

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

Happy Labor Day, folks! I hope you've enjoyed your day off. I was initially planning to do a more in-depth post today featuring a nice surprise I've got waiting off in the wings, but wanting to ensure that I give that post the time that it's worth, I've ultimately decided to hold off on it until a later date. So instead, today we'll be taking a quick peek at some long overdue photos taken in Cordova, TN!

We're beginning at the Cordova Walmart, which I visited way back when on June 4th, 2016. In essence, nothing looks all that special about this Walmart to those of you reading this post right now, over one year later. But at the time, it was (if I remember correctly) the very first Walmart in the Memphis metro to sport the chain's new blue and gray exterior color scheme, so naturally, it required a stop by to check things out!

The first store in the Memphis metro to feature both this exterior color scheme and the new "black décor 2.0" interior design wound up actually being a new-build Supercenter, which would open only weeks later, on June 22nd, 2016. As it was, this store, despite receiving the new exterior paint scheme, did not receive an interior remodel at the same time. In fact...

...the décor inside was still its original generation Project Impact, complete with cut-out spark logos! For some background on this: at least as far as the Mid-South is concerned, four variations of Project Impact have been used... first, you've got the décor seen in this store, with cut-out spark logos on the signage. Second, this exact same package (with three-dimensional, "pillow style" signs), just with the spark logos now printed on the signs rather than cut-out. Third, a cheapened version of the décor, which flattened all of the signs but kept the dimensions intact. And fourth and finally, what has (for better or for worse) become known as "Cheap Impact," the last iteration of the décor that simplified it as far as it could go. I have a photo on flickr with some visuals that might help you understand that explanation; you can check it out here.

Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised at the time about the décor not being changed over yet. After all, I suppose it's not unusual for a store to be repainted on the outside first, and the interior remodel to follow. But strangely enough, based on Google user photos, it appears that this Cordova Walmart still has yet to remodel! In doing so, it joins a number of Supercenters around the country that seemingly have repainted their exteriors to reflect the new color scheme simply because they are in high-traffic areas. The Oxford, MS, store was the same way at first, but finally remodeled just shy of a year after its initial repaint. I have a flickr album on that store, with remodel pictures waiting in my archives that I hope to post sometime in the near(-ish) future.

Surely, then, this Cordova store will be remodeled sooner rather than later. A few other Mid-South Walmarts have done so since I took these photos, including the aforementioned Oxford store; the Hernando, MS, store; the Senatobia, MS, store (which previously had the same cut-out Impact décor as this Cordova store); and the Bartlett, TN, store. But for now, I suppose that my few quick photos I got of the interior still serve as a current representation of what the inside looks like, rather than "before" shots.

Saw this "store use ladder" sign in the home living department (whose overhead circle sign was pictured a couple of shots above), and couldn't resist a photo. Although the blue color definitely matches Project Impact, the Futura font on this sign indicates that it's a holdover from the previous décor package that this store must have had.

Over in the grocery department now, I specifically made sure to photograph the seafood sign because not all Supercenters have a seafood section (or at least the signage to go with it). What with how this sign has a cut-out spark logo, I wonder if it's fairly rare.

This bakery department shot has to serve as an example of the first-gen Impact service department décor. Just like the cut-out spark logos on the main signage, these "awnings" also changed slightly as the décor evolved. Most notably, they lost the painted-on spark logos and Plexiglas hanging signs (i.e. "Cakes," in this photo). By the final, cheaper iterations of the package, the awnings were replaced altogether by flat hanging signs.

Finally from the interior, I dared not leave the store without getting this shot of the in-store McDonald's restaurant. These days and around these parts, it's rare enough to find a McDonald's inside a Walmart rather than a Subway. This mural above the ordering counter, featuring both an old-school McDonald's and Wal-Mart, was a special treat!

Heading back outside, here's a look at the grocery-side entrance vestibule. Unlike many Walmarts in the Mid-South, the Cordova store has groceries on the left-hand side. Additionally, it appears the pharmacy is on the left side as well: another signal that this store was a very early Project Impact remodel. Walmart soon decided to keep their pharmacies intact near the front of the store in later Impact remodels, rather than moving them to the center/rear of the store adjacent to the grocery department.

I thought it was cool to see both old and new together in this view! If only the security camera sign would also have had the old Wal-Mart star logo...

Last up, a parting shot of the Cordova Walmart, focusing on the centermost portion of the façade and its new paint scheme. Note how the coverings of the "A"s in "Walmart" (if not the rest of the sign as well) had to be replaced to reflect the new blue background.

Next up, we're moving on down the road to the Cordova Arby's! My pictures of this restaurant were taken three months to the day of those Walmart photos, September 4th, 2016 (so in fact, one year ago today!). But I'm beginning with this April 2015 Google Street View capture instead, so that it can serve as a "before" photo for what I'm about to show you...

Indeed, the Cordova Arby's remodeled between April 2015 and September 2016. (As a matter of fact, it looks like the construction took place in May 2016, based on another Street View capture for the site.) Now, the building reflects Arby's latest exterior style - and more than likely its newest interior style as well, although I didn't go inside to check.

This design is considerably more modern and boxy than the previous look this building had, and saw the introduction of the chain's new logo to the building, including the replacement of the road sign to boot. Luckily, it appears that this location's old "enter" and "exit" signs, seen on the right of the photo above, got to stay, at least!

I was particularly eager to get photos of this restaurant as I drove past it last year not because it featured a new exterior design per se, but more specifically because a local Arby's of mine, in Horn Lake, MS, featured the same exterior design as this Cordova one previously had - that is, that 90s look with the rounded red overhang/awning - and I figured that it, too, may be up for a remodel to this new look soon enough. As a result, I went and got photos of that location soon after I got these pics. I'm glad I did: my prediction came true a mere matter of months later. I've delayed posting those photos to flickr for several months now, but they will finally make it up next month (another reason I've decided to do this blog post today!).

If you're impatient and would rather not wait to see my before-and-after remodel photos of that Horn Lake Arby's, I don't blame you, haha! Thankfully, l_dawg2000 uploaded his own photos of the situation in a much more timely fashion as it was occurring; you can view his album on flickr here. For now, I leave you with the above parting shot of the remodeled Cordova Arby's.

That will do it for my Labor Day 2017, Cordova-centric blog post. Again, I hope that you had a nice holiday today, and thank you for checking out the Mid-South Retail Blog, as always! I hope to see you again this November, when I return with new posts (unless something else blogworthy happens in the interim period, of course). Until then, have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell