|Today's post highlights DeSoto County, MS, retail.
Last time I wrote about a Rite Aid store for you guys, there was one store still operating locally in the greater Memphis area (down from a prior total of ten, but still). Now, as of the time I'm writing this post, the Mid-South is officially left with zero Rite Aid stores. As I mentioned previously, I did my best to document all the closing sales I could, and since that time have also gotten a few more Rite Aid-related pictures from beyond the Memphis area. Due to the wealth of Rite Aid content I have waiting in my archives for y'all, I intend to do Rite Aid posts every four months for the foreseeable future (April, August, December) - that way, I'll still be able to share non-Rite Aid content with you in the interim months, while also parsing through all these photos I've got in a somewhat timely manner.
Let's get started, then! Today we're kicking off the first of many Rite Aid closure visits that awaited me in the summer of 2018 - only that fact was unbeknownst to me at the time :P In early May, I discovered when looking at the Rite Aid store locator online that the Horn Lake, MS, store had closed. Now typically, when a Rite Aid closes, it's just removed outright from the locator - but in Horn Lake's case, someone goofed up, and the store simply read "CLOSED" beside it in the directory. Some further digging the next day revealed that not only Horn Lake, but a great majority of all the Rite Aid stores in the entire state of Mississippi, had also closed.
You'd think that would be the end of the story, because logically, if a store says it's closed, then it's probably, well, closed. But I was happy to hear from my friend and co-blogger l_dawg2000 on May 6th that the Horn Lake store was, in fact, still open for business, and running a liquidation sale! He has a running album of photos from his two liquidation visits over on flickr, which you can check out at this link. Meanwhile, after I wrapped up with finals, I, too, stopped by the Horn Lake store, dropping in on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 9th. (Okay, actually, that was during finals. Guess I must not have had any exams that day. Just like today, when I'm sitting here typing out this post :P ) The photos to follow all come from that visit, unless otherwise specified. Enjoy!
For some reason, I didn't take any exterior photos before heading inside - I guess I was too eager to see the liquidation sale with my own eyes. Because it makes things much easier for me, I'm just going to leave all my exterior photos at the bottom of this post, and simply jump right in to the interior pics here :P Shown above is (just about) one's first sight upon entering the store, looking straight down the central actionway towards the FoodMart department in the rear. At this stage in the sale, however, whatever merchandise used to be located on those shelves on my right had since been unseated in favor of those random healthcare products, which had been shifted up to this spot from their former home as aisles began to be cleared out and merchandise consolidated forward within the salesfloor.
From within Aisle 12, here are a couple of photos showing some of the emptying out that was beginning to take place. In particular, the bottom image above shows this better, what with the mostly-unstocked shelves.
These pictures aren't going in any particular order, but hopefully you'll still be able to keep track of everything as they progress. In the above three images, I captured some things I saw on the shelves, including a Rite Aid-branded lightbulb box (for posterity), a 70% off sign (one of many to be found posted throughout the store), and a Trapper Keeper (which amused my mom, since she hadn't seen that brand in a long time :P ).
A look at the FoodMart department, with practically zero merchandise to be seen within a large radius around it.
Looking from FoodMart down towards the pharmacy counter (which, remember, by this point had been operating as a Walgreens pharmacy for a few months). Literally everything in this part of the store had either sold or been moved elsewhere closer to the front, meaning that all of the aisles you see were completely empty. However, the aisles themselves were not blocked off in any fashion (unlike what we'll see at some other Rite Aid closures in the future). This made for some nice photographic opportunities :)
A look from the pharmacy actionway back towards greeting cards, followed by a swivel back to face the FoodMart department head-on. I spy a handful of bottles in those refrigerated units, but besides those, merchandise has been wiped out on every aisle past the greeting cards, which - in contrast - remained overly-stocked.
I took this photo to try and capture some of that Rite Aid promotional décor that had been placed on this endcap. Seems I succeeded in getting a lot of the surrounding 90s décor in the image, too! I'm deliberately not talking much about the decor package in this post (nor do I foresee myself elaborating much more on it future posts, either), since I've covered it quite a bit already. You can see my previous post on this Horn Lake store here, and more broadly, a page collecting all of my Rite Aid posts can be viewed here.
A bunch of disused shelving tools piled onto a random, empty shelf.
These two photos look from the back of the store up towards the front. Note in the bottom image in particular that even all the shelves (well, most of them, anyway!) had been removed from the aisle foundation, leaving just the pegboard "walls" intact.
Here are a couple of pics from over near the shuttered pharmacy counter. Note, once again, how the existing pharmacy signage is still plainly visible behind the newer Walgreens pharmacy sign. Also be sure to see how the pharmacy windows themselves have been tightly sealed up.
A look at the now-former GNC LiveWell department. I believe this partnership continues in the remaining Rite Aid-owned stores, but as for areas like Memphis, I guess customers will simply have to go to a GNC store to find any GNC products now.
Right beside the pharmacy was this small inset waiting room area. Obviously, it was vacant, but I thought it was important to feature nonetheless, especially since I don't recall doing so on my first stour from here. And check out that vintage sign on the men's restroom door! Love how it matches the rest of the décor package :)
A brief glance out along the actionway from the pharmacy department...
...before taking another look at the pharmacy itself.
I found this display still hanging up on one of the aisles, but of course by this point its merchandise had been depleted. I liked how it looked, however, so I got a photo of it. (Always cool to see a store's logo on a fancy display like this!)
Another look at the GNC circle sign, and all the emptiness beneath it
From the spot near FoodMart where the actionway paths converge, here are two shots looking down the two different forks in the road: one towards the store's entrance, and one towards the pharmacy counter. It's quite easy to spot which part of the store is housing all the merchandise, between these two!
Close-up of the "Soda" sign above one of the refrigerated cases. Just because.
Thought the packaging on these Rite Aid-brand foam cups was cool. Very 90s-feeling. Who knows, they may well have been here since the 90s! Liked how I (unintentionally, I think) framed this shot with that "The Rite Value" square on the endcap topper as well.
The Beauty Shop department (née cosmetics) actually seemed quite healthily stocked on my visit. I'm positive sales in this section picked up closer to the store's closing date, though. (We were told sales would bump up from 70 to 90% off at that time, and many shoppers seemed eager at the prospect!)
The photo counter, looking not much sadder than it did prior to the liquidation, actually. Looks like a disparate collection of discounted electronics gadgets scattered along that wall on the right of the shot.
Some more views from out in front of the photo counter now, the top one looking over towards FoodMart and the bottom one towards the store's checkout counters, where you can see one or two people in line. Be sure to note also the empty umbrella and Beanie Babies displays.
I don't believe I had noticed this little "PLEASE RING FOR SERVICE" button on the photo counter desk before. I wonder if it actually worked. The bottom image of the two shows the button more zoomed-out, so as to include also the empty glass case and the pink and blue countertop.
In case you weren't aware. (Note, though, the "05/07" printed on the bottom - indicating that perhaps May 7th was the first date of the liquidation sale?)
This little Walgreens table had been tucked away beside the entrance. The "LOCATION CLOSING" poster plastered to it is a more recent addition, but you might recall the table itself having greeted us on our visit to the Cordova Rite Aid. Yep - the very table used to welcome Rite Aid pharmacy customers to the Walgreens prescription family, now being used to advertise their store's closure and pharmacy records transfer!
One last look at the Beauty Shop, specifically at the aisle that runs straight past it down to the pharmacy counter at the other end of the store, parallel to the front wall of the building. Plenty of pastel pink here.
One lone cart remained in the cart bay to the right of the entrance vestibule...
...while the cart bay at the left of the vestibule had zero carts, instead seeing itself repurposed to house a few random aisle shelves, a collection of caution cones, and a sign that reads "Thanks for Shopping RITE AID - Let Us Fill Your Next Prescription." Thanks for the offer, but I think I have no choice but to pass!
One merchandise display was proudly stocked with Horn Lake-specific items (mostly apparel, as I recall). Pretty neat to see! Also a steal at 50% off, I'm sure. (Makes me wonder if this display was excluded from the 70% off percentage applied to the rest of the store, or if someone simply forgot to take these signs down and/or update them.)
A couple of close-up shots of the "Thanks for shopping with us."/"It's not just a store. It's a solution." sign above the exit, as well as one more look (more or less identical to the one we saw coming in) down the actionway towards the back, before we head out.
Within the vestibule, that poor display stand looks a little worse for the wear. Without it-- er, outside it, we find another of those "pharmacy closing" notices pasted to the front windows, beside which is (already?!) a "for lease" notice. Note how the square blocks and blue-trimmed windows of the exterior are also carried over to the inside of the vestibule.
These many, red "STORE LIQUIDATION SALE" posters were plastered all along the storefront windows. As if they weren't enough, in the days to come a banner would be hung up on the building itself, as well as some yard signs posted for good measure, too.
A close-up of the Rite Aid logo on one of the two awnings comprising the façade. These 90s diamond-window Rite Aids didn't have the prettiest architecture to begin with, and the fact that this particular store had some especially dusty, dirty, aged-looking awnings bearing the chain's logo didn't make things any better.
Underneath the overhang, amongst the barrage of red posters, we find that official-looking "pharmacy closing" sign once again... as well as a handwritten notice reading "New Hours May 3rd-14th 8:00AM-8:00PM Daily...". Note that the former proclaims that the pharmacy closed on April 30th. It's my guess that the entire store was closed temporarily on May 1st and 2nd in order to prepare for this liquidation sale, which then proceeded to take place during a two-week window before the store closed for good.
A handful of parting shots of the exterior, followed by one of those parking lot yard signs I mentioned, advertising the liquidation. Across the street, the Horn Lake City Hall and water tower can be seen. I'm sure they're none too happy about this vacant commercial property sitting across the street from them these days.
As is customary with my visits to a closing store, I made sure to take a picture of my receipt, so that it could be documented for posterity's sake. I also took some shots of the Rite Aid-branded products I purchased (which came from a separate receipt - pretty sure we picked up the Altoids after we had already paid for everything else XD )
Didn't realize I had scanned the receipt as well. Whoops. :P Guess you can go and compare the quality of my scanner with my cameraphone, if nothing else, haha!
I made sure to pick up a flier alerting pharmacy customers to the new location of their prescriptions - the Walgreens at the corner of Goodman and Horn Lake Roads, an outparcel to the Horn Lake Walmart Supercenter. (The latter of which was home to the backstabbing poster shown below the flier - ouch.)
On June 22nd, 2018, I made a return visit to this store to see what it looked like closed down. As you can see, it looks just about how any other vacant retail building would appear - signs blacked out, window shutters rolled down, etc.
The "drive-thru pharmacy" sign on this end of the building was removed.
Close-up of the Rite Aid labelscar
The two signs on the left, we've seen before. The one on the right is new, but I can't read what it says.
Some more building shots. I was really hoping no one from City Hall across the street saw me out here poking around :P
A look at the drive-thru end of the building, as well as a close-up of that "Do Not Enter" sign. Looking a little worse for the wear, but it's also held up remarkably well, all things considered.
A view down the row of diamond windows, followed by a non-sun-glared shot of one of the two blacked-out awnings. I do wonder what will happen to this building architecturally, if/when a new tenant moves in.
A couple more shots taken from the former pharmacy drive-thru, then finally, a shot of the blacked-out road sign at the left edge of the property.
For the home stretch of this post, I wanted to share a handful of photos showing this store in better days, which I found on a LoopNet lease listing for the property (which, by the way, notes that it comes available beginning in April 2019). Those images follow below.
I visited the closing Southaven Rite Aid just up the road on the very same day; photos from that visit are tentatively set to go up next April. As for the present day, I believe this post wraps up content on the blog (at least on my end) for the year of 2018 - I hope you all have a joyous holiday season, everyone, and best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2019! Merry Christmas and see you all again in the new year... and of course, as always, have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are :)