Friday, March 17, 2023

Celebrating 8 Years of The Mid-South Retail Blog!

Friends, I have been so busy lately that I almost missed the blog's eighth anniversary today. Please forgive me! The site may have fallen by the wayside in recent months, but I promise I haven't forgotten it. I've been a lot less frequent with flickr postings as well, but I hope you're keeping up with my content over there in the meantime. Thanks, as always, for reading -- especially those of you who have been around since the very beginning -- and have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell


  1. Anonymous in HoustonMarch 18, 2023 at 8:36 AM

    Happy blog anniversary, Retail Retell! I know the past year hasn't been the busiest year on the blog in terms of posts, but we still had some pleasant surprises! I think the Retro-Iconic Sonic post was probably my favorite post on the blog this past year and not just because Iconic Sonic rolls of the tongue well! 'The Hut' post certainly brought up a lot of interesting discussion and, in terms of pleasant surprises, it was certainly a surprise to see AFB make a guest appearance with the Buff City Soap post!

    I'm certainly glad this blog is around because, if nothing else, your Kroger decor guides have proven to be a handy resource for HHR's The Year of Kroger readers! I look forward to seeing what you might have for us on the blog throughout the next year when you get the time to put something together, but for the time being, I still find a lot of value in going through your older content! I've probably said this before, but your sidebar index of old posts is quite convenient and the random post generator is good at putting the spotlight on older content.

    1. Thank you, Anonymous!! Your comment means a lot to me. I appreciate you reading and continuing to support the blog. I hope to return with new content sooner rather than later, but I'm also very glad you're enjoying my past content in the meantime! As you've likely noticed, I'm behind in reading others' blog posts as well, but I'm very eager to read the Year of Kroger posts I've missed once I have time.

  2. Happy 8th Blogiversary! I can't believe you've been at this for 8 years now! I know the blog hasn't been as busy lately as it's been in the past, but I still look forward to your posts, and hopefully we'll get to see more of your retail adventures on the blog soon!

    1. Thank you, AFB!! I can't believe it either, haha. I appreciate you hanging around, and I certainly hope to share more of my adventures soon as well!

  3. Congrats on the milestone! Like the others have mentioned above, your guides on their own have been such a valuable resource for me (some of which have played a big roll in an upcoming series of mine). I've also enjoyed some of the surprises from last year, especially your Zesto / Disco Kroger post, and look forward to what you'll come up with this year!

    1. Thank you, Sing!! I appreciate your kind words and am glad to hear my posts have been helpful, especially since I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts as well. I've got lots up my sleeve -- just have to find the time to share it!

  4. Thank you for working to preserve retail history.

    One warm summer night 2017 I was over on Winchester Rd in Memphis at the Walmart, ended up driving west towards another big road (don't recall), and saw to the right what looked to be a major closed big-box store. Being curious I drove in the parking lot, got a few looks from people "hanging around" and then got back to my hotel and learned it was a Super K Center from here:
    I heard it's a "art mall" now and will check it out next time I get up that way.

    I always heard of "American Fare" but didn't know the story, now when I'm in Charlotte and Atlanta the wife will have to endure my detour to find how these sites look today.

    If you ever do an expose about the Hypermarkets, I have some pictures of the closed buildings in Garland, TX and the Kansas City, MO store. I actually went into that KC store right before it was torn down (Aug 2013), I got the hell out of there real quick as it was filled with vagrants who were making their way in my direction, but I scored a few pics in the process.

    I feel the American shopper just wasn't ready for these large format stores. Parking was too far, walking too much, and as noted above crime in parking lots was a major concern. You can bet $$ those stories spread in the surrounding community. Also The Hypermart/American Fare stores just cost too much to operate per $/sqft, too many employees needed (payroll being biggest variable cost).

    It's noted in a comment about that the Jackson store suffered a brutal crime in the parking lot - these kind of incidents killed the KC MO Hypermart.

    I worked at/helped manage 3 Supercenters and we certainly lost customers to the other stores where the parking was closer to the doors due to the crime aspect in one store. These stores were hangout places for "transactions", drug deals, etc. Malls were struggling and the Supercenters/HM became the town squares. Every time the news reported some incident we'd have to pay off-duty police to patrol, or even hire security but that was an on/off again deal. One of the stores was in a very nice, new part of town and didn't have many crime issues, and the sales reflected it.

    At some point in my retail career I received a check from Builders Square, what a dang mess that was. They paid better than Lowe's across the street and it was a much more relaxed atmosphere because we had about 1/3 less traffic! Inventory turns were horrific and merchandise languished unsold. We only got shoppers who drove past Lowe's because it was too busy, or their wives were in the other stores surrounding Builders Square. Those are stories for another day.

    Having worked in operations there are lots of parallels between the failing/failed retailers. Lots of them obvious to anyone paying attention.

    1. My pleasure, and thank you for reading the blog and leaving this comment!

      I'm pretty sure that Memphis (Raleigh) Super Kmart became a U-Haul facility -- although perhaps a small portion of it became an art mall as well? I'd be interested to learn what you find out if you do make you way up there. I passed it somewhat recently, but from the road there's very little you can see. (Unless you're talking about the other Super Kmart on Winchester... there were a few in Memphis! That's another post I'd eventually like to write... so many posts, so little time!)

      Glad you enjoyed my American Fare post! That one was very fun to write. In the time since then, Comcast has vacated the building and it is currently undergoing renovations. Not sure who the new tenant will be or how much they'll change the exterior, which until now has remained remarkably intact.

      I'd agree that stores like those were ahead of their time, in the sense that shoppers did not readily welcome the large parking lots and square footage. Nowadays, it has become what you have to deal with, but back then, it seems like it was an adjustment, and one that many people were reluctant or unwilling to make. The crime and payroll factors that you mention also absolutely played a huge part, and those I think still factor into stores even today (as you also discuss).

      I'm not sure if I've got another post on hypermarkets up my sleeve, but I'd love to feature your photos in the future if you're willing to share them! Even better, if this is something that would interest you, you are absolutely welcome to write a guest post for the blog. It certainly sounds like you've got some stories to share, at least. Your experiences in management and operations that you shared in your comment definitely give a lot of insight into what all you can see in that career. I'd love to hear more, if you're willing to share.

  5. Hi there -- congrats on the anniversary. It's nice to see someone carrying on in the tradition of Zap (and before him, Sam Graham).


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