For a change, I will start off today's My Florida Retail post with a poem:
Roses are red,
Kmart's light is blue,
But as you can see,
Bealls came between the two!
And with that, I will officially retire from poetry (even though it was a semi-creative way to explain the history of this building!). However, here's the more detailed history of this place:
Kmart #3734 / Bealls Department Store #42 / Roses #553
160 Malabar Road SW, Palm Bay, FL - Palm Bay West Shopping Center
This building originally started its life as a Kmart, which opened in 1989 as part of the new Palm Bay West shopping center complex. Kmart closed this store in 2002 during their first wave of bankruptcy closures. In 2003, shortly after the Kmart closed for good, this space was subdivided into a Bealls Department Store (which moved from here, on the other side of town) and Ace Hardware. Bealls closed this store in 2013 after their rent went up due to Winn-Dixie's remodel. The Bealls portion of the building sat empty until 2015, when it was announced that Roses Discount Store would take over this space. Roses held their grand opening here on July 31, 2015. This store is currently the southernmost Roses location, although Roses has slowly continued to open more locations throughout Florida over the last few years.
In my original post about this former Kmart store, we saw some pictures showing this portion of the former Kmart building vacant. Today we return to this building for a look at the new Roses store that decided to take up shop in the old Bealls space. It's actually pretty weird seeing a deep-discounter like Roses in a former department store building, so I think you guys will enjoy this tour. For those of you unfamiliar with the Roses chain, I like to describe their stores as a combination of Big Lots, Dollar Tree, and Kmart all rolled up into one. Roses sells lots of mainstream products, but also has a large selection of closeout merchandise and items for $1 or less. If you like cheap stuff, Roses is the place to go! Back in the day, Roses was more like a mainstream discounter (like Walmart). However in the 1990's, after years of decline and store closures, Roses changed their product format into what they have now. That change not only managed to prevent the company from going under, but also made the company successful enough to begin expanding into new markets once again.
Anyway, background info out of the way, here we have an overview of the entire former Kmart building. As you can see, Bealls heavily modified their portion of the old Kmart building when they moved in, however Roses did absolutely nothing as far as modifying the old Bealls. Roses' business model usually seeks out abandoned retail spaces for their new stores, and the buildings they take over usually receive minimal changes from their previous life (which was very much the case here).
Here's an overview of just the Roses portion of the building.
Other than Roses's signage, all of the detailing you see remains from Bealls. The old department store bones of this place make this Rose's feel like one of the fanciest discount stores out there! (A sentiment to which NCMike agreed, "Wow this is one of the nicest looking Roses I've ever seen!") Once we head inside, you might also come under the impression that this is one of the strangest looking Roses stores too!
Another close-up of the front of the store. Roses' main entrance is located under the arch at the far left end of this photo.
Looking across the front of the store from the right side of the archway. The Bealls was set up with two entrances, however Roses only uses the set of doors off to the far left side of the building.
The unused entrance had its windows papered over. The set of doors on the left here are now used as an emergency exit, and the doors on the right are blocked by shelving on the inside.
This unusually narrow door lies off to the side of the unused entryway. What could be behind this tiny door you ask? I believe it is access to the motor system and internal components that control the built in roll away hurricane shutters this building is equipped with.
Roses' main entrance on the left side of the building. Let's head inside...
When you first walk into the store, you enter into the Women's clothing department. The clothing departments take up the left half of the store, with the hardlines over on the far right. Men's clothing is off to the right, and children's clothing is further back down this main aisle.
Somebody fix that hole in the ceiling! One thing about this store is that the ceiling randomly switches between a drop ceiling and a warehouse ceiling as you move toward different areas of the store. This was an effect Bealls came out with in their early 2000's stores, and the ceiling transitions followed along with what departments you were in. Now at Roses, you just get weird sights like this giant hole in the ceiling above the clothing department. I haven't been in a Bealls from this era in a while to remember exactly why this hole was put here.
The main aisle that runs through the clothing departments ends back here at the restrooms. The shoe department is to my left, and beyond the restrooms sign is the clearance alcove. Roses' furniture department is actually located in the back right corner of the store, although there was plenty of furniture randomly placed around the store like this.
Pictured here is the main back aisle of the store that runs between the clothing and housewares & linens departments. Bins of sale items line the center of this aisle.
A view from the back aisle into the clothing department, specifically men's clothing immediately in front of me.
Looking from Men’s clothing toward accessories. The main entrance is off in the background.
Another look across the clothing departments. If you look closely at the ceiling, you’ll notice some random light fixtures that don’t follow the typical pattern of the rest of the lights in the store. These were special lights installed to illuminate displays that Bealls originally had under these lights. As styertowne said, "This is most definitely the nicest Rose's I have ever seen. Of course, most of the ones I have been in are unrenovated former Ames." I'm sure most Roses stores pale in comparison to this one!
Looking from the start of general merchandise back toward clothes near the front of the store. Here’s one of the better pictures I have of some of the random transition between the open and drop ceiling in here. As styertowne commented, "[The random ceiling transitions] mirror the random transition from potato chips to plastic floral grave wreaths!"
Looking toward the front end near the tiny electronics department. The colorful bin of Popsicle contrasts nicely with the more neutral colors of the rest of the store. That will serve as my technical sounding excuse for how I didn’t like how this photo looked with the bin of Popsicle cropped out.
Leading into Roses's backroom space (part of which was built out into some old sales floor space, which these doors lead into) were these red tiles. These tiles don't look like anything Bealls would have used, and they look too beat up to have been installed by Roses only last summer. Perhaps these are a Kmart relic of some kind? (PlazaACME felt quite sure these tiles were from Kmart). Either that or Roses has been pretty rough on these tiles for the few months they had been open in here when I took these photos.
In the very back of this store is this huge skylight Bealls installed, which runs across the back of the store. I think in architecture, this design is actually called clerestory (your new word of the day). I believe under the skylight would have been home to Bealls' home and housewares department. As Retail Retell said, "Awesome shot! And I learned something to boot! :P" styertowne also described the effect quite nicely too, "It almost has an angelic effect...with the light pouring in from on high. The irony is that it is illuminating a Rose's, but hey--it's pretty nonetheless. BTW this also has to be the nicest Rose's I have ever seen...all thanks to the clerestory effect!"
Another look at the large skylight, but from a different angle.
Looking into the back of the store from an aisle in one of the hardlines departments.
The back aisle of the store, which was essentially a giant wall of bedding sets.
The main aisle that cuts through the center of the store is pictured here, looking toward the front. this is the aisle that separates the hardlines and softlines sides of the store. Also, near the front of the store this particular Roses had a sign advertising its new Mattress department. That stack of mattresses you see in this picture was the extent of the new Mattress department. As Retail Retell said, "That's it?! What a snoozefest. (ba dum tss)" Customers must have agreed as well, because I never saw the "mattress department" again after this visit!
Another shot down the back aisle of the store, looking toward the clothing.
The main center aisle, this time looking down it from the front of the store to the back.
I think I was trying for a picture of the ceiling transition here. Anyway, in this picture you can also see part of the Health & Beauty and paper products aisles too.
The main front aisle, looking toward clothing and the registers.
Bealls' old right side entryway, which is now papered over and only in use as an emergency exit. We saw what this door looks like from the outside earlier in this post.
Roses at Roses. Up in the front of the store was the fake flower department, which appropriately sold fake roses among others.
One of Roses' food aisles, including the food department signage.
While in the food department, I might as well share a few photos of some of the more interesting items I found here this day. First off, here are some chips and dip platters. I didn't take this photo for what the product is, but more for who makes them! I always thought the Arizona company only made iced teas and other drink related items, but it turns out they also have a side business making chips and salsa. This was the first I've seen of this. Iced tea and chips just seemed like a strange business combo to me (an opinion which Retail Retell seconded). In the time since I've taken this photo, I have bought some of these Arizona chips and dip platters to see if they were any good. The chips taste normal, and the salsa wasn't bad. For a dollar that one isn't a bad snack. I don't recommend the nacho cheese one though, as the cheese dip had a weird grainy texture and a cheap taste.
Another product that jumped out at me in the food department was this bag of America's Choice sugar, complete with the older style packaging. As I said earlier, Roses also buys closeout merchandise along with regularly carried items. I took this photo only a few months after A&P closed all of their remaining stores.
Somewhere among all of this stuff is the main aisle that leads you down the right side of the store.
Another look down the main right side aisle.
Probably not the best design configuration where the support columns are right in the middle of the main aisle. I guess when you inherit a building, you just have to deal with things like this sometimes.
One aisle in the seasonal department was dedicated to nothing but these giant garbage cans, however a small stack of pink patio chairs found their way in as well.
Looking up the main back aisle. The mirrors on the columns are another remnant from Bealls.
Here is the aisle that runs along the right side wall of the store. The painted over wood paneling behind the shelves is some leftover remnants of Bealls' decor.
This was an attempt at a closeup of some of the remnant Bealls decor that Roses painted over.
the main right side aisle again, looking toward the front of the store.
A look down the main back aisle toward the left side of the store. This picture was taken from the relatively small furniture department.
Jumping back up to the front of the store, here is Rose's relatively small electronics department. This department, located next to the front registers, features a decent selection of TVs, some other small electronics lining both outer sides, and a few racks of DVDs and CDs in the middle behind the gift card display.
The wall of TVs in the back of the electronics department. The movie Finding Nemo was playing on the TVs at the time I was here.
Here is one final look at the interior of Roses, as seen near the front end before heading back outside.
And also one final look across the exterior of the former Kmart/Bealls now Roses, with the now-former Ace Hardware off in the background.
It looks like the webmaster didn’t get the memo on this one... (You might have to click on the above screenshot to see what I'm about to explain.)
This was just a little discovery I made on Friday, April 15, 2016 (around the time this photoset was originally posted to flickr, but still keep that date in mind). I don’t know why, but I ended up doing a store location search on Bealls’ website that day. Much to my surprise, it turned out the Palm Bay location (now the Roses we just took a look at) still pops up on Bealls’ store locator, even though Bealls closed this store 3 years ago! I was surprised Bealls hadn’t caught this yet after all that time. If someone thought this store was still here based off of the store locator alone, they sure would have been in for a surprise when they pull in the parking lot! Thankfully, this error has been corrected (which I would hope after the store had been closed for 6 years!)
On the opposite end of the plaza from Roses is this Winn-Dixie. This store is one of Winn-Dixie's Transformational stores, which you can see in more detail in this AFB post.
In front of the Palm Bay West Shopping Center, facing Malabar Road, is this McDonald's. This McDonald's is a corporate owned location that opened in 1993, and retained the red roof design until 2016 (when it remodeled shortly after I took these pictures). The reason I took these pictures of the McDonald's this day was because of the impending remodel, described on a giant "City Of Palm Bay Zoning Board Public Announcement" sign placed in front of this place. I actually wasn't able to read the sign other than the title (since the print was so tiny), but my assumption of what the sign was about did in fact come true. With that news in mind, I pulled back into the parking lot and circled the McDonalds three times trying to get a decent picture of it. However, due to the busy cramped parking lot and someone honking at me for (accidentally) blocking the drive thru lane as I tried to get a picture on my final lap, I had to settle for these side views of the building from the next door Amscot office.
As l_dawg2000 said, "This one is really going to make for an interesting eyebrow, if they keep that rather large Play Place on the front of it!" Well, this place didn't get the "dreaded eyebrow" in the end, instead getting McDonald's new gray boxy look. The PlayPlace structure was retained, and really, the remodel didn't turn out too bad for a modern McDonald's.
With all that extra stuff out of the way, that's all I have for this post. Until the next time,