Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Closing of a Sports Authority - Melbourne, FL

Sports Authority #362
1750 Evans Road, Melbourne, FL – Best Buy Plaza (Formerly the Melbourne Square Promenade)

     This store opened in 1995 as a part of the redevelopment of the Melbourne Square Promenade, a shopping center located across the street from the Melbourne Square Mall. The Promenade was around 100% vacancy when it was torn down in 1994 for redevelopment. It was announced in early March 2016 that the Melbourne Sports Authority store was one of the 140 out of the chain’s 463 stores that would be closing as a part of the chain’s bankruptcy (prior to the announcement that the entire chain would liquidate). This store closed for good in mid-June 2016.

     In this My Florida Retail post, I will be bringing everyone some pictures of the closing of the Melbourne Sports Authority store. The store was about a week and a half or so into closing at the time this first batch of pictures was taken. I couldn’t believe what shoppers have done to this place in that short amount of time, as we will begin to see in these photos. It made Kmart’s store closings seem neat and tidy. This store is the only one out of the 4 Sports Authority locations in Brevard and Indian River Counties affected by the initial closure wave, although Sports Authority closed 18 stores in total in Florida in that first wave prior to closing down all of their locations nationwide in July 2016. As andsome96 commented, "Their location in Wellington is also a victim of the closures. One of my family members stopped by there a few weeks ago, and he was shocked to find out that they were liquidating the place. Kinda a shame, since that location was newer (It opened in 2008) and usually clean."

     Here's another look at the front of the store, this time looking toward the entryway. Sorry about the slight tilt to this picture too.

     Heading inside and turning to the right after entering, this is what we see along the store's main right side aisle. All of the main aisles were filled with extra tables of shoes and racks of clothes that they were trying to get out of the back. There was still a lot of merchandise in here, and not too much empty space at this point. As usual with a store closing, there was plenty of signage around advertising it. As l_dawg2000 commented, "At least this liquidation signage is quite a bit more pleasant to look at than the gaudy stuff a lot of other places have been using!"

     One of the aisles in the shoe department can be seen here. The store still looks pretty good in this picture with just that little mess by the bench, but just wait until you see the next few photos...

     Shoe-nami! Only a week and a half into the closing, and already the shoe department was in shambles. There was merchandise thrown about and tossed on the floor in the other departments, but the shoe department by far the worst.

     Cleanup in aisle... oh, who cares anymore! I'm still in a bit of shock over the condition of this aisle. I think this is the worst mess I've ever seen at a closing sale for any store. This even tops the Kmart closings I've been to. It doesn't look like anyone has even tried to stuff any of those shoes back onto a shelf. It's like they've just given up, which is kind of sad to see. Most of you on flickr agreed to these sentiments, although l_dawg2000 also said, "I guess the classier the liquidation signs, the trashier the actual liquidation!"

     Pickin' at the remains. A zoomed out view of the messy shoe aisle, where by this time a shopper had ventured into the mess in the quest for bargains.

     Looking across the back of the store, we're looking down the main aisle here. This aisle was also being used to store overstock clothing, bicycles, and some other things.

     The Sea & Ski department was located in the back of the store. It was all stuff for water sports back here, so I'm assuming the "ski" part of the sign referred to water skiing. Well, for that reason and because it's not too common that you come across the other kind of skiing in Central Florida anyway!

     This view looks down the center aisle from the back, which leads you to the front entrance. Just don't trip over any camping stuff in the way!

     Here we see an aisle in the back of the store where a small amount of camping and hunting equipment was thrown around. However, at least this scene wasn't as bad as what we saw in the shoe aisle.

     Looking across the back wall of the store in this photo, from the back left of the building to the back right. More stuff can be seen on the ground here.

     The Outdoor department. Under that sign was where they kept the guns and ammo counter, and the aisles surrounding it were all home to hunting, fishing, and camping stuff.

     Somebody said not too long ago they were having a competition with someone else to find the largest markdown a closing store had. Well, let me join in by saying I found the smallest markdown here! Ammo was only 5% off. I don't think I've ever seen that small of a markdown at a store closing before, as most stuff usually starts at 10%. Since this is ammunition, maybe there's a law saying it can't be marked down too much. As Retail Retell said, "I've never seen that small a markdown either! I'm surprised it's able to be marked down at all." I actually was too! l_dawg2000 also went on to say, "From hearing all the gun freaks where I work talk, ammo will pretty much sell without any kind of markdown whatsoever!"

     The back left corner of the store was home to the basketball hoops, although what was left had been consolidated into this small area. There was also a pile of hats on the floor too, for good measure.

     The main left side aisle can be seen here, where the Team Sports equipment was located.

     The majority of these overstock boats were piled up in the middle of the section where baseball equipment was stored. I don't think there was an actual home for these boats anywhere, because there were a few random piles of them around the store.

     Fitness equipment was located in the front left corner of the store. This area was also the home to another random stack of boats.

     And back outside we go for one last exterior photo from a week and a half into the store closing process at the Melbourne Sports Authority store. Coming to this closing was definitely an experience, especially seeing the poor condition this store had fallen into since the closing began. And this was just the beginning: I returned to the store for a second visit two months later. The remainder of this post will feature those photos, so let's proceed with the closing process and take a look at those:

     So once again we return to the closing of the Melbourne Sports Authority. When I first stopped by this store closing in March 2016, I discovered this store had been turned into one huge mess. So by the end of May I decided to stop in once again to see if things could have possibly gotten any worse since March. The good news is, this time around there weren't piles of merchandise strewn about on the ground like we saw before. There was still some merchandise on the ground here and there and things weren't organized all that well, but that's about as big of an improvement as you can probably get at a store closing sale.

     Another view of the exterior as we prepare to head inside once again...

     Walking inside you were greeted by some of the last few bins of non-clothing merchandise that were left (which was very little). Also you can see some of the many store closing signs hanging in the front window.

     After you first walked in, the golf department was immediately to the right in the area you see above. For the closing, this area became home to excess clothing and some fixtures. Even with only two weeks left at this point, there was still a lot of clothing that needed to be sold off.

     In the back of the golf department was the driving cage, which had been closed off when the closing began. Also back here were some random fixtures, including that putting green in front of the door to the driving cage (I think that's what that thing is called - golf isn't something I'm very knowledgeable about). When I first walked in here, there was a young couple standing in the middle of the putting green kissing. One word I would have never used to describe a store closing is 'romantic', but whatever makes you happy I suppose...

     Looking out from the former golf department, here's a look across the front of this store.

     The footwear department had been shrunken down to one aisle by this time, where any remaining shoes were just thrown onto shelves for customers to dig through (which is a huge improvement from the shoes thrown onto the floor like we saw earlier - at least this new arrangement could be called 'organized chaos'!)

     This shows what remained of the shoe department in late May. Only two pairs of shoes on the ground is pretty good, especially after seeing how this department looked back in mid-March. As Retail Retell commented, "And one of them looks to be a pair too! (Or should I say "to boot"?)" Oh, shoe puns, can you get anymore sole-less than that? 😀

     Here we can see down the now blocked off aisle that ran across the back of the shoe department.

     Beginning to leave footwear now, we head further into the remaining racks of clothes. More random fixtures (which were at the same time for sale), blocked off the empty areas of the store from the remaining sales floor.

     Looking into the back right corner of the store now, toward where the bicycles once were kept.

     More of the many racks of clothing that remained on the salesfloor. These were the racks immediately in front of the footwear department.

     At this point in the closing, the sales floor was blocked off at the main back aisle with random fixtures. Behind here were more fixtures waiting to be removed.

     Looking toward the old "Sea & Ski" department from amid the clothing racks.

     Another overview of the salesfloor and the many racks of clothes.

     Here is one of the store's center aisles, which cut through the middle of the clothing departments.

     The two island fitting (or should I say 'fitt_ng") rooms out in the middle of the clothing department were closed off, as you can see in the picture (and also for sale). Customers were being directed to use the main fitting rooms located in the front of the store, near the old fitness department.

     Some of the many empty clothing racks that were being stored in the closed off left side of the building.

     One of the aisles of clothes. The clothes weren't organized in any particular way other after being categorized as men's, women's, etc. All different sizes and styles were just jammed wherever there was room on a rack.

     This was as far to the left of the building as the remaining merchandise went, stopping at the edge of the old fitness department. What was left of the fitness department were those few boxes in the foreground of this photo.

     Here we see the back of the store where the Outdoor department once was. Under the 'Outdoor' sign was the home to the guns & ammo counter. What little bit of ammo that was left for sale was moved up by the front registers for the remainder of the closing.

     Looking into the now empty left side of the store again. However, it looks like they left some basketball hoops and weights back there.

     The old team sports department, which was in the process of being dismantled.

     A closeup of the remaining merchandise from the fitness department. As PlazaACME commented about the closing signage in the background of this photo, ""Store Closing, this location only" That was a blatant lie. :P"

     The remains of the Fitness department itself. Most of the smaller fixtures for sale were placed in this area.

     Sorry about the blur in this one, but it wasn't too bad for me to completely reject it. That area to the left was the store's main fitting room, and the only ones left open at this point. Also, you can see the giant sign usually held by someone out on the corner to lure shoppers in was left leaning against the wall. I guess the sign person took the day off the day I stopped by here!

     Over on the left side of the store, near the empty fitness department, was this small section of leftover football equipment.

     Here we're looking from the left side of the store toward the front right corner, down the old main front aisle. This aisle was now home to more overflow clothing.

     The main front aisle here, as seen from the right side of the store looking toward the left.

     The front end can be seen in this photo, as viewed from the main center aisle.

     More of the front end here, the registers and entrance can be seen here.

     What remained of the ammunition was placed on this shelf near the registers. Even though this was in sight of the cashiers, I'm surprised they left these few boxes out in the open like this. As l_dawg2000 commented, "That is odd! Seems like there would be laws banning this from being sold on open shelving, but it probably varies from state to state."

     Get your hangers here! The note on the back of this register was announcing the special Sports Authority had on leftover hangers. You could have crammed as many as you wanted into a cart for $25.

     This is another photo where I don't exactly remember what I was trying to achieve with it, but it's still interesting anyway. This was one of the checkout counters, one which looked like it was rarely used. The main checkout counter was located behind me.

     One of the other register counters, looking toward the exit. The counter itself was also a part of the fixtures sale, as can be seen by the orange tag at the end.

     One last look across the front end before leaving...

     So that ends my coverage of the Melbourne Sports Authority during its liquidation process. With this store being located in a busy retail district immediately across the street from the Melbourne Square Mall, it was able to find a new tenant before too long. Who is that new tenant you ask?

     In June 2017, a year after Sports Authority closed for good, it was announced that Burlington (Coat Factory) would be open their first Brevard County location in the former Melbourne Sports Authority building. After a few months of remodeling, the new Burlington store opened on October 13, 2017. Brevard County seemed to have been anxiously waiting for a Burlington of their own, as news of Burlington's arrival to the county had created quite a buzz! The new Burlington store is 43,188 square feet, which is right in line with their new smaller store format, but is still larger than a typical TJMaxx or Ross store. This article from the Florida Today talks about the new store, and for even more detail, I found a PDF of the construction plans if you feel interested enough to browse through that for a preview of what Burlington was going to so to this building. I did include the best sketch I could find of the new Burlington exterior in those plans in the photo above to give you an idea of the alterations that will be made. However, the next My Florida Retail post will feature that new Burlington store so we can see just how much they changed around since this building's Sports Authority days. Be sure to look for that soon!

So until the next post,


1 comment:

  1. I get the sense that your response to my shoe pun was laced with sarcasm :P