Saturday, July 11, 2020

A Little Birdie Told Me... - Pier 1 Imports Liquidation - West Melbourne, FL

Pier 1 Imports has been a retailer out of time for a long time. A remnant of a kitschier and more prosperous time, their continued survival an enigma. Well, continued survival up until this point anyway.

From what I read, by some miracle, not all Pier 1s are closing yet, but the West Melbourne store didn't escape the list, and so the familiar banners were unfurled.

This feels like a common photo - the banners centrally placed in the store. Discounts were still fairly slim at this point, the maximum was 75%, for Easter items that were likely already heavily discounted before liquidation began. The max for normal goods was 40%, seen on "Americana" here, while most goods were marked lower.

The smaller discounts, shown here, are well reflected in the amount of stock still left. This isn't just due to a lack of customers either, the store seemed fairly busy with a lot of cars coming and going, at least for a store as normally low volume as Pier 1.

These shelves were the closest this store had to proper "aisles". Otherwise, the store was so open I got myself turned around a little bit.

Looking out the large windows that face the road, we can see that even fairly early in the liquidation, the leasing signs have already been dragged out, even before the store's closure. This stretch of West Melbourne isn't very dead, and I won't be surprised if this space gets re-tenanted fairly quickly.

Appearing near the windows in a few places were these oddly off-color tiles; the only explanation I can think of is maybe these tiles were either in shadow, or tiles that had been replaced after leaks from a bad window seal damaged them. With some of the rain we get in Florida I would not be surprised.

Did you know that Pier 1 sold individual pieces of cutlery? I didn't. This was in the clearance section though, so maybe it was once a full set that was split open in the truck or something.

Items on clearance received the smallest discount. This store had a fairly good clearance section, it seemed, more than I'd typically expect at a store like Pier 1.

This shot is taken from the back of the store, I believ- is... is that faceless mannequin staring at me?

"What should we call these, Jeff? "Bulbs"?
"    Nah, hell with it. Spheres works."

I really found this sign quite humorous- with a store that portrays itself as upmarket as Pier 1, you'd think they'd have a better name than just "Spheres". I almost wish I had bought one of these, just for the joke.

The rugs! The rugs have invaded!- but calm down, these aren't the late liquidation omens they are when they show up at a Macy's or a Sears. I'm pretty sure Pier 1 regularly sold these kinds of rugs, which explains where they went when it wasn't to dubious local liquidators.

At least they've kept the calendar here updated, even if I think the kiosk itself has seen little use recently.

Time has stopped on these clocks, though. Even at 20% off, I've seen similar goods at Ollie's Bargain Outlet, and probably for an nth the price it was here.

Not all the calendars in the store were kept up though- this 2019 Puppies calendar is still sealed in it's plastic! There was also a second, so someone made the confusing decision to keep these things twice.

Some more general overviews of the store, including the industry standard "large clocks and comfy chairs" section.

Why search out a nice, actual piece of artwork from an artist when you can pay almost as much at Pier 1 for something that arrived in a crate of 50 from overseas?

I may be biased, because I don't buy much furniture and most of it comes from secondhand stores when I do, but both of these prices seem high.

Two eras of Employee Only sign collide, both of them quite damaged.

Wire baskets are rare, at least stateside, but Pier 1 had an entire stack of them here for customers, in addition to their more modern rolling plastic baskets.

The store is a little chaotic in places. I dread to think how it'll look once we reach the end of the liquidation and employees let organization slip.

One of the larger rolling baskets (at least I think they have wheels? They must do) I mentioned earlier.

Look at how fast nature reclaims the abandoned, the wild flamingos have already come to roost...

The checkout was a two-sided affair, though they only had one employee at the register. In fact, I think she may have been the only employee in the store. I guess they cut it to a skeleton crew once liquidation began.

And here's this post's name sake- a (slightly damaged, the beak is chipped on the other side) decorative bird I bought from the Easter section for $2.50. I also bought a pair of Pier 1 branded "wine glass markers" for not much more, and that was my entire purchase from the store.

I named him Pierre, by the way.

Anyways, until next time, this was Cape Kennedy Retail. Signing off in 3... 2... 1...


  1. Unfortunately, contrary to the article you read, all Pier 1 stores are indeed closing. But yeah, they had been closing many in separate rounds prior to the full liquidation announcement. So maybe that's what that article was referring to.

    Like I said on Discord, this is the first time I've seen a Pier 1 with simple linoleum tiles instead of the hard red floor tiles they commonly have. And yep, those newer blue baskets do roll. (You'd definitely have been able to tell if the hard floor tiles were there, haha!)

  2. Pier 1 Imports has been around in my area for a long, long time, but I don't think I've been to one since around 1995 or so. I do know where one location is/was in my area, but they may have had more locations even closer to me. I suppose that just goes to show how much I cared for this chain, but I'm just not that much into home decor. Even if I was, I don't think I'd want to make my home look like a Pier 1, lol. That said, some of Pier 1's older free-standing locations did have an interesting looking exterior. It looks like the store Cape Kennedy Retail photographed is an example of such a store.

    I really didn't know much about the history of Pier 1 so I just looked them up on Wikipedia. It seems that they started in 1962 and they were named Cost Plus Imports. Interesting, the modern Cost Plus was probably Pier 1's biggest competitor.

    The Pier 1 I went to around 1995 was in The Commons shopping center across from Greenspoint Mall here in Houston. That particular shopping center was one of the first really big powercenters that I can remember, but it had a tragic mix of retailers. The major anchors I can remember there were Pier 1, Phar-Mor, Media Play, Computer City, Children's Palace, and Sports Town USA. Around 1995, most of these chains were swirling around the toilet. Added to that, The Woodlands Mall opened in 1994 and so Greenspoint Mall was on the path to becoming a dying mall which is what it is today. Almost all those anchors went out of business around the same time and nobody was willing to replace them. That very impressive and young powercenter turned into a ghost town just a few years after opening. It was turned into a giant data center in the early 2000s and that's what it remains today. But, yeah, that mix of retailers must have been the worst case scenario for a retail developer. It would have been like having a powercenter anchored by Circuit City, Borders, Linens N Things, CompUSA, Mervyn's, and Steve & Barry's in 2008. Talk about a worst case scenario, lol.

    When it comes to home decor in Houston, to go-to place for many years was Garden Ridge Pottery. Garden Ridge has since become At Home. In the earlier days of Garden Ridge in Houston, they had at least a couple locations in old Buyer's Market Malls here in Houston. The Buyer's Market Malls were malls slightly bigger than a modern Walmart Supercenter that were specifically built in the early 1980s to violate the state blue laws which were in place and mandated that most retailers could not open on Sundays. Eventually, the laws were changed, most stores could open on Sundays, and Buyer's Market Malls no longer had a viable niche. When they closed, Garden Ridge took a couple over and operated them out of these malls without really changing the malls. It was a huge store and different departments would operate out of walled-in mall storefronts. They even kept the mall food court. There were two central checkouts near the mall entrances. These stores are gone now and have been replaced by newer stores, but Je of the Louisiana & Texas Retail blog did photograph one of them for this blog before they closed. By the time he took his photos, however, the walls of the mall stores were removed and the food court had closed. Still, one can feel the basic mall layout of the place in his photos:

    Je photographed another former Garden Ridge/Buyer's Market Mall that had closed a couple years prior to his visit and was turned into a flea market. The building has since been demolished and turned into a warehouse. Anyway, from Je's picture of the flea market, one can see how the food court and walled-in mall spaces looked since they were still intact and operational at the flea market. Link: