Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Rite Aid with a Peaked Roof

To continue the ongoing look at the various Rite Aid designs today I bring you the design that most unremodeled Rite Aid locations may feature. Although the interior could still vary from location to location, this is at least the '90s decor package for Rite Aid. The Mid-South Retail Blog also looked at a similar style of package down their way, which you can view here.

Here's a look at some photos I took at this Rite Aid location which lies on the east side of the city of Erie.

That pharmacy text format reminds me a lot of the same format that Kmart uses.

So there you go. Another look at one Rite Aid's older designs.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

BLUELIGHT NEWS FLASH: Kmart Bargain Outlet

I'm looking to start something new here, anytime a new piece of information comes on Sears or Kmart I will do a mini-post on the topic and express my opinion. Note that my opinion is my own and not anyone else's. 

Looks like Kmart has a new strategy for survival. It appears that Kmart is planning to implement a "fill the shelves with products for bankrupt companies" system similar to Ollie's Bargain Outlet. Its an interesting choice, but hopefully it will be a means for them to continue to survive. Perhaps this means Kmart will no longer compete with stores such as Target and Walmart, but rather Big Lots and Ollie's. Kmart, in my opinion, though will be better as I know it still does carry some product lines that neither Big Lots or Ollie's do.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Rant on Sears Holdings

2016 is in full swing and more retail news is underway. CVS appears to be now readying to take over Target's pharmacies for good. 

However, the main news that continues to catch media attention (as well as my own) is Sears Holdings.

I have a love/hate relationship with Sears Holdings and after hearing the following news just makes me even more frustrated with the company. After having a disappointing holiday season, Sears' losses are so bad that their way to make up for it its to simply 'Close more stores' again. This will only work for so long. I've read a lot of web articles and it many professionals are thinking that 2016 may be the last year for the company. When referring to liquidation of remainder of the company, one expert said "It's not a matter of if, but when."

Obviously, we were all expecting this. I personally however was hoping to see Kmart and Sears be successful again. I also was hoping that they would try to improve their stores' image, but closing EVEN MORE stores does not help your image. I understand that store closures sometimes have to happen, even Walmart had too. Clearly all hopes of a revival for Sears Holdings have diminished with this news.

I would also like to take this moment to explain why I like and what I dislike about Sears Holdings. (Kmart in particular)

What I Like: 
  • Shop Your Way Rewards
    • This program that Sears and Kmart use as a rewards program is a fantastic one. You earn points for everything you buy online or at either store as well as their partners for the program.
    • Surprise points allow for surprise savings. In addition to having $11 worth in points, I was also able to save $6 the other day on one of my purchases because I had these surprise points. I ended up saving $17.
    • contests that are available for all SYW members to enter for various prizes
  • Little Caesars/ Nathan's Famous
    • You also can earn SYW points through these restaurants if they are located inside a Kmart location.
What I Dislike:
  • Lack of clearance for some product lines. One such product is LEGO. I visited my local Kmart today after having gone to the dentist. They were actively stocking the shelves in the toy department and because they aren't doing clearance for LEGO now, they are running out of space for any new product. Even the employees were starting to worry about this. There's a reason why stores put stuff on clearance!
(I was nice and helped them out by making some room for them. Hey employees, when a customer can find room you can't there's a problem. Also, you really shouldn't put the same set in two different spaces. However, I can only make so much room. They are reaching capacity and they didn't even get the newer set I wanted in!)
  • Easing Off of Electronics
    • Kmart has dropped electronics all together in some stores, while some stores have half of what they use to. Areas eliminated were made room for expanded selection for appliances. Which itself is not a bad idea, the problem is how Kmart handled adding an appliance department for most stores. Yet some locations still have a full electronics department and have a few random appliances nearby!
  • Closing Cafe and their Creepy Condition
    • If something isn't making a profit then its understandable that it closes. Kmart, however, in some cases may take a tacky route and leave the old space of cafes in the dark while still expecting customers to make their way to restrooms in the darkened area. Kind of creepy. Why not make this area appliances?
    • At least some stores have the sense to turn the old area into additional floor space for store.
  • REIT Reality
    • I already expressed my opinion on this topic before. You can read it here.
Although it's likely not to change anything, if you would like to try to change this trend please help support the 'Stop Closing Kmart Stores' petition. There is also a Facebook page for the petition as well.

Sorry to go on a rant about this, but I have to vent somewhere!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sounding the Alarm for Shoppers at ShoppingTown

The central New York city of Syracuse once could boast about having a staggering 8 malls. Now the city only has 3. And only one of them has no worries about attracting businesses, while the others have had some major death blows. The three malls currently operating are ShoppingTown Mall, Great Northern Mall and Destiny USA (which was formerly known as Carousel Center). Over the course of the next few months, we'll be taking a look at the various former mall sites and current mall in the greater Syracuse area. Although I still have not yet captured anything from the Great Northern Mall, I will try to do so at a later date.

The recent announcement of JCPenney closing at ShoppingTown got me thinking about doing a post of the mall's state when I visited. Hence the first part of a series of posts about the Syracuse malls will cover the now almost dead mall. 

Before I begin though, I highly recommend checking the Mall Hall of Fame's post on this very same mall as they have already provided a history of the mall from when it started as one of Syracuse's first plazas to its various stages of expansion. My aim was simply to capture what the mall looked like back in September of 2014. Now that Macy's has closed and JCPenney soon to follow, I also plan to re-visit this mall again next time I'm in the Syracuse area.

One way to Shoppingtown
We'll start the tour off with by taking a look at the exterior. (except for JCPenney as it is blocked by a parking garage.)

As mentioned at the Mall Hall of Fame, Sears moved from the former Fayetteville Mall when it was redeveloped into a strip mall. As a result, this '90s style of Sears is actually more modern than some other stores in the Sears chain.

At least half of the former Bon Ton now sits empty and abandoned. Its possible that REGAL cinemas may use the other half of the former store.
Rite Aid exterior entrance. Former Eckerd location.
A look at the now closed Macy's
Dick's has also closed at the mall in 2015 and relocated to the former DeWitt Kmart location.
TGI Friday's manages to hang on....

ShoppingTown was built by the same company that built the Medley Centre in Irondeqouit, hence the similar food court entrances.
Now for some interior views.

The sight upon entering.
The last expansion's main court:

Parking garage peek.
Food Court:

From what I understand, this Arby's has now closed.

Now for the rest of the last expansion area:

Parking garage entryway
Upper level of the main court of the '90s expansion area
Transition between expansion #4 to expansion #3
Former Bon Ton Mall entrance. REGAL is below
Taking a look at REGAL from above
Expansion #3 hallway

Main court in front of JCPenney:

Soon to close JCPenney
Side hallway that leads to another mall entrance:

TGI Friday's has mall seating instead of outdoor seating.
Even antiques are starting to pop up here!

Moving on to the former Dick's and Sears part of the mall. This portion of the mall has been dubbed the 'Community Wing' because all the tenants in this area are either local or offer some sort of service.

Kiddie rides. Basic Baby has since relocated outside the mall.
Dick's has since moved outside the mall as well.
The Sears wing was originally the plaza portion of the mall. The mall slopes slightly downwards here and because of that carpet is used instead of tile. Here's a look at the transition:

Edging closer to Sears. Because of the elevation change, ramps and stairs are found here. This particular area is quite the interesting design:

The hexagon shape surrounds a community room as seen below:

This skating rink was a former Woolworth/Media Play location. Note the escalators being blocked here.
Sears at Shoppingtown
Looking from the Sears entrance back into the Mall

One store was turned into a lobby with restrooms. I kid you not.
So that's it from Shoppingtown as of this moment. I do plan on returning here at some point and to take pictures of the changes that the dying mall has seen.