Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bluelight News Flash: No Need for Stockrooms

This news makes feel better about the Kmart situation, though I can't say the same for the employees. I referenced an article in the past week about Kmart's demise seeming more likely, and while that it still a very good possibility, the basis of the article was somewhat misunderstood. My suspicion about moving product from the stockroom and to the sales floor is now confirmed via my latest visit to my local store and this article. Kmart will no longer have any need for stockrooms. This is also supposed to ease checkout line wait times and by having more employees to assist customers.

I've already come across this just this past Tuesday. We are currently in the season where new LEGO products get added to store shelves. Well, as you can see below, boxes for these newer sets were found near the toys department just laying around open for customers to browse. If one wasn't open, than customers should ask an employee for assistance. Having spotted a set among these boxes that I was interested in I did just that.

Let me be clear by saying these new products do have spots on shelves for them. Employees just hadn't gotten around to stocking them yet.

This still doesn't exactly help the situation by having even more product added to the top shelf. Some of these products on the shelf here can no longer be found elsewhere. 

Hope this works out well for Kmart. Apparently Costco and Home Depot already use this same strategy, so it is not nothing new. This will also likely lead to less square footage being needed for each store.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fingerlakes Mall

Serving the community of Auburn, NY and surrounding areas, the Fingerlakes Mall opened in the early 1980s with the anchors of Chappels, Kmart, Sears, and JCPenney. The mall was another shopping center developed by Pyramid out of Syracuse. 

It suffered a some major losses in the early '90s with both Kmart and Chappels pulling out. The mall was able to recover in the early 00s, thanks to Bass Pro Shops opening their first New York store here. Because this was Bass Pro's first entry into New York, it became a mini-tourist destination. Sears, having relocated to the old Kmart space to allow for Bass Pro to open at the mall, closed their store here in early 2015.

The mall itself is full of unique and fascinating architecture; some of which I've never seen elsewhere. To see what I mean, I'll just let the pictures do the talking:

Sears in the old Kmart.
Kmart''s entrance is still intact after 20 years.
JO-ANN's exterior entrance.

The mall's interior was rather dark compared to other places I visited. For this reason some pictures may look a little weird.

Deb is obviously long gone.

A ramp made of brick leads you into the food court.

Roped off stairs that would lead you to the balcony areas.
One of the few businesses actually open.
Spirit here on the right was where Chappell's, and a brief Peebles store, was.

Back to the food court.

Bass Pro's mall entrance leads to the food court. Sorry about the blur here.
Many, many opportunities are available here.

Despite the loss of Sears, the future of the mall looks okay, as JCPenney seems to be committed to the community. JCPenney has made a publicly available comment that this is one of their top performing stores after losing competition from Sears. 

While Bass Pro has opened another location near Utica, NY, that location is considerably smaller. I'm uncertain how the plans for the Victor, NY store will effect this location however.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bluelight News Flash: Is Bankruptcy Near?

While I know that it has been said that Sears Holdings could go bankrupt almost at any point, the thing that stands out to me here is that employees are giving the impression that they are expecting a bankruptcy possibly next year. I have also heard from other places that fall of 2017 could be where the stores ultimately 'fall'.

While it is hard to say, please KNOW that these are RUMORS AND SPECULATION. I would also like to express my thoughts on some of the issues with stores mentioned in linked article.

Phases of Store Liquidation
It doesn't surprise me to hear about employees' hours and such being cut. This is unfortunate to hear as everyone should get fair pay, but when you are a struggling company, something has to be done to save money. Taking it out on employees won't help though!

Having actually witnessed one of the mentioned merchandise purge, I can say that this strategy for moving product isn't as bad as the article says. The thing not mentioned here is that this is now also how Kmart stocks their shelves! From what I saw, a group of employees (possibly the majority of them) gather to stock a particular department. Sears Holdings commented saying that this helps with inventory management and that does make sense as you would be able to see all the product unboxed in the area of the store where it is supposed to be.

Those employees in the article saying that stores close after a few months may be true in some cases, but leases expiring or lack of profits are likely the better reason! This may just be one method to move product and sell as much as they can before everything is discounted for a closing sale. My local store, where I witnessed this new method a few months ago, is not closing. Sometimes I wonder if some employees like to give bad press or even just attention.... 

Structural Issues
There's no denying this. Almost any store has issues with a leaky roof from time to time, but not to the extent that Kmart does. ALTHOUGH NOT ALL STORES HAVE ISSUES, enough of them do to give the impression that all stores have them. Can you please fix this, Sears Holdings?

While I personally would like to see at least the Kmart name stick around, at the rate Sears Holdings is going we may very well see a bankruptcy in the near future. My goal is to capture every Kmart within the Twin Tiers coverage area and just about any other store I can. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Rite Aid Surprise Decor

To my surprise, I stumbled upon the newest exterior of Rite Aid with an interior decor package that I was not aware of. Most new stores now use the circle signage decor. This store, like the southern Jamestown, NY store, got more straightforward signs.

Apparently this would mean that two decor packages have existed, or are still currently in existence, for both remodeled and newer stores. Which package a certain store received probably depends on when it remodeled or was built.

The two unique hanging circle signs under the drop ceiling.
Photo center
Batteries and a limited selection of electronics.

GNC in the back left corner next to Pharmacy.

Baby in the back right corner.

Thanks for visiting another decor package of Rite Aid!

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Year of Retail in the Twin Tiers

Today officially marks one year that the Twin Tiers Retail Blog has been giving you coverage of both area retail and restaurants, along with any new developments that have come to my attention. I just want to thank every reader and person who has left a comment on my posts over the past year. I look forward to bringing you additional posts in the future. Now since this anniversary falls on July 11th, or otherwise known as 7-11, make sure you get out and get yourself a free Slushie from your local 7-11!

Thanks again and look forward to more posts in the future!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kmart #7129

This month's Kmart is once again located inside a former Grants. The interesting thing about this store; however, is the fact that it was once attached to a mall that no longer exists. The only reason to why itself still exists at the moment is due to the fact that its lease has yet to expire. You see the former mall site is being redeveloped into a medical campus called Vernon Place after the mall became dead a few years back. Kmart, the only store still operating at the site, has a lease that runs through next year. More than likely this store will sadly be closed as Vernon Place has no intention on renewing the lease even with the help that was promised to help find a new location for Kmart.

Here's a view of the future hospital.
Kmart-ified Grants
Possible former entrance for a restaurant.
Old Auto bays
While this not new currently, it was when the picture was taken.
We're open! We're open!
Being a former Grants inside a mall, this store has a very unique layout compared to others.

Home Office is in the back of the store, while books is up front. Sorry about the confusion. I apologize for this error.
Let's get started with the interior tour:

I'm fairly certain that the furniture department was an old restaurant for Grants. Not only would the door mentioned earlier lead into this general area, but the restrooms are back here also.

No Access to this door.

Actionway on the left side of the store.
The garden shop is tucked in behind health and beauty and seasonal.

Only older store I know of to have an opening wall from floor to ceiling for the garden shop's entrance from the store. Some of the 2000-2002 built store did this as well.

Back left corner of the store.
90s Auto Center signage still intact!
Likely the old auto center's entrance.

Two different decor packages from two different eras.

Actionway between Toys (on the left) and grocery
The store doesn't have an actionway running through the middle of the store between these two departments as most would.
Housewares & Bedding Actionway division.
Nice price scanner sign on an old one.
Although the sign would imply otherwise, no appliances to be seen.
Back Actionway

The store still manages to fit a big and tall department in. Smaller stores often lack this department.
Fitting Rooms

This actionway runs perpendicular to the store's entrance connecting the left actionway to the right.
Childrens' clothing and Infants Basics.

Old Mall entrance.

That concludes my visit to the Meadville Kmart.

Rating: 7 out of 10. Although it is a smaller and more cramped location, this store still gets enough business to support itself. Even though it was cool to finally have finally see the two older automotive signs from a retro perspective, a shopper could be turned off by the 90s auto center sign still in place.

Is This Store in Danger of Closing? VERY LIKELY. This store's lease expires next year and the owners have already stated they will not be renewing it.

1. The plans submitted for development have the existing Kmart building being torn down for a parking lot to the medical campus despite the fact there already is plenty of parking.