Thursday, July 9, 2009

Local Pier One, Said And Done

Pier One on Summer has shipped off to piers yet unknown, leaving a blue and barren storefront. I was sad to see it go – but they warned us, and I wasn’t surprised. Like a bajillion other retailers, Pier One has been hurting. Reportedly, they closed 119 locations and opened a mere 5 in the past few years. The company recently turned a profit but, it’s the first time since 2005. I have some theories about why they – and that location in particular – may be vulnerable.

- Parking. Ridgeway offers a lot of spots, but the traffic on Summer makes the other side of the street feel acres away. That’s especially true if you are carrying bulky home goods.

- Rent. The Dallas Morning News article (link above) indicated that at least five stores would be closed because landlords refused to modify rents. Perhaps the same is true chez nous.

- Website. We consumers are spoiled. Generally, we click and *ta da* a box shows up at home. Pier One’s website does not work that way. When you find a product on the website, you must enter your email address and add the product to a list. So even before I buy I surrender my privacy? The next options are to save, delete or print the list. So you take the printed list to a brick and mortar store? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of on-line shopping?

- Identity. I’m hard pressed to think of a product where Pier One is the first supplier to come to mind. If anything, I associate them with colorful imports, so it’s disconcerting to find their shelves full of Fourth of July folk art. The website opens with elephants and leads me straight to stars and stripes table runners.

- Novelty. Whereas Indian, Chinese and other foreign-made products used to seem special, now Made in America is the most unique label out there. For all I know, the elaborate painted serving platter was made in the same factory as the unpainted Wal-Mart version. It’s just not sexy anymore.

Good for you, Pier One, for turning that red ink into black, but to win me over, there’s work still to do. Wish it had been done before the Summer Street sayonara.

1 comment:

Kevin McKeever said...

Whenever I though "wicker," I thought Pier One.

All good points, KB.