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Big Lots

Posted: 16 Mar 2009 23:40
by TenPoundHammer
I've noticed that every Big Lots I've been to began as some other retailer. Are there any that were actually built from scratch, or are all of their locations converted from other retailers? The closest I've found so far is the one in Livonia, which was built as some unknown big-box that never came to fruition. Phar-Mor perhaps?

Some are more strange conversions to Big Lots that I've found include a former Builder's Square in Clinton Township and a former Menards (originally Woolworth) in Marquette -- an anchor to the Marquette Mall no less. The chain also took former Wolohan Lumber locations in Flint and Sault Ste. Marie (the latter of which also includes Save-a-Lot, another noted recycler of chain buildings, in a portion of the old Wolohan, itself a former Fisher's Big Wheel.) Another total oddball is the Jackson, MI store, a former Showbiz Pizza.

Mall anchor Big Lots are actually more common than I would have expected, too, usually in very small (and often dead) malls. Usually these end up taking something like 1/3 of a former discounter, or a really small former Penney's. In my attempt to list every mall in the US, I think I've run across 20 to 30 mall-based Big Lots.

What is the history of your local Big Lots? I think it's interesting to see what these used to be, as many Big Lots that I know of have been in their condition for 20+ years, entirely unremodeled from their previous guise.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 00:16
by lvkewlkid
I know that in the Las Vegas area, we have some that started out as another store, but we also have a few that started out as new-builds...

The ones on South Eastern/Windmill and Rampart/Lake Mead are both former Raley's/Albertsons since they are both across the street from a Smiths...The one on Boulder Hwy, I also believe is a former Albertsons/Raley's, but I am unsure of that...

There is a thread that I started about the Big Lots on East Sahara, many people had conflicting views over what it had been before, some have said Checker Auto Parts, while others I believe said it was a former supermarket (Smiths?)...

Pecos/Tropicana, Spring Mountain/Decatur, Nellis/Stewart, and Decatur/Meadows are all in what seems to have started off as other stores, but I don't know what...I know all of them or most were MacFrugal's...

Big Lots on Craig is a new build as is the one on East Warm Springs...

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 00:36
by Brian Lutz
There aren't many Big Lots here (there's one in the Renton Highlands, but I'm not there often enough to be familiar with it) but there's a Big Lots store near my brother's place in Provo Utah that has the big rounded top sign that is a telltale indication of a former Kmart store. It's kind of hard to see from here, but here's the Streetview:

Link (Google Streetview)

In fact, Provo is a rather interesting town from an urban archaeology perspective. All over the place there's stuff that obviously used to be something else. I might be back down there sometime soon (my sister who lives down there is just about to have a baby) so if I do, I'll have to take some photos of some of this stuff.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 18:19
by javelin
In So Cal, most are former Pic & Save or Payless drug. One that I know of was a former Sprouse-Reitz.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 18:32
by wnetmacman
Big Lots frequently leases or rents old buildings. They are what landlords refer to as a second generation retailer. Hobby Lobby and Burlington Coat Factory do this as well.

Because of the nature of their business, it wouldn't be feasible to pay the full price rent for a new store. Previously used locations are usually cheaper to rent, and more flexible in the space requirements. I've been in many of their stores. They seem to prefer supermarket space, but I've seen all kinds, including one that is a third generation space (1/3 of a Wal-Mart, then Office Depot, then Big Lots, but with the large OD mirrored facade.)

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 19:40
by rich
They seem to take anything and everything and the same was true of the chains they bought like MacFrugal's: KMart Foods stores in Atlanta and Nashville, greenhouse Kroger's (any number of places), and the like. I've never seen on in a centennial A&P, but I would guess there has to be one some place.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 21:07
by wnetmacman
Shreveport, LA on Mansfield Road is in an expanded Centennial A&P. Alexandria, LA is in a 70's A&P.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 21:56
by bigbubby
Anything and everything is right- including a portion of the original flagship Bullock's in downtown LA.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 22:26
by BillyGr
A couple here in NY I can think of:

An old Price Chopper (one of those grocery store with K-mart buildings that sits by itself, with no other stores attached)

A former RxPlace (discount drug store)

Part of a strip center (this space was 3 or 4 store fronts, which have had everything from a furniture store to hospital office space to an OTB at one point or another, which they combined together for the Big Lots)
(P.S. - This center also had an A&P, but the Big Lots is not in that space, that part is mostly an Aldi)

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 22:28
by Jeff
In southern california, a lot of the Big Lots / Pic N Saves were former markets.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 22:29
by Groceteria
Triad NC: BIg Star, Winn-Dixie, A&P/Food Lion, and one store in part of a former Best Products showroom.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 16:55
by Dean
Yes, the sites have generally all been something prior.

About the only one I recall locally, that was a new-build, is Highland CA, a stone's throw from Patton State Hospital.

It is adjacent to Food4Less, which had originally been Smith's.

It is flanked by a vacant K-Mart.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 18:22
by wnetmacman
Others I have seen:
Many, many Krogers. I went to a former Superstore Kroger in Hot Springs, AR which had the new 90's build Kroger next door. The Big Lots store still had many of the original Superstore decor items we've seen. The SuperX side was a Big Lots Furniture store, and had a doorway between them.

Danville, IL - 70's build A&P that had sat vacant for a decade.

Lafayette and New Iberia, LA - Former Delchamps stores. New Iberia is now closed. Lafayette is only recognizable by the facade.

Longview, TX was originally in a former C.R. Anthony's store, but it was immediately next door to a Pic & Save/MacFrugals, which was a new build. After the merger, the original Big Lots closed and the MacFrugals became Big Lots.

The very first Big Lots I ever went to was a former 3D Discount Center in Mattoon, IL which itself had been a Kroger Family Center. 3D had recycled the Center part of the pylon sign. It was a very interesting store. As I remembered, quite cluttered. I never understood how it made it.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 19 Mar 2009 08:06
by Groceteria
In fact, Big Lots' initial entry into North Carolina was when they took over the real estate of a dying grocery chain called 3 Guys in the Charlotte area in the early 1980s.

Re: Big Lots

Posted: 19 Mar 2009 10:08
by TenPoundHammer
wnetmacman wrote:Others I have seen:The very first Big Lots I ever went to was a former 3D Discount Center in Mattoon, IL which itself had been a Kroger Family Center.
I wonder if this is related to the 3D Discount Center that bought a couple former Yankee/Zody's stores in Michigan? I know the Yankee stores in Essexville, Saginaw, and Port Huron all became 3D after a while.

As for former Best Products showrooms as Big Lots, I'll see yours, Groceteria, and raise you a mall-based Best Products that's now (partially) a Big Lots, at Rogers Plaza in Wyoming, Michigan. This one is third-generation as well, as the eastern 1/3 of the mall was originally TurnStyle. TurnStyle closed in the late 1970s, and the east half of the store became Rogers Catalog Showroom while the rest just became mall space, most of which is now reclaimed by an Office Max. Best took over the Rogers Catalog Showroom and closed in the 1990s or so. Big Lots took the western half, and Harbor Freight took the rest. Strangely, Big Lots sealed off the mall entrance. The other anchor was Montgomery Ward, which got demolished for AJ Wright and a Family Fare supermarket. AJ Wright and Big Lots as anchors. Yeah, REALLY high class (not).