Pier 1 Imports unveiled its new concept store to the Quad-City market Tuesday as it opened the doors of its home on Davenport's Elmore Avenue.
Part of Elmore Marketplace, a retail and hotel development by Heart of America Group, the new Pier 1 replaces a two-decades-old store near Davenport's NorthPark Mall, which closed earlier this month. The 7,390-square-foot store is located at 4235 Elmore Ave.
"It was time for a new store," said Janessa Ensinger, who has managed the store the past two years. She credited Pier 1's corporate staff for its "great ability to review where a store is at and what the up-and-coming areas of a town are and where we should be."
When the company heard about Elmore Marketplace with its central Quad-City location along Interstate 74, she said, "we jumped right on it."
Pier 1 is the second retailer to open in Elmore Marketplace. The first was Beauty Brands, which opened a standalone store in early December.
Pier 1 is in a building that eventually will house national retailers that include DSW, Carter's, Banana Republic Factory Store, Lane Bryant, Charming Charlie's and Gap Outlet.
"It's so exciting to be in a place that is so central for all our customers," Ensinger said, adding that customers would mention how far the previous northwest Davenport location was from their homes.
Although slightly smaller than the previous store, Ensinger said the layout as well as the design, bright lighting, lighted shelving, natural-colored floor tiles and other design elements make it seem larger. While it still carries "a little bit of everything," for which Pier 1 is known, she said the store is divided into "shops" by merchandise categories, such as the dining shop, gift shop, bedroom shop and seasonal shop.
An elevated, built-in display, known as "The Mantle," provides space to show customers how to put together items from several shops. The store's exterior design features bamboo window awnings and a signature bamboo door.
After weeks of a liquidation sale at the previous store and readying the new store, Ensinger said her 23 sales associates are thrilled to be "back to what we do — working with our customers." She anticipates more hiring when the other retailers open.
Pamela Cooper, Heart of America's vice president of marketing, said the company is excited about the opening of Pier 1.
According to Tammi Wild, Pier 1's regional manager, at 22 years old, the original Pier 1 was company's oldest stores. Davenport is the third store in her Central Illinois territory to use the new store concept, first introduced in the fall of 2011. It joins stores in Wheaton, Ill., and West Des Moines, which was built a year ago. Pier 1 has nine stores in Iowa.