Avon’s Pier 1 will soon close its doors | VailDaily.com

Avon’s Pier 1 will soon close its doors

Popular local store is one of 450 that company will shutter as it restructures

The Avon Pier 1 is closing, a victim of its parent company's financial woes.
Chris Dillman/cdillman@

AVON — Earlier this month, Eagle County’s most loyal Pier 1 customers were the first to hear some sad news — the store is closing.

In an email sent Jan. 16, Pier 1 contacted customers to say the Avon location was closing and a sale had been launched. Soon after, large banners declaring “store closing” were plastered at the front door.

The store is one of the victims of the Pier 1 Imports companywide cutback, announced in early January.

Christy Brown is the interim manager at the Avon Pier 1. She laughingly said she may have to form a support group for her disappointed customers.

“I really think this closure is going to hurt the whole valley,” Brown said. She noted that designers, restaurants and event planners all frequent the Avon Pier 1, along with average home-goods shoppers.

Brown noted that the Avon store was one of the busiest stores in the company during the holiday season, but shoulder seasons were tough for the local store. At full staffing, more than a dozen full- and part-time employees worked at the Avon Pier 1.

As part of the companywide closure strategy, Brown said Pier 1 has targeted its more remote locations for the shutdown.

“But we don’t have an actual closure date yet and we are still receiving freight and hiring staff,” Brown said. She said the store will remain open until the spring.

As the closing sale commences, Brown noted the Avon Pier 1’s markdown prices are limited to the inventory at the store. Business hours have been cut back to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

In addition to customers, the town of Avon will feel the sales tax impact of the closure. There will soon be two, large empty retail spaces at the Beaver Creek Place shopping area.

Despite repeated attempts to speak with Avon representatives about the impact of the store closing, no one from the town responded to the Vail Daily’s requests for information.

Closing half its stores

A Jan. 6 report from Associated Press noted that Pier 1 Imports planned to close nearly half of its 942 stores, evidence of the company’s struggles to draw consumers and compete online.

The home decoré company announced it would close 450 stores, shutter distribution centers and lay off workers at its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

In the January announcement, the company didn’t say how many workers would be impacted.

Pier 1’s January announcement has left investors wondering if a bankruptcy filing is imminent. Pier 1 has added two members to its board with expertise in corporate restructuring and named a new CEO with a background in corporate turnarounds. Robert Riesbeck previously served as the company’s chief financial officer.

The company — which was founded in California in 1962 — has been trying to revamp its cluttered stores and change its offerings to appeal more to younger customers. But it is struggling to compete with budget-friendly home decor sites such as Wayfair.

But all this restructuring news comes too late for the Avon store. The inventory shrinks daily and its permanent closure looms.

“I am sad about it,” said Lisa McKinzie, a former Pier 1 employee. She worked part-time at the Avon store for three years. “There isn’t another store like it, with that kind of pricing, in the valley.”

“It is pretty disappointing. I feel like lots of people shopped there,” said Kristine Perry, another former Pier 1 employee. She worked part-time at the store for six years.

“People really enjoyed that store,” she said. “I shopped there, too. I still use my Pier 1 white plates every day.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.