Pier 1 Imports opens newest store in Fairbanks


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World Eskimo Indian Olympic champion kicker Erica Meckel performs a uniquely Alaskan ribbon cutting at the new Pier 1 Imports store in Fairbanks on Oct. 29. The store is one of about 20 around the country the company is opening this year.

Courtesy Pier 1

Pier 1 Imports opened its northernmost store in Fairbanks on Oct. 29, with a new look for one of the home furnishings retailer’s newest outlets, said Executive Vice President Sharon Leite.

“Pier 1 Imports offers merchandise that fits all decorating styles, as well as a broad array of affordable holiday décor, furniture and gifts and we look forward to sharing Pier 1 Imports shopping experience with the residents of this one-of-a-kind community,” said Leite, who was in attendance for the event.

Fairbanks’ central location in the Interior was a major factor as to why the city was chosen for a store. Leite said it will allow Pier 1 to reach potential customers “in the heart of Alaska and it’s a great opportunity for us.”

As a part of the opening, Leite presented the Resource Center for Parents and Children with a $5,000 donation on behalf of Pier 1.

Pier 1 launched an updated store look last fall and has been using it in its new stores since, Leite said. The new appearance is designed to make the stores more inviting to customers than the company’s old interior design.

“The new stores have a very neutral palette and they’re incredibly well-lit which makes it better for the product to really pop — for the product to be the star of the show if you will,” she said. “They’re beautiful, beautiful stores and we’re really proud that we can bring this new concept to Fairbanks.”

Leite said the red tile floor in the Anchorage Pier 1 store is an example of the traditional décor.

The Fairbanks outlet, located on Merhar Avenue, is one of about 20 the company will eventually open during this fiscal year, which ends in February, she said.

“The corridor where the store was built is one of the pretty vibrant shopping areas in Fairbanks, and we’re excited to be a part of that part of the community,” Leite said.

It has been several years since the retailer opened as many new outlet locations, Leite noted. Pier 1 operates 1,058 stores throughout North America, making it the largest U.S.-based home furnishings chain, according to the company’s website.

Fairbanks residents anticipating the store’s opening have expressed their interest on Pier 1’s social media pages, she said.

“We’ve had a few Facebook posts from potential customers in Fairbanks. It’s been fun to watch some of those posts come through about how excited they are that we’re coming to Fairbanks,” Leite said. “They’ve been people that may have lived in the contiguous 48 and they know Pier 1 from us being in the rest of the United States.”

The store was built with a larger receiving area than most other Pier 1 locations because of the need to keep merchandise out of Fairbanks’ harsh winter elements. Otherwise, the stores roughly 12,000 square-foot sales floor is proportional to most stores in the chain, Leite said.

Three full-time employees along with 25 part-timers will initially staff the Fairbanks location, with additional help hired each holiday season. Other than the store manager, all the hires have been from the local population. The seasonal positions are currently being filled for the upcoming shopping season, according to the company.

 

Elwood Brehmer can be reached at elwood.brehmer@alaskajournal.com.

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