A new store opened up at the strip mall near our house. It replaces the Loehmann’s which sadly and unceremoniously went out of business about 6 months ago. A month or two before they closed, the bright orange liquidation signs started going up; starting at 10% off everything in the store, and evolving into larger discounts. Once we saw 40% off signs, my daughter and I decided it was time to play and we paid our last visit to the store. It was difficult to determine the price of anything, as different racks offered different discounts. And where did these clothes come from? These were not the stylish brands we had come to expect from Loehamnn’s. Clearly, they had brought in some scab clothes from some other store. So sadly, our last memory of Loehmann’s was not even a happy one. (And the question remains, why is the shopping center still called Loehmann’s Plaza?)
A few months ago, my hair stylist, also located at Loehmann’s Plaza, told me she heard a K-Mart was moving in to the empty store. A K-Mart? That’s the last thing we needed there. There’s another one located a few miles away. Who needed the additional traffic that would bring? Fortunately, she heard wrong, and soon signs announcing the opening of a new Stein Mart appeared. I’m not at all familiar with Stein Mart. I may have been to one in Florida many years ago.
Once the new store opened, my 16 year old daughter and I planned our first visit. We entered the brightly lit and colorful store and, in typical fashion, each went our own way to peruse. I enjoyed looking at the chunky jewelry at the front of the store and headed back to find some brightly colored capris pants I wanted to try on. This is when I noticed Allie sitting in a chair texting. Wait. Something was wrong with the store. I was now on a mission to figure out what it was without having to ask her.
Aqua blue capris pants in hand, I set out to find a cute top to go with. I found a wide variety of patterned tops that included the same shade of aqua. An extraordinary amount, actually. I checked out some of the shorts, also available in a variety of colors. Each boasted a no-bunch waist band, and a little bit of elastic. I glanced over to see Allie engrossed in her phone.
As I made my way toward the shoe department, I side skirted an elderly lady wandering aimlessly with her walker. I was thrilled with the selection of shoes. Stein Mart offered a lot of comfortable styles, and none of the 6 inch heels I always roll my eyes at in other shoe stores. There were a lot of sensible-heeled sandals with rhinestone accents. I noticed a cute pair in the basket of another shopper’s walker and attempted to find them in my size.
It was not until I saw the third woman with a walker that everything came into full focus. That’s when I noticed the plethora of Garanimal-type sets offered, a striking absence of tank tops, and a disproportionate amount of yellow clothes. I quietly hung my selections back up without having tried them on and went to rescue Allie. As we left the store, after holding the door open for another lady and her walker, I turned to Allie and said “Boy, that sure is an old lady store.” I had figured it out. As we drove home, I found myself wondering if the aqua capris would have fit, and if Stein Mart sells skirted bathing suits. Oh crap.