Best Products Retail Store
Best Products, popularly known as “BEST,” is a defunct national discount catalog retailer who maintained a Bismarck showroom from 1979-1997.
Best Products was founded in 1957 and headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. At its height, BEST was one of the nation’s largest retailers, with locations in 23 states. However, much like fellow catalog retailer Montgomery Wards, BEST was unable to adapt to changing consumer trends, forcing its eventual closure.
After filing for bankruptcy a second time, the company shuttered all locations in 1997.
BEST operated as a traditional catalog mail-order retailer, later expanding its business model to include retail showrooms that blended traditional self-service and warehouse-style formats with its catalog division.
Through its catalog and retail stores, BEST’s diverse product mix included home electronics, jewelry, toys, furniture, and recreation equipment.
In its showrooms, most big ticket items, such as electronics and furniture, were purchased through an order request, at which point the product was either retrieved onsite by store personnel from the warehouse or shipped through its catalog.
Each Christmas, a large portion of its warehouse was converted into a toy superstore.
The company was known for its expensive, unconventional store designs through a partnership with Sculpture in the Environment architecture firm. This trend excluded the Bismarck location, which portrayed a typical department store appearance.
The Bismarck BEST store opened in 1979 under the LaBelle’s banner. Best Products purchased LaBelle’s parent company, Minnesota-based Modern Merchandising, in 1982. The local showroom was re-branded as “BEST” in 1987.
Today, the former Bismarck BEST store houses Big Lots! and Office Depot, both of which occupied the building soon after BEST’s closure.
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