Old Time Pottery lost its lease at Center of Bonita Springs, forcing the discount home decor retailer to permanently close its store there in a couple of months, the company reports.
The Bonita store was not an underperforming location nor was it Old Time Pottery’s decision to close the store, the company reports. Until the store’s final day, tentatively planned on or around May 9, its home goods, kitchen supplies, furniture, rugs, lamps, art and seasonal items will be marked down for an everything-must-go sale. Old Time Pottery’s store in Fort Myers will remain open, the company said.
Brixmor Property Group, the owner of the Bonita Springs retail center on the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Bonita Beach Road, said the company does not share details about private lease agreements but a spokesperson said that its large retail space at 3302 Bonita Beach Road will be divided for multiple tenants.
“I can confirm that space 3302 at the Center of Bonita Springs will be divided. We look forward to announcing tenant names as leases are finalized,” said Maria Pace, a spokesperson for Brixmor, a retail real estate investment trust based in New York City.
The Center of Bonita Springs’ site plan on Brixmor’s property page already lists Old Time Pottery’s 70,012-square-foot space as available to lease. The pending vacancy is significantly larger than the 54,340-square-foot Publix supermarket that anchors the sprawling center.
Old Time Pottery opened its Bonita store in November 2014 in the big-box space that had been a Kmart store until it closed in May 2013. Medical offices for NCH Healthcare System leased the more than 15,000-square-foot end space that was formerly Kmart’s garden center. NCH does not have plans to expand into the adjoining space of Old Time Pottery, said Jack Ullrich, director of facilities development for NCH.In June 2020, Old Time Pottery announced that it started Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in order to restructure its finances. The Tennessee-based company said the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated its restructuring and the closing of four stores then, including its Orlando location.
“Prior to COVID-19, Old Time Pottery was growing profitability at a near-record pace. When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, the company experienced a sudden and precipitous decline in sales that lasted for six weeks with mandates to close numerous store locations in accordance with state and local government regulations,” the company said in a news release then.
By the fall of 2020, Old Time Pottery’s space in Bonita was being marketed online for lease by Estero-based Trinity Commercial Group. TCG confirmed then that the store had a long-term lease but because the retailer filed for bankruptcy, the local commercial real estate firm was “testing the market for a replacement in anticipation.”
When Old Time Pottery was asked about its status then, the company replied, “We do not have any plans to close our Bonita Springs location.”
A year earlier, in a June 2019 brochure for Center of Bonita Springs, Cushman & Wakefield Retail Investment Advisors foretold the store’s future there: “Old Time Pottery pays a significantly below-market base rent creating a value-add opportunity should the premises be recaptured in the future.” In March 2021, Cushman & Wakefield arranged the sale of Center of Bonita Springs to Brixmor, which paid $48.5 million for the 281,443-square-foot retail center.
Although the Bonita Springs store has not closed yet, it is no longer listed on Old Time Pottery’s corporate website, which lists 14 other stores in Florida including the nearest location at 4450 Fowler St., near Edison Mall, in Fort Myers. Founded in 1986, Old Time Pottery has 40 stores in 12 states throughout the Southeast and Midwest.
Until it closes in May, the Old Time Pottery store in Bonita Springs will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.