Thursday July 24, 2014
Fluffy pillows, papasan chairs, and furniture galore. The sensory experience that is Pier 1 Imports has arrived in Vermont. July 22 marked Pier 1 Imports grand-opening ceremony, but the company was not only celebrating its first corporate-owned store in the state; but also the store’s retail presence in each of the 50 states across the country. At 9:30 a.m., a number of Pier 1, South Burlington and state officials gathered for a Vermont-style ribbon cutting ceremony. The “ribbon” was actually a garland of flowers and vines constructed by local flower purveyor, Stray Cat Farm.
The ceremony at the South Burlington store was the culmination of weekend events marked by a fleet of “papasan pedicabs,” Pier 1’s iconic round papasan chairs re-built as pedicabs. Over 400 free rides were given around Burlington and South Burlington July 19 and 20 and for each ride, Pier 1 donated 1 dollar to the United Way. Philanthropy is a central part of Pier 1’s philosophy and they proved that yet again on opening day when a check for $2,500 was presented to Women Helping Battered Women (WHBW). “We believe strongly in supporting the local community,” South Burlington store manager and long time Burlington resident Jeff Fucci said.
To that end, Pier 1 has also been providing jobs to residents. Currently, the store has hired over twenty associates and has plans to have between thirty-five and forty associates total. Fucci has worked in local retail for years in the Burlington area and knows the clientele well. He is looking forward to the transition of the layout to a fall theme and particularly for the holiday season as the large windows will provide the ideal backdrop.
When the doors opened at 10 a.m., the first 50 shoppers received a 50 dollar Pier 1 Imports gift card to celebrate the 50th state store opening, and the first 250 guests received a free signature reusable bag and a Pier 1 Imports backscratcher. The bags also contained cookies from Cookies for Good. Local musicians Maryse Smith and Michael Chorney performed, followed by on-site music and prizes from radio station Star 92.9.
For individuals who haven’t visited a Pier 1 in awhile, they are sure to notice the new store design. This has involved incorporating natural colored floor tiles, rustic ceiling elements, enhanced store lighting, and a bamboo door. The South Burlington store has also installed energy efficient lighting.
Fucci said he’s excited to be part of the South Burlington community and feels that Vermonters respect the “artisan craftsmanship and beauty” of the internationally imported items Pier 1 carries. “We have been warmly welcomed and the community support has been great,” Fucci said.