Big crowd at Pier 1 closeout sale in Fairfield

FAIRFIELD — With eyes toward bargains and hearts slightly touched with sadness, lines of people arrived at Pier 1 Imports on Black Rock Turnpike on Friday afternoon for the start of its closeout sale.

The chain store of home goods and furnishings, which first opened in 1962, was experiencing problems even before the pandemic struck, filing for bankruptcy in February and closing about half of its 900 locations, including all of its Canadian outlets.

While the Fairfield store was initially spared, unlike some other Connecticut locations, last month the company announced it was shutting down completely.

At this time the Fairfield branch is scheduled to continue its closeout sale into September, even receiving more merchandise during the summer for the sale, but that could potentially change as the store winds down.

“We’re going to miss Pier 1,” said Lynette Sobbi of Fairfield, who was among 50 or so customers already on line outside Friday before its noontime opening.

“It’s a wonderful place,” said Robert Testo of Fairfield. “And the management team here is wonderful.”

Pier 1 Imports began as a single store in San Mateo, Calif., in 1962, according to its website.

“Our first customers were post-World War II baby boomers looking for beanbag chairs, love beads and incense,” the site says, noting the merchandise expanded to have everything at one time or another from chocolate-covered ants to life-sized suits of armor.

“It’s got great products,” said Amy Hester, who traveled from Bedford, N.Y., to be at the sale, having lost the one in her town in February.

“It’s just a sign of the times, I guess,” she said.

“It’s sad,” said Carter Butler of Bridgeport, who has frequented the Fairfield store for decades.

“This is a great place,” he said. “They always have great stuff and the items are reasonably priced.”

“I think it’s not very surprising,” said Erin Kelly of Fairfield. “I think the company has been on its way out for a little while. It’s sad, but kind of inevitable.”

“I just think it’s another sad case of another store closing in our town,” said Linda Teja of Fairfield.

While she said she wasn’t surprised, it still doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

“They’ve been talking about it, but obviously the pandemic was a nail in their coffin,” she said.

“I’m very sad it’s closing,” said Monica Lucke of Trumbull. “I love this store.”

“It’s just sad to see another store going down,” she said.

“It’s hard because there’s no other store like it in Fairfield,” said Pia Misanda of Fairfield, “and so it’s definitely gong to be a loss to the community.”

“My husband might be happy, though,” she said. “No more Pier 1 bills.”