I can't believe they did this...

Our Head of Innovation, Andy Ashton reflects on the 'Best' stores and how the category disrupted its hold on consumers. 

Build it — they will come, they may go, to come back again.

How do you build a brand and wealth in a time before the internet and social media? The Lewis family and their passion for architecture created spaces that had the whole community talking and could interact with. From those outraged by the design excess to the peeps that loved that a Best store was in their town — It’s like having a pyramid or Eiffel Tower down the road. The Best chain of “box stores” peaked in the 1980s. 

A step above Walmart, these stores ran by the Lewis family whose passion for the customer experience created architecture icons for all your material needs. A significant investment was made in this marketing strategy and the depth of the design and expression fuelled so much hype over the Best brand.

Who would have guessed in 1980 that a thing called internet will bring with it a plague of technology turning upside down all sectors. As Video Killed the Radio Star, Netflix killed Blockbuster, Ebay pushed Best off the ledge.

Forty years on, many Best stores live in memories, archives and random design articles, one of the remaining sites is now a church. People’s vision for change is one of the most captivating aspects of progress, the future will be the future, in the meantime let’s make the most of the journey, and go there.

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