Best Products Showroom
Corpus Christi, TX. 

Former Best Products store converted to KIII TV studios:

Author: Hector Sanchez


Though not the Corpus Christi store, this design was a typical shoebox Best Products showroom
and similar to the Corpus Christi store located on 5002 South Padre Island Drive.

Best Products in Corpus Christi
Best Products was well known for its store designs that stretched architectural boundaries.  Stores like the Peeling Project in Richmond VA, the Indeterminate Facade Building in Houston TX, or the Inside-Outside Building in Milwaukee WI were innovative, provocative, and eye-catching. The backbone of the company, however, was composed of stores like the one on 5002 South Padre Island Drive in Corpus Christi, TX.  This store was a designed in a basic rectangle shoe box shape, as were the majority of Best Products' stores.  To expand quickly and a low cost, the company build these stores in a cookie cutter fashion.  The formula for BP was simple, build these stores in a cookie cutter fashion throughout the country and build them around nearby malls.  What the showroom lacked in appeal, it made up in sales.  For the company, the store was referred to as store #0032.  The store went through a major interior renovation in the mid eighties.  Having worked in this store through most of the 1980s, I can tell you that this store was very busy, especially in the time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas. BP #0032 was also quite profitable for the corporation as it often lead or was near the top in overall sales.  That was before the Corpus Christi marketplace expanded drastically.  First, Toys R Us opened a location on Airline and McArdle- formerly Frazier Elementary School.  Toys sales were integral part of both the company and this store.  Soon, Walmart and Target, among others, followed suit and sales at the store slipped.  The Corpus Christi store fell victim to the same demise as the rest of the chain, when in 1996 the company underwent bankruptcy proceedings.  The store remained vacant for four years despite being situated in a very prime location on South Padre Island Drive.  Because of its prime location, the parking lot attracted a large throng of locals offering their cars up for sale.  On any weekend, the store appeared to be nothing more than one huge used car lot.

KIII From The Left   KIII Front View
KIII TV Studios - Formerly Best Products Showroom   KIII TV Studios - Front View

 

KIII-TV Searches for new home
Meanwhile, the local ABC affiliate KIII, which was located nearby, had outgrown its very tiny studio that it had called home since 1964.  They wanted to relocate to Water Street but  the Corpus Christi City Council had issues with the tower antenna needed for a modern affiliate.  This was despite the city trying to redevelop the down town area which has been in decay since the early 1970s.   KIII designed and redesigned its tower but an approval never came.  KIII soon made a surprise announcement that they had purchased the vacant Best Products store.  KIII completely redesigned the store and today is hardly recognizable as a Best Products showroom.  The building went from a boring shoebox to a vibrant and beautiful building.  The parking lot was dug up and replaced by landscaping that included palm trees and turf.  Then new KIII studios went on the air on March 2000.  Soon after, its old studio, located on SPID and Everhart, was torn down is now a Star Orthodontics.

 

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