By Richard White, April 2, 2014
I love to use Google maps to check out what is close by to wherever we are staying. A few nights ago when searching, I am sure I saw a Nordstrom Rack near Fashion Square in Scottsdale. So when we found ourselves near the Square, we thought we'd check it out.
We found the Nordstrom department store first, so went in to ask if there was a Nordstrom Rack nearby. You'd think we had slapped them in the face based on the dirty look we got. In a huff, the staff person dialed a number, asked someone to give us directions and abruptly and curtly handed the phone to Brenda. We found we were way off base and that it was 50 blocks to the east. Given it was 7 pm, we decided that destination would have to wait for another day.
Once home, I Googled Nordstrom Rack and up came Nordstrom's Last Chance page. Though we had never heard of this concept, the same address as we had been told earlier so we thought this must be it. The Last Chance concept is contrary to Nordstrom high-end full-service image in that all sales are final and "as is." The product is out-of-season or returns that they would not resell in Nordstrom Rack or their department stores. The concept intrigued us.
After a hearty Red Lion (Tempe) breakfast, we decided to check out Nordstrom Last Chance and see what we could find along the way i.e. car flaneuring. As we drove along Camelback Road, we continued to be amazed at the endless small office buildings that seem to populate all of the major roads in metro Phoenix.
As we got close to where we thought Last Chance would be, we spotted a Nordstrom Rack so quickly parked and headed in. As the store different look any different than other Nordstrom Racks and there were big signs telling you that you can return any purchases we knew we didn't have the right place. Turns out the Nordstrom Last Chance was on the next block in another mall. We quickly hightailed over there.
We quickly found the Last Chance and what could only be described as a shopping feeding frenzy. In a space about the size of the Women's and Men's clothing and shoe sections of a TJ Maxx or a Winners, bargain hunters were grabbing at everything in sight. There were line ups at the fitting rooms and the cash registers. It was chaos, diametrically opposed to the Nordstrom department store the night before where you could hear a pin drop.
There were no neat and tidy displays; shoes and clothing were toss all over the place like a sterotypical teenager's bedroom. People were trying clothes on in the aisle and sitting on the floor to try on shoes.
As all sales are final, check carefully as there are stains and/or rips are common. Some items have evidence of wear thanks to Nordstrom's liberal return policy. However, for the savvy, shopper good deals are to be had. I came away with a pair of ECCO golf shoes, slightly worn, for $20 that retail for $200. Brenda snagged a pair of Paul Green (German luxury footwear brand) leather shoes for $20, well below their $300 retail price. She also got a BP(Nordstrom Store Brand) navy blue cardigan for $10.
Chatting with another shopper, Brenda learned she regularly travel all the way from New York as this is Nordstrom's ONLY Last Chance store (which I confirmed via twitter).
When was the last time you were in a store and they closed an area for restocking in the middle of the day? We were in the store for about an hour and during that time they closed the women's shoe area and later the men's clothing area. At first confused and frustrated, we soon realize that if you wait around for a bit you have first dibs on the new product; that's how Brenda got her shoes.
What did we find along the way?
Given the Marshall's department store was next to Nordstrom Clearance we stopped in. And not only was it calm and quiet, but it had much better product and prices than we expected. I was tempted to buy a pair of Merrell shoes for $30.
Then we checked out "My Sister's Closet" behind the Nordstrom Rack store and the Well Suited Men's Resale store where I found a pair of Puma golf shoes for $25.
Across Camelback Road, there is a Half Price Books, Records and Magazine store that is worth a visit.
Needing to be energized we stopped at Snooze, next to Nordstrom Rack. A very pleasant surprise - food, decor and ambience. The 3-egg omelette with goat cheese, wild mushrooms and bacon was very tasty as was the apricot jelly-topped toast. We also loved the mid-century, atomic-inspired design.
If looking for a unique shopping adventure when in the Phoenix, we'd recommend forgetting the major malls and head to Camelback Road and 20th Avenue east. There is almost something primordial in the the "thrill of the hunt" at Nordstrom Last Chance store.