Best Products (also known simply as BEST) is a defunct chain of American catalog showroom retail stores founded by Sydney and Frances Lewis, formerly headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.
In the 1970s, Best Products contracted with James Wines’ “Sculpture in the Environment" (SITE) architecture firm to design nine highly unorthodox retail facilities, notably a tongue-in-cheek structure called the "Indeterminate Facade" in Houston, Texas with a severely distressed facade. The store in Sacramento also had a unique design. In the morning, its corner entryway would slide open, and would slide back shut at night. The structure, with its breakaway entry removed, is now a Best Buy. Photographs of these storefronts appeared in several Best catalogs.
Best employed the “catalog showroom” concept for many of its product offerings. Although some product categories (such as sporting goods and toys) were stocked in traditional self-serve aisles, the majority of products (notably consumer electronics, housewares, and appliances) were featured as unboxed display models. Customers were permitted to examine and experiment with these models, and if found to be desirable, they could be purchased by submitting orders to store personnel. Saleable versions of the merchandise (typically boxed and/or in its original packaging) would then be retrieved from storage and delivered to a customer service area for subsequent purchase.
Best filed twice for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The first bankruptcy period began in January 1991 and lasted through June 16, 1994. The second and final filing was made on September 24, 1996. At the time of the second filing, Best operated 169 Best stores and 11 Best Jewelry stores in 23 states, and a nation-wide mail-order service.