1750 US 1, Vero Beach, FL
I always seem to find that the abandoned stores I come across are usually the most interesting ones to photograph. The former Vero Beach Albertsons was no exception to this, as we'll soon see. I actually think I went a bit overboard with the photos here, but I don't think you'll mind it. This former Albertsons has plenty going on, and there's lots of Albertsons artifacts here. I'll admit, this post is a bit long, so get comfy and enjoy the photos!
First, a little bit of background on the Vero Beach Albertsons before we jump into our visit to the store. This Albertsons first opened in 1984 on a rather small lot on US 1, just south of Downtown Vero Beach. This is an extremely busy stretch of road lined with businesses and shopping centers, and was the primary retail strip in Vero Beach until the late 90's, when most of Vero's retail growth began to move west of town along the Route 60 corridor near where the Indian River Mall had just recently opened. Even with the new booming retail corridor out west of town, the Route 1 corridor south of Downtown Vero still has a fair share of major chains sticking around, and even some new ones moving in. This area has had a minor rebirth in recent years as some of the older shopping centers remodeled to attract new tenants,and it seems to have worked. Honestly, the old Albertsons is the largest vacancy currently in this area. Albertsons had a good run at this rather small location, with the Vero Beach store lasting into the final 17 Albertsons Florida stores. This store finally met its end on June 9, 2012, when Abertsons narrowed their store count in Florida down to four (now three as of 2015) stores, closing the same day as Albertsons' other Treasure Coast holdout location in Port St. Lucie (#4466).
This building has been sitting empty for three years now. Albertsons owns this building and the property it's on, so they're free to just let it sit and do nothing with it as long as they pay their taxes and don't rack up a bunch of code violations. I didn't see a for sale sign anywhere while I was here. Considering this store is located right on the corner of Route 1 and 17th Street, which is one of two causeways connecting to the beach in town, and that this area is on a bit of a retail upswing, Albertsons should be getting flooded with offers to sell this place. Yet empty it still sits...
This store was a very early built Albertsons Superstore model store, although it really didn't live up to the "super" part in its name. This store was unusually small for Albertsons at only 45,000 square feet, which is 10,000 square feet less than a typical Albertsons. The small size of this store came from the fact that Albertsons picked a small, oddly shaped lot to build this store on. However, since this was an early Superstore, it took some design characteristics from the previous Albertsons models (Trapezoid and Skaggs), such as the river rock exterior walls, and the general look and feel of the exterior. The former Albertsons on Semoran Boulevard in Apopka (#4359), looks almost identical to this store from the exterior, although that store was built as a full sized Superstore model Albertsons. See here for a comparison.
Stores hours still up on one of the front windows. As you can tell, Albertsons has cut back on those hours by quite a bit here now...
Looking toward the left side entrance.
A quick look down the front of the store from the front sidewalk. Back when Albertsons was still open, this sidewalk would have been lined with pallets of top soil, mulch, and other gardening stuff.
The Customer Service Desk and the floral department were behind this wall that separates the two vestibules.
From the right side of the store to the left.
This is looking down the entire length of the store. This photo makes the front look rather big, but in person, this store really does look to be on the smaller side.
Now let's head back over to the left side entrance...
Some runaway carts from the next door CVS in front of the old Albertsons entryway.
As you can see, Albertsons left all of their window stickers in place.
The big blue sticker lists rules and policies.
They left the signs up from the fixture removals, which happened almost exactly three years ago. After the 13 stores closed in June 2012, Albertsons rotated through fixture sales/auctions at each of the 13 stores over the rest of the summer. This must have been one of the last stores to have their auction if the fixture removal deadline didn't happen until late October 2012.
Old promotional signage for Albertsons' reusable bags (or "Shopping Totes" as the sign calls them) on the doors, still featuring the old 'It means a great deal' tagline that was retired not long after this store closed. If I recall correctly, I believe Albertsons gave shoppers 5 cents off of their grocery bill for ever reusable bag they brought with them, which was supposed to act as removing the cost of all the plastic bags that would have been needed to put the groceries in for that purchase. It never put a dent in cutting down a grocery bill, but why pay for something you didn't need?
You can read the smaller print on the sign better in this photo, although the Albertsons logo got faded over the last three years.
This property was monitored by closed circuit television cameras for the protection of our valued customers and employees. The camera that was up there under the No Parking sign is now gone.
Some overgrowth that was beginning to take over the building. There used to be soda machines in this spot where those electrical conduits are.
I know what everybody is thinking right now: "When are we going to get a peek inside? There has to be something interesting in there!" The wait is now over...
Looking into the left side vestibule through the front door. Well look at that, they left all the department signage and decor up! It's original Blue and Gray Market in all of it's glory! If I had to take a guess, I believe that Blue and Gray Market may have been here for this store's entire 28 years in business. The Blue and Gray interior was introduced with the rollout of the Superstore model stores. Since this store was built in somewhat of a transitional period, I can't say for sure this store had Blue and Gray for it's entire life, but since it looks like Albertsons never gave this store any noticeable 90's era upgrades to the exterior (which would have been done if the interior of the store was remodeled at some point in the 90's), and it doesn't look like any of the departments ever got the light up signs, which were more typical of Blue and Gray Market interiors from the 90's. I'd say it's a pretty good chance Blue and Gray was always here, which would make this one of the very first stores to get this interior.
Here you can see another noticeable difference between this store and a typical Superstore Albertsons. In a typical Superstore Albertsons, there were two entry vestibules on the left and right sides of the building, blocked by a wall in the middle, behind which was the customer service counter, and a second floor where the offices were located. As you can see here, this vestibule goes straight across the front of the store, and there is no second floor for offices. You can see the other entrance in the background. Customer Service was located behind that small wall jutting out from the front wall, and was also shrunken down. This setup was more typical of the Trapezoid era Albertsons stores, which were built right before the Superstore model stores were introduced. I'm not sure if this entryway setup was a carryover from the Trapezoid era, or done because a typical Superstore setup would have been too large for this store, so it was shrunken down into this.
Here you can see the former Produce department to the left of the Deli/Bakery.
Closeup of the Bakery and Deli departments. This store had a very tiny Bakery and Deli, crammed practically on top of each other. This setup reminded me more of something from a 90's Food Lion than a Superstore Albertsons. In a typical Superstore model Albertsons, the deli would have been along the front wall as you walked to the right from the right side vestibule, with the bakery beginning in the front right corner and going down the right side wall about a third of the way until the beginning of the produce department, giving those departments more room. There may have been a mirrored version of that typical Superstore layout as well, although every Superstore Albertsons I've ever been to had the layout I just described.
You can also see the marks on the floor where the registers used to be.
Beginning to leave the left side entryway to head down the front of the store for more peeks inside. Still in the vestibule here.
Beginning to see more of the store...
The left side of the store. Beginning in the front left corner was the Pharmacy, Cosmetics, and Health and Beauty ("Health Care" as the sign says). The back left corner was beer and wine, and turning onto the back wall was dairy, with the Seafood and Meat counter in the back middle. Frozen Foods was in the middle of the store. The wider scars where the grocery aisles once ran are where the freezers were located.
Moving further to the right. "Quality Meats" beginning to appear over in the back right of the store.
Going past the wall behind the Customer Service counter and over to the windows on the front right of the store. The Meat Cases would have been straight ahead of us in the back right, with produce in the back right corner. You can also see a piece of a Theme Park/Grocery Palace era awning over what was the floral department, located to the left of the customer service desk as one would have faced it from inside the store. The weird glare around the edge of this picture wasn't caused by the camera lens, it was caused by a piece of decorative lattice that was put over the window for the floral department.
Another look into the back right corner and the "Garden Fresh Produce" department.
Here comes the Bakery/Deli again.
Entering the right side vestibule.
And out we go...almost anyway. Still a few more interior views to see through the right side entry doors.
Looking right into the former Floral department, complete with a better look at that Theme Park/Grocery Palace era "Arrangements" awning. That other awning you see the side of along the window was a part of the decoration that included that lattice I mentioned earlier.
Looking from the right side and into the left side of the store, where the pharmacy was. The small, hard to see sign there in the front left corner says "Cosmetics".
Back across the vestibule toward the left side entrance.
One final look into the interior at the Floral department and the former Customer Service desk area.
The entryway on the right side of the building, still complete with all of its window decals as well, although these were in worse shape than on the other side.
Somebody tore off the "We Accept" sticker from underneath, just to stick it over the big Albertsons rules, policies, and regulations sticker.
Heading down the right side of the building to go check out the former attached liquor store.
There's the liquor store, way back there. They had to push the liquor store further back down the right side to allow for room to have an entrance to the store from 17th Street. If the liquor store was built flush to the front of the building like normal, there would have been no room for the road.
Making the journey back to the liquor store...
Simply stated here.
Taking a peek inside...
Not as much decor left inside the liquor store as there was in the main store.
Here's a different liquor store view. As you probably saw in all the exterior views of the liquor store, this one had a side window, letting us see where the front register was there to the left.
Let's go see what's around back...
Side of the liquor store.
Closeup of the river rock wall that was typical for these Albertsons stores built from the 70's until the mid-80's, more so the Skaggs and Trapezoid model stores. It's different.
Behind the liquor store is this little shady area with a few trees. This would have made for a nice spot for the employees to use for their breaks if they had put a picnic table here.
The back of the store bumps right up to an apartment complex, so Albertsons had to put the loading docks on the left side of the store, which we'll be looking at shortly.
The back door of the liquor store there on the left, and an emergency exit from the main store straight ahead.
Random smashed TV that found its way back here. I guess dumping and vandalism is to be expected at a place that's been sitting empty for three years, although the left side of the store is where most of the dumping and vandalism seems to have occurred here, other than this.
Now for an interesting perspective:
If you happened to notice in the picture that showed the back door of the liquor store, there was a window in it. This is the view through that window. Kind of interesting seeing the liquor store from the back for a change. The stockroom and glass door coolers would have been in the foreground when this was still open.
Now time to head around to the left side of the store to see what's going on over there:
Like I said before, the loading docks were placed over on this side of the store due to the space restraints of this lot.
Garbage strewn about in the parking lot on the left side of the store.
Overgrown ramp leading up to an emergency exit door.
It had rained earlier in the day, and all the water had collected down at the bottom of the receiving ramp.
Over to the left of the loading docks are the utility and electrical rooms, with some other electrical equipment hidden behind that wall. If that wall looks funny to you, that was because I edited out some vulgar graffiti that was spray painted on just about every square inch of it.
A Kmart cart that wandered over from the Kmart across the street. Since it looks like all the vandalism has been happening over in this part of the building, I wonder if Albertsons has been having to deal with people trying to steal the copper from these utility rooms, or if it's mainly just kids goofing off.
Working our way back up front.
The empty front parking lot. Occasionally, someone cuts through here from one of the side streets as a shortcut into the CVS, which has an entrance connected to Albertsons' lot.
The old Albertsons road sign along Route 1 is there off to the right, but I also had to get a view of that classic A-frame Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge across the street in with the sign. That motel still operates under the Howard Johnson name, although the company is nothing compared to what it was back in it's glory days in the 60's and 70's.
And just the road sign in this picture.
This pathetically small road signs is next to the side entrance of the store over on 17th Street. You can barely even see this sign when driving by on 17th Street.
And now for some Bird's Eye aerial images courtesy of Bing Maps:
Front - When Albertsons was still open
Right Side - Home of the Liquor store
Back - Since the back of the store bumps up to the property line, there isn't anything on this side of the building except trees.
Left Side - Home of the loading docks
Historic Aerials, courtesy of Google Earth:
Former Albertsons #4357 - 2014 - Here you can see the rather odd placement of the store and the strange, somewhat tiny parking lot. Since the front lot would have been too small, additional parking was added to the left and right sides of the building. The building in the top left of the aerial is a Sonic, and the building in the bottom middle is the CVS (which was formerly an Eckerd).
Albertsons #4357 - 2005 - Light crowd. The Sonic up at the top has yet to be built, and their future site is currently occupied by a Wachovia bank, which would close in the late 2000's and be torn down for the Sonic in 2010.
Albertsons #4357 - 1999
Albertsons #4357 - 1994 - Seems as if this place was able to draw a decent crowd back in the 90's. Also note, the Eckerd/CVS has yet to be built out front. Before that was built, the site was home to the Landmark Motor Lodge, which you can see at the bottom of the aerial. The Landmark looks like it was once a popular stop along Route 1 back in the days before I-95 became the popular through route along Florida's East Coast. You can see some pictures of the Landmark Motor Lodge here and here from what looks like the 60's or 70's. I included those pictures not just because they're neat, but because you can also see in the background what the Albertsons site looked like before the store was built. By looking in the left background of the photo in the first link, it looks as if the Albertsons was built on the site of an old mobile home/Airstream/camper park. You can see a few rooflines if you look closely.
Heading back to the present for a few last looks at the Vero Beach Albertsons in its current state...
Still a pretty clear labelscar present on the front.
A closer look at the Albertsons labelscar.
Thanks everyone for shopping your Vero Beach "bertsons" (I don't know what happened to the "Al" here), and thanks for staying all the way to the end of this rather long, photo crazy post. When a place is interesting and I really get into it, I can accidentally take an entire camera roll of just one building trying to capture every angle of the place. I guess it's better to have too many photos, then to realize once you got home that you didn't take enough.
Anyway, until the next time,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger