Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Look at the Original Safeway Florida



Save and Pack #3202/Builder's Square #1526/Old Time Pottery
204 State Route 436, Casselberry, FL - Oxford Square Plaza

     As the new Safeway Florida stores near their completion, I figured now would be a good time for this post...

     As we all know, back in the 80's just about every major supermarket operator wanted to have a slice of the highly competitive Florida supermarket scene. For many years I was always under the impression that Safeway was the only major supermarket chain that wanted no part of all the madness going on in Florida at the time, where in some portions of the state there were 6-10 different grocery chains trying to compete with each other at once! However, Florida was a temptation that not even Safeway could resist back then. The thing about Safeway though, was that they decided to take a different approach with their Florida division. Rather than adding yet another supermarket chain to the already crowded mix, Safeway slipped into Florida by using a warehouse store format instead. So Safeway's entrance into Florida marked the birth of Save and Pack. Save and Pack was a spin-off of Safeway's Northern California discount/warehouse division called Pak n' Save. The Florida stores were originally supposed to be called Pak n' Save as well, until the now defunct Jacksonville based grocery chain called Pic n' Save claimed that the Pak n' Save name was too similar to theirs, forcing Safeway to flip it into Save and Pack. I wrote a post about the history of Safeway's Save and Pack division back in May 2015, which includes a more detailed history on the short lived division, and the locations and background on the 9 locations that sprung out of it. You can read that post by clicking here.

     Today, I want to focus on one of those nine Save and Pack locations - Save and Pack #3202 located in Casselberry, FL. This store was the 7th of the 9 stores to open, opening in March 1986 as the first (and only) Save and Pack to be located in the Orlando area. 1986 ended up being the last year a new Save and Pack stores opened (after only being launched in 1984), and decline began from there. Safeway closed this store and a Save and Pack in Pensacola on March 22, 1987, citing those two stores as unprofitable. The rest of the Save and Pack stores slowly closed from there, until Kash n' Karry bought the last three locations (all around Tampa) and the name from Safeway in 1992, ending the original Safeway Florida experiment. The store we'll be looking at today only lasted for a year under the Save and Pack name, yet it is one of only two of the nine Save and Pack stores to retain any of its original characteristics from the days of Safeway's ownership to today. In the year after Save and Pack closed this store, Builder's Square took over this building and opened a rather small sized store here in May 1988. Builder's Square lasted in this location until the chain's demise in 1999. After Builder's Square closed, the building sat empty until 2003, when the current occupant, Old Time Pottery, moved in.


     Other than Old Time Pottery adding that stuccoed portion to the front of the store where their sign is, the exterior of this building is still pretty much original to Save and Pack, including the glass "greenhouse" style awning that runs across the front of the store. This awning runs along the rightmost 3/4ths of the front of the building. The original Save and Pack sign would have been located on the leftmost portion of the building where the awning is missing.


     Looking across the front of the store from the front walkway at the right side of the building. I really like the look of the glass panels up there instead of a traditional ceiling.


     And looking across the front of the store from the other side. The only drawback about those glass panels - more glare in the pictures!


     Builder's Sqaure added on a Garden Center when they took over this building, which you see the front of in the above photo.


     Let's head inside...


     I can't speak much about what is and is not original on the inside of this place. Since Save and Pack was a warehouse style store, I'd imaging the warehouse ceiling was original, and the unfinished concrete floors as well. For those of you unfamiliar with Old Time Pottery, they're a chain of stores in the Southeast and Midwest that's basically the Big Lots of home decor stuff. And they carry very little actual pottery. This picture is looking toward the back of the right side of the store.


     Over on the right side of the building was was this strange little cutout housing OTP's clearance department.


     Inside the Clearance department, looking toward the back. I think this area was originally backroom space of some kind when Save and Pack was here, which OTP has since turned into sales space.


     The back most portion of the area housing the Clearance department was blocked off so it could be used for actual backroom space. You can also see a mezzanine level as well, probably home to the breakroom and offices.


     Let's go back out into the main store and take a quick look around...





     So many fake flowers...


     The door out to the Garden Center added on by Builder's Square, located behind the forest of fake flowers. Old Time Pottery still uses the old Garden Center.


     The Garden Center was the only place where I saw any kind of actual pottery at Old Time Pottery. And they sure had a lot of flower pots too.

     Now that we've seen the Garden Center (that wasn't even original to Save and Pack to begin with), we've pretty much covered everything we need to see inside this place.


     Heading back outside. Over to the left of the main entrance was this garage door. I'm not sure if Builder's Square added this in, or if this is original to Save and Pack. I know some warehouse stores, especially some of the older ones, used garage doors as the main entrance and exit rather than traditional doors. Some Costcos still use that setup today.

     Now for some views of this building from up in the sky thanks to Bing Map's Bird's Eye aerial images:


Front


Right Side


Back


Left Side

And now for some historic aerial images courtesy of Google Earth and historicaerials.com:


Former Save and Pack #3202 - 2015 - An overview of the entirety of Oxford Square Plaza


Former Save and Pack #3202 - 2009


Former Save and Pack #3202 - 2002 - Old Time Pottery hasn't moved in yet. You can also see the original, unaltered greenhouse awning in this image.


Former Save and Pack #3202 - 1994 - The Builder's Square days


Future Save and Pack #3202 - 1980


     Just one last satellite image that I wanted to share, showing the proximity of the old Casselberry Save and Pack (the Safeway logo to the far right of the image) to the soon to be new Altamonte Springs Safeway (Safeway logo to the left side if the image). The old and the new are only 2.5 miles apart from each other. Who would have ever thought that 20 years later, Safeway would be coming back to Florida?


     But as we all found out, Safeway will be making their return to Florida, this time under their own name, and as part of a completely new company. I don't think many people outside of the community that follows AFB even realize that this will be Safeway's second time in Florida in some form. Save and Pack faded into obscurity pretty fast, and there isn't much information out there that they even existed. Anyway, the photo above is of the former Altamonte Springs Albertsons, soon to be Altamonte Springs Safeway (which you can take an extensive look at here). Honestly, now is probably the better time for Safeway to be making an entrance into Florida, as the odds of success will be better for them now than they were back in the late 80's. Even with Publix's power, there just isn't much competition anymore. If Safeway can find their niche, I think this could turn into something great. Here's to hoping that the new Safeway Florida can become more successful than the original!

So until the next time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Sunday, March 20, 2016

AFB Presents - A Very Dated Winn-Dixie

Satellite Image Courtesy of Bing Maps
     Thanks to Grafe Auction's many pictures of the closed stores whose fixtures they liquidate, here's another interesting store I stumbled across. This is the former Winn-Dixie located at 3201 W. Colonial Drive in Orlando. This was a pretty old Winn-Dixie (Store #2300) that dated back to the 60's, but was expanded over the years and received a facade upgrade in the late 90's. However, shortly after that in the early 2000's, this store was converted into Winn-Dixie's then new price impact format called Save Rite (Store #2656), which is what the store was branded as in the satellite image above. This Save Rite managed to last through the bankruptcy, where many Save Rite stores were closed, and was one of 6 remaining Save Rite stores when Winn-Dixie finally decided to retire the brand in 2011. When the brand was retired, the Save Rite stores were converted back to Winn-Dixies (and this store was Winn-Dixie #2656 for its remaining few years). Winn-Dixie finally decided to give up on this store completely in November 2014. I remember when the news did a story on this store's closure, a bunch of people said it was for the best as this place was horribly old, outdated, and in poor shape. Looking at the exterior, you wouldn't think it could look that horribly outdated inside, right? Well, thanks to the photographers for Grafe Auctions, who liquidated the fixtures at this store after it closed, we get to see just how outdated the interior at this store actually was. So let's take a peek:


This photo and all of the following images are courtesy of Grafe Auction and grafeauction.com
     Even after the store converted back to Winn-Dixie, all Winn-Dixie did was put a new sign on the front of the building and restock the shelves. They left all of the old Save Rite decor in place (I think that's what this is), which really doesn't compliment a full line grocery store very well. It makes this store feel more like and independent market that opened in 1988.



      But it was this next image that really got me:


     The old 80's neon deli was still being used until 2014! When this was Save Rite, there wouldn't have been a full service deli, as Save Rite didn't offer service departments like most discount grocery chains. Winn-Dixie must have blocked this area off during the Save Rite days, then just reopened it when the store became Winn-Dixie again. Getting rid of this store may have been a good call for Winn-Dixie, as stores like this are what keeps people's perception of Winn-Dixie's stores as dirty and outdated thriving. And most people still think that way, even after Winn-Dixie's multiple attempts to turn themselves around since the bankruptcy. It's practically become ingrained in many people's minds, so Winn-Dixie still has their work cut out for them if they ever want to change that perception.

     There weren't too many pictures of this store in the album on the auction company's website, but here's the link to it if you want to take a look at the few other photos of this store there.

     So that wraps up my two posts from the Grafe Auction pictures. If you want, Grafe's website has lots of pictures taken at closed stores from different brands all over the country if you're ever bored and want to look through some pictures.

So that's all I have for now. Until next time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Monday, March 14, 2016

Albertsons Florida Remodel Updates - March 2016


     Today we have another checkup on the progress of the Albertsons Florida remodels thanks to AFB contributor Dave M., who has kindly sent in a few more pictures of the remodel at the Largo store. According to Dave, most of the major work inside the store has been completed except for some work around the deli island (my guess is that it is going to be removed). The other new development is that the exterior of the store has been wrapped with scaffolding, which you can see in the above photo. I don't know what they plan on doing to the exterior other than replacing the signage, and maybe doing some touch up work and a coat of fresh paint over the stuccoed areas, but all of that scaffolding seems like a bit of overkill for just that! I don't recall a major exterior overhaul being planned, so this will be something to watch.


     Now for a few updates from the inside. Most of the new decor has been installed, which we can see a sample from the dairy department in the photo above. The new decor isn't as dark as I was fearing, and doesn't look that bad actually now that I'm seeing the real thing. Hopefully Albertsons/Safeway gets around to replacing that stained ceiling tile above the Dairy sign where the ceiling angles upward.


     A sample of some of the new category markers in the grocery aisles.


     The new Thank You sign over one of the side entrances to this store. I like the font they chose for "your Largo". I guess at this point it doesn't matter if the Safeway logo isn't covered up yet, as the store is beginning to feel more Safeway than Albertsons anyway. Who knows, future Albertsons may be getting this brown interior as well. 

     In only three months, Safeway Florida becomes official, and AFB will be here with any more updates that come out as we get closer to the transition. Thanks again Dave for sending in these pictures!

So until the next time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Former Albertsons #4410 - Kissimmee, FL (Downtown)


Zayre #671/Ames #2671/Albertsons #4410/Sedano's #39
1100 N. John Young Parkway, Kissimmee, FL - Town Corral Shopping Center

     Moving away from the recent Publix-centric posts to a tale where Publix doesn't have much of a say in anything here, although they'll still find a way to pop in toward the end of this post. Today, we return to Kissimmee to take a look at that town's other former Albertsons store. Back in January, I featured the other Kissimmee Albertsons out on the eastern side of town (Store #4411) on the blog. The Downtown Kissimmee Albertsons, which we'll be looking at today, was the more successful of Kissimmee's two Albertsons stores, both of which opened in 1993. This store was older by a few months compared to store #4411, and was also built in the more traditional late 80's/early 90's Superstore style (unlike #4411, which was built in the one-of-a-kind Circle Model style). 

     This store was built on the site of a former Zayre discount store, which originally opened in 1967. The Zayre lasted here until they were bought by Ames in 1988, and by 1989 this store converted to the Ames name. However, the Ames was short lived. In early 1990, Ames declared bankruptcy due to the massive amount of debt they acquired from purchasing debt-laden Zayre to begin with. As a part of the bankruptcy restructuring, Ames decided to close 221 stores, including all 82 stores in their Florida division, which were all acquired from Zayre, to focus on their core stores in the Northeast. The Kissimmee Ames closed in August 1990. However, as Ames began their closing sale, rumors began to spread that two major grocery chains were showing interest in the site, with the two chains later revealed to be Gooding's and Albertsons. Neither Albertsons or Gooding's had locations in Osceola County at the time. However in the end, Albertsons was the chain to make the winning bid for the site, though Gooding's would eventually open two stores in Kissimmee in the far western reaches of town near Disney as the years went on. Albertsons tore down the old Zayre/Ames building and completely reconfigured the layout of that end of the plaza in order to build their new store, which opened to the public in 1993. This Albertsons did good business, and was located at the intersection of two of the most heavily traveled roads in Kissimmee: US 192 (West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway) and John Young Parkway (which was still called by its original name of Bermuda Street when Albertsons first opened). In late 2009, Albertsons included this store as one of three Orlando area stores they sold to Sedano's Supermarket, a Miami-based Hispanic oriented supermarket chain, whose locations are primarily clustered in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. These three Albertsons stores Sedano's purchased would mark their first expansion outside of South Florida, as Sedano's wanted to take advantage of the explosion in the Hispanic population that the Orlando area had been seeing since the early 2000's. Sedano's opened in their newly acquired Albertsons locations in early 2010.


     Sedano's really didn't do much to the building except put up some new signage, otherwise it's all original to Albertsons. Also, I wonder if Safeway is going to have any problems with Sedano's logo having a slight similarity to theirs, mostly with the white S in the red circle. Hopefully the stylistic difference between the 'S' in each store's respective logo is enough to keep an issue from arising.


     Heading inside the store through the left side entrance...


     The first thing you see when you walk inside this entrance is this cell phone sales counter. In most Hispanic oriented supermarkets in Florida (especially larger sized ones), a small portion of space somewhere in the store is typically reserved to lease out to 4 or 5 (give or take a few) small businesses like hair stylists, jewelers, financial services, etc. Other than this cell phone stand and another business in the other vestibule (I can't remember what it was), the rest of these small businesses are located along the left side of this store in a marketplace type set-up, which we will see later in this post.


     Looking down the front end after stepping inside the store. Sedano's repainted the walls and added their standard decor, but the flooring is still from Albertsons. You can also see the usual second floor windows looking out from the front end and over the sales floor that were typical of these Superstore model Albertsons.


       Heading over to the front right corner of the store. This space was originally the Albertsons deli, which this picture is facing, and the bakery, which was off to the left in this picture. This entire space has since been converted into the restaurant (or cafe, as the outside signage said), which features many different types of authentic Hispanic foods. It's set up somewhat cafeteria style, except someone behind the counter puts the food into a container for you. This setup is another typical feature of Hispanic oriented grocery stores around here. Sedano's pretty much reduced the bakery here to a small offering of pre-made breads, and they combined the deli with the meat counter in the back of the store. You can also see the old Albertsons tile work from this store's original Blue and Gray Market interior behind the restaurant counter.


     Looking back toward the restaurant/former bakery and deli from produce.


     The produce department takes up the top half of the right side of the store. This half would have been used for baked goods from Albertsons' bakery, with Albertsons' produce department pushed further back, where Sedano's currently keeps the juices in the back right corner. I like Sedano's decorative wooden crate decor piece on the right side wall. 



     Leaving produce and turning left to begin heading down the back wall of the store. This area is the Meat department, with the meats (now meats/deli) counter just a little bit further down.


     Now heading into the grocery aisles...


     Here's a closeup of the original Albertsons flooring, with the typical Blue and Gray Market tile pattern that's been here ever since the store was built in 1993. In the late 90's, this store was given a remodel and upgraded to the Blue and Green Awnings interior, which is the decor this store would keep until it closed in 2009. Sedano's didn't leave any trace of the Blue and Green Awnings decor here, however they did leave plenty of pieces from Blue and Gray Market behind.


     Looking across the front end from the left side of the store.


     The center aisle that cuts through the grocery aisles, a typical feature of Superstore era Albertsons stores.


     Along with some Sedano's branded items, most of the generic brand items carried here used Western Family's ShurFine brand. I know this brand is used nationally (or somewhat nationally), but I always associate this brand with the actual ShurFine branded stores in the Northeast. And you don't see it in Florida very often either.


     Anyway, more from the grocery aisles...


     Glutten free? That one slipped by the spell check.


     In the back of the store is the meat department/deli counter. When you think about it, it does make some sense to combine these two departments. There's also more original tile from Albertsons' Blue and Gray days back there as well.


     The Frozen Foods aisles are located in the center of the store, typical for this style of Albertsons.



    Another look toward the meat department/deli counter from one of the grocery aisles. 


     Beyond the meat department/deli counter as you go further to the left in this store is the dairy department, which is located in the same place as it was when this was Albertsons.


     Sedano's also had a pretty large selection of general merchandise as well, which took up a good 2-3 aisles over on the left side of the store.


     Sedano's removed an aisle on the far left side of the store in order to crate a more open feel for the marketplace area, home to those small shops/businesses I mentioned earlier in this post. The space between the pharmacy and the back wall, originally home to Albertsons' beer coolers and some back room space, was converted into space for the small businesses to open in. The photos above and below this description show some of these small businesses.


     The Beauty Cafe.


     I was here really early in the morning right after the store opened, so this area felt really open and empty since there were practically no shoppers in the store at this point.


     Albertsons' old pharmacy counter. Sedano's doesn't operate their own pharmacies, but they did lease this space to an independent pharmacy after they opened. According to a sign I saw over here, whoever was operating the pharmacy last has since gone out of business, and this space is currently empty.


     Sedano's moved the beer from where the small businesses are now located into this area in the front left corner of the store, which used to be a small alcove used for Health and Beauty goods.


     A few last looks along the front end before leaving...



     However, I can't conclude our tour of this store until we take a quick look at the old turntable registers Albertsons left behind! These things were really cool, and were a staple of Albertsons stores through the early 2000's (and Albertsons is the only store I know of to even use these). Until the late 90's, the turntable registers were set up just like you see here, where instead of using a conveyor belt, the cashier moved the groceries forward by spinning the turntable. In the early 2000's, Albertsons switched to using conveyor belts to load the groceries onto, but kept the turntables for the baggers to use to make it easier to bag the groceries as they piled up after being scanned. And when there wasn't a bagger around, the customers got to use the turntable to bag groceries. And yes, getting to use the turntable was a big amusement for my younger self. The Altamonte Springs Albertsons still had the same style counters you see in the picture here until their remodel into Safeway began late last year, where they will be replaced in favor of modern conveyor belt driven counters. While those are actually more efficient than the turntable system, they're just not as fun.


     And back outside we find ourselves to take a quick look at the former Albertsons liquor store, attached to the left side of the building. The liquor store wasn't yet open for the day when I was here. The liquor store that currently operates here is called Star Liquors, and I'm pretty sure they are not affiliated with Sedano's (as similar as their logos look). Star Liquors kept all of the Albertsons Liquor Store's interior pretty much intact, including some original Blue and Gray Market signage that was skipped over when the main store remodeled to Blue and Gray Awnings in the late 90's. Here's a picture of the interior of the liquor store.


     And here's an overview of the entirety of the Town Corral Shopping Center. In order to get the image to fit on the page better, I flipped it 90 degrees clockwise, where north is actually to the right. Like I mentioned earlier, Albertsons built on the site of a former Zayre/Ames store, although Albertsons wasn't the first supermarket to take up residence in this plaza. Publix (I told you they would pop up again) was the original supermarket anchor here when the plaza was first built in 1967, and Eckerd was the pharmacy anchor. Let's take a quick look at their stores below:


Publix/Food World #XX
1202 N. John Young Parkway (Bermuda Ave.), Kissimmee, FL

     First up is the former Publix. The Publix first opened here with the plaza in 1967, most likely as a wing style store. In 1978, when a new Publix opened about a mile to the west of here next to a newly built Kmart, Publix remodeled and converted this store to one of their Food World brand stores. Food World was Publix's price impact chain that they created in 1970. Food World grew to 22 stores across Florida by 1985, when Publix officially retired the brand after the stores didn't perform as well as expected. Many of the Food World stores just closed, and some were converted (or converted back) to traditional Publix stores. This store was one of the ones that converted back to Publix later in 1985. Publix was forced to rebrand this store as a Publix due to a lease obligation they had with plaza, even though there was already the newer store a mile away (unlike today, Publix wasn't too big on operating stores ridiculously close to each other back in the late 80's). Publix eventually decided to close this store for good in May of 1989, even though they did not completely satisfy their lease obligation. The closure of this store sparked outrage from the owners of the plaza, who sued Publix for things such as breach of contract, negligence, fraud, and anti-trust accusations in response to them closing this store, and for putting in a restriction that a competitor could not take over their space once they vacated. I don't know how that lawsuit ever ended, but Publix did get their way and never came back. The Ames closed during the time all of the legal business with the closure of the Publix was going on, and the plaza began to suffer until Albertsons was lured in as the new anchor. The Publix space was later divided into smaller spaces and is now home to a Dollar General, a pawn shop, and a small natural foods store. The exterior of the building still resembles a 70's Publix, and the old black marble under the windows is also a remnant from the Publix days, and honestly, the windows themselves might be too!


Eckerd #XX
1306 N. John Young Parkway (Bermuda Ave.), Kissimmee, FL

     And moving just a little bit more to the right and we see the former Eckerd, Publix's longtime shopping center buddy. I don't know when the Eckerd closed, but it was gone by the late 90's. Currently, the former Eckerd is now an Aaron's Rent to Own. If you look behind the Aaron's sign, you can still see the oval from where Eckerd's logo used to be.

Now it's time for aerial images, starting off with Bird's Eye views courtesy of Bing Maps:


Front


Right Side


Back


Left Side

And now for some Historic Aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth and historicaerials.com:


Former Albertsons #4410 - 2015


Albertsons #4410 - 2007


Albertsons #4410 - 2003


Albertsons #4410 - 1999


Albertsons #4410 - 1995


Future Albertsons #4410 - 1980 - Here you can see the original layout of the plaza. The former Zayre building is the large building at the bottom of the image. When Albertsons built their store, they tore down half of the stores coming out of the left side of the Publix to make room for their building, and they tore down the old Zayre building to make room for the parking lot for the new Albertsons.


     So there you have it - the downtown Kissimmee Albertsons. It's still pretty easy to tell that Albertsons was once here, but I have seen a case where Sedano's has left much, much more intact from Albertsons than what you saw here. However, that's a post for another time.

So until next time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger