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!
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:
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