Albertsons #4495/Publix #1338
10250 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL - Curry Ford Square
So here we go again with yet another tour of a Publixsons (or Alblix, I can't decide which I like better). Publix has taken over more former Albertsons Florida stores than any other single grocer or retailer. Out of the 170 or so former Albertsons locations throughout the state, if I counted correctly, 61 of them eventually became home to a Publix in some way. And if the rumor is true about the fate of former Albertsons #4471, the number of Publixsons will increase to 62 by 2018. Of all of those Publixsons out there, the vast majority of them still retain the original Albertsons exteriors and interior layouts. However, at some locations Publix wasn't so kind and completely flattened the Albertsons buildings in favor of their own new store. To date, Publix has done that 5 times out of the 61 former Albertsons stores they took over. It wouldn't surprise me if a few more of those older Albertsons buildings that Publix took over experience a similar fate as those 5 as Publix feels the need to keep modernizing their stores. However, I doubt the former Albertsons we'll be taking a look at in this post will have to face a wrecking ball anytime soon. This store is former Albertsons #4495 - one of the very last new Albertsons Florida stores to open. This Albertsons opened in 2003 during Albertsons' final push into Florida with new stores. This store used the last new Albertsons store model to be introduced to Florida - the Early 2000's Modified model. 6 out of the last 7 Albertsons Florida stores to open used this store model, with that one exception having opened in an existing building. This former Albertsons is located in Eastern Orlando near the 417 expressway. The former swamplands and farmlands located east of the 417 became home to many new neighborhoods and subdivisions during the Florida housing boom of the early 2000's. The largest of these new neighborhoods was Avalon Park, located not much further east from here near Alafaya Trail. During the boom, Albertsons snatched this site at the corner of Curry Ford and Dean Roads, located right off of the 417 at the Curry Ford exit, to build their new store. Sadly, this brand new Albertsons didn't last long. In 2008, Publix scooped up this location with 48 other Albertsons Florida stores they purchased that year. Publix reopened this store not long after purchasing it, only swapping out the interior decor. Currently, this building has been a Publix longer than it ever was an Albertsons.
Sorry about the glare in this photo. The late afternoon sun wasn't being cooperative with these exterior photos! Anyway, this will be the first of the 6 Early 2000's Modified model stores to be featured on the blog. While the exterior of these stores looked almost exactly like the standard Early 2000's Model Albertsons, there are some major differences between the two. First of all, the Modified stores were bigger. The standard early 2000's Albertsons stores were around 55,000 square feet - the Modified designs were around 60,000 square feet. The modified design also included a new floorplan and a side entrance at the other end of the building leading into the pharmacy. These stores were going to be the future of Albertsons Florida had the company not begun to crumble during the time these stores were built.
Looking across the front of the building, looking toward the entryway straight ahead.
The closest set of doors you see in the above photo is the exit, with the entrance being the next set of doors up, located under the arch. Since this was one of the earlier Early 2000's Modified stores, it kept the same entrance configuration as the standard Early 2000's model stores. The later Modified stores had the doors arranged differently, and we'll eventually see that arrangement in a future post. Anyway, let's go inside...
Welcome to Publix(sons). I spy some (now painted sea foam green) Albertsons wood paneling behind those ride-on carts.
A look at the cart storage area between the entrance and exit doors.
An here's our first look at the main store. This photo is what you would see after first stepping inside and looking immediately to the left. Publix uses this area where you first walk in for seasonal and promotional merchandise.
Looking back at the main entrance from among the seasonal and promotional merchandise.
After walking in, if you turn immediately to the right you enter the deli department. The deli at this store is broken into two areas: one area being the main deli counter just out of sight to the left here, and the other being what you see in this picture - the home of a large selection of prepackaged meats, cheeses, deli salads, prepackaged prepared foods, and deli teas. It's essentially the same deli selection you'd find at the typical Publix, but it feels larger given the way Albertsons had this area set up. Also, in these photos you will see this store has Publix's 2nd Generation Classy Market decor, the decor that was installed after Publix took over the building. Since I took these pictures, this store has been remodeled to the 3rd Generation Classy Market decor. If you Google this store, you can see some pictures of this place with the new decor (other than the decor, nothing else changed from what you will be seeing in this post today). As for what decor Albertsons had in here, I'm almost positive it was Industrial Circus based off of some remnants Publix left on the wall. I know the later Modified model stores got the very rare for Florida Santa Fe/Albertsons Marketplace decor, but I think Industrial Circus was what this store got. The next photo shows some of those remnants I'm talking about:
The first remnant that made me think Industrial Circus was that decorative metal trim near the ceiling, which Publix painted over in blue. That trim runs along the perimeter of the store, and the Santa Fe/Albertsons Marketplace decor stores didn't have that trim. I don't think Publix installed that trim as I don't recall seeing it in another Publix store, and if it were Publix's, I don't think they would have painted over it as if they were trying to hide it. In the recent remodel, that metal trim was removed from the store. Also, to the left of the deli sign you can see some rectangular pieces that stick out from the wall. Those are spaced about right for where the column decorations from the Industrial Circus decor would be.
Anyway, with that long-winded explanation out of the way, in the above photo we can also see the rest of the deli department and the service counter. The deli here is so long that Publix had to spring for putting in 2 signs here.
Immediately to the left of the deli is the bakery as we continue further back into the store.
In front of the deli and bakery was produce, which took up a fairly large amount of space on the right side of the store.
Looking from the back of produce toward the front of the store.
Behind produce are the meat and seafood counters. Oddly, the background for these two signs is that pale yellow. Typically in this decor, the Meats sign is placed on a red background like you see further to the left, and the Seafood sign has a blue painted background.
Looking across the back of the store. Off in the far distance is the dairy department.
And jumping back up front for a look across the front end.
Looking down aisle 5, where a good amount of the general merchandise was kept. This Publix has a much larger selection of office supplies and toys than the typical Publix does due to all of the extra space Publix inherited from Albertsons.
Looking toward the organic department from the end of one of the frozen foods aisles. The tile pattern you see in this store was something Publix came up with during their quick remodel from after they took over, so it doesn't give any more clues as to what the old decor was in here.
The Greenwise Orgainc department here is oddly located in this store. It's located in the main back aisle of the store in front of the meats, in the center of the main aisle.
Frozen foods resides in the center of the store.
Moving over from frozen foods we enter aisle 11, home to snacks and cases of soda and water. Due to the strange way Albertsons laid out the coolers in here, aisle 11 is double wide for half of its length before shrinking back down to normal size.
The reason this aisle shrinks like it does was so Albertsons could install their walk in beer cooler, a concept used in their 2000's and later stores as well as most of their liquor stores.
This was the door that led into the walk in portion of the beer cooler, which looked more inviting back in the Albertsons days. According to that tiny note Publix taped to the door, the only people allowed in here anymore are Publix employees and the beer vendors, and a key is needed to go inside now.
Moving along into the back left corner of the store now, where we can see the dairy department.
Some of the Albertsons dairy coolers. Typical Publix stores just use open front cases for the milk and other dairy products.
Looking across the back of the store from dairy.
The floral department is located in this little island between the registers and the pharmacy. Not quite the same as this one, but here's a similar Industrial Circus era floral island to compare.
Between floral and the pharmacy is the old pharmacy side entrance. Publix didn't want to be bothered with having a side entrance, so they replaced the doors that were once in here with glass panels. I can see people unfamiliar with this store who park over on this side of the building getting fooled into thinking this is still an entrance.
With the entrance closed off, the small vestibule where carts were once stored is essentially useless space now. In order to do something with it, Publix placed some random items in here, like these few pallets of firewood and a rack of T-shirts (which you'll see in the next photo).
The previous photo was taken in the old cart storage area. This photo is looking toward the wall closer to where the door once was.
As you probably noticed in the last two photos, Publix hung some classic photos of their stores on the walls in the old Pharmacy side entrance vestibule. These are some close-ups of the two classic photos Publix hung in here, both of which feature photos of a 50's era Art Deco Publix store. I've always liked how Publix included these photos as a nod to their past in their stores.
Looking at the spot where the doors once were. This wasn't any problem for me though, because in case you didn't know, I have the amazing ability to walk through glass...
...so we can take a quick look at what this side entryway looks like from outside. Here you can see how from a distance, it still looks like this is an entrance.
So lets magically walk through that glass one more time so we can go back inside and complete our look around the interior of the store...
This is what it would have looked like if you were still able to enter the store from the pharmacy side entrance. The floral island is straight ahead, and the pharmacy counter is to the left.
And here's a look down one of the health and beauty aisles toward the pharmacy itself.
Now that we covered the pharmacy, here's a look at the last few aisles in the store, home to paper products and the remainder of health and beauty...
Aisle 17 is the last aisle.
One final look across the back of the store, looking from dairy back toward meats.
A look across the front end, looking back toward floral and the pharmacy.
The customer service desk is hidden behind the express lanes.
That space under the Publix sign was once the Albertsons photo center.
The old photo center is now home to more empty space that Publix has little use for.
Thank you for joining us for this tour around the interior of the East Curry Ford Publixsons. I typically don't like it when people crash my photos, but I like the effect of the lady walking toward the opening door in this picture. Anyway, a few more things to take a look at outside now that were done looking around the inside...
To the right of the main store lies the old liquor store, now a Publix Liquors location.
The entryway is still very much Albertsons.
A somewhat bad photo of the road sign facing Curry Ford Road.
Lastly, here's a Google Street View image of the former Albertsons Express gas station located right at the corner of Curry Ford and Dean. I completely forgot to get some of my own photos of this place when I was here, but this works. When Albertsons pulled out of the gas sales business in Florida in 2008, this Albertsons Express became home to a 7-Eleven, which still operates here. The convenience store building still retains the Albertsons Express style.
While on Google Streetview, I found this image of the Albertsons Express gas station from 2007 when it was still owned by Albertsons. Even though these old Streetview images were of terrible quality, you can still make out most of the details in this image. You can also see a tiny portion of the main store in the background.
Now time for some Bird's Eye aerial images, courtesy of Bing Maps:
Now for some Historic Aerial images courtesy of Google Earth:
Former Albertsons #4495 - 2016
Albertsons #4495 - 2008
Albertsons #4495 - 2004
Future Albertsons #4495 - 2002 - They were still building the neighborhood at this time.
I have to say, these early 2000's Albertsons stores look really good as a Publix, and feel more like a Publix than some of the older Albertsons stores Publix has taken over. Over the years, Publix has taken over buildings from some of their other ailing and fallen Florida competitors besides Albertsons, such as former Winn-Dixies, Kash n' Karrys, and even a Food Lion. Most of those other stores Publix did very little to other than decor swaps. Some day in the future I'll get around to doing bonus store posts on those other Publix conversions I've visited, as they're pretty interesting - especially that Pub Lion!
Anyway, getting back on track now, let's wrap up this post with yet another old photo from the Orange County Property Appraiser. Here you can see Albertsons #4495 in all of it's glory, as it looked on March 28, 2006. This was actually the primary photo for this building until January 2017, when someone finally updated the listing (9 years late) with a photo of the current occupant. But I'm not going to complain about that, as Orange County's old property record photos have provided us with some rare looks at these former Albertsons stores back when they were still Albertsons.
Anywat, that's all I have for now. So until the next time,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger