Albertsons #4328 / Presidente Supermarket / Supermercado El Bodegon
4481 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL
To celebrate yet another year of AFB, we'll be taking a look at a store that may seem familiar to all of you. As 2018 nears its close, AFB returns to the original Lake Worth Albertsons store. This store was first featured on the blog at the end of 2014 as a viewer submission, wrapping up that year of posting. Since this store is so interesting, why not take a second look at it? If you recall from the original post, this former Albertsons store still retains quite obvious remnants of the early 2000's Industrial Circus decor. A while back I was in the area, so of course I had to stop by this store to see the Industrial Circus decor remnants for myself!
I covered the history of this store in a bit of detail in the original post, but I will go over that again briefly. This Albertsons opened for business on December 6, 1978, exactly 40 years ago from the day this post went live (how fitting!). This store received a decent remodel in 2003 before finally closing for good on October 22, 2009, just shy of 31 years in business. After Albertsons closed, this building became home to a location of Presidente Supermarket, a small Hispanic grocery chain with a few locations throughout South Florida. Presidente wasn't in this space very long before the store switched ownership to Supermercado El Bodegon, which is also a small Hispanic grocery chain. Neither of the stores that came after Albertsons did much to this place, which makes for an interesting look into this building's past.
As usual with these Skaggs Model stores, river rock panels line the front and sides of the building. Even after the early 2000's remodel (which exterior-wise only reconfigured the entryways), the river rock panels were allowed to remain mostly untouched.
The tower and archway over the main entrance were added as part of the early 2000's remodel, which also brought the Industrial Circus decor to this store.
Entering through the main entrance and turning to the right, what do we have but out first look at those Industrial Circus remnants! While the color scheme of the walls and signs themselves have been modified, it's still an interesting sight to see. Here we're looking into the front right corner of the building, which was originally home to Albertsons' deli and bakery departments. There was a small selection of baked goods in this part of the store, as the Hispanic grocery stores in Florida typically have very small bakery selections. With the extra space from having such a small bakery, El Bodegon instead turned this portion of the store into a cafeteria style restaurant, featuring a variety of freshly prepared Hispanic dishes to choose from.
An aisle directory for your convenience. A lot of things in the grocery aisles have been moved around since Albertsons left, but much of the store's perimeter is the same layout as Albertsons would have had it.
Just beyond the restaurant we find the produce department. It feels like there's quite a bit going on in this part of the store, with all of the low hanging spotlights (an Albertsons remnant), a palm tree, and some giant bananas hanging from the ceiling!
More Industrial Circus signage in the produce department. For these flat signs, it was more common to see the lettering in yellow, although I have seen a few other examples of this decor using white lettering on the signs.
The dairy coolers are located in the back right corner of the store. In addition to the coolers of milk and cheese in the corner, there were coolers just out of frame to my left with more dairy products, like butter, yogurt, eggs, etc.
Here's a slightly less obstructed view of the dairy corner.
Moving into aisle 2, we find a rather unaltered Albertsons sign for the Wine Cellar. This sign is rather reminiscent of something from the Grocery Palace decor package, considering its shape and size. The top of the wine shelves were decorated with fake grape vines, although I don't know what store's idea it was to do that.
Here are a few grocery aisle views for everyone. Not anything too distinctive left over from Albertsons here, other than the general feel of the store.
At some point (probably during the early 2000's remodel), the deli counter was moved from its home near the bakery to the back of the store by the meat counter.
Here you can see where the deli counter transitions into the meat and seafood counter, all with the old Albertsons signage and tile backplashes still in-tact. Above the deli counter you can see the row of windows from the upstairs offices, a common feature in in the back of these older Albertsons stores.
A very large meat and seafood counter here! Albertsons was very well known for their meats and seafood here in Florida, and these Hispanic grocers typically have very busy meat and seafood counters too from what I've seen. I think I got lucky catching this counter as empty as it was here!
Here's a close-up of the Industrial Circus seafood department sign while we're back here.
Frozen foods were near the left side of the store, taking up aisle 8 and possibly 9 (I can't remember exactly).
Aisle 11 was this store's last aisle, home to mostly pallets of water and other bulk products. When Albertsons was here, this side of the store would have been home to the pharmacy and health and beauty products. After Albertsons left, this side of the store was converted into booths for independent small businesses to rent. These booths are a common feature in Hispanic supermarkets in Florida.
We'll begin to wrap up our revisit of the Lake Worth Albertsons with this look at the front end. In front of the registers was more space carved out for independent businesses, such as the Real Estate office whose sign you can see here. The Real Estate office is located where Albertsons' customer service desk would have been.
Register 9 was actually this store's customer service desk, which was relocated to a small island counter from the front wall. In the distance is the side entrance and exit, which is where we'll be heading to depart this former Albertsons store...
Out we go...
To the left of the side entrance was this door, which led into the old Albertsons liquor store. The liquor store has since been turned into a dentist's office, which is an interesting reuse for an old Albertsons liquor store.
The archway over the side entrance.
On the left side of the building is the sign for the dentist's office that occupies the old liquor store.
Interestingly, this store also has a charging station for electric cars in the parking lot (and it seems like these stations are still somewhat rare, at least in the area where I live). This had to be added by either Presidente or El Bodegon, as I can't see Albertsons having done this.
And not only was there an electric car charging station, but also an electric car that took up the offer to park here! (Although it wasn't using the charger).
Anyway, we didn't come to AFB to discuss fancy electric cars - we came here for Albertsons! These were featured in the original post, but here's a quick recap of some historic satellite imagery of this store, starting off with some Bird's Eye aerial images courtesy of Bing Maps:
Front - These aerials were taken during the time after Albertsons closed and before Presidente/El Bodegon opened, which would probably date them back to early 2010 if I had to guess.
Left Side - The side entrance and the liquor store are to the right side in this image. If you look closely at the left end of the building, you can see some stairs leading up to the backroom's second level door.
And now some historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth and historicaerials.com:
Former Albertsons #4328 - 2014 - The former Albertsons now as El Bodegon.
Albertsons #4328 - 2009 - Still a pretty healthy crowd shopping here even as the end nears.
Albertsons #4328 - 2002 - The building still in its original form before the 2003 renovations.
Albertsons #4328 - 1995 - I'm really impressed with the crowds this store was able to draw over the years!
Albertsons #4328 - 1979 - The store not long after opening. Still mostly woods around the store, and some houses on larger sized lots.
Future Albertsons #4328 - 1968 - Little did the owners of all those small buildings there know that in 10 years, some newfangled supermarket chain would be buying them all out to build a "superstore of the future" on their property.
Doing a little digging, I found a clip from WPTV NewsChannel 5 on YouTube that featured some exterior shots of the Lake Worth Albertsons after an unfortunate incident that happened in the parking lot in 2009. This is what the store looked like in its final years as Albertsons.
Now that we've seen the store in its final years, let's jump back in time to the very beginning! The above photo was sent in by AFB contributor Graham B. for the original post about this store in 2014. This photo was taken a week before this store opened for business, with everything looking fresh, new, and ready to go here! Oh, the good old days of Albertsons.
So I hope everyone enjoyed this revisit to the Lake Worth Albertsons. In a little less than two weeks we'll see the final AFB post of the year, which will be of a store that lies not too far away from this Albertsons. Some interesting things to be found at the store that will officially wrap up 2018 on AFB!
So until the next post,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger