Sunday, February 17, 2019

Pub n' Karry - Fresh, Fast, n' Pleasurable

Kash n' Karry #733 (changed to #1754 Post-Delhaize buyout) / Publix #1103
606 Havendale Boulevard, Auburndale, FL

     Coming off the heels of the Pub Lion's recent closure on February 9, 2019, I might as well introduce everyone to another Publix that is housed in a former Kash n' Karry building. However, unlike the Pub Lion, which obviously started off its life as a Food Lion store, this store is a true Pub n' Karry through and through. This building is a classic Kash n' Karry building, dating back to the early 1990's as Kash n' Karry was trying to revolutionize their stores and modernize their image. This building also makes for a very cool looking Publix too. This former Kash n' Karry building was a much better match for Publix than that tiny old Food Lion store was, with this store being much larger, modern, and more in line with Publix's standards! So let's jump into this post and see what a real Pub n' Karry is all about...

     Kash n' Karry originally opened this store in 1994, during the brief period in the early 90's when the company was independent once again. Until 1988, Kash n' Karry was owned by Lucky California. A leveraged buyout took Kash n' Karry private again that year, with this building design introduced as a way to guide Kash n' Karry's stores into the future. Until 1988, most of Kash n' Karry's stores were quite small and old, so these newly designed stores were a huge change for the company. This new design hoped to take Kash n' Karry in a new direction, especially after the company constantly struggled to keep pace with Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Albertsons for much of the 1980's. The building design seen here was used until 1996, when Delhaize purchased the company as Kash n' Karry continued to struggle to keep pace. However, you can read much more detail about Kash n' Karry's history at this post. When this store first opened, it would have looked a lot like this. In the early 90's, Kash n' Karry used a yellow and orange theme for their stores, with a matching interior. You can actually catch a glimpse of the yellow and orange Kash n' Karry interior in this commercial from 1994, filmed in a store identical to this one based off the background. (If that link doesn't work right, the Kash n' Karry commercial begins at the 24:13 mark in that video, which is a compilation of commercials broadcast on Tampa's WTVT Channel 13 on May 27, 1994. There are some other interesting retail commercials in that compilation as well, including ones from Circuit City, Builder's Square, Burdines, J. Byron, and Kash n' Karry's sister store Food Lion, in addition to others. It's a fun watch).

     This particular Kash n' Karry store lasted until 2004, when Delhaize decided to dump a bunch of underperforming Kash n' Karry stores located mostly in Eastern and Central Florida. With that closure wave Kash n' Karry closed all but one of their Polk County locations, leaving only the North Lakeland store to last into the Sweetbay era. When Kash n' Karry announced they would shutter those 34 stores throughout Florida in 2004, Publix jumped in and made an offer for three of the closing stores. Publix's offer included the Kash n' Karry stores in Auburndale (which we'll be seeing today), Fort Pierce (the now-closed Pub Lion), and South Orlando (which I have photographed, and will cover either here or on My Florida Retail at some point in the future). Of those three stores Publix purchased, the Auburndale location would be the only one acting as a replacement for an older Publix store nearby, but I'll discuss that more later. On March 25, 2004, only a little over a month after the Kash n' Karry had closed for good, Publix held the grand opening for their new Auburndale store. 15 years later, we still have ourselves a Publix in an extremely well preserved early 90's Kash n' Karry. So without any more hesitation, let's start heading inside for our look at yet another Publix conversion...

     This building has two entryways, one on each end of the row of windows. The photo above was taken in the right side entryway, while the next image was taken from the left side entryway.

     Want to see what a Pub n' Karry is like? Here we go...

     Starting in the front right corner of the building, here's a look back toward the right side entryway. Produce is the first department we enter at this store, which is located to my left in the above image.

     However, before we enter the produce department, here's a quick look across the store's front end. The bank of windows that runs high above the front of the building lets in a lot of natural light, making for a very bright front end. Due to the large amount of natural lighting that flows into this building, you'll notice the interior lighting above the checkstands is a bit sparse. I'm not sure how that looks at night, but during the day there is certainly no shortage of light up here. Overall, I have to say this is my favorite of Kash n' Karry's building designs. While the exterior is nice, we'll see some more interesting design as we continue our tour of this store's interior.

      Moving our attention back to the produce department, here's a look at that department, as seen tucked into its little alcove in the front right corner of the store. While putting produce front and center when first entering a store is quite common in some grocery chains (due to the visual appeal of that department), Publix has never been a fan of that. To this day, Publix still favors putting produce in the back corner or center right part of the store depending on the store model. Regardless of the store model used in the last two decades, at a ground-up built Publix, you have to pass through the deli and bakery in some way to find the produce section! So yes, seeing the produce department front and center when first entering a Publix is a bit strange.

     While not truly an alcove, I still can't help but to say the produce department is located in one. The way the ceiling drops lower in this part of the store gives it a distinctive feel unlike the rest of the store.

     Here we're peeking out from the produce alcove, looking back toward the front end.

     Rounding the corner out of the produce alcove, the next department we find is floral. Floral was placed in a little alcove of its own, located between produce and health and beauty, where we're headed next...

     Between the store's right side wall and aisle 1 are a few rows of aisles that run parallel to the building's front wall. In these small aisles are greeting cards, followed by health and beauty products. In this photo we can also see how the ceiling transitions from warehouse-style to a drop ceiling over the center grocery aisles. The warehouse ceiling only runs the perimeter of the building, with the drop ceiling in the middle. The way the ceiling transitions from the warehouse one to the drop ceiling one gets more interesting when we get to some other parts of the store a bit later in this tour. This transitional ceiling style was used by Kash n' Karry from the debut of this store design in 1989 all the way through 2004, when Sweetbay was introduced. When Delhaize bought Kash n' Karry in 1996, the stores built under their ownership didn't change much from what we see here. While some department were rearranged, the feel of the store didn't (well, not counting those prototype circular layout stores Delhaize built around 1999/2000-ish, but that's a tale for another day).

     A bit of the pharmacy counter pokes out in the background of this photo I took of a soda display. While not as extensive as some stores, Publix carries a nice little selection of hard to find glass bottle sodas at their larger stores. I actually took this photo for my own personal reference, but I decided to include it in this post in the end.

     Located in the back right corner of the building is the pharmacy counter. While it may be weird seeing produce front and center when first walking into a Publix, seeing the pharmacy counter in the very back of the store is even weirder! Publix has always put their pharmacy counters somewhere in the front of the building at the stores they've built on their own.

     Here's a look from one of the health and beauty aisles toward the pharmacy counter itself. I took this photo of the pharmacy right after it opened for the day. In the previous photo, the pharmacy had yet to open (with a small line of people building up as they waited for the pharmacy to open).

     Here's a look at aisle 1 again, this time looking from the back of the store toward the front.

     Coming out of aisle 1, we find the seafood counter along the store's back wall.

     Just to the left of the seafood counter, we find the signage for the meat department.

     And for completeness, here we see the meat and seafood departments together.

     Looking across the back wall of the store, here we see some of the more interesting ceiling transitions I mentioned before. Along the front and back parts of the drop ceiling transition, it uses a zig-zag pattern to mark the dividing line. It certainly breaks up the monotony of the usual plain transitions used! The placement of the meat and seafood departments in the back right corner, as well as dairy in the back left corner, are exactly like that of a modern Publix store coincidentally enough. If it weren't for the funky ceiling and lack of terrazzo giving it away, this would feel very much like a scene from an average modern Publix store!

     Stepping under the drop ceiling, here's a look at a few of the grocery aisles.

     From this vantage point up front, the funky ceiling transition becomes much clearer. It's not often you see a ceiling transition like this, with those little points sticking out from it!

     Returning to the rear of the store, here's a look back toward meat and seafood as well as the pharmacy counter.

     Turning around 180 degrees from the previous photo, here's another back wall photo. This photo also does a good job at clearly depicting the funky ceiling transitions.

     Continuing on, here's some more action from the grocery aisles...

     Here's a close-up of the aisle 8 sign, as well as the ceiling transition.

     The dairy department is getting nearer and nearer...

     The first portion of frozen foods can be found here in aisle 10, as well as this store's selection of wines. Frozen foods also continue into the next two aisles.

     The front left corner of the store is home to the bakery and the deli department. The bakery department bumps up to the store's left side entrance, with the deli located just beyond it.

     Here's a closeup of the bakery department itself, which wraps around toward the left side entrance visible in the background. However, if we turn the clock back to this building's early days...

     ...this screengrab from the 1994 Kash n' Karry commercial I linked to earlier was positioned from a similar perspective to my photo you just saw above. (So if you decided to not go to that link, here's what you missed - I told you it was good stuff!) Interior photos from Kash n' Karry stores are extremely rare, so the glimpse at Kash n' Karry's early 90's interior above is a real treat! Like I said earlier, to match the yellow theme of the store's exterior, the interior decor followed a similar color scheme. The results were...interesting. I personally can't say I've ever seen a supermarket interior look so orange before, but it really didn't look too bad the more I look at the picture above. Where the word 'DELI' is in the above image is where Publix's bakery logo is now. The "DELI" sign appears to be mounted on some decorative metal that Publix would have removed prior to moving in, but other than that you can see just how little Publix did to this place when they took it over. Granted, the commercial I took this screengrab from was more than likely not filmed at the Auburndale Kash n' Karry, but it still does a good job demonstrating what this place would have looked like way back when. 

     However, back to the present we go, where the funky orange Kash n' Karry interior of the early 90's makes way for the earth tones of the late 2010's Classy Market 3.0 from Publix. The deli department can be seen here, occupying the majority of this store's front left corner. And as always, there's quite the crowd to be found at the Publix deli!

     Moving into frozen foods, we see the ceiling transition back to a warehouse style over the left side of the building.

      This store's last aisle is aisle 12, home to ice cream as well as the dairy products.

     Stepping just a bit further up aisle 12, the deli comes into view once again. Located between aisles 11 and 12 is the deli grab and go cooler, home to a variety of prepackaged salads, cheeses, and deli meats. That is visible to my left.

     This store's front end really benefits from all the natural light pouring in through those windows. In addition to that, I just like how this part of the store looks.

    More front end action here, design wise. People-wise, I actually caught this part of the store at a quiet moment, which is surprising!

     However, in this photo, we find where all the people went! I wasn't so lucky with avoiding the crowds as I took this photo to capture the store's customer service desk, located under the bank of windows in the very front of the store.

     An here's a look across the store's front wall, the service desk immediately to my right.

     With this final photo looking toward the left side entryway, I'll thank you all for shopping Pub n' Karry with me...

     Lastly, here's a photo of the liquor store. The liquor store is located on the right side of the building, tucked into its little corner.

     And that's Pub n' Karry for you! Certainly a much different experience from the Food Lion turned Kash n' Karry turned Publix, right? While this building, inside and out, was clearly something else prior, this former Kash n' Karry fits Publix and their image so much better than that old Food Lion ever did. And 15 years later, Publix also realized it was time to get rid of that tiny old Food Lion they took over. As sad as it is to see that Pub Lion go due to how unique it was, I can say the decision to rebuild that store wasn't surprising. I think the other two Kash n' Karry stores Publix took over will be around for much longer, considering how much more modern both of those stores are and how they better align with Publix's business model.

     Before I move onto something else to finish off this post, here's a quick 3D aerial image of this store I pulled from Google Maps. From this angle, you can get a nice overview of what this place looks like.

     As I said earlier in this post, the Auburndale Pub n' Karry was a relocation for an older Publix store. That original Publix store was located across the street in the Havendale Square shopping center. In the map above I've designated the locations of the two stores, the round Publix logo designating the current Pub n' Karry store, and the older Publix logo on the original store. So let's jump across the street for a quick look at the store the Pub n' Karry replaced.

Publix #355
362 Havendale Boulevard, Auburndale, FL - Havendale Square

     This Publix store originally opened on December 1, 1977 as one of Publix's Food World branded stores. Publix's Food World stores were supposed to be a price-conscious alternative to the traditional Publix stores. Publix kept their Food World banner going until the late 1980's, at which point this Food World store converted into a traditional Publix location. Publix remained in this building until March 24, 2004, the day before the new store in the former Kash n' Karry across the street opened.

     Currently, the right half of Publix #355 is home to a Planet Fitness, while the left half of the building sits vacant. Besides the shape of the facade and the windows, not much else remains here from Publix. In Google Streetview you can get a better look at what remains of the original windows, as well as the original location of Publix's entryway.

Walmart #718 (Original Location)
422 Havendale Boulevard, Auburndale, FL - Havendale Square

     While we're over here at Havendale Square, I also took a few pictures of the plaza's other anchor: a former Walmart store. This Walmart opened in 1984 as a later addition to the Havendale Square shopping center. Walmart remained at this location until 2004, when they opened a new Supercenter a few miles to the west of here on US 92. After Walmart left this building, it was subdivided between Save A Lot, Bealls Outlet, Citi Trends, and Anytime Fitness.

     Save A Lot occupies the portion of the building where Walmart's main entrance was located, which still retains its distinctive Walmart look. I actually have an old receipt that came from this very Walmart, which I found in a book at a yard sale. You can see that receipt here.

     The old garden center was located on this side of the building, some of which is still standing unused today.

     However, I've saved the best for last. As I left Havendale Square, I cut around the side of the old Walmart building to get to 42nd Street and continue the journey to my next destination. As I drove down the side of the building, I looked to the right and saw this! Behind what remains of the old garden center, someone stopped the new beige/gray/white paint job given to this old Walmart building. What they left behind was the original 80's/90's Walmart red, white, and blue colors back here, given away by those distinctive stripes! It was pretty neat to see this little bit of the classic Walmart color scheme live on to the current day, so I had to stop for a moment to get a photo!

     With Walmart out of the way, I can now officially end this post. And with this post, I get to check off another Publix conversion from my list. So up until this point, we've seen here on AFB the ever venerable Publixsons (as well as its sister store, Safelixsons), in addition to Pub-Dixie, Pub Lion, and today's Pub n' Karry. However, there are still some other Publix conversions out there for me to cover, so we're not done with this topic yet!

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger


  1. Great photos! What an interesting store. Love the funky ceiling, the natural light at the front end, and the exterior design. I also quite like the 90s decor from that screengrab/video (maybe just because my favorite color is orange, but still :P ), but I do have to say, Publix's decor looks super nice here as well. Like you said, this store really fits them nicely! Although I will note that having the pharmacy next to seafood seems kinda strange XD

    Wanted to mention that your "North Lakeland store" link near the top of the page appears to be broken. And, of course, awesome find with that old Wal-Mart paint scheme!! Incidentally, the blog post I have planned for next month is a similar converted Wal-Mart building (complete with nearly identical Bealls Outlet, though mine of course is called Burkes instead), but sadly no cool old red and blue stripes for me :(

    1. Thanks! This was a pretty neat Publix, and definitely in my top 5 favorite Publix stores I've visited. I can't say I've ever seen another supermarket decor use so much orange like KnK's 90's interior, and I'd have loved to see that decor in person. It looks like it would have been quite memorable!

      I fixed the link too. I don't know what Blogger did there, but I know I put that Google Streetview link in there the first time! Yeah, the old Walmart paint caught me off guard when it first saw it, as you don't see a glaring relic like that often at a converted old Walmart - especially one split up into a bunch of storefronts like that one. That blog post you mention sounds like it will be neat too, even without the old stripes still floating around!

  2. AFB set the North Lakeland store link to go to the Blogger profile. For me, it goes to The Jaxcrodian Retail Blog’s profile page. I also made a post of Publix “Publixsons” #1663.

    1. The link is fixed. Also, nice coverage of the Largo Safelixsons!

  3. The zig-zags at the end of each aisle here were where Kash n' Karry attached their triangular aisle markers in the late-80s/early-90s built stores. These markers came down after Kash n' Karry was acquired by Delhaize in 1996, and were replaced with flat panels early on in their "Where Florida Shops" purple/teal pastel era. The Orlando area hispanic Kash n' Karry time warps' interior decor came later and was typically used to refresh ex-Food Lions.

    The only significant changes Publix did to this store was replace the flooring and create vestibules at both entrances for cart storage (and probably to save on HVAC energy cost).

    1. Let me know if the links don't work (closed Facebook groups) - I'll dump to Flickr.

    2. That's pretty neat those zig-zags actually served a purpose. I thought they were purely decorative, and it never would have crossed my mind that those were put there for the aisle markers. Your first link only takes me to the Facebook login page, but the second one with the early Delhaize era aisle markers worked. Those Delhaize era aisle markers are the ones I remember from my lone visit to a Kash n' Karry in Sarasota way back when. The Kash n' Karry I went to had a fairly extensive remodel under Delhaize's ownership, and it looked like (although I could have dreamed this up) the numbers on the aisle signs in that store lit up too.

    3. First link dumped to Flickr
      I don't recall the aisle markers being lit up during late 90s.

  4. Another view of that store's front end
    This might have been the Kash n' Karry on SW 34th St in Gainesville by UF based on other photos of the same store in the same album having Gators stuff.
    The interior appears to be in transition to Sweetbay. Aisle markers, lane lights, and check stands were KnK but "Produce Market" and wall paint schemes were Sweetbay.

    1. Cool album! Those are the lane lights I remember from my only visit to a Kash n' Karry.

  5. Probably one of the coolest Publix stores in the state! They are very fortunate to have acquired such neat buildings from some of their competitors over the years. This tops them all. Just behind Grocery Palace Publixsons, this "Pub N Karry" is my 2nd favorite!

    1. I agree with your rankings there - this store is my second favorite Publix conversion, right after Grocery Palace Publixsons. Hopefully Publix keeps this store as is for many years more!


    New link for Publix #1663 post.