Sunday, May 24, 2020

Much Greener and Wiser the Second Time Around


Greenwise Market #1659
4747 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL - Shoppes of Lake Miriam Crossing

     Now that we've seen the original Publix Greenwise Market, today is the day we jump into the future to understand the modern Greenwise Market. Besides the fact that both concepts were organic specialty chains owned by Publix, the feel and shopping experience of the original and new Greenwise stores couldn't be any different. As we'll see today, the new Greenwise stores remove the more formal feel of the original concept for a much more modern, "cooler" I guess you could say, vibe. I know a lot of you are curious about these new stores, so let's jump into this and see what the new Greenwise is all about!


     While it would have been a nice compliment to my previous post about Publix Greenwise Market, the store we'll be touring today is not the one that replaced the last original Publix Greenwise Market store in Boca Raton we saw previously. The store we'll be touring today is located in the most sacred of cities for Publix, Lakeland, which is home to the company's corporate headquarters. It seemed only fitting Publix would want to put a new Greenwise store in their hometown, as this store will probably become an experimental location for new Greenwise concepts in the future (much like the regular Publix across the street from here has become). Unlike most urban areas in Florida, Lakeland (a city of 110,000 residents) was never touched by any of the organic supermarket hubbub of the late 2010's. Lakeland never got a Lucky's, Earth Fare, or Sprouts (either planned or completed), and they don't have any of the organic stalwarts either (Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or The Fresh Market). The announcement of Lakeland getting a Greenwise store of their own was a big deal, as it would be the city's first major organic grocery store.


     The new Lakeland Greenwise Market store opened on December 12, 2019, the same day the new Boca Raton Greenwise Market opened to replace the last original prototype. The new Boca Raton and Lakeland Greenwise stores were the fifth and sixth new Greenwise stores to open, following the opening of other locations in Tallahassee (the first new Greenwise), Mount Pleasant, SC (the second), Mountain Brook, AL (the third), and Lexington, SC (the fourth). The Lakeland Greenwise Market and its accompanying shopping center were built on the site of a former Kmart store (which we toured a while back as it liquidated), the Kmart building completely demolished for the new Greenwise Market.


     It's probably just a coincidence, but the texturing behind the Greenwise Market sign reminds me a lot of the facade of 1970's-built Publix stores.


     Walking up to the front of the building, we catch a glimpse of Greenwise's large patio seating area straight ahead. The area behind the windows to my left is the indoor dining area, so there was no shortage of seating here!


     Turning the corner from the last photo, we near the store's main entrance. This photo looks over the shopping carts toward the outdoor seating area, which was a popular hangout spot on the evening I visited this store. I visited the new Lakeland Greenwise Market only a week after it opened, and it was certainly busy. I'm sure the newness of the store played into the crowd during this visit, but this is a busy part of town. When I came through here a few years ago to document the closing Kmart and the Publix across the street, both were absolutely mobbed.


     Stepping through the front doors, we're greeted with this sight as we enter. Produce and floral take up the sales floor space immediately upon entering, with the "Eats" department prominently located straight ahead. Like I said, this store had a much different vibe than the original Greenwise had, a vibe much more in line with Lucky's than Whole Foods (the competitor the original Greenwise tried to mimic). The new Greenwise decor is much more fun, sleek, and modern than that of its predecessor, and is loosely based off of Publix's new Evergreen decor.


     Turning to the left we find the "Pours" department, home to Greenwise's indoor cafe and taproom. As the name would suggest, the specialty at Pours is drinks, with the offerings here including draught beer, wine, coffee, tea, kombucha, and smoothies (all of which are explained in more detail at the Pours link above). Much like a certain other trendy specialty organic chain that's no longer in Florida, Greenwise Market also offers their own "sip and stroll" promotion for shoppers. Sip and stroll was a huge differentiation point for Lucky's, and extremely popular too, so it makes sense Publix would want to offer their own version of that program at Greenwise Market. Even Winn-Dixie realized how popular Lucky's sip and stroll had become, and they've been experimenting with the concept too.


     I don't know if Publix saw Lucky's as a threat or if they just wanted a piece of a huge new market, but the revival of Greenwise came right as Lucky's began their rapid expansion into just about every region of Florida. Even though Lucky's is gone now due to their corporate zeal, their concept wasn't a failure. The laid back, less intimidating, beer-sipping approach to organics really won a lot of people over, and got more people to venture into these types of stores. I'd have to guess that Publix realized Lucky's was onto something with their unique format, winning over a segment of Floridians that Publix had failed to capture once already with the original Greenwise stores. Since Lucky's could pull off such a huge success in Florida with their format, of course Publix could too...


     Now that we've turned our attention away from Pours, let's jump back into the produce department. Produce takes up the front right corner of the store, with floral displays mixed in amongst the fruit and vegetables. The produce department lacks any kind of signage, with the cartoon-like pictures of fruits and vegetables on the wall serving as a reminder of what this department offers.


     Another one of the major changes between the new Greenwise stores and the originals is the size of the building. While the original Greenwise locations were around 40,000 square feet (about the same size as an older Publix store or Whole Foods), the new Greenwise stores top out around 25,000 square feet, just a little over half the size of the originals (and more in line with the size of a Lucky's). With these new Greenwise stores about the same size as a Lucky's, it makes sense that Publix bought 5 former Lucky's locations during the company's bankruptcy auction in March 2020 (all of which will most likely become new Greenwise stores).


     The largest department at these new Greenwise stores (and the store's specialty) is the "Eats" department. "Eats" is the name given to the large prepared foods department, and the department is broken up into two parts: the island, which contains the majority of the ready-to-eat options, and the counter in the back, which is set up like a traditional deli counter.


     Some produce coolers wrap along the side wall, with the Eats island forming a small aisle between the two.


     The Eats island was broken up into various food stations, each one labeled on a hanging sign. The food stations located within the island included burritos and burrito bowls, Asian foods and sushi, pasta, and pizza. While this store is much smaller than the original Greenwise, the prepared foods selection was much more extensive. The right side of the Eats island is pictured here, home to the burrito station (set up in a build-your-own burrito fashion like Chipotle).


     We'll get back to the Eats island in just a moment, but first, a diversion to the Eats counter located along the store's back wall. Pictured here is the far right side of the Eats counter, home to the gourmet popcorn station (my first time seeing something like this in a supermarket, although I've heard about these elsewhere before).


      While the average Publix deli offers fresh made butter popcorn, packaged in a giant bag for $1.99, Greenwise takes that concept to a whole new level. Popcorn gets is own counter here, with a variety of flavors offered (including cheese, caramel, and some others I don't remember), popped and packaged throughout the day.


     Next to the popcorn station was the sandwich station, which I didn't get a closeup photo of (as I was more mesmerized by the popcorn station). The Greenwise sub station is basically the same concept as the normal Pub Sub station, but with fancier options (like Boar's Head Ham and Brie Baguette and Turkey Pesto Foccacia).


     The left side of the Eats counter was more or less your typical deli counter, featuring the usual sliced meats as well as some pre-made salads and entrees. I also like the effect of the floating words located under each of the departments here.


     Between the Eats island and the Eats counter was the store's selection of baked goods. A lot of the baked goods were set up in self serve cases like the one pictured here, but there were also a few tables of pre-packaged baked goods as well. In addition to the baked goods, some grab and go cases of snacks and drinks were located on the back of the Eats island, located just out of frame to my left.


     Some more baked goods for your viewing pleasure (and I sincerely apologize if you're reading this post before you've eaten dinner!).


     A large double-wide aisle occupies the space between the Eats island and the main grocery aisles. In the center of this aisle are the fresh food bars, including a salad bar and hot foods bar (which included chicken wings and some other meats).


     Returning to the Eats island, here's a look at the pizza station located on the island's left side.


     There's no shortage of dinner options here!


     Here's one last look from the Eats department, looking back toward the main entrance and Pours. While Eats was a large chunk of what this store is all about, there's still more for us to see as we jump into the grocery aisles...


     Well, there's more to see beyond this crowd, anyway. The check lanes and grocery aisles are in this photo somewhere!


     While the front of the store was a bit hectic, jumping to the back of the store is proving to be a calmer experience right now. The back wall of the store was home to dairy products, with the "Cuts" department located in the background.


     Aisle 1 is located immediately beyond the Eats double-wide aisle, and is home to the bulk food section.


     Poking out into the front of the store, it's a little less chaotic now, so here's a better look across the store's front end.


     Jumping back into the grocery aisles, we find ourselves in aisle 2. Interestingly, new Greenwise uses a flat style of aisle marker, rather than a tri-sided one like a normal Publix (or original Greenwise). A neat touch to these aisle markers is that the number itself is made up of a picture of food (for example, the '2' here is made up of Cheerios Greenwise Organic Toasted Oats, which coincidentally happen to be located in this aisle too).


     This store is much wider than it is deep, so the grocery aisles are rather short. What you see here is the average length of the grocery aisles.


     Unlike the original Greenwise, which carried a mix of organic products and regular groceries, the new Greenwise store is almost strictly organics. The vast majority of products are Greenwise brand, but other major local and national organic brands can be found here.


     The back left corner of the store is home to "Cuts", which is the meat department. In addition to the usual meat and seafood cuts, the Cuts department also featured fresh made sausages and in-store seasoned and sliced bacon.


     Frozen foods can be found in aisle 6, with frozen carrying over into aisle 7 as well.


     Alcoholic and non-alcoholic bubbly could be found in aisle 8...


      ...with more alcohol to be found in the store's last aisle, aisle 9. Beer coolers take up the store's left side wall, with more wine to my left. A word collage fills up the wall above the coolers.containing adjectives that describe the products and departments throughout the store.


     Leaving aisle 9, what do we find but the "Finds" department. While the name "Finds" seems to suggest surprise deals or other random limited time products that Greenwise found (like Aldi does with their 'Aldi Finds'), that's not what Greenwise is going for with this department. Instead, Finds is the specialty "foods of the world" department, where one is to 'find' themselves new exotic cheeses, wines, or other specialty items to excite the taste buds and discover new products from around the world. The beer and wine department we just saw is officially a part of the Finds department, in addition to the specialty cheese counter located under the sign, and the olive bar in front.


     Here's a look at the olive bar, with some refrigerated charcuterie meats in the case behind it. You know a department has a little bit of class to it when the word 'charcuterie' is used to describe the sliced deli meat!


     The last department we've yet to explore at new Greenwise is "Care", which is located between Finds and the front check lanes. Care, as the name would suggest, is the health and beauty department, featuring a wide selection of vitamins, supplements, aromatherapy products, and natural personal care items.


     The Care department featured a few short aisles of products like this which ran perpendicular to the main grocery aisles, much like the pharmaceutical aisles at a normal modern Publix.


     Some table displays of items from the Care department spilled out into the main aisle, like the one with the decorative soaps seen here.


     Now that we've seen the Care department, the front end lies straight ahead, beyond the display of Corona (how fitting for these times...)


     This store had 6 staffed check lanes, located in an island setup after the Care department. Beyond those lanes were the self checkouts.


     Six self-checkouts in total here, with the Pours department peeking out in the background.


     Lastly from within the new Greenwise store was this neat piece of local flare artwork. Located in front of the check lanes, this painting was commissioned by Publix to a pair of local artists, Bump Galleta and Fred Koehler, and is titled "Lakeland on the Move". The painting featured a compilation of local Lakeland landmarks, including Southgate Shopping Center, Hollis Garden, downtown Lakeland, the city's many namesake lakes, the Publix birthday cake water tower, and even this thing (which I have seen light up at night, and does look really cool)! These Greenwise paintings are a nod to the Publix tile murals of yore, according to this article about the Lakeland painting. That article goes into much more detail about the painting, and has a much better, higher resolution image of it for you to view (as my photo cut off pieces of the edges). This painting is such a neat nod to Lakeland, and an awesome piece of local flare! Every new Greenwise store gets a special painting commissioned by a local artist to be featured at the front of the store. However, Publix doesn't seem to have any guidelines as to what the paintings need to feature, as some Greenwise stores have much more abstract pieces than this (that link featuring the painting at the Tallahassee Greenwise store).


     Stepping back outside, here's another look at the store's exterior. However, we're not done with this place yet, as we still need to take a quick peek at the outdoor seating area:


     The outdoor seating area took up a large covered space along the right side of the building. In the seating area were some regular tables for eating lunch, and a more lounge-like area (pictured here) for kicking back, sipping some coffee, and maybe working on some schoolwork.


     Turning away from the comfortable couches, here's a look toward the dining area.


     For a fun touch, the outdoor seating area also had a cornhole game set up out front, the game boards custom designed with the Greenwise logo. The little girl in the picture was using that cornhole board as a slide, which I guess put this to some kind of use.


     Leaving the main store behind, we'll take a quick look at the small shopping center attached to the new Greenwise. Like many new-build Publix stores, the new Lakeland Greenwise Market has an attached liquor store in a neighboring storefront. The liquor store is just a generic Publix liquor store, and has no ties to the Greenwise concept at all. I don't know if liquor stores will be a common feature at Greenwise stores going forward, or if the liquor store here in Lakeland was opened to make up for the regular Publix across the street not having one.


     In addition to the liquor store and a few other small storefronts, Greenwise Market will co-tenant the Shoppes of Lake Miriam Crossing with HomeGoods, pictured here. During my visit, the HomeGoods store still had a ways to go with the construction, with the interior build-out still in the process. The new HomeGoods, Polk County's first, was planned to open in early 2020, but it appears that opening date was pushed back due to the coronavirus.


     And there you have it everyone - the new Greenwise Market! It's quite clear that the new Greenwise was designed to go after Lucky's, although as it worked out, Publix didn't have to put in any effort to scare off their rapidly expanding competitor. Lucky's caused their own demise in the end. From the looks of it, Publix seems committed to the Greenwise revival, with six confirmed new Greenwise stores planned to open by 2021 (and that's not counting the locations Publix bought from Lucky's during their bankruptcy). The laid-back approach to organics has merit to it, and Publix is the type of company that will a do a good job of running these stores and perfecting the format. Publix also has deep pockets to fund these new stores, something that Lucky's lacked, which helps too.


     Since the Lakeland Greenwise Market store is so new (as of the original writing of this post), there aren't any satellite images of it available yet (at least from what I saw in my usual sources of satellite imagery). The above photo shows the location of the new Greenwise Market on top of the Kmart building it replaced, relative to the Publix across the street that I mentioned a few times in this post. At least in this situation, Greenwise and Publix are two different concepts, so having these stores so close together makes sense (unlike the usual occurrence of two normal Publix stores across the street from each other). The Publix across the street from the new Greenwise, store #356, has a bit of backstory to it. It's a really strange Publix in terms of layout, and appears to be a high volume test location for projects Publix is experimenting on. I have Publix #356 photographed, with those pictures coming to one of my blogs eventually.


     While the new Greenwise store sits on the site of a demolished Kmart, one rather obvious relic was left behind from the property's former tenant. Greenwise's road sign on S. Florida Avenue reuses the distinctly 90's Kmart sign frame, the Kmart sign removed to feature the logos of Greenwise (and eventually) HomeGoods.


     While on the topic of Kmart, here's a look back in time at the store that once stood here. This was one of Kmart's nicer stores, this location getting a decent remodel after spending 6 years as a Sears Essentials store in the late 2000's. However, for more on the Kmart that once stood here, all the details about this place can be found in my post here.

     Kmart aside, that completes our look at the Greenwise stores of past and present. Hopefully the revived Greenwise store fares better than some of its competitors have, but Greenwise does have the advantage of being owned by Publix to keep it around for many years to come. As we saw, old Greenwise and new Greenwise are two very different concepts, but out of curiosity, which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

     Anyway, that's all I have for now. More Albertsons coming up next time, so be sure to come back in two weeks for that! So until then,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

18 comments:

  1. The Publix Liquors location attached to GreenWise Market #1659 is connected to Publix #356. Another liquor store is adjacent to Publix #356.

    Publix does not have separate location numbers for liquor stores as Winn-Dixie does.

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    1. That's what I figured. Considering store #356 has almost every other feature Publix offers, it makes sense they would try to tie in a liquor store to the place somehow.

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  2. That mural is awesome! Besides the local flair element of it, and the fact that it is meant to pay tribute to the tile murals of Publixes past, I honestly really like the drawing style and sparse, but effective, use of color. It's great that the artists are allowed to sell prints of it, too. If I were a Lakeland resident, I'd definitely buy one!

    Oh, and I guess the store itself is okay, too :P I'm joking, but to answer your question, I do think I prefer the original Greenwise more than this one. This one is nice and all, but I think I just like the décor and atmosphere at the old version better. It felt more welcoming, to me. Granted, it's not fair to judge on décor alone, and this particular décor is simply modern -- maybe I'll like it better when it, too, goes out of style, haha! All that said, though, I'm not an organic store shopper by any means, so my opinion doesn't really matter either way when it comes to these concepts XD

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    1. That mural was my favorite part of the whole store! I like how it incorporated so much of what makes Lakeland unique, even down to the funky rotating light at the car dealership. Something like this should be included at the regular Publix stores too, as it's a simple way to incorporate local flair and local art. If I lived in Lakeland, I'd probably have one of these hanging on my wall too :)

      The decor at the original Greenwise was definitely classic Publix in every way. I'm not much of an organic shopper myself, but I've always preferred the feel of organic stores like Lucky's and new Greenwise compared to places like Whole Foods. While I like the feel of the new store, the original certainly had its charm.

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  3. A Publix (well, Greenwise) built across the street from a Publix? Welcome to Florida I suppose. Comedian Lewis Black did a famous skit about 20 years ago about a Starbucks which operated right across the street from another Starbucks which were both within Houston's famous River Oaks Shopping Center. The two Starbucks were kind of a local tourist attraction because of Lewis Black, but new news reports came out last week that one of the Starbucks has closed for good. What Lewis Black didn't realize is that one of the Starbucks he saw, the one which is still open, is right next to a Barnes & Noble which serves Starbucks in their cafe! Anyway, even without knowing that, Lewis Black called the Starbucks situation "The End of the Universe." I wonder what that makes Lakeland!

    Of course, Greenwise does sell somewhat different products than a regular Publix and presumable serves a different demographic. Still, one has to think that ultimately the Greenwise shoppers will mostly be Publix shoppers and so the Greenwise will steal sales away from the main store. Will this new store generate enough sales of higher profit margin items to justify the operating expense of operating two stores right across the street from one another? Or is this simply a ploy to keep potential competitors away from Florida?

    As for the Greenwise store itself, while browsing your photos of the place, I started to check my computer's monitor cables to make sure they had not become loose because it looked like everything was showing up in black & white. It turns it out wasn't the monitor that was the problem. Nope, it's really the store that is in black & white (and other grayscale colors). Even the woodgrain trim seen around the store has a bit of a washed out tone. Personally, I think this is rather ugly, or boring at least, but I suppose Wal-Mart has the black-and-white look these days as well so some people think it is a good idea.

    The brick work on the outside (and a little bit on the inside) of this Greenwise store looks like something from the 1960s or so. It's a little surprising to see that on new construction, but I suppose it's just part of the fake loft look which has been trendy for too long now. Perhaps that look was done intentionally for a throwback look of sorts, but it's really more of a fauxback than a throwback.

    I wonder why only the frozen food half of aisle 6 has anything marked on the overhead sign board. That's a bit odd.

    Okay, so I've mostly been negative about this store. I do like the wood design on the outdoor entryway of the store. It's not the most original thing around as that look has been trendy for a while now, but it looks pretty good. I won't complain about that.

    On the topic of former Kmarts and things being right across the street from one another, the industrial suburb town of Texas City in the Houston metro area once had a dead Kmart right across the street from a dead Kmart. Kmart 1 was built by Kmart, but they left that building in around 1997 to move into the bigger former Woolco/Wal-Mart/Bud's/Venture building across the street. Yes, you read that correctly, one building once housed four major national discount stores during about a 35 year stretch with Woolco, Wal-Mart, Venture, and Kmart. Bud's was a short-lived clearance store concept that Wal-Mart briefly had which they opened in old relocated Wal-Mart locations and they mostly sold returns and items which didn't sell at Wal-Mart and Sam's. Kmart 1, which was torn down a couple years back for a new HEB supermarket, once had an Albertsons in the neighboring shopping center. The Albertsons used to be a Randall's, but that was long before Albertsons owned Randall's.

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    1. In many of Florida's urban areas, it's common to see traditional Publix stores within a mile of each other, if not directly across the street from one another! At least here Publix and Greenwise are serving two different kinds of shoppers and offering different products, so the situation is slightly more justifiable. Publix hasn't gotten to the Starbucks point yet, but they're getting close to it! With that Starbucks gone, I wonder if the end of the universe has now moved to St. Petersburg: https://www.google.com/maps/@27.80624,-82.6376669,347m/data=!3m1!1e3

      Publix is no stranger to operating stores so close together. I don't know how they justify it, unless their sales are just that strong in some areas where a relief store is needed. I also think Publix building stores so close together in Florida could also be a way for them to flaunt their power here too.

      Black and white/gray tones are the latest design trend in retail. Walmart, Target, Publix, and other regional supermarkets are following the trend. Sometimes the gray tones look nice, sometimes they look a bit boring, but it's all about the execution. The Greenwise decor is a bit more exciting than some other gray tone decor packages out there these days, as Publix did try to add a little detail to it.

      I don't know what happened in aisle 6 either, unless some of the placards went missing as the store was being set (or the aisle was reset at the last minute, and no one bothered to put up new ones).

      That's interesting so many big discounters had a go in that one building. If only Target could have gotten that property before HEB, then everyone could have been represented there!

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    2. My apologies, this will be a long-winded two part post. Part I:

      We need to send Lewis Black to St. Pete. The Publix more or less across the street from the other Publix will probably blow his mind even more than the end of the universe Starbucks situation at the River Oaks Shopping Center in Houston. Speaking of the River Oaks Shopping Center, it had at least four Starbucks when they were all open. The two across the street from one another, the Barnes & Noble next to one of those, and then a Starbucks in the Kroger in the shopping center. At least the Kroger was on the other end of the shopping center. That Kroger has fancy and somewhat unique lighting on the storefront sign. Retail Retell might be interested in looking at that.

      As for those St. Pete Publix locations, I'd probably pick the location to the west, the '4th Street Station' one, over the 'Northeast Park' one. The partial drop ceiling gives the store a cozier, less industrial look which I prefer. The 'Northeast Park' location doesn't look horrible all things considered though and it's an upgrade over the typical HEB in Houston. Both stores has a 4.5 Google user rating so perhaps Publix does have some level of consistency in their store management. I find it very odd that most Google reviews I read at both these locations do not mention that there is another Publix right down the street. A lot of Houston grocery store reviews are full of comparisons to other stores within a chain in the area and those stores being compared aren't nearly as close. I'm not sure what to make of that. Given how busier the parking lots are in the Google aerial photo, it's entirely possible that the two stores serve as relievers for one another. The nearby Winn-Dixie on MLK & 34th N. has a quieter parking lot, but I don't think anyone will be shocked about that.

      I do wonder how many Greenwise shoppers wouldn't be Publix shoppers if Greenwise didn't exist. I don't know about Publix specifically, but most larger grocery stores here in Houston do stock the most popular organic items. Good for Publix if they can make Greenwise work for them though. I'm sure their SKUs have higher profit margins than the SKUs at normal Publix stores. If nothing else, the sales data from those stores might show which organic items are the best sellers and then Publix can put those in their regular stores where there aren't Greenwise locations.

      The only so-called organic grocer which has gained wide scale traction so far in Houston is Sprouts, but Sprouts also sells non-organic produce, prices them competitively, and advertises them as aggressively as other grocers advertise their sales. Thus, I suspect some percentage of Sprouts shoppers are really just people looking for normal produce at sale prices. I know I am one of those shoppers. I also prefer the more farmer market look of our Sprouts stores which are a few years old now compared to the 'decommissioned factory' look of this Greenwise, but I think I saw on this blog or MFR that Sprouts has a new design for their newer stores at least.

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    3. Part II (the part which has nothing to do with Florida and only a little about Albertsons):

      The new HEB in Texas City actually sits on the site of the original Kmart building in the shopping center which once had Randall's and Albertsons (the ex-Albertsons was just redeveloped into an Aldi about a year ago after being a Goodwill for quite some time). The former Woolco/Wal-Mart/Bud's/Venture/Kmart building was turned into professional offices for BP and then later for Marathon Petroleum. Marathon closed that facility about 4-5 years ago and the building has recently been redeveloped into a Conn's Home Plus (I'm not sure if you have those in Florida, it's a furniture/electronics store chain from this region which now mostly caters to those with credit difficulties since they have their own credit arm), Harbor Freight Tools, and a Planet Fitness gym. There is also a Kroger in that shopping center which started out as a Greenhouse style Kroger, but it got a facade renovation some years back to remove the Greenhouse. It still has a Greenhouse style layout on the inside though. That's certainly my pick between it, HEB, and Aldi, but it is probably the most expensive pick.

      It's a shame that building was never a Target or Globe, Walgreen's attempt at a Kmart-like discount store chain that we had here in Houston many years (decades) ago. I wonder if there has ever been a building that has housed Kmart, Target, and Wal-Mart at varying times. There is a Target here in Houston in a former 1990s Venture/Kmart building in Meyerland Plaza, but Target wisely stripped all Kmart/Venture aspects from that busy location. There is a Wal-Mart near there which is a rare non-Supercenter. Not far from there, Kmart briefly opened a location in an old early 1980s Target. I didn't even know it existed so I never visited it, but there was a photo of it on Flickr before the great photo purge of a couple years ago when Flickr was pushing subscriptions. It looked like Kmart kept all the Targetness of the building (without the Target levels of upkeep I'm sure), but I don't know for sure.

      Back to the topic of the Texas City Albertsons for a second, that store was noteworthy locally for a couple of reasons. Perhaps the most notable thing is that it was the first location Albertsons closed in Houston. That was in September 2000 when they were still opening new stores here in the Houston area. The closure of the Texas City store was just a harbinger of things to come as Albertsons was completely out of the Houston market just two-three years later. Also, not too many Albertsons stores in the Houston area were in buildings built by other grocers, but Albertsons did get a few locations from Randall's. This was obviously years before Albertsons got their hands on the Randall's chain.

      I'll post links to the newspaper articles about Albertsons acquisition and closure of the Texas City location in case anyone has interest in what Albertsons was up to 20-25 years ago.

      Opening - https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/1997/11/24/story7.html
      Closing - https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2000/09/11/newscolumn5.html

      Texas City did catch some fame due to the Mall of the Mainland. The Mall of the Mainland was an indoor mall built in the early 1990s by infamous dead mall architect Edward DeBartolo that was basically a dead mall even when it opened. It had Sears, JCPenney, Dillard's, and Foley's/Macy's, but that wasn't enough to attract other stores or shoppers. The mall operators had to resort to painting fake storefronts on spots for stores that never opened. The mall operators even had the audacity, or desperation really, to paint a postcard on a never-opened storefront with text written by a fake shopper saying how much there is to do at the mall and how great the mall is. Lewis Black would only have to worry about fake Starbucks at the Mall of the Mainland.

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    4. The 4th Street Station Publix was actually built on top of a former Albertsons store, which Publix took over in 2008. Publix operated out of the original Albertsons building for a few years before deciding to start from scratch with a fancy new store. I read once (don't remember where) a little story about those two Publix stores across the street from each other in St. Pete. Since those two stores are so close to each other, if one store runs out of a product and a customer complains, Publix will send an employee across the street to get the product from the other store to appease the customer. Still, I find it strange seeing two of the same store so close together. I rarely see comparisons between stores in reviews around here, so that must be a regional difference of some kind.

      I'd say most Greenwise shoppers were already Publix shoppers, with Greenwise shoppers being a smaller subset of everyone who already shops at the main stores. Greenwise stores are only popping up in areas already with a Publix store nearby, if not across the street. Greenwise is far enough different from a traditional Publix to not cannibalize the main stores. With much of Greenwise's focus on prepared foods, that stuff is one of the higher margin products in the grocery industry (and can be very profitable as long as its constantly moving and not sitting out spoiling).

      Sprouts was a pretty good store, although I've only shopped there a handful of times (as I don't live very close to one). One of the things I liked about Lucky's was they also carried non-organic produce and priced it competitively. For a while I was buying most of my produce from Lucky's because of that. I like how Sprouts is trying to appeal to all shoppers, and not just ones looking to live the organic lifestyle. Yes, that was on AFB where you saw the new Sprouts prototype (in Oviedo), which I blogged about last fall. The older Sprouts stores have a more quaint feel to them, but their modern prototype isn't bad either.

      Conn's Home Plus just recently expanded into Florida, building a new warehouse in Lakeland, and opening their first official store in Orlando sometime later this year. I can't think of any American examples, but in Canada there were a few examples of buildings that went from Kmart to Zellers to Target to Walmart. Every Kmart to Target conversion I've seen involved a very thorough remodel, but that would have been very interesting to see the Target that became Kmart! (I'm sure that was a rare, if not one-of-a-kind conversion!).

      Albertsons had a lot of crash-and-burn stores throughout the 1990's and early 2000's when the company was busy expanding everywhere they possibly could. Like Texas City, Callaway, FL had an Albertsons that only lasted from 1997-2000, although Albertsons was able to hold on longer in Florida than Houston after those early 2000's closures. Albertsons eve had a handful of stores that lasted barely a year, but they were willing to drop stores anywhere at the time (especially in Houston).

      That's also a crazy story about the Mall of the Mainland. That's a very desperate move to paint fake storefronts on the empty tenant holes to make the place look better. I just searched Mall of the Mainland, and I'm really surprised the place is still open (especially after hearing the mall never got off to a good start). It looks like someone is trying to operate the mall as a non-traditional mix of retail, entertainment, and office space, but it's still a mall nonetheless. Crazy.

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    5. That's interesting about Publix employees going from one store to another to pick up out of stock items for customers. I wonder if Publix keeps a van for such purposes or if employees are expected to walk between the stores. Here in Texas at least, there is a stereotype that everyone in Florida has a golf cart. Maybe Publix has a golf cart. Or maybe not. A lot of people have a stereotype about Texans that we all ride horses everywhere and that's most certainly not true!

      Oh, yes, I know about short-lived Albertsons locations. What was originally the local Albertsons to me was built by Albertsons in around 1995 and then closed in 2000 to move a mile or two away in a location that was even closer to me. That second location was also built by Albertsons. It was one of those fancier locations with the hardwood floors and the very thematic department signs. Well, that location only lasted until the time that Albertsons pulled the plug on Houston in around 2002 and sold that location to Kroger.

      That second location, the one that lasted from 2000-2002, is somewhat famous in that it had the Albertsons Garden Center in it that Kroger did not reuse. Another blog did an article about this location in 2015 and I see that you made a comment in there about the signage at that Kroger. I can say that Kroger did update the signage there about 7-8 months ago. Oddly enough, they put their old logo on there just before they changed their logo. Odd, but that's not the oddest thing that location has seen I suppose. Also, the blogger who wrote that didn't really describe the garden center accurately I would say. He photographed the outdoor part of the garden center, but there was an indoor part too. It was kind of like a Kmart Garden Center in that regard. I suppose the Albertsons Garden Center was a nice try, but it's safe to say that it didn't work. I did buy something from the Albertsons Garden Center though so at least there's that!

      Here's the link to that blog post: http://safewayalbertsonstexas.blogspot.com/2015/04/lets-go-krogering-at-former-houston.html
      And here's the updated signage: https://goo.gl/maps/SDhQcBsHJ3cDVSj48

      That Albertsons lasted longer than the Eckerd across the street did! Eckerd was building that location when they sold this region to CVS. Since CVS already had a store nearby, neither CVS or Eckerd actually moved into the building they were putting up. There was another new Eckerd nearby that was only an Eckerd for about two weeks before it got converted into a CVS.

      Yeah, the Mall of the Mainland is a very strange situation. The mall closed for 2014 and we all thought it was closed for good at that point. They were trying to sell the whole mall property for $6 million and nobody was buying it. A local developer named Jerome Karam purchased the mall and did some unorthodox things to it. He converted the ex-Macy's into a nice gym, office space, and he moved the Palais Royal (which stayed open after the mall closed) into the ex-Macy's. The former Palais Royal was turned into a wrestling studio where supposedly they film wrestling for a local TV show. The ex-JCPenney was turned into self storage. The ex-Dillard's was turned into a Baptist church. Part of the mall corridor was turned into the largest indoor trampoline park in Texas or something like that. Cinemark has maintained a theater at the mall, but it's a discount theater. They have current movies for like $2-3, but the seating and A/V equipment are from the 1990s. Karam wanted to turn another mall corridor into a restaurant row, but only one restaurant has opened in the mall since the redevelopment. For a while, every anchor spot miraculously got filled with something, but now in recent times Sears has closed and Palais Royal/Gordmans (Stage) will likely be liquidated with the rest of the chain. If the FTC ever questions if Publix has a monopoly in Florida, perhaps Publix can paint some fake competitor storefronts.

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  4. The store itself is attractive, but I agree with another comment that it is less colorful than the previous Greenwise concept. I like the patio seating and the store seems well laid out (without having seen it in person). The department signage is not bad, but I'm not fond of names like Eats, Pours, Cuts, and Finds. I'm sure they're going trendy, but it seems like they're trying too hard. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I hope at some point in the future the departments get proper names.

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    1. The original Greenwise decor was certainly tied in with classic Publix (and quite detailed), but the new version is still nice. Greenwise is certainly trying to be trendy, especially with the current gray tones and the way they did the department names. I'm not crazy over the department naming scheme either, but the store itself came together well. Publix did a good job with the new concept.

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  5. wow that green wise market does remind me of a luckys. The problem with luckys is they would have meet and chicken on sale and never have any when we went to purchase.
    That burns seeing the Kmart pictures because I used to stop at that kmart when I was in Lakeland
    That's a pretty big publix across the street. I am surprised publix built the green wise market there

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    1. Greenwise is basically a copy of Lucky's, and former Lucky's shoppers will definitely take well to Greenwise because of that (and with Lucky's gone, I think Greenwise will catch on even better now). I was only ever in that Kmart once during the liquidation, but from what I could tell, it was a nice Kmart. The fact it was a newer store with a recent remodel really helped the look of that place, but as we all know, Kmart can't have nice things...

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  6. Well, now this is a nice store! With the wiping-out of Earth Fare and Lucky's Market, it seems to me that Publix was just doing their do diligence of keeping ahead of the competition, but they may have done this too late, as the organic chains bubble appears to have popped. Then again, I could be completely wrong. I still think store #680 in Gainesville would be a good candidate for such a store like this. However, since this new store is about 25,000 square feet, as Publix is trying to be more in line with Lucky's size, store #680 would even be too big for this new concept. I agree with Ross above the department names. They come off a little silly to me, but hey, at least they're trying something new.

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    1. Even with the stunning implosions of Earth Fare and Lucky's, I think Publix can still do well with Greenwise. The fact that Greenwise is essentially based off of Lucky's will help with winning over former Lucky's shoppers, and less competition will help too (and we all know that Publix loves having little competition!) When original Greenwise was still around some recently relocated Publix stores were rumored to become Greenwises, but all of those were canceled with Publix killed off the original concept. It would probably be a long shot for #680 to become a Greenwise, but having a Greenwise there would make more sense than having two regular Publix stores next to each other.

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  7. Awesome tour all around! I feel they've improved with the decor this time, and overall - it does provide an environment cozier than Whole Foods and the like. Though I will miss that Kmart too!

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    1. Thanks! Publix pulled off a nice concept with new Greenwise, and I think it will do well, even with all the shakeup in the organic grocery market recently.

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