Albertsons #4445 / Super Saver #1535
14939 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL - Florida Crossing Shopping Center
With Publix's 90th birthday and the first installment of Life after Lucky's behind us, I feel we're caught up enough on the current events to head out on the road and scope out another former Floridian Albertsons store. On the northern fringes of the city of Tampa we find this store, former Albertsons #4445, a rather short lived late 90's location. Lasting only 7 years as an Albertsons, this wasn't even Albertsons' worst example of a store crashing and burning quickly in Hillsborough County, as the county had two stores that barely cracked a year in business! Albertsons' success in the immediate Tampa area was a bit spotty, with store #4445 unfortunately falling into the less-than-successful category.
Albertsons #4445 opened in 1997 on the site of an abandoned Kash n' Karry, and was a fairly standard store for the time (essentially an exact copy of this location, but flipped). Not much changed here until 2005, when this store was included as part of the 11 under-performing Albertsons locations to convert to the company's new discount banner: Super Saver. (Fun fact: this was the newest of Albertsons' stores to make the switch to the new brand). Speaking of Super Saver, look what I have here:
YonWooRetail2 was able to dig up some photos of this store from newspapers.com, specifically from its short-lived Super Saver days (I couldn't find any photos of this store as an Albertsons though). Photos of the mid-2000's Super Saver concept are rare enough to begin with, so I won't complain!
While there weren't any overviews of the interior of the Tampa Super Saver, we do get a few small glimpses from inside the store in these few photos. The photo above shows us some of the price tags (featuring Super Saver's smiling shopping cart mascot), with the photo below giving us a quick glimpse of the front end. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but from what I vaguely remember from my few times in Super Saver, the store had green warehouse shelving racks and yellow plastic aisle markers with the shopping cart mascot on them. Unfortunately, I don't remember much else than that, besides a lot of other Albertsons fixtures (like the check stands and shopping carts) being reused for Super Saver. In the above photo with the aisle shot, you can see the store's original Blue and Gray Market decor tile pattern remained after the conversion. These conversions weren't big budget, which would probably be expected for a discount store rebranding.
Like all the other Floridian Super Saver stores, this one closed with the rest in 2006 after Albertsons was split between Cerberus Capital Management and SuperValu. After Super Saver closed, the building sat vacant for a year until Ross Dress for Less popped up in the building's left side in 2008, accompanied by Ross's sister store dd's discounts in the right half of the building. dd's didn't last long, and their half of the building would become home to Aldi in 2009.
What's so intriguing about this building in its post-Albertsons life is how Albertsons' facade remains completely in-tact even after the subdivision - especially when neither tenant has any use for the old facade. Ross and Aldi both carved out their own entrances from the Albertsons building, leaving the old Albertsons facade as an oddly placed decorative feature these days. But as we all know, this isn't the weirdest example of a supermarket subdivision we've stumbled across before.
Albertsons' main entryway would have been located under the grand arch seen here, which now leads to a wall. Besides some new paint, no modifications were made to the arch since Super Saver closed, making for a weird effect. You still want to think this arch is the grand entrance to something, when really it isn't anymore.
While leaving all of Albertsons' facade in-tact, Aldi actually squeezed-in an arch of their own for their new main entrance, filling in a gap that used to exist between the entryway arch and the one for the liquor store.
Ross carved their entrance out of a blank wall, located in the area where Albertsons' pharmacy counter would have been.
Let's head inside Ross for a quick spin around the store...
As would be expected, neither Ross nor Aldi left anything from Albertsons inside either of their spaces. Both gutted and stripped the interiors to start new.
Ross occupies the portion of the building where Albertsons' meat and seafood counter, as well as the pharmacy, would have been located. What we see here looking toward the right side of Ross's sales floor would have been Albertsons' grocery aisles.
This photo gives us a pretty good overview of the store.
The old meat and seafood counter would have been located straight ahead of me in the back left corner.
Meat coolers have given way to framed art these days.
Here's the view down the left side of the sales floor, looking in the direction of the old pharmacy counter.
Now that we've seen the inside of Ross, let's make the short walk over to Aldi.
The front walkway is virtually unchanged from the days when Albertsons was here. The round lights on the canopy above are a very distinctive Albertsons remnant.
The pair of fire exits on my left marks where the split between Ross and Aldi happens. The door on the left belongs to Ross, while the one on the right is Aldi's.
Here we find ourselves under the grand arch, which isn't so grand anymore since it doesn't lead to much. Aldi bricked in Albertsons old entrance (which would have been to my left), and they did so pretty well, as you'd never know a set of doors were once located here.
Here's a better look at the location of Albertsons old entrance. If you look really, really close (right around the top of the short window by the front of the carts), you can see a subtle change in the way the blocks are aligned. Either that's our only faint clue as to what used to be here, or I've stared at this wall for too long trying to find something!
Aldi was the one who carved out all the windows you see along the front of the building. Albertsons would have only had the windows surrounding their entrance doors on these late 90's stores. Before we head into Aldi, here's another look at the old Albertsons facade, still weirdly in-tact to this day (and so painfully obvious that it's not fooling anyone!)
Aldi's entrance is carved into the front right corner of the building, opening into the space where Albertson's bakery would have been. The former liquor store entrance can also been seen just beyond Aldi's doors too, and we'll check that out in just a moment. But first, into Aldi we go...
This Aldi was remodeled into the company's latest prototype, which features a new layout with produce in the front, a larger product selection (coming from an increase in organic and natural products), and an overall classier feel. Even after these remodels, it's still the same Aldi we all know, just looking nicer now.
Looking down the right side of the store, we find ourselves in the area where Albertsons' bakery, deli, and produce departments were once located. This is the view looking straight down the aisle after entering the store. As you can tell, this was a busy place!
Aldi puts a lot of effort into their recent remodels, changing out just about everything in the process (which results in the store having to close completely for a few weeks, in many cases). Prior to the recent remodel, this store also had a drop ceiling, which was entirely ripped out. About the only original feature to have survived this store's remodel was the old yellow tile floors, a classic Aldi feature. Aldi uses plain polished concrete in their newest stores, so the floor is the one telltale sign this location is older than it appears to be.
Even prior to the recent remodel, Aldi left nothing behind from Albertsons in here, so we didn't miss out on anything.
Some coolers line the back of the store, much like Albertsons had.
Here's one last overview of the sales floor as we make our way back outside...
The very busy front end can be seen here.
Of course, I have to save the best part of this store for last. As we've seen time and time again, while the main store has been split up and rebuilt in the years after Albertsons' departure, the old attached liquor store sits chronically abandoned next door.
The attached liquor store hasn't seen a tenant since Super Saver's departure in 2006. For that reason, nearly 15 years later, the original Albertsons enter and exit decals remain on the doors, but better yet...
...the original Albertsons Blue and Gray Market decor lives on inside the liquor store too! While some of the decor got lopped off when the back coolers were removed (cutting straight through the letters too), we get our trusty little glimpse into the past here in North Tampa.
While there isn't any cold beer to find here anymore, there's no shortage of Albertsons remnants! I don't know what it is with these old liquor stores sitting chronically empty for so long, but they've sure come in handy to make my posts more interesting, and help me with figuring out what decor package the original stores ended their runs with. Considering how this store only lasted for 7 years, it's no surprise it retained its original decor from start to finish. With a 1997 opening, this would have been one of the last Albertsons stores to open with Blue and Gray Market, as Blue and Green Awnings would begin to take that decor package's place by 1998.
While this former Albertsons store has been subdivided and renovated through the years, there's still an intriguing number of remnants from this building's past life to see here in North Tampa. How the facade remained remarkably in-tact post-subdivision is quite impressive, and I'm surprised Aldi did so little to modify it, as it encompasses most of their space.
Anyway, to finish out this post, here's the usual run of satellite imagery, beginning with some Bird's Eye aerial images courtesy of Bing Maps:
And now for the historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth:
Former Albertsons #4445 - 2019
Former Albertsons #4445 - 2012
Former Albertsons #4445 - 2007 - The building was sitting vacant here after Super Saver's closure the year prior.
Super Saver #1535 - 2006
Albertsons #4445 - 2002
Albertsons #4445 - 1998 - The plaza was still fairly new when this image was captured.
Future Albertsons #4445 - 1995 - Here you can see the old Kash n' Karry building that once stood at this site. While the building looks long abandoned in the image, it appears this store only closed sometime around 1993 (the latest hit I get on this store doing a newspapers.com search). Kash n' Karry already had a larger store just down the road at N. Florida and Fletcher (an ex-Family Mart), so this much older location became rather redundant.
And there you have it everyone, the former North Florida Avenue Albertsons! Of course the tree has to block most of the original Albertsons facade in this overview shot, but trees just like to get in my way all the time!
So that's all I have for today's post. Two weeks from now will be the first part of a two part profile of one of Florida's many dearly departed grocery chains. It's a chain we've seen before on the blog, but I feel it's time we finally give this company the profile it deserves as we explore the two main concepts they produced over their 10 years in existence. It's going to be fun, so come back in two weeks for that!
Until the next post,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger