Sunday, November 7, 2021

Former Albertsons #4317 - Mobile, AL

Grand opening ad from the Mobile Register, January 26, 1977. Courtesy

Former Albertsons #4317
258 Azalea Road (4013 Airport Boulevard), Mobile, AL -- Azalea Center

     Hi everyone! Retail Retell here, proprietor of the Mid-South Retail Blog (and sometimes-contributor to this blog's sister project, My Florida Retail). Earlier this year, your very own Albertsons Florida Blogger was kind enough to help me out by guest-authoring a post on my blog while I was busy earning my professional credentials. To return the favor, today I am serving as your guest author here on the Albertsons Florida Blog, showcasing my recent visit to the former Mobile, Alabama, Albertsons.

     Albertsons opened its very first store in Alabama in the city of Mobile in 1977, while the chain was still partnered with Skaggs. The Alabama stores were considered part of the Florida Division of Albertsons, and Mobile likely made sense as a starting point because of the city's location along the Gulf Coast, just 30 miles or so from Alabama's border with the Florida panhandle. Over time, Albertsons expanded northward throughout the state of Alabama. However, compared to Florida, in Alabama Albertsons had a sparser footprint. This meant fewer stores spread farther apart, as can be seen in the map below:

Oh wait, that's a map of all of the Albertsons stores in Mississippi, the product of several weeks' worth of research conducted by AFB and myself a few years back! Silly me, how did that get there? ­čśä

Here's the actual Alabama map:

     As you can see, Albertsons' presence never really grew very much in Alabama. The chain wound up with only seven stores in the entire state, scattered about. Following the 1977 grand opening in Mobile, it took Albertsons three more years before materializing anywhere else in Alabama, with three new stores in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Dothan opening in 1980. Another in Montgomery and one in Huntsville opened in 1982, and the chain's final Alabama store was a second location in Huntsville, opened in 1983. 

     Just two short years after that, Albertsons called it quits in Alabama, selling all seven stores to Bruno's. This exit from Alabama was considerably early in comparison to Albertsons' large-scale exit from Florida, which wouldn't take place until 2008. As a matter of fact, Albertsons' stated reason for its retreat from Alabama was so that it could use the money gained from the sale to invest more in its stores in Florida and Texas, where business was better -- that's kind of ironic, in hindsight!

     The 1985 sale to Bruno's was seen as a major success to that Alabama-based legacy family-owned chain, which continued riding high in the immediate years to follow. Unfortunately, Bruno's fortunes took a sad turn in 1991, when the crash of the corporate jet took the lives of all nine people on board, the two pilots plus seven corporate executives with the chain. The Wikipedia article for Bruno's sums it up succinctly: "Following the crash, the company was never the same, and within four years, it was sold."

Ad from the Mobile Register, December 20, 1982. Courtesy Thanks to YonWooRetail2 for clipping and sharing these!

     Albertsons actually had several other dealings with Bruno's in the years that followed, including transactions in Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga, which have been covered previously on my blog. Likewise, information on the other six Alabama Albertsons stores has been shared before here on the Albertsons Florida Blog, most notably on the comprehensive store list but also in a series of two posts documenting both of the former Montgomery, AL, stores, with photos contributed by YonWooRetail2. But since the subject of this post is specifically the Mobile Albertsons, I'm going to leave it to all of those other resources to share the details of those other items; today, we focus on 258 Azalea Road.

     After the Mobile Albertsons was sold to Bruno's in 1985, Bruno's continued operating in the building until around 2004-2005. The store sat vacant for a few years after that, while being actively marketed for new tenants. Due to the unique positioning of the building at the southwest corner of a major intersection (pictured below), it is the north, or right-hand, side of the building that faces the main road, rather than the front -- and thus it is that same northern/right-side wall that was subdivided, so that the two primary new tenants could take advantage of the roadside visibility. I was unable to track down exact opening dates, but it seems like both of those tenants opened in short succession, sometime around 2010: Dollar Tree, and Haverty's Furniture. (An odd pairing for sure!)

Screengrab courtesy Google Maps

     Following a quick aerial view to help us get our bearings, we begin with this view of the north wall, facing Airport Boulevard, which is what the building considers its address today (as opposed to the cross-street of Azalea Road, where Albertsons and Bruno's both had their addresses). As you can see, the narrow side wall makes for a bit of an unusual conversion, not to mention the unconventional tenant duo here. The new fa├žades for both Haverty's and Dollar Tree certainly look nice, but the unfortunate downside to carving those new fa├žades out of the side of the building like this is that there are no former Albertsons traits to be had... and similarly, we'll soon find that the interiors of both stores were gutted as well.

     We'll explore the Dollar Tree half of the subdivision first. Of the 56,000-square-foot structure, Dollar Tree takes up approximately 10,000 square feet in what would have been considered the front right corner of the grocery store. AFB informs me that this area would likely have been home to the pharmacy counter and health and beauty department during the Albertsons days, as well as a side entrance to the building, perhaps where Dollar Tree's entrance is now -- although of course, Dollar Tree's entrance does not reuse any old doors that may have been left over from Albertsons. Unlike the Florida stores, there would not have been an Albertsons liquor store on this side of the building, as Alabama's liquor laws disallowed those.

     Inside, we find pretty standard Dollar Tree fare, up to and including the usual layout with seasonal goods on the right, as soon as you enter. One somewhat interesting layout feature to note is the center cut-through aisle, seen in the bottom image above, perhaps necessitated by the store's narrow width resulting in a deeper layout than normal.

     The back wall of the store has some refrigerated and frozen foods coolers, again standard fare for Dollar Tree these days. I'm not sure if they would have been here originally when the store opened circa 2010, however. Between this and the Dollar Tree pantry department, at least the building still sells a tiny bit of food!

     Walking down the left-side wall of Dollar Tree -- which would have been the front wall of Albertsons -- and circling back to the store's entrance. There is an emergency exit door on that left wall, which can be seen five images prior to the final one above. However, as best as I can tell, it doesn't actually open up to the outside of the building, so clearly there must be some stockroom space or other hallway/corridor of some sort hidden behind that Cleaning Supplies wall.

     Exiting Dollar Tree and entering Haverty's. If even Dollar Tree didn't have any Albertsons remnants, then certainly Haverty's would not. The construction on this space was pretty extensive, even raising the ceiling here at the front foyer area for a grand first impression! We can see that the lighting is entirely different from Dollar Tree, and it seems that the drop ceiling is higher, too. (On that note, it is technically possible that Dollar Tree's ceiling and lighting remain unchanged from Albertsons and Bruno's, but I doubt it.)

     Two pics looking toward the back of the store, one from the front entrance, the other from a spot already quite close to that Guest Services counter in the back right corner. Lots of nice-looking furniture in here! This was actually my first time in a Haverty's, so I enjoyed looking around. Even better, the salespeople were not pushy at all, and let my family and I look around in peace, which was very refreshing compared to the typical furniture store experience.

     This pic looks back toward the front entrance to Haverty's, while the shot below looks across to the salesfloor's right-side wall, which is in fact the rear of the building. Gotta love those fake TV sets that furniture stores use as decorations for staging! And sarcasm aside, I actually do love the elegant-looking divider walls and columns that Haverty's constructed to add some sophistication and division to its interior layout.

     Compared to Dollar Tree's 10,000 square feet, Haverty's takes up approximately 35,000 square feet of this 56,000-square-foot building: in other words, the majority of the space. As a result, it's probably fair to say that Haverty's salesfloor and backroom space spans all the way over to the opposite, left-side wall of the former grocery store. This would mean that the area now home to Haverty's would once have encompassed much of Albertsons' grocery aisles, its centrally-located frozen foods department, and the dairy, meat and seafood, and produce departments along the rear wall. (For a good visualization of all of this, be sure to check out this store's "number neighbor," store #4318, in Tampa.)

     In addition, a good chunk of space behind Albertsons' salesfloor between it and the rear wall would have been home to the stockroom, with mezzanine offices above: but we see that Haverty's clearly tore all of that out, as those windows straight ahead indicate that the other side of that wall is indeed the exterior of the building. So, lots of work was done in converting the space from its grocery use to Haverty's, for sure.

     One last shot from the interior of Haverty's shows us another angle on that grand front foyer area, with the curved, raised ceiling piece, complete with hanging chandelier-style light fixture, and the geometric-patterned windows comprising the main entrance, featuring some colored glass pieces to add some extra visual interest. This is absolutely a far cry from the dull-in-comparison Blue & Gray Market dairy d├ęcor that likely would have occupied this corner back in the Albertsons days! But still very fun to explore, nonetheless.

     Thankfully, as we exit Haverty's and round the corner to the front of the building (facing away from the main road, Airport Boulevard), the difficult task of making out former Albertsons features becomes less impossible, and more like child's play! (Get it? Because this portion of the building is now occupied by a pediatric hospital? Okay, fine, I'll leave the puns to AFB from now on.)

     Seriously though, over here at the true front of the building, we find the old Albertsons architecture virtually untouched, and easily recognizable. Quite the change of pace from the Dollar Tree/Haverty's side of the building.

     Infirmary Pediatrics leased what I presume is the final 8,200-square-foot chunk of space in 2015, and while they did seal up and plaster over most of Albertsons' original door and window configuration -- compare to YonWoo's screengrab here -- the overall architectural design, again, is mostly unaltered. 

     As we'll see down below, the hospital's use of plaster continued across to the panels adjacent to the entrance on the left half of the front wall of the building, meaning that all of the trademark river rock detailing on the structure was replaced... all, that is, except for a lone, singular set of panels along what serves as Dollar Tree's left-side wall, in the very front right corner of the building. Naturally, I couldn't resist getting a close-up of that! Forget my actual master's degree; as a student of UAF (that's University of Albertsons - Florida Campus, where we are all just pupils under chancellor AFB), capturing that middle view above felt like graduation day :)

     You can see better in these images that surviving section of river rock wall as discussed above, as well as the way Infirmary Pediatrics covered over Albertsons' old doorway setup and introduced their own. The parking lot, too, has been reconfigured somewhat here at the front entrance, in order to accommodate some handicap spaces. As a whole, though, the old Skaggs-Albertsons model still feels very much alive and well on this portion of the former Mobile store. 

     Some shots looking over toward the left half of the former front wall of the Albertsons store. Notice how Infirmary Pediatrics' sign is left-aligned along the main fa├žade piece, to coincide with the awning the hospital placed above their newly-located entry vestibule.

     That signboard you see outside of the front door informs us that the waiting room was still closed due to the pandemic. My visit to this former Albertsons was on June 3, 2021, while we were on vacation in nearby Fairhope, AL.

     While the original rough stucco goes nicely with its newer, smoother counterpart below, I have to admit I am rather surprised that the smooth version was continued all the way across to the left-hand wall of the building, which simply opens up into an access alleyway. I was fully expecting the old river rock to have been left alone over here... oh well.

     I should note that the stone detailing, carried over from the Dollar Tree and Haverty's side of the building, looks quite nice, too. And the trees in bloom as well as our angle up on a slight incline here certainly make the building look nice in this view.

     Heading out to the edge of the parking lot for a series of views looking at the front of the building, for yet more of that Albertsons architectural goodness. As part of occupying the last available section of square footage, Infirmary Pediatrics was stuck with converting some of the toughest areas of the store: the former deli and bakery service departments, as well as a majority of the front end. That said, being a hospital, everything would have had to have been gutted anyway, so I suppose it wouldn't have mattered which departments they were stuck with.

     (In other retail conversions -- for example, let's say a former Super Kmart -- you'll typically find that retailers will prefer to take over the general merchandise side before the grocery side, because there's less work involved due to less equipment having to be removed, etc. In a grocery store I imagine such hassles are spread pretty evenly across the entire building, but still, I'm sure some spaces are better to work with than others.)

     While it was not at all on our radar as part of our initial vacation plans, I was very excited to gain the opportunity to see a former Albertsons building of this iconic architectural style in person for the first time. Even better, this store was part of the Florida Division, which is what made this Albertsons Florida Blog post possible. As you can tell, I had a great time visiting here, and like AFB, I was clearly more than thorough in documenting the exterior of the store!

     The nature of the property layout meant that Infirmary Pediatrics, which presumably never has too awful many cars at a single time, was left with this enormous expanse of empty parking lot. But don't worry, I can top that: what if I told you that the *entirety* of the former Albertsons building was once overflow parking for the building next door?! While I didn't get any pictures of it (besides maybe the tiny sliver that can be seen in the image below), AFB informs me that that building was once home to Bellas-Hess, built in 1963 as one of the very early hypermarket concepts, spun out of an old catalog retailer. The company went out of business in 1971, so its Mobile store certainly didn't last very long, but it is still identifiable today by that funky grid-pattern roof. Neither AFB nor I had heard of Bellas-Hess before, but apparently they are rather famous in retail history, for the Supreme Court ruling which established the legal precedent that a business can only charge sales tax in a state where the business operates physically. Who knew! AFB was kind enough to share several links for those of you who may be interested in reading more about Bellas-Hess, so feel free to check those out here, here, and here.

     Last but not least where my photos of the property are concerned, above you'll find a view of the road sign facing Azalea Road -- notice how this one is a lot shorter than the one facing Airport Boulevard -- as well as some final, straight-on views of the former Albertsons/Bruno's storefront. I think it's amusing how you can see, at the far right edge of the fa├žade, the clear switchover to the fa├žade style that Dollar Tree and Haverty's use! Additionally, I'm very happy with how that last pic above turned out.

     We've now reached that point in the post where it's time to turn to some aerial imagery, first up from Bing Maps Bird's Eye View:

Left Side


Zoomed out on the front -- here you can see the old Bellas-Hess building next door.

Right Side

Back -- notice the windows along the wall, corresponding with those we saw inside Haverty's.

Next, some historic aerials courtesy of Google Earth:

Former Albertsons #4317 -- 2020

Former Albertsons #4317 -- 2016 -- Infirmary Pediatrics is new here.

Former Albertsons #4317 -- 2015 -- before work began on Infirmary Pediatrics. Note the old parking lot layout and the roof prior to its replacement.

Former Albertsons #4317 -- 2007 -- recently closed as Bruno's in this view. Before Dollar Tree and Haverty's moved in.

Former Albertsons #4317 -- 2002 -- Bruno's in full operation.

Finally, to go back even further in time, we must call on Historic Aerials:

Albertsons #4317 -- 1980 -- the only aerial view of Albertsons' short-lived tenure in Mobile.

Future Albertsons #4317 -- 1967 -- here we can see how the Albertsons was built on Bellas-Hess' overflow parking lot.

Future Albertsons #4317 -- 1955 -- no development yet along Azalea Road.

     As a bonus before concluding this post: I mentioned earlier how, after hightailing it out of Alabama in 1985 and selling all seven of their stores in the state to Bruno's, Albertsons would go on in later years to have several other transactions with Bruno's, often becoming the purchaser rather than the seller. Interestingly, around 1996 or 1997, Albertsons assigned a store number (#4453) to a new property in Mobile, located at the northeast corner of Moffett Road (US 98) and Schillinger Road (CR 31). 

     This property is located at the outskirts of the city, and seems like an odd site to select for a new store and attached shopping center, not to mention how odd it is in the first place that Albertsons would attempt to make a return to Alabama more than a decade after they had exited the state. After discussing it with AFB, he says the more he thinks about it, the more he's convinced that this mysterious second property in Mobile was simply the result of one of those transactions with Bruno's in the 1990s, with Bruno's lumping the unbuilt property in Mobile into a package deal alongside several other existing stores that Albertsons purchased from them. 

     Albertsons would go on to rid themselves of the property in 2002, and it would seem from the circumstances that nothing was ever intended to materialize from it... but the fact that Albertsons assigned a store number to it, rather than just sitting on the property until they were able to sell it off, implies that perhaps there was a little more to the story than meets the eye. Alas, whatever that story may be, it will have to remain a mystery, as no other information seems to exist regarding Albertsons' motives with that property.

The intersection of US 98 and CR 31 on the western edge of Mobile as it appears today. The northeast corner doesn't really look to have much room for an Albertsons and attached shopping center, so I'm not really sure how that would have looked had it ever come to fruition. Other corners of the intersection host a Walmart, Walgreens, and former discount store or supermarket now subdivided between AutoZone and Ollie's. 

     I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed visiting the store and writing about it. Even though it's located in Alabama, visiting a former Albertsons Florida Division store feels like checking off a bucket list item to retail fans like myself, so I'm thrilled to be able to say that I've had that experience. As a matter of fact, while on this same vacation, I almost ventured into Florida itself, where I would have stopped by a true-blue former Albertsons Express convenience store in Pensacola that I had set my sights on... but due to time and travel constraints, it had to be strictly one or the other, so I opted for Mobile, seeing as how there was another fun retail destination in town that would make missing out on the Pensacola opportunity more than worth it. That said, I think being able to shed some light on the more obscure Alabama operations of Albertsons' Florida Division was ultimately a more worthwhile outcome anyway; and as for that other store that I visited in Mobile, you can "expect more" from that to appear on my flickr photostream sometime in the future!

     Thanks for reading this installment of the Albertsons Florida Blog. Your normal blogger, AFB, will return in two weeks, with another former Albertsons store that will take the blog back into its familiar Floridian territory. So be sure to stick around for that; and for now, until the next post,

Retail Retell


  1. Wow, this is a great post from the Albertsons Alabama Blogger...or is that the Albertsons Mississippi Blogger? Lol, well, either way, it's a good post. Havertys is an interesting subject as they did once have a large presence in Houston. Well, I suppose that's not unlike Albertsons once having a large presence in Houston, but Havertys has been long-gone from the Houston market. To the best of my knowledge, Havertys was around in Houston from around 1961 to about 1981. Not unlike Albertsons yet again, Havertys has had more success elsewhere in Texas and I think they are still around in some parts of the state. They are long gone from Houston though and it's interesting to get a look inside one of their modern stores. For reasons that I can't fully explain, furniture retailers from the Southeast such as Heilig-Meyers, Havertys, and and Manguarians (I wonder if AFB knows anything about Manguarians as I believe they were from Florida) have tried the Houston market, but none of them managed to stick around for a long time.

    I'm glad your experience photographing the Havertys was positive. Photographing furniture stores can be tricky since salesmen are always lurking and keeping an eye on the shoppers. I'm hoping one of our intrepid Texas retail bloggers will visit the Nebraska Furniture Mart in The Colony, Texas (Dallas area) one day because that place is simply awesome from what I can tell. The store is 560,000 sq. ft.! They also have a full electronics department including some high-end Hi-Fi stuff! I can't blame our bloggers for being nervous about photographing that place as it might be a bit difficult.

    I didn't know about Bellas-Hess. That seems like a neat story. If nothing else, that is a neat roof!

    1. Thanks for the compliment, and ha, the title is only temporary, so call me whatever you want XD That's interesting that Havertys is yet another chain that has tried and failed in (or, at least, made the decision to exit) Houston. I had no idea Havertys has even been around that long to begin with, honestly. I'm also not too familiar with other furniture chains... of those that you mentioned, I'm only familiar with the name of Heilig-Meyers, and Manguarians I've never heard of before at all. Around here, we've got a lot of local chains, as well as franchisees of things like Ashley HomeStore and the like.

      I'm glad as well -- furniture stores certainly seem like easy places to be accosted by annoying salespeople. Fortunately, I've actually had positive experiences so far at all of the different furniture stores I've photographed, and that number is surprisingly large given the large amount that have opened in the Mid-South in recent years. I can think of at least five that I've been to off the top of my head, and interestingly, they've all since closed... hmm. Three were temporary, but the other two weren't! Anyway, that Nebraska Furniture Mart certainly sounds like quite the store -- that's insanely huge in square footage, and I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that their selection is so varied given they've got all that space to fill. Interesting indeed! If anyone were to end up photographing the place, I don't know that they could get the whole space documented in just one visit :P

      I didn't know about Bellas-Hess before, either. I would have tried to get some better pics had I thought anything about the building while I was there. Unfortunately the roof isn't very noticeable from ground level, so I didn't register how neat it was until AFB told me about it and I saw the aerial views!

    2. I've actually never heard of Mangurians until just now! Doing a little research, the company did have stores in Florida (all of which closed in 1978), but was actually based out of Rochester, NY. The company's CEO did became a prominent Floridian real estate mogul and horse breeder later in his life though.

  2. Nice photos of "Brunosons" 4317! I always thought Albertsons might have been a hard sale to Alabamians. I get the impression people in Alabama like things more "Southern" and this grocery chain from Idaho for whatever reason didn't impress them.

    It would've been neat to been able to see all seven of these stores in 1985 when Brunos took over. The 5 older Skaggs model stores would've closed with "70's Stripes". The three trapezoid model stores in Montgomery and Huntsville probably closed with a decor package that I've dubbed "80's multicolor slashes". Here's a perfect example of that decor in Lake Jackson, TX in a 1984-built trapezoid store there :

    Blue and Gray Market from what I've seen in archives and older images from Albertsons stores wasn't widely used until 1990 or 91. These are such obscure and long forgotten stores now. Montgomery's two stores are the most well preserved in the state. Huntsville's two stores have been totally demolished.

    1. ***only 4 were Skaggs model stores. My mistake.

    2. Thanks! That's an interesting theory about why Albertsons didn't succeed very well in Alabama. I can definitely see that playing a role.

      Ah, thanks for the correction on the d├ęcor this store would've had! I think I'm so used to hearing about Blue and Gray Market from AFB that it didn't cross my mind that this store would've closed before that package came into existence, haha XD Seeing that 70s Stripes d├ęcor would have been very neat; I wonder if Bruno's ever kept any elements of that, or wiped it all away in later remodels. The 80s Multicolor Slashes d├ęcor looks awesome as well, I love that photo you linked to.

      The Alabama Albertsons stores are obscure and forgotten indeed. For that matter, many of the old Kroger stores in the state suffer the same fate. Alabama seems like an odd grocery market all around.

  3. Awesome post as always, I like hearing into obscure forays of retail chains such as these. Do you believe it would have paid out better in the long run for Albertsons to invest in Alabama?

    And you gotta love the 1982 newspaper ad - interesting to see how far the GM selection extended at Albertsons, and the fact that it included one of the most infamous video games of all time.

    1. Thank you! Stories like this are always fun to learn about, and to be able to tell. I agree about the ad, too!

      I doubt investing more in Alabama would have been very beneficial in the long run; the state seems to be a strange grocery market. It wouldn't hurt to have a chain player with a bigger presence, but to get that foothold today it would've had to have been established years and years ago, and it would've been pretty difficult in those days to go up against Bruno's with how strong they were -- at least, that's my understanding of the situation, anyway.

  4. Interesting history indeed! Do you know if Albertson's ever operated any stores in Georgia? I never realized they had locations in Alabama and Mississippi but it makes sense if they were so sparse.

    Bruno's has an interesting history tied to it and how the plane crash essentially led to the slow demise of the company. I didn't realize that the crash happened that long ago because I remember a Bruno's store in Miramar Beach, FL lasting until 2008-2010. I suppose it was one of their last stores because I don't remember seeing any others after that one closed. The Winn-Dixie that was in the building behind it has since taken over the space.

    To tie in some more Florida retail history, I also find it interesting that Publix acquired one of their 4 corporate-owned Tallahassee stores (one being the GreenWise market by FSU) from Bruno's in 1998. (Here is the link to the Leon County Property Records: I guess this was part of Bruno's efforts to shore up some finances after the loss of their corporate leadership. It looks like Bruno's built the store here in 1993 but Publix must have done extensive renovations around 2012 because it looks like a new-build Classy Market 2.5 store on the inside. I decided to take some pictures of it a few weeks ago because I believe it is the last Classy Market 2.5 store left in Tallahassee; meanwhile, the Killearn store is in the middle of a Classy Market 4.0 / Evergreen remodel.

    1. Albertsons only ever had one store in Georgia, located in Fort Oglethorpe just over the TN line, a product of buying a handful of Bruno's stores in the Chattanooga area in 1998. That store didn't last very long, and closed with all the Chattanooga area Albertsons stores in 2000.

      The Bruno's name actually limped along until 2012, when all of the company's remaining stores were rebranded to Belle Foods following an acquisition of what was left of the chain. Belle Foods flopped only a few years later, ending what was left of Bruno's. Bruno's had a really sad and painful demise, a crazy end to what was once Alabama's dominant grocery chain.

      That's interesting about the Bruno's-turned-Publix in Tallahassee. I never knew about that one. According to what I could find, that was originally Publix #689, which opened in 1999. Publix closed that store for a complete gut and rebuild to create the current Publix #1427 we see today, so only the facade is original to Bruno's anymore. It's a shame Publix did that, as I'd have loved to see what the inside of that store looked like prior to it being rebuilt!

    2. Here you go AFB, here's some photos of Capital Circle before the rebuild, it's a really odd layout.

  5. I guess that means Georgia was only a blip on Albertson's radar then! It seems crazy that they would even bother with the state to only have one store open for two years! I guess that is another twist in the Brono's-Albertson's story.

    I agree, I was surprised when I found out that #1427 was previously a Bruno's. I wish I had known before the remodel because I have passed the store many times and never paid it much attention. I wonder why Publix would bother keeping the facade at that point?

    Last time I was in Tallahassee, I also got to see a nice Patty Mills mural just down the road, across from #1401. Big Lots could have taken out one on the right side of the store but the one on the left remains mostly in-tact and depicts the historic state capitol. I'm glad to know to look for these on old stores!

    1. It's not super common, but I have seen a few times where Publix opted to keep the shell of a competitor's building instead of completely flattening the place in order to rebuild the interior to Publix's standards. A few of the Publix stores in former Albertsons buildings went through that same fate (#4387 in Orlando, #4390 in Winter Park, and #4417 in Naples come to mind there as examples). I guess that means the building was still decent and well-built, but Publix was just being super picky. Either that or it was easier for Publix to get approval for the project by keeping the building rather than getting rid of it entirely and starting from scratch.

      That's neat Big Lots kept the mural in Tallahassee, especially for one of the unique murals! Certainly a good find there!