Sunday, February 6, 2022

Former Albertsons #4302 - St. Petersburg, FL (4th Street North)

 

Albertsons #4302 / Publix #1319 / Publix #1456
3700 4th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL - 4th Street Station

     For our next former Albertsons store, we return to the birthplace of Albertsons' Florida division: Pinellas County. Albertsons' first Floridian location opened in Clearwater on October 9, 1974, the first of two stores planned for Pinellas County during the chain's initial launch. We saw the original Clearwater Albertsons on the blog a long time ago, as a number of contributors were able to send in pictures of that location during its 2015 closing, which you can recap here. Shortly after the opening of the Clearwater store, its sister location to the south in St. Petersburg opened in December 1974, that store being the one we'll tour today.

Photo courtesy of historicimages.com

     Pictured above is the 4th Street North Albertsons as it appeared in 1975, shortly after opening. Like all of Florida's earliest Albertsons stores, the original St. Petersburg Albertsons opened under the name "Skaggs-Albertsons". Skaggs-Albertsons was a joint effort by the Skaggs company and Albertsons to expand into the Southeastern United States, a territory new to both of these operators. Launched in 1970 with the opening of stores in Texas, the Skaggs-Albertsons partnership would ultimately end 8 years later in 1978. Following the dissolution of the partnership, Albertsons would be the company to take sole ownership of the Florida division, Skaggs getting the Texas stores as part of the breakup deal. The Skaggs-Albertsons stores in Florida were quite profitable back then, so Albertsons was very happy to be the company to retain control of the Florida division. A lot of the early success Albertsons had in Florida was due to the uniqueness of their stores compared to what any other supermarket in the state offered at the time. At 55,000 square feet, Albertsons was running the largest supermarkets in Florida, and Albertsons was also the first in the state to combine a supermarket with a drug store and a large selection of general merchandise (electronics, automotive, etc.) The concept was different, and that unique format is what led Albertsons to grow so much in Florida in the coming decades. Unfortunately, the loss of many of those unique features through the years (especially the large general merchandise departments) made Albertsons more like any average mid-tier grocery store. As Publix and Winn-Dixie began to embrace many of the pioneering concepts Albertsons already had (like in-store pharmacies and larger stores) come the late 1980's and early 90's, it was the beginning of Albertsons' downward projection in Florida.

Photo courtesy of The Tampa Bay Times

     The 4th Street North Albertsons would become the first of three Albertsons stores to operate in the city of St. Petersburg itself, although many other Albertsons stores would pop up in the surrounding suburbs by the late 1990's. Albertsons always appeared to do very well in Pinellas County, as Albertsons never closed a single store in Pinellas until 2008, when all but two of the county's Albertsons stores were sold to Publix. Even following that, the two stores to survive the 2008 mass sale to Publix were store #4301 in Clearwater, which as mentioned before lasted until 2015, and store #4402 at Largo Mall, which made it into the Safeway days. That's a really good legacy for Albertsons, especially when some areas (like Tampa, just across the bay from St. Petersburg) had some Albertsons stores crash and burn in the 1990's.

Photo courtesy of Otherstream on flickr.

     In 1998, Albertsons did a massive remodel to this store, adding an 8,000 square foot addition to the right (north) side of the building, redoing the entire facade, and modifying the interior. The 1998 remodel happened around the same time Publix built a brand new store across the street, so it seems like Albertsons wanted to keep this store fresh in the face of some modernized competition popping up so close by. In the end though, the 4th Street North Albertsons was one of the 49 stores Albertsons sold to Publix in 2008, and it became a new Publix shortly after. The other Publix is still there across the street too, and this situation in St. Petersburg is probably the most famous example of Publix and their habit of operating two stores so close to each other, the situation made notable because of this Tampa Bay Times article from 2013 explaining the odd arrangement.

The remaining Publixsons photos are courtesy of foursquare.com

     Publix did very little to this former Albertsons store upon taking it over in late 2008. The building had a facade repaint and a minor decor swap, switching out Albertsons' previous Blue and Green Awnings decor for Publix's Classy Market 2.0, but very little else was done to modify the building from its Albertsons days.


     One of the only other major modifications Publix made to this building was swapping out Albertsons' swinging doors for sliding ones, a pretty standard change found at most Publixsons conversions.


     Thanks to some old photos I found on foursquare.com, we'll be able to head inside for a quick glimpse at the interior of the old Publixsons. Following the 1998 expansion, it appears most of the original Albertsons layout was preserved, with the bakery and deli in the front left corner of the building, produce following in the back left. One thing to note in the above photo was that the pharmacy was relocated to an island just inside the front entrance as part of the remodel. The island setup is very reminiscent of a design Albertsons would make standard in the Grocery Palace stores. Since this store remodeled in 1998, and Grocery Palace didn't debut until 1999, this would have been one of the very first stores Albertsons prototyped the pharmacy island in.


     Like many Publixsons stores (especially in the older Albertsons buildings), the grocery aisles were split with short aisles of non-foods and HBC items in front of the main grocery aisles, which you can see the markers for in the background of the above image.


     A strange perspective that appears to have been taken from up on a ladder (or by a freakishly tall person), we see the bakery and produce department on the left side of the store, as seen from one of the grocery aisles on the other side of the building.


     More grocery aisles, with the meat counter and windows for the upstairs offices visible in the background.


     Along the front end, we have some relics of the Blue and Green Awnings decor that used to be in here - namely that angled crown molding piece along the top of the wall. Interestingly, even though this store was expanded along the right side in the 1998 remodel, it appears the old side entrance was preserved following the expansion (visible beyond the check lanes). Albertsons usually sealed over those side entrances in favor of using that space for relocated/expanded pharmacies or liquor stores in the more extensive late 90's/early 2000's remodels, so its quite intriguing that the side entrance was preserved at this store.


     Lastly, here's a night shot of the Publixsons facade, our last glimpse of this store while it was still standing. In late 2013, it was announced that Publix would close this store in order to tear it down and replace it with a modern building after only 5 years of operating here. The Publixsons officially closed on December 28, 2013, with the new store opening roughly a year later in late 2014.


     Getting back to my photos, we find ourselves at the Publix that replaced the remains of Albertsons #4302. Besides a little old Florida architectural detailing, what we see here is a pretty average 2010's Publix, a 54M model specifically. Publix's 54M model includes a larger prepared foods selection and a more spacious "grand aisle" compared to the typical Publix, which looks similar but is much more condensed in the area around the fresh departments. You can peruse a detailed tour of a 54M Publix here if you want a better idea of what one of these stores looks like. Our tour of this store is going to be a bit of an express tour, as I had more interesting supermarkets to visit following this place (which was my first stop of the day), and we've seen plenty of modern Publix stores before.


     The new Publix is of a comparable size to the old Albertsons, roughly the size of the Albertsons building before the 1998 expansion. Publix used the little bit of space gained from shrinking the building to add in a drive-thru pharmacy lane on the building's south side, as Publix's new building doesn't abut the southern property line like Albertsons' building did (a change you can see later in this post during the satellite imagery).


     Since we're here we'll do a quick spin around the inside, although there really isn't anything out of the ordinary with this store anymore:


     The front walkway continues the facade's old Florida theme, with some fake windows and shutters lining the walkway between the entrance and exit doors.


     Inside, we turn to the right to find the bakery in the front right corner of the building.


     Here's a slightly more zoomed out photo of the bakery department, as seen from the edge of produce. Produce takes up most of the space in the store's "grand aisle", with the service departments lining the perimeter wall.


     Following the bakery is the deli, located along the right wall. Some coolers and a salad bar can be found in front of the deli, with a small dining nook located just out of frame to the right of the deli counter.


     Here's a better look into the produce department, which feels rather large in these 54M stores.


     Here's an overview of the grand aisle as seen from the back, with produce, deli, and the bakery all visible here.


     Spinning around 180 degrees from where I took that last photo, we find the wine and specialty cheese departments. These departments are located at the very end of the grand aisle in the store's back right corner.


     The specialty cheese counter is typically reserved for Publix's higher-end stores, featuring a number of fancy cheeses to pair with all the wines conveniently located in the department next door.


     Leaving the grand aisle, we encounter the seafood and meat departments along the store's back wall.


     Like most larger-size modern Publix stores, the grocery aisles have a drop ceiling over them, with the perimeter and center store frozen food aisles using the exposed warehouse ceiling.


     Since I was here very early in the morning, the front end (and the entire store itself) was rather calm and empty. Like most Publix stores, just wait a few hours and the place will be packed!



     The meat coolers on the back wall transition into dairy right about where that 'Restrooms' sign is hanging.


     Frozen foods occupies two aisles in the center of the store, the photo above depicting one of them.



     Here's one last look at the back wall. The dairy products seen here wrap around into the store's last aisle (aisle 14) as well, which can be seen in the next photo:



     The pharmacy, which is located in the front left corner of the building, and had yet to open for the day at the time of my visit. I always liked the look of the pharmacies in these Classy Market 3.0 new-build stores, mostly because of the effect from the shiny glass tiles used here.


     Turning around, a few short aisles of pharmaceuticals extend out from the front of the pharmacy counter, with the check lanes following those.


     The check lanes coming into view, that completes our quick spin around the new Publix that replaced former Albertsons #4302.



     Publix's new liquor store, which is attached to the right side of the building.


     So that's the new Publix for you. However, if you couldn't find everything you needed during your shopping trip here...


     …you can just make the 7 minute walk across the street to the other Publix to buy what you couldn't find at the other store - how convenient! Just what will Publix think of next to make my shopping that much more pleasurable?!


     And I did just that too. Since the two stores are so close together, I just left my car parked at the former Publixsons and walked across the street for a few photos of the other Publix. Waiting for the light to change at the crosswalk on 4th Street North, I took this photo of the sign for the Publix across the road at Northeast Park Shopping Center (the former Publixsons site directly behind where I was standing to take this picture). The Northeast Park Shopping Center Publix goes back a long ways, which is why the plaza has this classic trapezoid-shaped Publix road sign out front.


     My 1500-foot journey completed, Publix #640 at Northeast Park Shopping Center comes into view.


     Opened in 1998, this store replaced an older Wing Store-era building just around the corner from here, which we'll take a look at in a moment.


     This is one of the larger format late 90's/early 2000's Publix stores. While the facade is quite interesting with all the arches, the interior isn't anything out of the ordinary for a store from this era. I didn't go inside this Publix, but if you want a taste of what the inside looks like, Google has you covered.


     Turning the corner from modern Publix #640, we find the store it replaced, old Publix #42. Publix #42 was a Wing Store that opened with the shopping center in 1959, and appears to have expanded at least once during its time in operation (as an addition was built onto the back of this building). Publix #42 relocated around the corner in 1998, when an entire wing of the original shopping center was demolished to make way for the modern Publix. Following Publix's move, the old store was converted into a Stein Mart, which closed with the chain in 2020. I happened upon this space as it was in the process of being converted into a new Crunch Fitness. While Crunch's signage was up at the time, the interior remodeling was still in progress during my visit.


     When Stein Mart moved in, they removed all traces from Publix's time here. Looking toward Stein Mart's entrance, we see it was all rebuilt to the usual Stein Mart design, with a pair of display windows to each side of the doors. Inside, a construction crew had gutted out everything from Stein Mart in order to begin the conversion into Crunch Fitness, so there weren't any traces of anything supermarket-esque left in there.


     Turning away from the former Stein Mart/Publix space, here's a look down the remaining original strip of the 1958-built plaza. Along the base of the windows, you'll see some decorative green marble. That marble would have matched Publix's original facade, as marble was a big part of Publix's older facade designs. The remaining marble is about the only trace of anything left here from Publix's original store, with how everything else was so heavily remodeled since Publix's move.


     The morning sun glare wasn't helping me here, but here's one last look at the exterior of the original Publix store in the present day, with its neighbor Office Depot popping into the picture too.


     At the very end of the plaza was this CVS store, which was previously an Eckerd, this space completing our stroll around Northeast Park Shopping Center.

     Now that we've walked the entire length of the plaza, it's time to head back across the street to the Publixsons site for some aerial images, starting with some Bird's Eye aerias courtesy of Bing Maps:


Front - All of these bird's eye images show the modern Publix store


Right Side


Back


Left Side

     And now some historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth and historicaerials.com:


Former Albertsons #4302 - 2021


Former Albertsons #4302 - April 2014 - The new Publix building under construction 


Former Albertsons #4302 - January 2014 - The original Albertsons building is still standing here, but is being prepped for demolition


Former Albertsons #4302 - 2012


Albertsons #4302 - 2008


Albertsons #4302 - 2002


Albertsons #4302 - 1998 - The image above shows the building after the major remodel that year.


Albertsons #4302 - 1994 - The building in its original form


Albertsons #4302 - 1984


Future Albertsons #4302 - 1969 - Albertsons took out an entire block and a half of the original street grid to make way for the new store

     With all the historic aerial images for the old Albertsons out of the way, for fun, let's take a look at a few aerials of Northeast Park Shopping Center across the street:


     Here's Northeast Park's current arrangement. The modern Publix is the large building with the lighter roof to the right, with the original Publix being the big building in the older wing at the bottom of the image, the building closest to the newer Publix store.


     Here's an image of Northeast Park from 1994, showing the plaza's original arrangement. Everything to the right of the original Publix was demolished to make way for the new store, which was over half of the original complex.


     And for fun, here's Northeast Park Shopping Center in 1969. If you look really close at the Publix building in the above image, do you notice anything interesting about it?


    Zooming in for the answer to that question - you can see the tips of Publix's wings in the aerial, which I thought was pretty neat! I always like a good Wing Store-era Publix, as these buildings were classics, and such a large portion of Florida's supermarket history.

     Ending this post with an aerial image of a Wing Store seems pretty fitting, as our next post will dig deep into Publix's past for a look at some really old, but really well preserved, Publix stores. The next post will be pretty interesting, so be sure to come back in two weeks to check that out!

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

22 comments:

  1. Here's the infamous Publix across the street from the Publix in St. Pete! I'm glad to see that these strange Publixes, especially the one with Publixsons history, is now documented on the blog. If Lewis Black was blown away by a Starbucks across from a Starbucks in Houston, he'd really be blown away by this!

    Taking a look at the repainted Blue & Grey Market Albertsons in Clearwater, I must say that green, maroon, and beige are an odd combination. In some ways, that looks even more 1990s than the Blue & Grey colors! Of course, here in Houston, Food Town has painted Blue & Grey Market decor maroon, but I think this works better than what Albertsons did in Clearwater. Between this and the odd pastel colors at the Altamonte Springs Albertsons, I will say that Albertsons had some creative takes on livening up their decor, but they didn't always come out so well in practice, lol.

    It's a bit odd seeing a Publix in something that is obviously a recycled Albertsons. I can see why Publix decided to re-do the store. While I'm not generally a fan of open ceilings, the new Publix with the hybrid ceiling isn't too bad. All in all, I do think the new Publix is an upgrade over the Publixsons, but perhaps Publix could have done more to that Publixsons to make it feel their own if they wanted to. Of course, with Publix being Publix, I guess this was probably the inevitable result.

    I wonder how shoppers in the area of these two Publixes decide which Publix to make their own. Both seem popular. Is it just a matter of one being easier for one side of the road and the other being easier for the other side? I'm sure the managers of these stores are under a lot of pressure to not fall far behind the neighboring store in whatever metrics Publix uses to evaluate stores!

    While I do like the Classy Market decor (certainly I like it more than nEvergreen!), and the wood paneling on the specialty cheeses area looks great, I think the exterior of the store is better than the interior. I like the side with what looks like little town shops. The design of everything looks very Floridian and in a way that's a bit more palatable than the color scheme of that Clearwater Albertsons! The Publix across the street is quite nice looking on the outside as well, but I might give the former Publixsons location the advantage.

    Speaking of Clearwater, it's nice seeing an old Eckerd like that! Thanks for including that.

    Here recently on Houston retail blogs, the topic of HEBs near one another has come up. While not exactly across the street from one another like these Publixes, HEB does have a few stores in close proximity to one another. One such case are the two Kerrville, TX HEBs. The one across from River Hills Mall (which Je covered on his blog just yesterday) is actually a HEBertsons! It's actually a very obvious HEBertsons: https://goo.gl/maps/pS7U9VhUfrLkF79e7

    In Del Rio, TX, there are two HEBs very close to one another as well. One of the two is a small and retro store: https://goo.gl/maps/ywo2mTuUkCNihckx8

    I know I've mentioned this to you privately, but Mike from HHR did post his blog post about the Food Town in the former Houston Kosher Albertsons earlier this week. This is the Awnings store. This may not be news to you, but it might be for some of your Albertsons-loving readers who want to see some recycled Albertsons decor: https://houstonhistoricretail.com/2022/02/02/food-town-keeping-it-kosher-in-the-former-meyerland-albertsons/

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    1. It's certainly the most famous example, but certainly not the only example of this either! I know that a grocery chain having two stores so close together is something that happens from time to time, but I can’t think of a chain that uses this tactic as frequently as Publix does!

      I believe it was in a comment at that Clearwater post (although it could have been elsewhere), I was told that it was one of the store managers who got to pick the new colors to repaint the interior with in the mid-2000’s as part of a small refresh, that particular color scheme chosen to somewhat mimic the colors in Publix’s décor at the time (which must have been CM 1.0, as that décor was predominantly yellow and green). The Venice Albertsons we looked at not too long ago also received a similar repaint to its Blue and Gray Market décor too.

      Even to this day, there are still a number of these Publix stores in an old Albertsons that still feel very much like an old Albertsons. Some have had varying degrees of work done by Publix through the years, and I wonder if the ones with less work done will be in the ones more likely to see the same fate as this place sooner rather than later. The newer Publix stores are nice, especially the ones with the hybrid ceiling like this one (which is a classy touch), but they all look the same. At least the Publixsons buildings were unique! There have been a few cases where Publix kept the shell of the Albertsons building and completely rebuilt the interior of the stores to look like a modern Publix, but those cases are pretty rare. I’m sure in most cases, it’s just easier to tear the entire thing down and start from scratch.

      The old Publixsons store seems to be the “fancier” store (as it has the cheese counter and the fancy wine section) compared to the one across the street, although the store across the street is actually larger. Other than that, the stores are comparable in terms of services, and I’m most of what drives people to one location over the other is which one is easier to get in and out of from whatever side of 4th Street they happen to live on.

      Thankfully HEB hasn’t gotten as extreme as Publix with putting stores across the street from one another yet! The Kerrville HEBertsons still looks a lot like an Albertsons inside too, with the very distinct windows over the front end preserved, and the layout too! Very neat! It’s also neat seeing how little Food Town does to those buildings they move into!

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    2. Wow. Thank you for sharing links to those H-E-B stores. I hope you come back to this post and see this. I have family in suburban Houston. Their H-E-B stores are HUGE and have so many bells and whistles. The ones I've visited are probably no more than 7-8 years old, and I've been in a brand new one recently.

      The ones you linked are more "normal" looking to me and could be easily be swapped out with your typical Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie, Food Lion, or Piggly Wiggly type stores in the southeast. I assumed all of the H-E-Bs were huge, but these older, smaller looking stores show otherwise. While I have driven past some stores in Houston that may be a little smaller, the ones I've visited have to be at least 90,000 sq. ft. You can probably can fit the entire sales floor of a Walgreens or CVS in their produce department alone! I did feel like their center store had less selection than the size of the store implies, but other than that, these are very robust and super super busy stores.

      It's kind of like the pictures I see of Wegmans. I haven't visited one yet. When you put in a search, you'll likely first see pictures their newest and grandest stores, including the flagship in Rochester, NY. But when I dig deeper, I see photos of the exterior of more modest looking, older Wegmans presumably near their mothership in Upstate NY that can't possibly offer all of the things their DC area, NC, etc. stores do.

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  2. It's pretty interesting that this store may have been the one to pilot the pharmacy counter island just inside the entrance! Also love that article making light of the redundant stores. It's amazing both of them are able to stay in operation without cannibalizing one another!

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    1. It’s strange seeing that island in a non-Grocery Palace store, but that was certainly the case here! It’s interesting seeing how these store designs evolve like that. It’s crazy with how Publix can get away with stores across the street like that too, but both seem to be holding their ground for now. I guess that just goes to show how devoted Floridians are to Publix…

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  3. In Orlando, we have three of these stores situations I can think of right now. The first is in Dr. Phillips where Publix took over the Albertsons across the street in 2008. They closed it for a bit which made me think they would go Greenwise but then opened to reopen as a standard Publix. Both stores were busy so I guess it makes sense.

    The second is in Altamonte by the mall. The Ablertsons/Safeway was one of the few hold outs before finally leaving the Florida marker all together. Again, both stores were some of the busiest for each chain even before the Albertsons mass exodus in 2008.

    The more recent one I believe you covered was the the two stores SODO at Orange and Pineloch. I recently visited the old Lucky's concerted store. Very nice with a taproom coffee bar set up in front but is extremely tight and lacks what the older Publix has with their Chinese hot bar. I see the Lucky's as a more spillover for people who need to grab a few things and providing a spot for the apartments right there (talk about convenience!).

    I know there are a few Publixsons that were less than a mile from an older Publix but nothing like owning two corners of an intersection.

    Be interesting how the SODO stores hold up.

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    1. I believe you’re spot on about the situation in SODO – the new Publix in the old Lucky’s is mostly for people living in that apartment building next door to grab something quick, and for the people who don’t want to deal with the crowds at the larger location next door and want an easier in and out. I still feel a Greenwise would have made more sense there in SODO, but it seems like Publix is having second thoughts on expanding Greenwise once again. It’s still amazing how strong of a following Publix has to justify situations where two stores can operate so close together and still do decent business.

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    2. The fourth Orlando one is Winter Park Village and Hollieanna in Winter Park. Winter Park Village is the Albertson's conversion to the new (at the time) flagship with an Apron's Cooking School. It's identical to the Albertson's conversion in Dr. Phillips in offerings as well as the store profiled in this post.

      I go to the Lucky's replacement for those one or two items or those fill-in trips between the big ones. But for my bigger trips, I go to the big one across the street or the "regular" Publix closest to where I live to have the highest chance of finding everything. But with the supply chain disruptions, sometimes the little Lucky's conversion has been the hero.

      As far as being convenient for the adjacent apartment complex, I wish that was the case for Earth Fare up the road. Unless they get a lot of weekday traffic that I don't see from all of the medical offices and Orlando Health main campus next door, I don't think this reopened Earth Fare will survive much longer. They've already shut down a reopened store south of Jacksonville after five months.

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    3. I know someone who recently visited the reopened Gore St. Earth Fare to see what (if any) changes were made, and he said the same thing - the place was deserted. Might as well just let Winn-Dixie swoop in and buy that store, as they could probably make it work like they did with those other Earth Fare locations they took over (which are much busier as Winn-Dixie than they ever seemed as Earth Fare, at least with my one local example).

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  4. I will say this; Publix did build a really nice replacement store here. I guess Florida was too dicey of a market to do a complete teardown and rebuild of any of their stores (unlike Publix who does it all of the time). The only places I've seem Albertsons do that are out west, but especially the Boise area.

    I guess if people are that addicted to Publix, then duplicate stores works for them. I know I'm a Florida oddball when I say this, but as nice of stores as Publixes are, I find it very refreshing visiting states where there's still 4 different grocery operators down a 1-mile stretch of road, like North Carolina. States like Virginia and Pennsylvania have much better options than Floridians do.

    I would love to have a Harris Teeter, Wegmans, or a Tops to shop at besides Publix, WD, Walmart, and Aldi. Dream on Yon Woo!

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    1. Up in New England, we in a 10 mile stretch of roadway, we could have an IGA, Stop & Shop, Market 32, Big Y, Shaw's, Acme, Geissler and Shop-Rite.

      All of those store are different and they help keep grocery prices down.

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    2. Albertsons really didn’t do too many store relocations in Florida either (only 4 or so through the years), let alone a complete rebuild! I guess Publix is a bit on the extreme end when it comes to store replacement programs though, as a number of grocery chains have no problem holding onto older buildings as long as they are maintained in some fashion. I sure miss having variety in grocery stores here in Florida, and it would be nice to see that again! (Although I doubt that will ever happen).

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    3. I don't think that's odd at all. I'm sure there are others in Florida who feel the same way. I like Publix and go there out of necessity because of how close it is to where I live, and I'm fortunate to also be within close range of a Winn-Dixie, but I miss the days when we also had Albertsons and Kash N Karry/Sweetbay. At least we still have Aldi and Save-A-Lot as well.

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  5. *to clarify, Florida must have been too dicey of a market for Albertsons to do complete teardown and rebuilds of their older stores.

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  6. Ironically, I clipped these two articles on Friday without knowing you would post about this store. How crazy! It looks like the old store was given the '70s look during one of its expansions.

    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/94226972/publix-set-to-unveil-whopper-of-a-stor/
    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/94226891/new-publix-about-to-open-at-the-northeas/

    I remember seeing a Publix a block away from a Publix in Key West. I also remember going to Publix #91 in South Beach and seeing a more modern store only a block away. It makes sense for this location since Publix wanted to keep a wing store while also having a modern store nearby. I'm not so sure why they wanted both Key West stores, however.

    I find it interesting how Publix changes up little things about their stores. I shop in a 54M on occasion but it does not have the specialty cheeses, salad bar, or dining area. All it has is an olive bar. Greeting cards take up the space to the right of the bakery and I think there is just an empty wall between the bakery and deli.

    I remember the first time I saw one of those old trapezoid signs in Lake Placid, I thought it was odd looking. It had been changed to a general shopping center sign at that point but I thought it had a historical past. I'm glad to see Publix decided to keep using this one!

    In reply to Yon Woo, I have seen many towns with four grocery store brands (ex. Walmart, Food Lion [neé-Harvey's], IGA, and Publix); Publix is not something you should take for granted! Some of these other stores are stuck in the 1990's - and not in a good way. One thing you usually don't get in Publix is odd smells of old meat. It may be more expensive but sometimes you get what you pay for.

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    1. Weird timing! Very interesting articles there, including the list of original tenants and the old photo of Publix #42! That façade is very 1970’s, so that would have to be when the expansion happened.

      One of those two Publix stores in Key West (the one in the plaza with the now-closing Kmart) was previously an Albertsons. Publix grabbed that store in 2012 when Albertsons had that last big closing round, and they did not hesitate to take that building. A large supermarket space like that does not come up often in Key West considering how the island is small and built-out, so maybe Publix just wanted to have control of that space before anyone else could take it. Key West gets a lot of tourist traffic too, so I’d imagine both stores are able to co-exist, but it’s still crazy seeing redundant situations like that.

      The trapezoid signs are pretty rare to see these days too, as many have been replaced due to rebuilds or Publix leaving the center. Nice to see this one in St. Pete holding on!

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    2. Could possibly have missed this in the post, but is there a reason this trapezoid sign is in the parking lot of the Walgreens/BOFA? It's convenient it's right in-between both Publixes, but still strikes me as a bit weird.

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    3. I don't know an exact reason for why the sign for the Northeast Park store is where it is, but that spot does have good visibility, and being there gets people to turn right onto 38th for easier access to the plaza.

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  7. Pre-Covid, the newly built bougie Publix at 4th and 38th offered valet parking, which I had never seen at a grocery store anywhere.

    After a lifetime in FL, I moved to Raleigh, and have made it a point to visit all of the area Publixes. The Leesville Rd location is of the same mold as the bougie Publix. The Wendell Publix (opened fall 2021) was strangely off-putting and had the bakery in the rear.

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    1. I know the Island of Palm Beach Publix had valet parking too, so it was a rare feature for some of the really high-end stores. I don't know the state of valet parking at the Palm Beach store now though.

      Since all of the NC stores are newer, most of them are going to look pretty similar. Publix changed their primary store design in 2020, which is why the Wendell Publix looks so different compared to the others. I agree, the bakery is in a strange spot in the newer prototype stores.

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  8. It feels like the new remodel was just a couple of years ago-- insane that it was almost a decade now! I prefer the remodeled store over the northeast park shopping center entirely due to parking being easier as parking wraps around to the 38th Ave side of the building. Also like it more as I can avoid a certain manager at the northeast center store-- the perks of living in the area my whole life. So glad this blog is here to document all of these changes. Someone else had mentioned they wondered how one would choose which store to go to-- entirely depends on which side of fourth you live on. My pal comes in on the 1st Street side from the shore acres area, and I come from the other, so we both go to a different store!

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    1. I know - it's crazy it's been that long already! I'm glad you found the blog and have enjoyed it do far too! It makes sense that which side of 4th you live on determines which store you go to, as it would be easier to get in and out of the one on your side of the road.

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