Saturday, September 10, 2022

Former Albertsons #4482 - Riverview, FL

 

Albertsons #4482 / Walmart Neighborhood Market #5622
10863 Bloomingdale Avenue, Riverview, FL - Bloomingdale Hills

     In case you were ever curious as to what the most common repurpose of the Floridian Albertsons stores were, we all know that becoming a Publix was by far the most popular choice (with around 60 of Florida's former Albertsons stores ending up in the hands of Publix in some form, and yours truly having been to a good chunk of those stores too). Some other common reuses I've come across for these former Floridian Albertsons stores include conversions into Ross Dress for Less/dd's Discounts, Aldi, Sedano's, Hobby Lobby, churches, schools, offices, and even a handful of Winn-Dixies too. With five former Floridian Albertsons stores under their belt, Walmart Neighborhood Market makes that list too, with today's former Albertsons being one of the better preserved examples Walmart left behind for us in their conversion efforts (but don't get too excited). Walmart is typically very thorough when they take over a building from someone else, typically preserving the facade but not much else once you get inside. That's pretty much the case here, and similar to what we saw when we toured former Albertsons #4463 in Windermere and #4357 in Vero Beach. Of the other two former Floridian Albertsons stores that Walmart took over, they decided to completely flatten #4323 in Orlando, and I don't like to talk about what they did to #4466 in Port St. Lucie.


     Albertsons #4482 opened in mid-2002 as the company was entering their final stretch of new store construction in Florida, which would cease come 2004. #4482 was the third Albertsons location to open in Tampa's eastern suburbs, joining the existing store #4334 in Brandon a few miles to the north, and #4436 in Valrico a few miles to the east. Albertsons #4482 was built in a small cluster of retail off Bloomingdale Avenue not far from US 301's busy interchange with I-75. Bloomingdale Avenue is a major east-west thoroughfare that serves as the border between the cities of Brandon and Riverview, with Albertsons building their store on the Riverview side of the road.


     Like most of Albertsons stores built in the early 2000's, store #4482 had a relatively short life, closing in October 2009 in a small closure wave that also took with it stores #4478 in Estero and #4483 in Bonita Springs (both of which opened around the same time as #4482 as well, coincidentally). Store #4482 sat vacant until 2011, when Walmart announced they would be opening a new Neighborhood Market in this location. Walmart Neighborhood Market experienced a huge growth spurt in Florida in the early to mid-2010's, with these appearing to pop up everywhere during that time. The Riverview Neighborhood Market opened for business on April 10, 2012, and has now occupied this building longer than Albertsons did.


     Walmart originally painted this building brown following their conversion, as brown matched Walmart's "Project Impact" era color scheme of the time. Walmart remodeled this store in the late 2010's to the more current Neighborhood Market design, repainting the building to look more like it did when Albertsons was here (minus the lime green on the arch, of course!).


     The facade of the building is entirely original to Albertsons, with Walmart even leaving the original windows and doors from Albertsons in place too.


     I'm still surprised Walmart left the facades of #4482 and #4463 completely in-tact, yet they decided to totally rip apart the facade of #4466 (which was a completely identical building to those two). Walmart (oddly enough) did replicate #4466's facade after moving the entrance further to the right, but it's still odd how Walmart has handled these conversions.


     From this vantage point, I could probably convince you this was still an Albertsons! Just walking up to the front of this store felt like I was walking into an Albertsons.


     I was very much enjoying the throwback feel of the front walkway, as I knew what to expect once I stepped inside:


     A slightly blurry first impression, but these days it's just a Walmart in here. Walmart gutted and rebuilt most of the interior, conforming the building to the usual Neighborhood Market prototype of the time. Originally, this store would have used the right-aligned Grocery Palace layout, but used the Blue and Green Awnings decor instead of Grocery Palace. By 2002, Albertsons retired the elaborate (and probably expensive) Grocery Palace decor in favor of reviving the late 90's Blue and Green Awnings decor for new-build stores. Most of the 2002 and early 2003-built Florida Albertsons stores got that treatment until the rollout of Santa Fe in late 2003, although by the time Santa Fe made it to Florida, Albertsons was almost done building new stores.


     Entering the store, Walmart gave us a small dose of local flare, welcoming us to our Riverview Walmart Neighborhood Market. Another local flare sign can be seen in the background too, featuring the city name and a map of Florida marking Riverview's location. These two signs were the only local touches in the store, but I like seeing things like this. Walmart's late 2010's Neighborhood Market decor is overall a huge improvement compared to the packages that came before it (see here and here for examples). It's nothing fancy, but I liked the graphics much more in this newer decor.


     Turning the camera to the left from that previous image, here's a look back toward the entrance. The restrooms are located in the same spot Albertsons had them originally, next to the front door.


     Walmart's current layout is designed to take shoppers into the produce department, which extends into the building's front right corner. Albertsons would have originally had their deli in this corner, with produce extending toward the back of the store after the deli department.


     The floral and pharmacy island would have been blocking most of this view when Albertsons was still here. Walmart ripped that island out, and relocated the pharmacy to the front left corner of the building (visible off in the distance).


     The produce department here was quite large, although at 60,000 square feet, this is one of the larger Walmart Neighborhood Market stores out there. Interestingly, there are regular Walmart stores still out there that are just as big as this Neighborhood Market store!


     Here's a look at the produce department signage itself, this department officially branded as the "Produce Market". In this photo and in the previous ones, you can also see the updated signage package that the Neighborhood Market stores got in the late 2010's, featuring a more fun and whimsical cartoon-ish graphics package (which I like). I'm not entirely sure if this decor is still current or not though, as it's been a while since I've seen any Neighborhood Market stores remodel, and it's been a much longer time since I've seen one open (as Walmart, like Kroger, seems to have grown cold feet when it comes to opening new stores, instead wanting to push more money into online shopping initiatives while cutting back on building new stores).


     Reaching the right side wall, we find the deli meats. When Albertsons was here we'd have been looking back into the produce department, with the bakery just off to my left along the back wall. Like many Walmart Neighborhood Market stores from the early 2010's, this store lacks both a service deli and bakery counter, so prepackaged goods instead make up the bakery and deli selections in this store. Walmart eventually brought those departments back in later Neighborhood Market builds though.


     Some more grocery aisles here where Albertsons' produce department once stood.


     Cutting to the back of the store, this is where things get a tiny bit more interesting. To my right is the store's "Bakery" department, consisting of a wall of white bread and some tables of prepackaged goods out front, located in the same spot where Albertsons' full-service bakery once stood. What's interesting here is Walmart preserved part of Albertsons' original back wall design. In stores with the Grocery Palace layout, the back wall featured the bakery, followed by a prepackaged deli alcove, followed by the meat counter, and then another alcove for the packaged meats. Interestingly, Walmart preserved the old prepackaged deli alcove and the meat counter from Albertsons, which you can see looking down this aisle. Here's what this view would have looked like when Albertsons was here (just mirrored, and put Blue and Green Awnings decor on the walls instead of Grocery Palace). 


     I'm a bit surprised Walmart left the back wall partially in-tact from Albertsons, rather than ripping it out completely, but sometimes a small surprise is a nice find in what I thought was going to be a rather dull interior tour. We'll return to the back wall shortly, but here's a view down another one of the grocery aisles as we continue our walk around the store.


     Returning to the front of the store, the registers are located just after the produce department, with a few short aisles of health and beauty products beyond that as you near the pharmacy.


     Even though this store is on the larger end for a Neighborhood Market, Walmart still managed to stuff a lot of product in here. The grocery aisles had the usual Walmart tall shelving, and there wasn't any dead space in here like Walmart didn't know what to do with all the extra room.


     Returning to the back wall, here's a look at the meat alcove, located in what was originally the "International Deli" (at least in the Grocery Palace decor - Blue and Green Awnings probably branded the pre-packaged deli alcove as something a bit more generic!). The meat alcove was originally on the opposite side of the service meat and seafood counter in the Albertsons days, in an area that Walmart did modify into some generic salesfloor space.


     The cereal aisle was unnaturally neat for a Walmart. Just look at how perfectly all the boxes are pulled forward on the shelves and in the right place - it's like something straight out of Publix! On most days any given aisle in a Walmart looks like a Category 5 hurricane blew through it, so this really impressed me.


     Another quick look across the front shows us we're getting closer to the pharmacy, as the check lanes begin to come into view.


     Here's another grocery aisle as we return our attention to the back wall:


     Here's a random photo from within the meat alcove. Walmart's entire meat department fit into the alcove, so keeping this feature from Albertsons worked out nicely.


     Albertsons' original meat and seafood service counter would have been immediately to my right, where the orange juice coolers are now. Interestingly the entire meat and seafood counter structure was preserved, just with those coolers blocking where the counter used to be. Since this store lacks both a service deli and service bakery, it also lacks a service meat and seafood counter as well. Walmart used to offer a service meat and seafood counter a long time ago at the supercenters, although I believe that feature was discontinued chain-wide many years ago (and not just in these cheaply-run early 2010's Neighborhood Market stores).


     The last few grocery aisles in the store were home to frozen foods, an example of which can be seen here.


     Nearing the left side of the building, a few short aisles of health and beauty products appear to my left as you approach the pharmacy counter.


     Here's an example of one of the health and beauty aisles, with what you see here being the entire length of one.


     Before you get to the left wall, we find another main aisle. At this aisle, the grocery aisles switch orientation to run parallel with the front wall, those aisles being home to the store's tiny general merchandise selection. The main aisle itself was home to seasonal merchandise, which at the time of my visit was stocked with Christmas candy and some other small Christmas related items. And of course it's not Christmas without those giant tins of popcorn either - I never understood how those became a Christmas thing, but Walmart had a nice big pallet of them for your gift giving needs!


     Following the juice coolers in the old meat and seafood space, the remainder of the back wall becomes home to the dairy department. Running down the middle of the aisle were some coffin coolers for dairy products as well as other various frozen promotional items (like whole turkeys - my visit to this store was a week before Thanksgiving if I remember right).


     Here's another look at the dairy department, as seen from the opposite direction.


     Walmart's general merchandise aisles occupy the space where Albertsons' frozen food department would have been located.


     The general merchandise selection here included a few aisles for cleaning supplies, paper products, office supplies, greeting cards, hardware, and party supplies, amongst some other things, like sporting goods and automotive (pictured here).


     Here's a close-up of the pharmacy counter located in the front left corner of the building.


     From the pharmacy, we'll work our way toward the front end once again as we prepare to head out...



     I attempted a better shot of the "Hello Riverview" sign over the front end from the self-checkout lanes, but I wasn't quite successful with that. The Walmart spark on the outline of Florida is supposed designate the location of Riverview on the map. The spark is in the correct general area, but a little too far north to actually be over Riverview (it looks like it's more so over Dade City than Riverview, which is 50 miles north). However, I'm probably one of very few people to overanalyze maps like that, and I'm sure very few people even notice.


     Back outside, here's a look toward Walmart's exit doors, which were carried over from Albertsons.


     Walking along the front of the building, we find the entrance to the former liquor store. The liquor store was attached to the right side of the building, with the rest of the Bloomingdale Hills Shopping Center stretching out beyond it.


     Happy's Rent to Own occupies the former liquor store space, and I've seen a few former Albertsons liquor stores end up with similar tenants as well. I didn't go inside Happy's (as dealing with salespeople in a gimmicky rent-to-own store would probably not make for the best photo-taking conditions), but it appears they kept some of Albertsons decor in-tact inside, just painted over.


     For fun, I also had this old photo of the Liquor store in my archives in its abandoned form, taken from an old real estate listing I found a long time ago (which is the same place where the other old photos of this store came from).


     Here's a look toward the main store from the old liquor store, a summary of everything we've seen so far...


     …however, I do have a small aside to end this post with. Across the street from this former Albertsons is a Publix, and I want to take a quick diversion over there before we wrap things up.


     Just from this picture, you can probably tell why I wanted to come over to this Publix for a closer look - that's one heck of a facade! Pictured here is Publix #890, which opened on September 11, 2003, oddly enough 19 years ago to the day this post goes live! While the inside is a rather average early 2000's Publix variant, the exterior is one of the most elaborate and detailed I've ever seen.


     Publix #890 opened as part of the Winthrop Town Center, a small retail center placed at the front of the Winthrop Village housing development, both of which were built concurrently. The entire development has a faux "old-timey" feel to it, a theme carried through to both the houses and the retail center.


     That old-timey theme is why the Publix looks the way it does, as Publix's facade is supposed to look like a bunch of old downtown buildings cobbled together. Publix's main entrance looks like it's supposed to resemble an old town hall building, with other faux storefronts flanking each side.


     While most of the doors and windows on the building are just decorative, I can't say for sure if the little patio above the main entrance is fake or real. These early 2000's Publix stores have a second floor with offices on it over the front end, which lines up perfectly with those doors on the second level balcony. I'm leaning toward the balcony being for looks only, but the presence of that second level is what's making me unsure!


     Here's a look across Publix's front entrance. While I did walk around the exterior of the building, I didn't go inside. Like I said before, the interior of this store is nothing super special, unlike the exterior. While I didn't go inside, the GTB Area Retail Blog did if you want a glimpse of what the interior is like.


     On the left side of the building we have an old fire station theme going on with the fake garage doors.


     Following our fake fire station we have another fake storefront to the left of that, where Publix's "Deli" and "Bakery" signs are located.


     From out in the parking lot, here's how all these fake storefronts come together. The design is both interesting and odd at the same time.


     Beyond the Publix building is where things really begin to look more detailed and old-timey. Between Publix and the rest of the shopping center is this small outdoor patio, which serves as an outdoor lounge space for the liquor store next door (and is only accessible via a "secret door" inside the liquor store).


     Looking toward the rest of the shopping center, here's where we go full-blown Main Street USA theme. While I admire the detailing and how realistic all this looks, the old-time downtown theme is so out of place in suburban Tampa.


     Beyond Publix, all these buildings we see serve as real storefronts for various businesses, with apartments above just like in a real downtown. The shopping center extends out in a few different directions from the Publix building, so this is just a small snippet of what it looks like here. Google Streetview has the rest of the shopping center covered if you want to see more.


     While Publix's modern stores tend to be very similar on the inside, I do like how Publix will do some crazy exteriors every once in a while to break things up or to better match the area where a store is being built. I don't know if I want to rule this store as the funkiest Publix exterior out there, but #890 is definitely high on that list though!

     So now that we've had our quick spin around the Winthrop Town Center, let's fly up into the sky for some satellite imagery, starting off with some Bird's Eye views of the former Albertsons store courtesy of Bing Maps:


Front


Right Side


Back


Left Side

     And now for the historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth:


Former Albertsons #4482 - 2021


Former Albertsons #4482 - 2012


Former Albertsons #4482 - 2010 - The store in abandonment


Albertsons #4482 - 2009 - Albertsons nearing the end


Albertsons #4482 - 2004


Future Albertsons #4482 - 2002 - According to Google Earth, this image was taken in May 2002. It doesn't look like Albertsons had opened yet when this image was taken, but they were getting close.


Future Albertsons #4482 - 1999


     A final exterior shot of former Albertsons #4482 is what we will close out this post with. While this store is almost all Walmart inside, that exterior will live on to remind us Walmart wasn't the first store to give this building a try, as that exterior is all Albertsons!

    Coming up next time is a bonus store that somewhat ties into this post. How that store ties into this post I'll let you ponder, so be sure to come back in two weeks for what oddities of Floridian retail I find next!

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous in HoustonSeptember 11, 2022 at 12:28 AM

    This is certainly an interesting look at a Walbertsons! Yes, that exterior very much looks like an Albertsons! I'm not an expert on our local Walmart Neighborhood Markets. They are pretty common here, at least in certain parts of town, but even with that, I only remember ever going to a Walmart Neighborhood Market once and that was a store near where I lived that was probably a very early Neighborhood Market store and it's been closed for a few years now. After that location closed, there really aren't any Neighborhood Market stores in areas that I frequent around where I live so they're pretty far off the radar for me.

    One thing that surprises me is the size of this location. Perhaps the Neighborhood Market I went to was about this size, but I really don't think so. That felt quite a bit smaller than this one in your photos. I suppose while a Publixsons might feel big for a Publix, I reckon the same might be true for a Walbertsons (though the same is certainly not true for a Krogertsons at least compared to Kroger-built stores of similar age). If Neighborhood Markets in your area are less chaotic than the typical Walmart Supercenter, it might make for a nice alternative to a Supercenter. Are these stores currently as dependent on self-checkouts as typical Walmart Supercenters?

    I'm a bit surprised to see a vinyl floor at this store. Kroger likely would have pulled the tiles off (though fortunately my local Grocery Palace Krogertsons has not done that yet), but I'm glad Walmart didn't do that because those Krogertsons with pulled flooring look quite bad most of the time with excessive tile scar. The open ceiling and relatively spartan decor gives this store a rather bland industrial look though. There is no doubt that one is at a lower-end supermarket here. That said, the odd backwall design inherited from Albertsons does at least give this store some character even if it was adopted from the previous tenant! The local Grocery Palace Krogertsons also has that same backwall that Albertsons left, including the bakery flooring, and it still feels kind of weird even ~20 years later after the store originally opened! I do like the bakery flooring at the Krogertsons, but sadly Walmart did not keep that it seems.

    The exterior of that Publix is really something! That reminds me of the Kroger photos Retail Retell posted at his blog (though I think the photos were from a guest submission?) in a town near where he lives now which had architectural standards mandating something like that. I don't know what to make of those fake garage doors though. It's an interesting touch, but I'm not sure if 'interesting' is a good thing in this case, lol.

    I was recently told that a local Walmart Supercenter in Houston has been renovated recently and converted into a hybrid traditional store and online fulfillment center. With that, the store has oddly walled off areas within the store and strange corridors leading to things such as the garden center as the typical path to that is now the online fulfillment center. I'd share a link to it on Google Maps because there are photos of the oddities on Google Maps, but I forgot exactly where in the Houston area that store is! Oops, sorry, but I suppose Mike from HHR will have a post about this in the near future.

    Speaking of Mike from HHR, did you see his recent post about Twistee Treat? This post will probably be of interest to you! Link: https://houstonhistoricretail.com/2022/09/09/the-history-of-twistee-treats-freeze-and-thaw-cycle-in-houston/

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    1. I know Walmart has closed a number of underperforming Neighborhood Market stores lately, but I've yet to see a closed one in Florida. These stores must do well here, as we have some Neighborhood Market stores built really close to one another, or really close to an existing Supercenter too.

      The earliest Neighborhood Market stores were pretty large (about the size of this one), but shrank pretty quick as the concept began to expand further come the early 2000's. Walmart began to make these stores as cheap and bare-bones as possible, so making them smaller (around 40-45,000 sqft. on average) helped with that. I guess if Walmart found a decent building in a decent location they'd work with what they got, much like what happened with this former Albertsons store. The Neighborhood Markets near me aren't as crazy as a regular Walmart, but they still feel as soulless and depressing as any other Walmart. Depending on when the store was built determines how dependent a location is on self-checkout here. Older stores still have a mix of the two, while later builds are mostly SCO with 2-3 regular lanes. Remodels (for the most part) tend to leave things how they were.

      Walmart still leaves the tile in place in stores that were built with them, which has been nice to see. I don't know what the latest remodel round will entail with the new "Airport" decor, but hopefully the tile survives those remodels too. Hopefully Kroger leaves that Grocery Palace tile put too! I'm sure it looks odd with the current decor, but it has to be better than looking at whatever may be underneath that tile!

      Yes, I remember that Kroger Retail Retell posted! That Kroger was built that way due to a local design ordinance, the Publix in Riverview was built the way it was because that was the aesthetic the developer was going for (all the other Publix stores in the area look more normal). I've seen one other Publix like the one here, where the facade was designed to look like a fake downtown scene. The detail is nice, but it does come off as a bit odd in a way!

      I've heard that about Walmart remodels lately, where a chunk of the GM side gets walled off for a large online fulfillment operation. I don't know if that's something every store is getting, or just some of the really large ones with extra space to spare. Seems like everyone wants to join in that online fulfillment bandwagon, as Target has been closing off their cafe spaces in some stores to do something similar.

      Yes, I saw that post about Twistee Treat! They're a big thing by me, and they're still expanding quite a bit too in Florida with this latest management group. I know Houston is always a weird market to expand into, but at least two locations still remain there, even if the expansion wasn't a total success like they hoped.

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  2. The fact that I have only been to a former Grocery Palace store probably doesn't help, but the mirrored layout is really throwing me off! Anyway, it is crazy how Walmart left the facade and some interior components of this building in-tact, yet ruined #4466 for you. That being said, the inside of this store basically looks like any other Walmart to me (just a bit tidier).

    What good timing for a post to mention Publix #890, and that is quite the facade that they used! Considering how I've never seen a balcony on any other 55T store (which is #890's layout), I'd imagine that it is purely decorative too. On top of the crazy exterior, you also forgot to mention that this is one of two Publix prototypes which is confirmed to have opened with your beloved Metallic Marketplace! Although they may not be as big as their 61M counterparts at the time, the 55T stores are still pretty impressive on the inside if you've never been in one – I've also realized that they aren't super common to come across.

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    1. I've never been to a mirrored Grocery Palace store myself (at least while as an Albertsons). I'm so used to the left aligned-layout that every time I go into a Publixsons with the flipped one it throws me off quite a bit! What's even worse is that Walmart wasn't interested in #4466's building at first either, they wanted to build new across the street until people in the development behind that lot complained. The lot Walmart wanted to build on was turned into a pond instead, and Walmart decided to do what they did. I really wonder what would have happened to #4466 had Walmart's original plans went through. My guess is Lucky's probably would have taken the space instead of the odd arrangement they made down the road.

      I know the 55T isn't the most widespread layout out there, but I have been to one before, and it seems like a decent number of them popped up in the 2002-2003 timeframe (so it was a rather short-lived design). It makes sense these stores opened with Metallic Marketplace though, considering like the 45T it was a totally new design debuted in that era.

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