Thursday, October 9, 2014

Albertsons Florida - Celebrating 40 Years of Serving The Sunshine State

     It was 40 years ago today that Albertsons opened their first store in Florida, located at 2170 Gulf-To-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater. Albertsons Florida has definitely had an interesting run here over the last 40 years. The first two decades of Albertsons Florida were looking bright, with expansion throughout the state. The third decade started to see some change, and much more pressure from their competitors, including a few minor scale backs and trip-ups for Albertsons Florida. The fourth decade was, well, I think we all know what happened to Albertsons Florida over the last decade. However, let's use today to look at some of the positives from Albertsons Florida's past. 

     Amazingly, that original Albertsons Florida store in Clearwater survives until this day, even after all the scaling back Albertsons has done over the last decade in Florida. Later this year, the Altamonte Springs store will also turn 40. I guess Albertsons knew what they were doing when they were picking out those first few sites, since two of the four original Albertsons stores from 1974 remain into the final four. 

    This year also marked Albertsons 75th year in business. To celebrate, they had their customers send in their stories about their first memories of Albertsons, their experiences with Joe Albertson, and their experiences over the years with Albertsons in general (you can read more about that here). So I figured why not do the same here, but with a Florida twist? What were some of your stories of Albertsons Florida over the last 40 years? Feel free share them in the comments section of this post. If you would like to read some of the "Joe Stories" that Albertsons has been collecting over the last few months, you can check some of them out here (although the website they dedicated to this seems to have been taken down). 

     As for what the next decade of Albertsons Florida has in store, who knows what will happen. I've always felt that their keeping of those four stores meant something, like they're not quite done with Florida yet. They didn't completely leave the state yet, with those four stores surviving the last two years practically isolated from the rest of the chain, so who knows what the next few years has in store. 

So Until Next Time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Planned Albertsons #43XX - 9th Street N. & 94th Avenue N., St. Petersburg, FL

Black and white satellite images courtesy of This is a 1969 image of the intersection of 9th St. N. (Dr. Martin Luther King St. N.) and 94th Avenue N. in St. Petersburg.
     October 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of Albertsons entering Florida. For this month's featured post I decided to do something in Albertsons Florida's home territory of Pinellas County, where the two of the first four Albertsons Florida stores opened in late 1974. When Albertsons first decided to enter the Florida market in early 1974, they announced they were going to open four new stores in Clearwater (#4301), St. Petersburg (#4302, 4th St. N.), Winter Park (#4303), and Altamonte Springs (#4304). However, unknown to most, Albertsons was actually planning to open 5 stores during their initial Florida push. This post is dedicated to that long forgotten and mysterious fifth store that was never built.

     The fifth Albertsons Florida store was planned to be built at the corner of 9th St. N. (also referred to as Dr. Martin Luther King St. N.) and 94th Ave. N. at the northernmost reaches of St. Petersburg, near the Gandy Bridge. This satellite image above is of that intersection in 1969. By the time Albertsons would have came along, a Kmart store had already been built at the northwest corner of this intersection.

     And this is where the mystery comes in. The pending construction of this store was mentioned in a February 12, 1974 article of The Evening Independent, The St. Petersburg Times former evening edition. The article talked about Albertsons' big push into Florida and the other new stores that were being built in the area (along with all the wonderful features Albertsons would bring to Florida). This article is the only reference online or anywhere to the 9th and 94th Albertsons ever existing, however details in the article were quite vague about this store. The only other known information on this store was that construction was to start in the summer of 1974, although that never was to be. I'm not even sure which of the two available corners was supposed to be the one this store was to be built on (it could have been either the northeast or southwest corner, however I'm leaning toward the southwest corner due to the shape of the lot and the fact it looks like there were some wetlands on the northeast corner).

     I wonder why this store was never constructed in the first place. Did locals not want it? Was zoning or some other government agency giving Albertsons a hard time? Could Albertsons have been trying to build over those wetlands on the northeast corner, which upset environmentalists? Due to how long ago the plans for this store were scrapped, information on it is hard to come by. Both of the potential sites were later developed as something else though. The northeast corner is now home to a hotel and office buildings, and the southwest corner is now a community of apartment complexes, which you can see below. 

The same area as pictured above in 2014. Image courtesy of Google Earth. Both of the potential Albertsons sites have since been redeveloped for other uses. The Kmart on the northwest corner became a Sears Essentials in 2005, and later closed in 2008. The building was torn down in 2013 for a new office complex, which is under construction in this image.
     After the plans for this store were mysteriously scrapped, Albertsons never pursued building another store in this area. The Pinellas Park Albertsons (#4349), which wouldn't open until 1982 about 3.5 miles west on Gandy Boulevard, was to become the closest Albertsons to this site. 

    As always, if anyone can add any information to the history of this planned store, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Until Next Time,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger