Saturday, May 30, 2015

Goodbye, Clearwater

Albertsons #4301
2170 Gulf to Bay Boulevard, Clearwater, FL
10/9/1974 - 5/30/2015

     Here it is! The new and improved Clearwater Albertsons post. And a big thanks to all who sent in pictures of this store!

     After over 40 years in business, the original Florida Albertsons in Clearwater served its last shoppers today, May 30, 2015, two days later than originally planned (the original predicted final day was May 28th). For now, the future of this site is unknown. However, contributors David C. and Ross T. kindly sent in to us some photos of the interior and exterior of this store, including the one above, for your viewing pleasure:  

     As you'll see in the following pictures, this store is really beginning to show its age. Now that I really think about it, I feel this store's closing had more to do with the fact it would cost Albertsons too much money to update this store, and that it would be more cost effective to just close it and put the money into updating the other three stores, which Albertsons announced they would do in the days following the announcement of this store's closure. And I'm sure that new Walmart across the street didn't help business much here either.  

    What looks like funny looking texturing along the front of the store are actually painted over windows, which was probably done as a way to increase sales space. Those old windows were painted gray until recently (as can be seen in the aerials below).

     And heading around to the right side of the building. The entrance to the liquor store is under the liquor sign, tucked into the alcove, and that's a side entrance into the store just to the left of that. 

     Looking back toward the liquor store.
     The Albertsons sign on the east side of the building facing Belcher Road. It looks like some of the letters were replaced over time, since the l and the n don't match the others.

     Now let's go inside to take a closer look at the unique interior. While this store had the standard Blue and Gray Market interior for many years, it was transformed into the "Yellow and Green Market" interior in 2006, according to commentor Mark P. over on my original post announcing this store's closure. He informed us that this new paint scheme was supposed to resemble the color scheme Publix was using in their stores at the time. It's pretty close to the color scheme of Publix's 1st Generation Classy Market interior, and I think this color scheme compliments this decor pretty well. Now for the pictures:

      First stop is the back left corner of the store, home to the bakery (which is actually stuffed into the corner) and the deli, which is to the left of the bakery along the side wall. All but one of these interior photos you're about to see were taken on May 27th and May 28th, not long before the store was completely cleaned out. Here the bakery and deli are blocked off by these tables of random knickknacks, looking mostly like decorative floral leftovers. I remember when my old Albertsons was closing, the bakery, and just about all of the service departments actually, were still fully functional until only a week or two before the very end.  

      The former pastry cases all cleaned out. It doesn't seem like this store had a very big bakery, since most of this "Bakery Shop" corner was actually home to the deli!

     And there's the deli in the background, also all cleaned out. This photo was taken from produce, which was also located in the back left corner of the store. That's a pretty sizable amount of produce left for this late into the closure.

     The deli signage under the bakery awning.

      Heading over to dairy and lunch meats, all the cases are now covered over as the merchandise is depleted. The Seafood and Meats service counter is in the background, also closed now. Those windows above the Seafood and Meats signs are for management's offices. After the Skaggs model Albertsons stores are retired in the early 80's in favor of the Superstore model stores, these windows are moved to overlook the front of the store instead of the back.
      The closed Seafood and Meats counter, along with an empty aisle.

     Closeup of one of the aisle markers. I've never seen this style aisle marker before. Albertsons current interior uses ones that look like this. My guess is that these were probably put in around 2006 when the rest of the store was repainted, because the original blue ones would have looked really out of place in the new sea of green and yellow. 

      The center aisle that runs down the middle of the store. This photo also gives us a good look at the original Blue and Gray Market flooring pattern.

     Heading over to the back right corner of the store where Health and Beauty and the pharmacy were located. This store topped out at 16 aisles. 

     Health and Beauty signage along the right side wall.

     This photo of the pharmacy, and a very well stocked store, was taken back at the end of April. According to David C., the pharmacy was shut down just days after this photo was taken at the beginning of the closure and the Pharmacy sign removed promptly after that. 

      Jumping back up to the front of the store for a quick look at the customer service counter, and it's sign, which looks to be from the Theme Park/Grocery Palace interior.That sign probably came from another closed store in the area. It's hard to see, but in the green part of the wall above the counter is a labelscar that reads "Film and Developing", as noted by David C.  

     The front end. 11 registers total, and it looks like there were 3 open on this day. The side entrance into the store is in the far left background.

     Signage over the side entrance. All it says is "Thank you for shopping". The word Albertsons wasn't clipped out of the picture, or on the wall at all. I guess they assumed you knew what store you were about to leave, although it seems really abrupt to just say "Thank you for shopping".  

      At least they have the word Albertsons for the thank you sign over the front entrance.

     And a quick look at the front vestibule before we leave this store for good.

     Night shot.

     And finally the parking lot sign facing Gulf to Bay Boulevard, which in 24 hours, will probably be painted over in black.

Let's do some aerials to finish out this post:

First up, historic aerials courtesy of Google Earth and

Albertsons #4301 - 2014 - Not a bad crowd in the parking lot, and this image was taken after the new Walmart Neighborhood Market across the street opened.

Albertsons #4301 - 2004

Albertsons #4301 - 1994

Future Albertsons #4301 - 1971 - In three years Florida's first Albertsons will appear here. 40 years and 7 months after that, Florida's first Albertsons will close here. That little gas station right on the corner in this aerial is still standing to this day (you can see the same building outline in the 2014 aerial) although everything else you see here is gone.

Now for Bird's Eye images from Bing Maps:


Right Side

Back, complete with Albertsons truck unloading.

Left Side

UPDATE 5/31/2015: I found this video on YouTube that features some interior and exterior views of this Albertsons, taken back in 2013. The part with Albertsons goes from a few seconds after the beginning until approx. 3:30:

     Well Clearwater, you had a good run. You lasted over 40 years and made it to the Final Four. Not many stores make it that long, especially in a chain that's been fighting a losing battle for 15 years now in Florida. I wish all the employees at this store the best, and I hope everybody enjoyed this new extended look at the closing of the Clearwater Albertsons. 

Anyway, until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Quick Glimpse - Former Albertsons #4454 - Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Albertsons #4454
4407 Northlake Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Northmil Plaza

***Photos of this store courtesy of Dijon Smith on flickr***

      Here's yet another relatively short lived Albertsons store. First opening here in 2001 as a replacement for an older Albertsons (Store #4364) on the other side of I-95 about half a mile away in the Home Depot plaza, this store only lasted in this location 7 years, closing on August 30, 2008 with three other Albertsons stores in the state at the time. I knew someone who used to like shopping at this store on their way home from work, and she always said this was a really nice store, and that it was much larger than usual. Albertsons was originally planning to have this store opened around 1996, however, construction got delayed for some reason that I've never been able to find (probably had to due with local zoning if I had to guess), and this store's opening was delayed until 2001. I believe this store was opened with the Theme Park interior, but I'm not completely sure. After closing in 2008, this store sat abandoned until 2010, when it was split between Joseph's Classic Market, a local upscale Italian Market chain, and a Home Goods.    

    This parking lot definitely has no shortage of foliage! Joseph's Classic Market takes up the left portion of the former Albertsons building where the main entrance used to be.

     Home Goods is in the right portion of the building. I really like how Home Goods exactly matched the old Albertsons architecture when they built their new entrance instead of putting in something that didn't match, like what usually happens when these buildings are subdivided. You'd think Albertsons built this as a second entrance! In the Bird's Eye satellite image below, you can see what this portion of the building looked like before Home Goods moved in. 

     And all the way over to the right, the former liquor store is now a bagel shop. 

Aerial Time:

Bing Maps Bird's Eye view of the building, from after Albertsons closed but before Joseph's and Home Goods moved in. Home Goods' new entrance is located in the portion of the building where the front awning dips in. 

     Satellite overview of Northmil Plaza from Google Earth, dated 2014. This plaza is located at the very busy corner of Northlake Blvd. and Military Trail, a block west of I-95. A Winn-Dixie and Publix are located in shopping centers directly across the street.

     And that concludes this quick glimpse post. Thanks again Dijon Smith for sending in the photos. Coming next Thursday are a few photos that were sent in of the soon to be closed Clearwater Albertsons, followed by a full length Albertsons store post in early June, so stick around for more to come!

Until next time, 

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Friday, May 15, 2015

Safeway's Florida Experiment: Save and Pack

Save 'n Pack
     Since Safeway is now a part of Albertsons, I thought this post would be an interesting little piece of obscure Florida supermarket history to do a post about. For the longest time I thought Safeway was the only major supermarket chain who was able to resist the Florida temptation. However, according to some recent comments over on The Safeway and Albertsons in Texas blog, it turns out I was wrong. Safeway did have a small Florida operation back in the late 80's and early 90's called Save and Pack. Save and Pack was supposed to be a branch of the current Northern California Safeway division called Pak n' Save, a price impact, somewhat warehouse style chain similar to a hybrid of Aldi and Sam's Club. The Florida stores were also supposed to used the name Pak n' Save as well, however, due to a copyright dispute from now-defunct Jacksonville based supermarket Pic N' Save, Safeway was forced to flip their name to Save and Pack for their Florida operations. The Florida Save and Pack stores were more similar to that of a Sam's Club, but without the membership fee. While offering a large selection of discounted foods, Safeway wanted to focus more on non-food items at their Save and Pack stores due to how far away this division would be from Safeway's distribution centers in the west and northeast. The first Save and Pack store opened in Jacksonville in 1984, but most information from there gets fuzzy. What I do know is there were 9 Save and Pack stores in total, 8 in Florida and one in Alabama (locations are listed in the table below). However, when all of these stores closed and what happened in between is a bit of a mystery. I found out that two stores were closed in 1987 due to unprofitablilty (Casselberry and Pensacola), however I think the remaining stores made it into the early 90's. Kash N Karry bought the three Tampa Bay area Save and Pack stores in 1992, along with the name, which is when I believe Safeway finally left the state, however I don't know for sure if the other stores made it that far. Kash N Karry did continue to use the Save and Pack name for their own warehouse style stores throughout the state until those were finally discontinued in the late 90's, although those don't count as Safeway locations since they were opened and operated by Kash N Karry. Anyway, here is the location table and a short history of each location, similar to how my Albertsons table is set up:
Store NameStore NumberAddressShopping CenterCityStateZIPCountyInfo
Save and Pack32012525 N. Dale Mabry HighwayTampaFL33607HillsboroughA former Gold Triangle store. Save and Pack moved in here in 1985, and this location was sold to Kash N Karry in 1992, where it continued to operate under the Save and Pack name for a few years after the sale. Building was later torn down for a Sweetbay Supermarket (Now Winn-Dixie) in the early 2000's.
Save and Pack 3202204 E State Road 436Oxford SquareCasselberryFL32707SeminoleOpened March 1986 as the 7th Save n' Pack store in Florida and the only one in the Orlando area. Closed March 22, 1987 due to unprofitability before the closure of the rest of the division. After Save and Pack closed this location became Builder's Square #1526, which closed with the rest of the chain in 1999. Currently an Old Time Pottery store.
Save and Pack32055301 Norwood AveNorwood PlazaJacksonvilleFL32208DuvalOpened 1985/1986ish in a former Woolco store. Exact closing unknown. Currently the Norwood Flea Market.
Save and Pack32064335 W Fairfield Dr Fairfield CrossingsPensacolaFL32505EscambiaOpened 1985. Closed March 1987 before the rest of the division. Entire shopping center later torn down for a Lowe's and other smaller stores in the early 2000's.
Save and Pack320730535 US Highway 19 NSeabreeze Plaza Shopping CenterPalm HarborFL34684PinellasOpened 1985. Sold to Kash N Karry in 1992, where it continued to operate under the Save and Pack name for a few years after the sale. The building later became home to a Waccamaw Home Furnishings store, which closed with the rest of the company in June 2001. Building torn down for a new Publix, which opened in September 2003.
Save and Pack320811612 N Nebraska AveSave & Pack Shopping CenterTampa FL33612HillsboroughOpened 1986. Sold to Kash N Karry in 1992, where it continued to operate under the Save and Pack name for a few years after the sale. Currently a Flea Market.
Save and Pack32XX9400 Atlantic BoulevardRegency Park Shopping CenterJacksonvilleFL32225DuvalWhat I believe was the first Save N Pack store to open in Florida and Safeway's first store of any kind in Florida, which opened in 1984. Later became a Kroger Welcome Warehouse style store after. Currently divided between Hobby Lobby (previously Rhodes Furniture) and Books a Million.
Save and Pack32XX8102 Blanding BoulevaedCrossroads SquareJacksonvilleFL32244DuvalOpened 1985. Later became a Kroger Welcome Warehouse style store, then Food World, then Publix. Currently a Floor and D├ęcor store.
Save and Pack32XX3725 Airport BoulevardMobile Festival CenterMobile AL36608MobileOpened 1986. Became a Kroger Welcome Warehouse style store after, which closed in the 90's. Now Academy Sports.

     Information on these stores was pretty scarce, so if you have any corrections or additions to add in about any of the stores in the table above, please let me know! I'm pretty sure there were only 9 stores, but you never know, there could have been another one floating around out there somewhere that escaped my radar.

     And in other news, I have three more Albertsons posts in the works to go up (if all goes as planned) by early June - Two short ones, or "Quick Glimpse" posts as I call them, and one regular store post, which we haven't had in a while. So stay tuned, more to come soon!

Until next time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger