Friday, November 27, 2015

The Goodbye, Albertsons Florida Post Has been Removed for Now

     Maybe I jumped on this a bit too early, but I still don't think my source had completely malicious intents. I'm not saying that anything has been confirmed or denied about the Safeway conversions, but I think it will be best if this post goes away until some news articles or pictures of these conversions are found, and I will also be doing some investigating of my own.

Please be understanding of this,


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Former Albertsons #4420 - Merritt Island, FL

Pantry Pride #749/Albertsons #4420
230 N. Courtenay Pkwy., Merritt Island, FL - Home Depot Plaza

     Today's post brings us to one of the oldest shopping centers in Merritt Island, and it's a shopping center very familiar with the concept of change. This shopping center was originally constructed back in 1964 as one of the first in Merritt Island. The 60's brought a large population boom to relatively isolated Merritt Island, as 1962 marked the opening of the Kennedy Space Center on the most northern part of the island, next to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. With the Space Age in full bloom, many people began moving to the area to begin their careers at the space center and find a way to get man on the moon, turning what was once a fairly rural island dotted with small farming and fishing villages into an urbanized population hub. And when people find a new place to live, they will also need a new place to shop. In the months and years following the construction of this plaza, more shopping centers and even the first enclosed mall in Brevard County were constructed on Merritt Island. When the plaza we'll be looking at today first opened, it featured anchors JM Fields discount store on one end, and JM Field's sister supermarket chain Pantry Pride on the other. However in 1978, The JM Fields company fell on hard financial times and declared bankruptcy, leading to the closure of all JM Fields stores and the scaling back of their Food Fair and Pantry Pride locations. When the company was finally able to emerge from bankruptcy, it came out under the name Pantry Pride Stores, Inc, and they moved their headquarters from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale. Gradually, Pantry Pride began to close and sell off all of their supermarkets that were not located in Florida, and by the end of the 80's, their stores were all clustered in South Florida. As for the Merritt Island Pantry Pride, it closed sometime in the 80's, and the building itself was demolished after the store closed, leaving an empty lot at one end of the plaza for a number of years. Fast forward to the early 90's, and here comes Albertsons looking for a site to build a store in Merritt Island, with their final selection being the lot that was formerly home to the Merritt Island Pantry Pride. In 1994, Albertsons opened a brand new Pre-Plaza model Albertsons in this plaza, right around the time Home Depot finished building their new store at the other end of the plaza, on the site of the former JM Fields store, which had been a Zayre and Ames store in the years after JM Fields closed. 

     So now with an Albertsons and Home Depot, this plaza was able to spring back to life after a few years of decline, and the strip of stores between the two new buildings was renovated. Then comes 2006 and the breakup of Albertsons to Supervalu and Cerberus. Not long after Cerberus acquired their share of Albertsons stores, including the Florida locations, in October 2006, they announced they had sold 46 of their Albertsons stores to Ross Stores, one of which being this location in Merritt Island. There were other Florida Albertsons stores effected by this sale, as we will soon see. By early 2007, this Albertsons was closed and divided into a Ross Dress For Less and dd's Discounts store, Ross's lower price chain. While the Ross is still open and doing good business, the next door dd's Discount's location closed sometime around 2010, and it still sits empty.  

     The empty dd's there on the right. The entrance for the dd's store was carved out of part of the wall, while Ross's entrance is located in the same spot where Albertsons' entrance was. Ross even reused Albertsons' old canopy, and I don't even think they bothered to repaint the building since Albertsons left. 

     Under Albertsons's old canopy, looking toward dd's old entrance. 

     The entryway has since been reconfigured into the standard Ross configuration...

     ...and so has the entire interior as well. Usually when these old stores get subdivided, I tend to not expect seeing much of the former occupant on the interior, although I have been surprised a few times. Ross takes up the portion of the Albertsons building that contained most of the service departments, such as the bakery, deli, seafood counter, and produce mostly the grocery aisles, the Pharmacy and Seafood Counters, and Frozen Foods (I was thinking of the mirrored layout when I originally wrote this, sorry about that). This is looking down Ross's right wall, which divided it from the old dd's. 

     Every single Ross store looks exactly the same on the interior, in terms of layout, lighting, floor tiles, and just about everything else. This view would have been looking toward the Seafood counter from the middle of the grocery aisles. 

     Looking from the back of the store to the front. 

     This main aisle would have connected the Pharmacy with the Seafood counter. 

     Looking down the left side wall. Where I'm standing would have been somewhere behind Albertsons seafood counter, which would have been set up similar to what you see here at the former Jupiter Albertsons (#4446), but this store was a mirror image of that one, and had a drop ceiling throughout. 

     Looking down the back wall, where the meat coolers would have been. 

     Time to head back out and see some of the more interesting things left from Albertsons out there...

     First, a quick look at the former dd's Discounts store. 

     Looking from the front of dd's toward the front of Ross. 

     The right side of the Albertsons building, which is detached from the rest of the shopping center by this small grassy area and sidewalk. 

     Working our way back down to the left side of the building to check out the old liquor store, but just one more look under the old Albertsons canopy first. 

     And the old liquor store over on the far left side of the building. Everything is original here, even the paint. 

     As you can probably tell, the liquor store has been sitting empty ever since Albertsons closed in 2006. Also as usual, lots of the decals and lettering are still up on the windows. 

     And a peek into the interior...

     Yep, that's Blue and Gray Market decor remnants. That's the interior this store had for its entire life. 

     The side of the liquor store, which is the left side of the building. 

     A quick look at the plaza between the old Albertsons and Home Depot. The plaza is the the only original piece of this shopping center left from 1964. The empty storefront right in front of me was most recently a Family Dollar. 

And now time for Bird's Eye aerial images, courtesy of Bing Maps:


Right Side


Left Side

     And now for some historic aerial images courtesy of Google Earth:

     Before we begin our trip back in time, here's an image of the entire plaza. The former Albertsons is all the way at the top and Home Depot is the big building all the way at the bottom.

Former Albertsons #4420 - 2014

Albertsons #4420 - 2006 - Nearing the end here. The building is exactly the same as well, just without the cutout for dd's Discount's entrance. 

Albertsons #4420 - 1999

Future Albertsons #4420 - Still just an empty lot from where Pantry Pride's building once stood. Notice that Albertsons also reconfigured the parking lot when they built their store so the parking lot would be perpendicular to the front of the building rather than at an angle.

     And finally, the road sign. And speaking of Home Depot...

     Here it is. It's a nothing special average-all-around Home Depot store, and like I said earlier, was built on the site of the old JM Fields store. Not long after JM Fields closed here, this building became home to Zayre #651, which remained here until they were purchased by Ames in 1988. This store was then converted to Ames (store #2651) like the rest of the Florida Zayre stores. However, when Ames declared bankruptcy in 1991 due to their purchase of Zayre to begin with (a bankruptcy that nearly killed them), they closed all of their Florida stores in a wave of closures that also included some stores in their core markets in the Northeast. Then in 1993, Home Depot purchased the old Ames building and tore it down for their new store. 

     And now with all of the history out of the way, it's probably the best time to wrap up this post. 

So until the next time (which is going to be a very special post, may I add),

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Friday, November 13, 2015

Kroger's Latest Acquisition Will Bring them to...Wisconsin

     Yes, this doesn't directly relate to Florida, but let me explain...

     Remember all of that hype earlier this year that Kroger was looking into making another acquisition after the dust from the Harris Teeter sale settled down? Supposedly Kroger was looking to make an acquisition in a market where they currently did not have a presence, which made most of the media outlets point their fingers at Florida and a possible acquisition of Winn-Dixie by Kroger. Well, the other day the news broke about what that possible acquisition was going to be: Roundy's Supermarkets based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The upper midwest is one of the three major markets where Kroger doesn't have much of a presence, in addition to Florida and the Northeast. Roundy's is actually a company that operates supermarkets under the names Pick n' Save, Copps, Metro Market, and Mariano's in most of the major cities in Wisconsin and also the Chicago area. I have heard that Kroger was looking to bulk up their Chicago presence, and this acquisition is much closer to home for them than a Florida acquisition. The most interesting part is that Roundy's isn't exactly in the greatest financial shape. Kroger has always said that they like purchasing chains that are in good financial health, as they aren't in the market to turn around struggling stores (like would be the case with Winn-Dixie). It was a shocker to many that Kroger chose to do this, although speculation is that Kroger is only going into this deal for some of the prime Chicago real estate Roundy's has, along with making them the #1 supermarket chain in Milwaukee. Winn-Dixie is technically the #3 supermarket in Florida (behind Publix and Walmart), but they have lots of hard to get real estate, especially in the more urban areas of Florida, which could attract a potential buyer. 

      So, if you were one of those people looking forward to Kroger coming back to Florida, it looks like the wait may be even longer if they do choose to come back to the Sunshine State. But after some of the events of the past year, I could very well believe now that Albertsons could be a serious potential candidate at buying Winn-Dixie if they choose to sell out to someone. However, I feel that Kroger is strong enough to try a natural Florida expansion by building their own stores if they wanted to, something that I don't think Albertsons wouldn't be able to pull off again at this point.  

     That's probably enough rambling for now. If you want to read more about this new Kroger acquisition, the Cincinnati Business Courier has a really nice article about the topic which you can read here.

More Albertsons coming soon. So until the next time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Former Albertsons #4446 - Jupiter, FL

Albertsons #4446/Publix #1333
17400 N. Alternate A1A, Jupiter, FL
The Shoppes of Jonathan's Landing

    Albertsons had a strange run in this town. After closing up shop in Jupiter the first time in 1990 with a store that only lasted three years (#4365), you would think that Albertsons wouldn't come back after suffering such a painful defeat, right? Well, Albertsons is and has always been a company full of surprises. After a seven year hiatus, Albertsons decided to return to Jupiter with a brand new store, located only a half mile west of that original store. In November 1997, Jupiter's brand new Albertsons opened at the corner of Indiantown Road and Alternate A1A, indirectly replacing their original Jupiter store, and according to one article I read, this store also indirectly replaced the Stuart Albertsons (#4382) nearly 20 miles to the north of here, which had closed in the days prior to this store opening, but that's a story for another day. Albertsons' return to Jupiter was much more successful than their original run. This new Albertsons lasted 11 years before it became one of 49 Albertsons Florida stores that were sold to Publix in 2008, a sale that cut Albertsons presence in Florida by half. This was one of four South Florida Albertsons stores to be sold to Publix in that sale, and the only one in Palm Beach County. During that acquisition, Publix completely gutted and in some extreme cases, tore down some of the Albertsons stores they acquired. In other cases, they did practically nothing to the buildings except install their decor and restock the shelves. This store was one of the ones Publix did practically nothing to, as we'll be seeing shortly... 

     While this store looks like a typical early 2000's Albertsons, with an exterior almost reminiscent of the St. Lucie West Albertsons (#4466) we toured prior, this store actually uses the Mid-Late 90's layout inside. This particular store was built during a transitional era, which is why this store combines the designs from both eras.

     One of the distinct exterior traits of a Mid-Late 90's Albertsons was this windowed in area for shopping cart storage, located to one of the sides of the entrance, with it being on the left side at this particular store. In the very first photo of this post, you can see what this area looks like from the front. 

     Looking down the front of the store from the cart storage area. And look at what Publix left on the doors...the original 'Entrance' and 'Exit' decals from Albertsons!

     You can see the decals a little bit better in this photo. This is Albertsons original entryway setup, and the typical entryway set up for a Mid-Late 90's Albertsons, with the four separate doors, two for entry and two for exiting. Normally Publix will replace these swing doors with sliding ones when they take over someone else's building. It's actually very unusual that they kept these here, especially complete with Albertsons' decals! 

     Heading inside for our first look at the interior. Turning to the left when you first walk in is the floral department. Honestly, the interior of this store is an Albertsons with Publix decor (Classy Market 2.5 specifically). Publix left just about everything intact from Albertsons here except for the decor. The only slight modifications Publix had made to this building since they took over was adding the new Publix standard curved front Bakery (which we'll see in a moment), and they added that extra set of sliding doors to the entryway that Albertsons more than likely didn't have.

     Heading down the first aisle, and looking back to see the bakery department, located in the front left corner of the store. The way this store was designed, the entire outer perimeter of the store where all the service departments are located has a warehouse ceiling, and all the grocery aisles in the center of the store are under a drop ceiling. This design was used in the late 90's by Albertsons until the Early 2000's stores began to be rolled out in 1999, when Albertsons decided to begin using full warehouse ceilings in almost all of their newly built stores. 

     Looking under the bakery awning. The fancy tile work behind the counter was added by Publix when they upgraded the bakery during the remodel to Classy Market 2.5 decor. 

     Looking into the back of the store from the bakery and wee see the produce department, which takes up aisle 1 along with some beach stuff and souvenirs over to the right (which didn't make it in the picture). In the far back left corner is the deli. 

     Looking down the front end. You can see the transition to the drop ceiling here. 

     Heading into the grocery aisles under the drop ceiling portion of the store. As for the decor when this store was Albertsons, this store had Blue and Green Awnings decor, which came out around 1996-1997ish and is what this store had for its entire life as Albertsons. Blue and Green Awnings was the decor that replaced Blue and Gray Market after its long 10 year run, and Blue and Green Awnings' rollout began an era when Albertsons was coming up with new interiors every 2-3 years, some of which began to overlap each other. Blue and Green Awnings lasted until 1999, when it was pretty much phased out for the Theme Park/Grocery Palace interior.   

     Looking down the back aisle. The milk, eggs, butter, and yogurt portion of dairy is located back here where the wall is painted yellow, with meats extending down the rest of the back wall where the wall is painted red, where it then transitions into seafood. 

     Heading back up front...

     I think I've mentioned before how I like these classic photos Publix used to put up in their stores, usually up at the front end, but sometimes elsewhere on the perimeter of the store. Speaking of classic Publix... 

     Somebody forgot to take these old signs down! There were actually quite a few of these signs throughout the store hanging on the sides of these end displays. There's a slight glare, but these signs show a bag of Publix brand groceries featuring Publix's old ribbon logo packaging. I'm surprised always-wanting-to-be-up-to-date Publix hasn't found something to replace these with yet. And what's even weirder: This store opened in 2008 as Publix, approximately 4 years after that packaging was phased out from Publix's shelves!   

     And heading into the frozen food department, located in the center of the store. I believe all of these coolers are original to Albertsons, because they don't look to be of the style of the ones Publix has been using for the last few years. 

     The remaining portion of dairy (cheeses) and the lunch meats were stuffed into the end of this frozen food aisle, along with the beer. 

     Getting closer to the right side of the store and the pharmacy. In front of the pharmacy were about 5 or 6 short aisles featuring health and beauty items and pharmaceuticals, one of which I am standing in. From this aisle, you can see how the drop ceiling looks over the grocery aisles.  

     And in the front right corner of the store is the pharmacy counter, again, same location as it was in this store's Albertsons days. 

     It's hard to tell in this photo, but that white painted portion of the wall is actually painted over wood paneling. Albertsons has always loved using wood paneling in their stores, and they used it in their stores well into the 2000's, long after many people classified it as outdated. 

     In this photo of Aisle 16, we get our best look at the transition from the drop ceiling to warehouse ceiling portion of the store. 

    Seafood in the back right corner. In Mid-Late 90's stores, the seafood counter was always located on an angle in either the back right or back left corners of the store, depending on which was the layout was situated. 

     And the final aisle, Aisle 17, is home to wine and bottled water. Publix always puts those arched things over their wine aisles. 

     Looking across the front of the store from the pharmacy to the bakery. 

      Well, that was an interesting store, but now it is time for us to begin heading out...

     Now that we're back outside, let's take a few more quick looks at the exterior. This is looking down the front sidewalk toward the right side of the building from the front entrance. This view does look very similar this view along the front walkway at the St. Lucie West Albertsons.

     Looking back toward the entrance. 

     This is the walkway that leads to the few small storefronts located to the right of the former Albertsons building. 

     And back over on the left side of the building is the former Albertsons liquor store, now home to Publix liquors. 

     Publix even left the original Albertsons decals on the doors over here as well. 

And now for some Bird's Eye satellite images courtesy of Bing Maps:


Right Side


Left Side

And now historic aerials, courtesy of Google Earth:

Former Albertsons #4446 - 2014

Albertsons #4446 - 2005 - Not a bad crowd.

Albertsons #4446 - 1999 - Still relatively new at this point.

Future Albertsons #4446 - 1995

     So that wraps up our look at the former Albertsons stores of Jupiter. Two very different stores with two very different stories, both sharing a common fate: becoming a Publix. Publix seems to be doing fine at both locations, with each location offering different services that compliment each other and the part of town they are located in. 

So until the next time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger