1425 Tuskawilla Road Unit #111, Winter Springs, FL - The Promenade at Tuskawilla
Back in the 80's Albertsons sure knew how to build some very large, intimidating looking stores during their Superstore model era. This one sure didn't disappoint, even now as it looms over this parking lot as a brick fortress of...yarn and fake flowers. Well, even though Albertsons has since closed up shop here, Hobby Lobby left the general grandiose exterior relatively intact, and the building still feels somewhat intimidating when you stand in front of it.
Albertsons opened this store here in 1989, as a co-anchor to this shopping center with Kmart. This Albertsons lasted into the final 17 stores, and closed on June 9, 2012, the same day as the others from that round of closings. This store didn't remain vacant for long, as within months of Albertsons closure, Hobby Lobby announced they would be opening their 22nd Florida store, and 4th in the greater Orlando area, here. The new Hobby Lobby store opened on October 7, 2013, after Hobby Lobby did a decent amount of renovations to the building. The most notable of which you can see in the above photo: Hobby Lobby consolidated Albertsons two side entrances into one entryway in the very middle of the building, and then bricked in the old doors and windows where Albertsons old vestibules were located. If you want to see what the exterior of this place looked like when it was still Albertsons, I found this photo here.
Looking across the exterior from a different angle. Albertsons' old left side entrance was located in that opening to the left of the picture. The doors were located where that blue bench currently is, and the old vestibule windows were where those lighter brick areas are along the front of the building.
The old left side entry canopies, and the Liquor store there to the left (which we'll get back to later). This entry would have had the word "Pharmacy" in the blank beige area on the canopy.
Looking toward where the left side entry doors into Albertsons were once located.
Right side entry canopy. This one would have said "Food".
And the bricked in right side entrance.
Let's head inside I suppose...
This new vestibule takes up the space where Albertsons' old customer service desk was.
And getting into the store itself. As you probably could have guessed by what Hobby Lobby did to the exterior, they left practically nothing behind from Albertsons inside. Except for the lighting, which looks like Albertsons' typical lighting. This picture was taken after turning to the right from Hobby Lobby's new main entrance, looking toward what was originally Albertsons' Deli and Bakery. As for the decor, this store would have opened with the Blue and Gray Market interior, and this store was remodeled I believe to a fairly basic version of the Industrial Circus decor sometime in the early 2000's (but I could be wrong about that, as Blue and Green Awnings is another strong possibility for this store's decor prior to closing, based off of where I got the original assumption from).
Looking into the front right corner of the store. When this was Albertsons, I would have been standing behind the deli counter here.
Looking across the front wall of the store.
And looking back down the main aisle at where we just came from.
Looking into what used to be produce, which is now Hobby Lobby's fabrics department.
And looking back down the main right side aisle toward the front of the store.
Hobby Lobby's main back aisle, cutting across where all the grocery aisles once were.
The back wall, formerly home to the meat and seafood departments.
One of the aisles down the middle of the store.
These next few photos aren't directly related to this store's past as an Albertsons, but I thought this little area of the store was neat, with all these different replica gas station signs and knickknacks:
Anyway, now that I've digressed, let's get back to the store itself:
Another one of the center aisles. Instead of groceries, now you see decorative metal knickknacks.
Looking toward the right side of the store down the main back aisle.
The main front aisle, also looking toward the right side of the store. I'm standing in what used to be the pharmacy/health & beauty area of this store.
Hobby Lobby's main left side aisle.
The left side wall. Where I'm standing, I would have been somewhere behind the pharmacy counter when this store was still Albertsons, looking down into the main health and beauty aisle, with some coolers off in the far distance.
So that about wraps up our look inside the main store portion of the building. Let's head back outside to the former liquor store next door...
The former Albertsons liquor store, located to the left of the main store. We already saw a quick glimpse of this space near the beginning of this post.
And as you can probably tell, this place has been left untouched since Albertsons closed back in 2012. Let's peek inside:
Albertsons left all of the coolers in place in the liquor store, and even some of the shelving. Also present are some remnants from Albertsons's decor. That squiggly orange line with a teal background in places, running near the top of the walls, was used in the Theme Park/Grocery Palace liquor store interior. However, it also could have been a later Blue and Green Awnings remodel as well, or even Industrial Circus (as both of those decor packages had the squiggly line in the liquor store). To see what the deluxe liquor store interior of a Theme Park Albertsons looked like, click here (you can see the squiggly line trim in that photo as well). However, I'm leaning toward Industrial Circus as the decor in this store's later days, based on further research, but I could still be wrong.
I wonder why Albertsons decided to keep all the coolers in here. Are they trying to make this space more attractive for an independent liquor store to move in? I'm surprised Albertsons didn't sell these coolers in the fixtures sale after this store closed, or send them to the Albertsons Florida fixtures graveyard that I accidentally found (and will make it to the blog eventually).
The front counter was left in tact as well, and there's even an old Albertsons cart still in there behind the counter.
One of the interesting features of this shopping center is the entire strip of small stores to the left of the former Albertsons is two stories. You don't see a design like this too often in suburban retail strip centers. Usually the two story design is used more for office centers for some reason.
Now that we've covered the Albertsons, let's go take a quick look at the other anchor to this plaza while we're here:
1425 Tuskawilla Road, Winter Springs, FL - The Promenade at Tuskawilla
And that other anchor would be this now former Kmart. Kmart closed this store in January 2015. With this Kmart's closure, it left the Orlando area with only one Kmart store remaining in Kissimmee (UPDATE: Well, two actually. When I originally wrote this post I was only considering Kmart locations in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties - There's also another Kmart west of Orlando in Clermont, Lake County). Kmart spent 2014 closing whatever locations they had left in the Orlando area with the exception of that Kissimmee (and Clermont) store. The Kissimmee Kmart actually does decent business as it's the only large discount retailer left in that part of town, and the Clermont store is just managing to hang in there somehow.
This store was a fairly typical late 80's style Kmart, and the brick exterior treatment gave that rather dull looking model a much nicer look.
And a quick look inside. I have many more photos of this former Kmart that I will be uploading to my flickr photostream at a later date. My flickr photostream is home to retail photos that I take of any store, not just Albertsons, if you ever want to check it out. There's a link to it on the side panel of this blog if you ever want to visit it. Also, if you're really interested, this website has a bunch of photos of this Kmart from when it was still open.
And finally a fairly bad picture of the road sign. The big blacked out spot is where Kmart's logo used to be.
Now for some Bird's Eye aerial images courtesy of Bing Maps:
And now for some historic aerials courtesy of Google Earth and historicaerials.com:
Former Albertsons #4376 - 2015 - An overview of the entire plaza. The former Kmart is the large building at the bottom of the plaza, and the Albertsons in on the top right.
Albertsons #4376 - 2010
Albertsons #4376 - 2006
Albertsons #4376 - 1999
Albertsons #4376 - 1994
Future Albertsons #4376 - 1980 - There was a whole lot of nothing in this area back then.
Before concluding this post, I thought I'd make a competition graphic for this Albertsons. All of Florida's big three supermarket chains once had a presence on this corner. By the time Albertsons built their store in 1989, both Publix and Winn-Dixie had already established their stores on this corner by building here earlier in the 80's. Winn-Dixie was the first to bail out though, closing their store on this corner sometime in the 90's, leaving just Publix and Albertsons. However, in the early 2000's, Publix tore down and rebuilt their store here, which I'm sure didn't help Albertsons much after construction finished. Albertsons remodeled their store in the early 2000's, probably in response to Publix's store rebuild. As for the old Winn-Dixie space, it ended up become a Lifestyle Family Fitness Center, which closed sometime around 2012-2013ish. Not long after that closed, the former Winn-Dixie was split between a Party City and The Fresh Market, both of which opened in 2014, so The Fresh Market never had any impact on Albertsons.
So, that's the tale of the Winter Springs Albertsons, as we take one last look at the massive exterior of this store. Coming up next week is something we haven't had in a while, a Bonus Buy store post, which will take a look at two really well preserved examples of two different styles of buildings used by a grocery chain that pulled out of Florida many years ago. That will be followed by lots more Albertsons stores in the weeks to come, along with more sporadic Bonus Buy store posts. 2016 is looking to be a big year here on AFB!
So until the next time,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger