Sunday, October 23, 2016

Former Albertsons #4471 - Sanford, FL - Part 2

Albertsons #4471
300 W. Lake Mary Boulevard, Sanford, FL - Boulevard Plaza

     It's now time to conclude our tour of former Albertsons #4471 in Sanford with the second part of this two part post series. As you can see for Part 2 of this tour, we will get to go inside part of this former Albertsons thanks to the appearance of this pop up Halloween store! The photos for Part 2 of this post were actually taken before the photos for Part 1. I came by here the first time not expecting this Halloween store to be here, so this was an interesting surprise for me! After Halloween I was by here again, which is when I took the photos you saw in the Part 1 post to provide the other, more abandoned perspective of this store. Every October since this Albertsons closed, Spirit Hallowen has operated here. That includes this year as well, so if you're in the area and want a peek inside this store, you still have another week to do so. However, if you can't make it to Sanford this week, this post will provide an interesting perspective of this store. Also, if you want a recap of the Part 1 post from this store earlier this month, please click here.

     UPDATE 10/28/2016 - Commentor cflguy visited this store again in the last few days, and took some very interesting photos which you can view here. Instead of opening on the left side of the building as my pictures show, Spirit opened in the right half this year, giving an entirely new perspective to this store. Also, cflguy reports that Publix has bought the lease to this building, and has plans to open a store here sometime in 2017, bringing an end to the long abandoned Sanford Albertsons.

     Before we go inside let's take another quick look around the exterior...

     The right side of the building.

    Looking toward the left side of the building and the liquor store. Nothing different was going on over at the liquor store that we didn't see already in the first post, so this post won't feature any photos from over there. If you want a look at the liquor store, scroll toward the bottom of the Part 1 post.

     Are you ready to head inside...if you dare...

     Welcome to Albertsons Spirit Halloween! This interesting mashup of logos greets you when you first walk through the front door, although I think Albertsons' giant leaf logo on the floor overpowers Spirit's banner hanging on the wall. Spirit Halloween's sales floor only takes up the left half of the old Albertsons (home of the deli, bakery, produce, Snack Central, Beverage Boulevard, and the Pharmacy), with the remainder of the old Albertsons blocked off by temporary plywood partition walls. Most of the reason as to why I came back here the second time was to get pictures of the remainder of the store that Spirit blocked off, which kind of worked out. However, for a perspective of this area when the Halloween store isn't in operation, click here.

     If this store had a Starbucks (which more than likely it did when it first opened), it would have been immediately to my left here. To the right is the left side wall of the pharmacy island, which also doubles as a great place to hang some skeletons from.

     Looking back at the hallway Spirit has set up to funnel shoppers into their salesfloor, which begins at the side of the pharmacy island and runs almost all the way to the back wall. Throughout this post we'll get to see many of the custom tile patterns that were used in the Theme Park/Grocery Palace decor to individualize the different departments (one of the main goals of that interior). In the foreground you can see the road pattern used for Beverage Boulevard (home to all of the non-alcoholic drinks). Whether coincidentally or intentionally, Spirit uses the alignment of Beverage Boulevard as the main aisle through their salesfloor. 

     This was taken looking into the front left corner of the store. If you look closely above Spirit's princess castle prop, you can see the awning that surrounds the front of Albertsons' old deli.

     Looking back down Beverage Boulevard from the center of Spirit's salesfloor.

     Looking into the back of the store. Above the temporary plywood wall in the back you can see where Albertsons' bakery department juts out.

     Another look down "Halloween" Boulevard.

     From this angle you can better see the old bakery, and also a few of the produce lamps to the left of the bakery. Spirit's temporary plywood walls do a good job at blocking most of Albertsons' old wall decor from view...

     However I was able to sneak this one picture from behind the plywood wall. Spirit had a plywood door built into the wall near the bakery department to access their stockroom space. The two pieces of plywood that made up the door didn't quite line up right, leaving a crack between them. The crack was just large enough for the lens of my phone's camera to capture this look at the old Bakery space, showing all of the bakery decor still in tact (minus all of the cases and such, and the food collage on the jut out).

     Back out to the main salesfloor for a look at where Snack Central used to be. Snack Central used this star tile pattern throughout the department, and took up a good 3 or so aisles. 4466's Snack Central had aisles that ran parallel to the front wall before its 2009 remodel, a set up that seems to be more unusual compared to most other Theme Park/Grocery Palace Albertsons stores. This store had the more common Snack Central with all perpendicular to the front wall aisles. However, a discussion about Snack Central just wouldn't be complete without a photo of one of the coolest grocery store decor pieces ever thought up: Snack Central's giant bowl of party mix! (although I will admit, Beverage Boulevard's giant bucket of soda bottles was equally as neat).

     Another look across Snack Central. The only snacks over here now are unknowing customers if one of those zombie props gets hungry.

     Moving further to the right from Snack Central into this area, where Health and Beauty was located.

     This is looking into the rightmost portion of the space Spirit occupies. Beyond the plywood wall you can see the ceiling reaching into the other half of the store, home to the remaining grocery aisles, meats and seafood, dairy, frozen foods, the pet alcove, and the old checkout area. There weren't any cracks in the plywood to get a good look into that part of the store, and I wasn't climbing up that wall for a peek either!

     Spirit's salesfloor cuts off where the beer and wine department once was. This is the tile pattern that was used for that department. Above this department would have been a hanging wooden grid that was supposed to make this department more reminiscent of a vineyard, and in some stores the wooden grid was decorated with fake grape vines. You can see a shrunken down version of this setup in the background of this photo, but the stores with an open ceiling had larger version.

     Continuing down the plywood side wall from beer and wine we see some of the floor decals left over from Albertsons' old greeting cards and party supply aisle.

     And finally, a look at the old pharmacy counter.

     The pharmacy at this store was given the "Sav-on" branding, as can be seen in the signage that was left behind. As I've mentioned on here before, it was always hit or miss as to what Albertsons Florida stores got the Sav-on branding for their pharmacy, and which ones got generic "Albertsons Pharmacy" branding. Even within the same areas you could find both brandings on stores from any era, so I don't know how Albertsons decided when to name a pharmacy Sav-on and when not to.

     Closeup of the old pharmacy sign. Behind the picture of the group of pharmacists you can see a labelscar, which to me looks like a labelscar from the generic Albertsons Pharmacy signage (I can't find a photo of it to link to at the moment). It was just the word "Pharmacy" spelled out with a slight arch to it, leading me to believe the Sav-on branding was added to this store later in its short life as Albertsons. Spirit was using the area immediately in front of the old pharmacy window as space for their registers, and the inside of the pharmacy island was being used for storage and more backroom space.

     So that ends our tour of the interior of this former Albertsons, as we enter the plywood lined hallway back to the exit. It was a nice surprise finding this Halloween store operating in here for this interesting perspective of the interior of an abandoned Albertsons.

     Back outside, looking toward Albertsons' old exit doors. Since Spirit wasn't using this half of the building, they papered over the windows, preventing me from getting any interior pictures of this side of the building during this visit. However, in the Part 1 post from this store I have some photos taken through these windows from after Spirit left, so check out that post if you want a quick glimpse into this side of the building.

     Seems a bit confusing to put a "Now Open!" sign on the door Spirit wasn't using.

     Looking back across the front of the store, from just beyond Albertsons old exit doors looking back toward the main entrance.

     A parting shot of the exterior as our tour of former Albertsons #4471 comes to an end...

     To conclude this post, I have this picture of Boulevard Plaza's road sign, the one which faces Lake Mary Boulevard. Spirit even stuck a small sign on here for themselves (the bright orange one) in one of the small rectangles. Albertsons' logo was actually on the large blank rectangle at the bottom of the sign.

     I hope everyone liked this two part tour of the former Sanford Albertsons! I enjoyed walking around inside of that Halloween store taking in all of the Albertsons remnants. It was a strange feeling, but seeing the old Theme Park/Grocery Palace decor brings back a lot of memories for me. Anyway, I have another short bonus post coming up this Sunday, and then back to the regular schedule to cover another former Albertsons store in two weeks.

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger


  1. I kinda guessed this part two post would be an interior tour, but I couldn't figure out how you'd have managed to make it inside. I suppose I should've thought of the season, haha! Very cool that you were able to get these pics!

    1. I had the brick and crowbar all ready to go, but the Halloween store made getting inside much easier! :)

      I did intentionally wait until October to post these pictures because of the slight Halloween theme. Not that the timing really mattered, but it was just something I wanted to do. Glad you liked the photos though!

  2. And just to think..Had they just made a visit to a Western Beef Market down south and grabbed some of the props from their bakery section, like the smiling chocolate cupcake and croissants, this Halloween store would have been complete from spooks to spooky food. I really like these early 2000's Albertsons on the exterior and interior. That grocery palace decor was the nicest. I saw this in store #4463 in southwest Orlando in went in a couple of times

    1. Haha! That would be a creepy sight!

      These early 2000's Albertsons were nice. Grocery Palace is one of my favorite supermarket interiors, mostly due to its over the top props that made it unique. No one has ever quite pulled of a similar interior to Grocery Palace, at least on as large of a scale as Albertsons did. I have store #4463 photographed (in its current form, anyway), I just have no idea when it will make its way to the blog.

  3. You know, at my Grocery Palace store, I recall big "PHARMACY" lettering even when it was Osco co-branded.

    1. The Osco branding was probably added at your store after it had already opened as a generic Albertsons Pharmacy. They probably just didn't splurge for an entirely new sign there, and incorporated the Osco branding in with the original signage.

  4. I suppose they learned their lesson last year; this year they used the right side of the store, which minimized most Albertsons references, although some signs for seafood, dairy and frozen products still jut out, not to mention the paw prints, baby blocks, or old coupons glued to the floor by what was shelving (some of which dated to summer 2001!).

    That aside, very nice pictures here. The decaying state of the building fits with the halloween theme well, and I think it gets better every year.

    1. That's interesting to hear. The left side of the store was definitely the more decor heavy side of the building since most of the service departments were located over there, but those plywood walls do a good job at blocking a lot of things. Still seems like there were quite a few visible remnants over on the other side of the store too. Looking under shelves is almost like finding a time capsule, you can find some pretty old things stuck under them! Is this the first time the Halloween store opened in the right half of the building?

      Thanks! The themes do go well together. I really don't see this place getting filled with anything anytime soon, so it will probably keep decaying for a while longer.

    2. it isn't the first time it's been in the right side, but it's perhaps the last. Went there again today and talked with the manager; she said Publix bought the lease and is going to open in there by 2017, and so next year they'll perhaps move down to the long-empty Kmart next to the Sanford Plaza or the Winn-Dixie across the street, generally somewhere deeper within the city.

      I got a few pictures from this year; the setup is much smaller but they still got most of the stuff in there. Shame to see all of the awesome Theme Park remnants go, but a decently-sized, well maintained Publix is much better than a decaying property.

    3. Cool photos! It's interesting seeing the old Albertsons from the right side perspective, and some of the remnants from over there. You also got some good photos from behind those plywood walls!

      I know Publix once had a store across the street from here in the Walmart plaza until the late 90's, when I believe it relocated further down 17-92 to the store in front of Seminole State College. I guess Publix decided they want to be at this corner once again. Publix will probably do here what they did at the old Winter Park Albertsons site (#4390, which was also a former Theme Park store). Publix completely rebuilt the interior there to their specifications, while leaving the exterior mostly original to Albertsons. Yes, it'll be sad to see the Theme Park store go, but a Publix will bring this plaza back to life.

  5. The last time I went by #4463, it had been converted to a Neighborhood Market. I didn't even go inside because I was a little upset to see Walmart get their paws on yet another beautiful Albertsons store. I know one things's for sure, #4355 in P.C. won't be a Neighborhood Market. Walmart built a huge Supercenter in my hometown of Lynn Haven in 2009 2 miles from #4355, right across from a Publix. Publix hasn't been hurt by them either.

    1. Yes, Walmart ripped apart #4463 like they did #4466 if you saw that post, but at least at #4463 they kept Albertsons' original exterior and entryways. The inside of #4463 now looks like any other Walmart NM you'd find out there, complete with the cheap version of the Project Impact signage. The Walmart NM that was built at the site of Albertsons #4466 is less than a mile away from an existing Walmart Supercenter and one of the strongest Publix stores in that area, so anything is possible with Walmart it seems. Hopefully they won't get any ideas about #4355 though.

  6. The images are a great way to show the transformation. Such changes to the look of the building and what it offers the public. And I agree the state of the building is perfect for Halloween themes.

  7. I used to work at this store back in the early 2000's, beautiful store, it's too bad it's currently vacant.

    1. These were very nice stores, and it's sad to see that all of them have since closed.

  8. It has an L.A. Fitness coming soon sign.

    1. I actually saw that the other day when I drove by here and checked on the place. Goodbye Grocery Palace.