Sunday, February 19, 2017

Former Albertsons #4425 - Callaway, FL

Albertsons #4425
315 N. Tyndall Parkway, Callaway, FL

***Photos for this post are courtesy of Ian W.***

     This former Albertsons store was one that always fascinated me. I found this store by accident while scanning over satellite imagery of the area a few years back, probably after looking up the history of an unrelated former store down the street in the old Callaway retail district. From above I thought this building looked a lot like a former Albertsons, although the location seemed a bit odd for one. When I clicked to view a streetview image of this building, this store's past couldn't have been any more obvious. This here is the very short lived Albertsons #4425 of Callaway, FL. Callaway is a suburb of Panama City, located to Panama City's southeast. Callaway was home to a decent sized retail district of its own up until the 90's, with stores such as Walmart, Kmart, Winn-Dixie, Food World, TG&Y, and other smaller stores in the retail cluster. The growth of this retail district was probably spurred due to the fact that Callaway is located just over the bridge from busy Tyndall Air Force Base. While the air force base is still in operation and is still a draw to the area, much of the retail scene in Callaway began to decline by the 2000's, with most of those stores I mentioned either closing or relocating elsewhere by that time. Albertsons opened their Callaway location in May 1996 as their second Bay County location (with the first being the original Panama City store, #4355), at a busy corner at the very northern edge of the Callaway retail district. For one reason or another this store was a lost cause from almost the beginning, and can be filed into the Albertsons Florida "crash and burn" folder. This store closed only three years after opening, with the official closing happening sometime around October 1999. While I've never found a clear reason as to why this store closed so fast, my guess is that this just wasn't the right area for Albertsons. This area began its retail decline right around the time Albertsons opened this store, and I think Albertsons was just too late to join in. After sitting empty for a while, this former Albertsons eventually became home to Callaway Self Storage in the late 2000's, which it remains today.

     This store was a typical mid-late 90's model Albertsons. For it's entire 3 year life as Albertsons this store would have had the Blue and Gray Market interior decor. Behind those two trash cans is the old cart storage area, which was was built into part of the front walkway at these mid-late 90's stores. Off in the distance you can see the former Albertsons Liquor store on the left side of the building.

     A close-up of the former cart storage area. The word "pharmacy" would have been in the place of that phone number back when Albertsons was still here.

     Strangely, there were two cars parked in the old cart storage area. Why these cars were parked here and not in the large empty parking lot is a good question, although Ian reports that one of the cars were running with someone sitting in it.

     Interestingly, the storage place left Albertsons' original entryway set up completely in-tact. Even better yet, the original "EXIT" decals from Albertsons remain!

     Since this is a storage place, you can't just walk right in unless you rent a unit here. Albertsons' old entrance and exit is still in use for renters of the units to use, however you need a key code to get the door to unlock and open for you now. Ian was able to get this one photo looking through one of the entrance doors. Along with that row of storage units, you can also see a part of the original Albertsons railing at the bottom of the photo. Considering the lights weren't on inside when this picture was taken (this photo was taken on Christmas when the building was closed), I can't tell if there is anything else original from Albertsons left in here. From what I've seen, many retail to storage complex conversions still feel a lot like the original tenants after the conversion, so it wouldn't surprise me if there were some original Albertsons features left in here beyond what we can see in this photo.

     Looking from the main entrance down the walkway toward the liquor store.

     And here you can see the exterior of the liquor store, located on the left side of the building.

     The storage center changed out the doors over at the liquor store, but otherwise the configuration is original. The liquor store is now the sales office for the storage complex, and where you can also go to by boxes and other packaging and moving items. It's not the greatest overview, but here's a picture of what the inside of the old liquor store looks like now.

     Moving around to the left side of the building now. Here we can also see the back of the liquor store.

      And around the corner from the previous photo we can see Albertsons' old receiving area.

     Facing Wewa Highway is the old road sign. This is the classic Albertsons road sign design used through the late 90's, and is a handy reference for identifying former Albertsons locations.

     As we begin to wrap up our look at this former Albertsons, I figured I'd also share this old Albertsons ad Ian found in the Panama City News Herald online archives, which dates back to 1998. This is one of the few ads where the short lived Callaway Albertsons was listed as a "convenient location", in addition to the original Panama City store. Also to note, one of the specials of the week in this ad were those famous chocolate chip cookies!

     Now to begin our satellite images, starting off with some Bird's Eye aerials courtesy of Bing Maps:


Right Side


Left Side

     And now for some historic aerials, courtesy of Google Earth and

Former Albertsons #4425 - 2012 - In the time after the Albertsons closed, a Walgreens and a Coastal Community Bank drive-thru ATM were built in the parking lot of the former grocery store. Essentially, the current configuration rendered the former Albertsons building useless for anything else other than a storage center, which isn't something that doesn't need a lot of parking.

Former Albertsons #4425 - 2007 - The Walgreens had just recently opened, and the bank ATM had yet to be built. I'm not sure if the storage center had moved into the former Albertsons by this time.

Former Albertsons #4425 - 2005 - Completely abandoned, with the original parking lot still in-tact.

Former Albertsons #4425 - 1999 - This image is a bit blurry, but shows the store abandoned. This satellite image is dated December 1999, which would have been only a month or so after this store closed for good.

Future Albertsons #4425 - 1994 - No Albertsons yet, but there were some smaller buildings on this corner prior to the Albertsons.

     Like Ian did for the original Panama City Albertsons, he also did a recreation of what this store would have looked like back when it was an Albertsons. He wasn't too far off... you can see in this original image of the Callaway Albertsons that I dug up a while back. The above image was taken not long after this store opened in 1996, from a vantage point up in the air. I downloaded this picture a long time ago from the website of the contractor or some construction company Albertsons used to build this store. I downloaded this photo knowing it was a rare find, and I'm glad I did, as I couldn't find it again online when I was putting this post together! I was going to surprise our contributor Ian with this photo as he has expressed a good amount of interest in this store, however he managed to stumble across this photo on Facebook only a few days ago on his own! This is the only photo of this store I know to exist from its three short years in operation. Ian mentioned to me that he felt Callaway was a bit of an odd choice for Albertsons to put a second Bay County location. He feels Albertsons would have had much more success with a second Bay County location over in famous Panama City Beach rather than Callaway. Panama City Beach began a huge retail upswing in the 90's and to this day is home to much of Bay County's retail destinations (with the main attraction being the huge Pier Park "Lifestyle Center"). Publix hasn't even expressed interest in putting a store in Callaway yet. I really don't know what Albertsons was thinking when they built this store, but whatever hopes they had here came to a rather short and sudden end with their attempt at a second Bay County store.

    So that's all I have for now. Thanks again Ian for sharing these photos with us! 

Until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Photo Request: Former Albertsons #4483 - Bonita Springs, FL

Albertsons #4483
11611 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL - Albertsons Plaza

     I was going through some news articles today and I saw a particular grocery chain has announced that they will be opening a new store in Bonita Springs in 2018. While it is confirmed that this chain will be opening a store in Bonita Springs, they have not yet released the location of the store. Due to this, I am not going to say the name of the store out of fear of creating rumors. However, I very much believe this store will be making its home in this former Albertsons store based off of their recent expansion pattern of taking over existing empty retail space (and this is the only large empty box in Bonita Springs I can find, other than half an old Publix in the same plaza as a new Publix). While it's not confirmed yet, I just wanted to put it out there if anybody happens to be in the Bonita Springs area, any photos of this store would be appreciated. This store closed as an Albertsons in 2009 and has been empty ever since. If this store does move in here, this place will be given a decent remodel. Mostly, I'm curious as to what interior this store had as it opened in an era where it could have had either Grocery Palace, Industrial Circus, or Santa Fe/Albertsons Marketplace, and this was the last preserved store from this era out there. I won't be able to make it out this way myself any time soon, so any help from AFB contributors would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Former Albertsons #4495 - Orlando, FL (Curry Ford & Dean)

Albertsons #4495 / Publix #1338
10250 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL - Curry Ford Square

     So here we go again with yet another tour of a Publixsons (or Alblix, I can't decide which I like better). Publix has taken over more former Albertsons Florida stores than any other single grocer or retailer. Out of the 170 or so former Albertsons locations throughout the state, if I counted correctly, 61 of them eventually became home to a Publix in some way. Of all of those Publixsons out there, the vast majority of them still retain the original Albertsons exteriors and interior layouts. However, at some locations Publix wasn't so kind and completely flattened the Albertsons buildings in favor of their own new store. To date, Publix has done that 5 times out of the 61 former Albertsons stores they took over. It wouldn't surprise me if a few more of those older Albertsons buildings that Publix took over experience a similar fate as those 5 as Publix feels the need to keep modernizing their stores. However, I doubt the former Albertsons we'll be taking a look at in this post will have to face a wrecking ball anytime soon. This store is former Albertsons #4495 - one of the very last new Albertsons Florida stores to open. This Albertsons opened in 2003 during Albertsons' final push into Florida with new stores. This store used the last new Albertsons store model to be introduced to Florida - the Early 2000's Modified model, a design pioneered by Jewel-Osco and expanded out to the rest of the Albertsons company following their integration into the rest of the newly merged entity. 6 out of the last 7 Albertsons Florida stores to open used this store model, with that one exception having opened in an existing building. This former Albertsons is located in Eastern Orlando near the 417 expressway. The former swamplands and farmlands located east of the 417 became home to many new neighborhoods and subdivisions during the Florida housing boom of the early 2000's. The largest of these new neighborhoods was Avalon Park, located not much further east from here near Alafaya Trail. During the boom, Albertsons snatched this site at the corner of Curry Ford and Dean Roads, located right off of the 417 at the Curry Ford exit, to build their new store. Sadly, this brand new Albertsons didn't last long. In 2008, Publix scooped up this location with 48 other Albertsons Florida stores they purchased that year. Publix reopened this store not long after purchasing it, only swapping out the interior decor. Currently, this building has been a Publix longer than it ever was an Albertsons.

     Sorry about the glare in this photo. The late afternoon sun wasn't being cooperative with these exterior photos! Anyway, this will be the first of the 6 Early 2000's Modified model stores to be featured on the blog. While the exterior of these stores looked almost exactly like the standard Early 2000's Model Albertsons, there are some major differences between the two. First of all, the Modified stores were bigger. The standard early 2000's Albertsons stores were around 55,000 square feet - the Modified designs were around 60,000 square feet. The modified design also included a new floorplan and a side entrance at the other end of the building leading into the pharmacy. These stores were going to be the future of Albertsons Florida had the company not begun to crumble during the time these stores were built.

     Looking across the front of the building, looking toward the entryway straight ahead.

    The closest set of doors you see in the above photo is the exit, with the entrance being the next set of doors up, located under the arch. Since this was one of the earlier Early 2000's Modified stores, it kept the same entrance configuration as the standard Early 2000's model stores. The later Modified stores had the doors arranged differently, and we'll eventually see that arrangement in a future post. Anyway, let's go inside...

     Welcome to Publix(sons). I spy some (now painted sea foam green) Albertsons wood paneling behind those ride-on carts.

     A look at the cart storage area between the entrance and exit doors.

     An here's our first look at the main store. Here is what you would see after first stepping inside and looking immediately to the left. Publix uses this area where you first walk in for seasonal and promotional merchandise.

     Looking back at the main entrance from among the seasonal and promotional merchandise.

     After walking in, if you turn immediately to the right you enter the deli department. The deli at this store is broken into two areas: one area being the main deli counter just out of sight to the left here, and the other being what you see in this picture - the home of a large selection of prepackaged meats, cheeses, deli salads, prepackaged prepared foods, and deli teas. It's essentially the same deli selection you'd find at the typical Publix, but it feels larger given the way Albertsons had this area set up. Also, in these photos you will see this store has Publix's Classy Market 2.0 decor, the decor that was installed after Publix took over the building. Since I took these pictures, this store has been remodeled to Classy Market 3.0/Sienna decor. If you Google this store, you can see some pictures of this place with the new decor (other than the decor, nothing else changed from what you will be seeing in this post today). As for what decor Albertsons had in here, this store would have been of the few stores to get the early 2000's revival of Blue and Green Awnings, an obvious remnant of which we can see in this next photo:

      Above the deli we see a piece of trim that was a staple of the Blue and Green Awnings decor. Some wall texturing was left in place by Publix too, just painted over. As one of Albertsons' earlier implementations of the Jewel-Osco building design, this store received a legacy Albertsons package. Later versions of these stores would get the Santa Fe decor, which was the decor package designed by Jewel-Osco specifically for these buildings (as the design and decor were both developed by Jewel-Osco prior to their integration into Albertsons in 1999 during the American Stores buyout).

     In addition to the decor remnants, the above photo also shows us the rest of the deli department and the service counter. The deli here is so long that Publix had to spring for putting in 2 signs here.

     Immediately to the left of the deli is the bakery as we continue further back into the store.

     In front of the deli and bakery was produce, which took up a fairly large amount of space on the right side of the store.

     Looking from the back of produce toward the front of the store.

     Behind produce are the meat and seafood counters. Oddly, the background for these two signs is that pale yellow. Typically in this decor, the Meats sign is placed on a red background like you see further to the left, and the Seafood sign has a blue painted background.

     Looking across the back of the store. Off in the far distance is the dairy department.

     And jumping back up front for a look across the front end.

     Looking down aisle 5, where a good amount of the general merchandise was kept. This Publix has a much larger selection of office supplies and toys than the typical Publix does due to all of the extra space Publix inherited from Albertsons.

     Looking toward the organic department from the end of one of the frozen foods aisles. The tile pattern you see here is a variant Publix installed following their takeover of the building, with most of the newer Albertsons buildings they inherited getting this classy tile pattern.

      The Greenwise Orgainc department here is oddly located in this store. It's located in the main back aisle of the store in front of the meats, in the center of the main aisle. Following this store's remodel to Classy Market 3.0/Sienna, the Greenwise products would be integrated into the main grocery aisles.

     Frozen foods resides in the center of the store.

     Moving over from frozen foods we enter aisle 11, home to snacks and cases of soda and water. Due to the strange way Albertsons laid out the coolers in here, aisle 11 is double wide for half of its length before shrinking back down to normal size.

    The reason this aisle shrinks like it does was so Albertsons could install their walk in beer cooler, a concept used in their 2000's and later stores as well as most of their liquor stores.

     This was the door that led into the walk in portion of the beer cooler, which looked more inviting back in the Albertsons days. According to that tiny note Publix taped to the door, the only people allowed in here anymore are Publix employees and the beer vendors, and a key is needed to go inside now.

     Moving along into the back left corner of the store now, where we can see the dairy department.

     Some of the Albertsons dairy coolers. Typical Publix stores just use open front cases for the milk and other dairy products, although in more recent times Publix has begun adopting coolers like these following remodels and in new-build locations. 

     Looking across the back of the store from dairy.

     The floral department is located in this little island between the registers and the pharmacy.

      Between floral and the pharmacy is the old pharmacy side entrance. Publix didn't want to be bothered with having a side entrance, so they replaced the doors that were once in here with glass panels. I can see people unfamiliar with this store who park over on this side of the building getting fooled into thinking this is still an entrance.

     With the entrance closed off, the small vestibule where carts were once stored is essentially useless space now. In order to do something with it, Publix placed some random items in here, like these few pallets of firewood and a rack of T-shirts (which you'll see in the next photo).

     The previous photo was taken in the old cart storage area. This photo is looking toward the wall closer to where the door once was.

     As you probably noticed in the last two photos, Publix hung some classic photos of their stores on the walls in the old Pharmacy side entrance vestibule. These are some close-ups of the two classic photos Publix hung in here, both of which feature photos of a 50's era Art Deco Publix store. I've always liked how Publix included these photos as a nod to their past in their stores.

     Looking at the spot where the doors once were. This wasn't any problem for me though, because in case you didn't know, I have the amazing ability to walk through glass... we can take a quick look at what this side entryway looks like from outside. Here you can see how from a distance, it still looks like this is an entrance.

     So lets magically walk through that glass one more time so we can go back inside and complete our look around the interior of the store...

     This is what it would have looked like if you were still able to enter the store from the pharmacy side entrance. The floral island is straight ahead, and the pharmacy counter is to the left.

     And here's a look down one of the health and beauty aisles toward the pharmacy itself.

     Now that we covered the pharmacy, here's a look at the last few aisles in the store, home to paper products and the remainder of health and beauty...

     Aisle 17 is the last aisle.

     One final look across the back of the store, looking from dairy back toward meats.

     A look across the front end, looking back toward floral and the pharmacy.

     The customer service desk is hidden behind the express lanes.

     That space under the Publix sign was once the Albertsons photo center.

     The old photo center is now home to more empty space that Publix has little use for.

     Thank you for joining us for this tour around the interior of the East Curry Ford Publixsons. I typically don't like it when people crash my photos, but I like the effect of the lady walking toward the opening door in this picture. Anyway, a few more things to take a look at outside now that were done looking around the inside...

     To the right of the main store lies the old liquor store, now a Publix Liquors location.

     The entryway is still very much Albertsons.

     A somewhat bad photo of the road sign facing Curry Ford Road.

     Lastly, here's a Google Street View image of the former Albertsons Express gas station located right at the corner of Curry Ford and Dean. I completely forgot to get some of my own photos of this place when I was here, but this works. When Albertsons pulled out of the gas sales business in Florida in 2008, this Albertsons Express became home to a 7-Eleven, which still operates here. The convenience store building still retains the Albertsons Express style.

     While on Google Streetview, I found this image of the Albertsons Express gas station from 2007 when it was still owned by Albertsons. Even though these old Streetview images were of terrible quality, you can still make out most of the details in this image. You can also see a tiny portion of the main store in the background.

     Now time for some Bird's Eye aerial images, courtesy of Bing Maps:


Right Side


Left Side

     Now for some Historic Aerial images courtesy of Google Earth:

Former Albertsons #4495 - 2016

Albertsons #4495 - 2008

Albertsons #4495 - 2004

Future Albertsons #4495 - 2002 - They were still building the neighborhood at this time.

     I have to say, these early 2000's Albertsons stores look really good as a Publix, and feel more like a Publix than some of the older Albertsons stores Publix has taken over. Over the years, Publix has taken over buildings from some of their other ailing and fallen Florida competitors besides Albertsons, such as former Winn-Dixies, Kash n' Karrys, and even a Food Lion. Most of those other stores Publix did very little to other than decor swaps. Some day in the future I'll get around to doing bonus store posts on those other Publix conversions I've visited, as they're pretty interesting - especially that Pub Lion!

     Anyway, getting back on track now, let's wrap up this post with yet another old photo from the Orange County Property Appraiser. Here you can see Albertsons #4495 in all of it's glory, as it looked on March 28, 2006. This was actually the primary photo for this building until January 2017, when someone finally updated the listing (9 years late) with a photo of the current occupant. But I'm not going to complain about that, as Orange County's old property record photos have provided us with some rare looks at these former Albertsons stores back when they were still Albertsons.

Anyway, that's all I have for now. So until the next time,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger