Monday, August 27, 2018
Florida's supermarket cemetery gains itself a new tenant as of this week. Not only do we mark the end of Safeway's short two year run in Florida, but also the end of the Albertsons Company's nearly 44 year long streak in Florida. From what I understand from a few commentors, Safeway Florida came to an end on August 24, 2018. I'm not sure when these stores will reopen as Publix, but I believe one of the articles about the sale said a target date was set for fourth quarter 2018. That would put an approximate reopening around November or so, which is a a pretty quick turnaround. If that is the plan, it sounds like Publix will probably not do any more than a decor swap and some new fixtures at these former Safeway stores. It will be interesting to see the final result.
I was reading through reviews for the three Safeway stores earlier today, and there were a lot a people mentioning how much they're going to miss Safeway. Albertsons really did a good job retooling these stores to get the following they did over the last two years. It's sad to see these stores close just to become another Publix, as Floridians really seemed to like the Safeway concept. Just read some of the Google reviews. That link takes you to the reviews for the Altamonte Springs store, but the reviews for Largo and Oakland Park all came to the same consensus if you read through them. If Safeway had a distribution center in Florida and attempted to open stores, I think this concept could have taken off. Even though the exact reasoning behind why Albertsons kept these three stores in Florida for so long, remodeled them to Safeway, then sold them off only two years later will probably remain a mystery, at least Safeway Florida won't be forgotten like so many of the other short-lived supermarket chains that tried to take a chance in Florida (Florida Choice, Super Saver, Jewel-Osco, Family Mart, etc.).
So good-bye Safeway. It was nice knowing you while you lasted, and you will be missed. Coming up on September 9th I'll be putting together a post with some additional pictures of the closing of the Florida Safeway stores. If you have any photos you'd like to add to this compilation, feel free to send them into the AFB inbox at albertsonsfloridablog[at]gmail.com.
So that's all I have for now. Until the next post,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger
Sunday, August 12, 2018
80 W. Mitchell Hammock Road, Oviedo, FL - Oviedo Shopping Center (formerly Albertsons Shopping Center)
To get the second half of 2018 started here on AFB, we're going to take a tour of this very nice (but abandoned) Albertsons store located in the northeastern suburbs of Orlando. This, everyone, is the former Oviedo Albertsons. Oviedo is a charming little suburb of Orlando known for its historic downtown, tree-lined streets, and also its wild chickens (who even had their own Facebook page for a while). While we won't be seeing any of the famous Oviedo chickens in this post, this this former Albertsons is still interesting enough that you'll be clucking about it later! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself with that one).
Chickens aside, the Oviedo Albertsons store certainly had one of the more aesthetically pleasing facades of all of the Albertsons stores to have operated in Florida. I like how they incorporated all of those arches into the design of this store, which helps make this place feel more upscale. This Albertsons was one of the last Superstore model Albertsons stores to open in Florida, greeting shoppers for the first time in 1993. This store received an interior remodel in the early 2000's, and continued to serve the shoppers of Oviedo until February 2010. This store closed at the same time as the nearby Sanford Albertsons (#4471), as well as 6 other Albertsons stores throughout Florida. The Oviedo Albertsons sat empty for 8 years until it was announced in April 2018 that Sprouts Farmer's Market would take over half of this building. I haven't found any plans for the other half of this former Albertsons store as of the time this post's original publication. This part of Oviedo near the intersection of Mitchell Hammock Road and Route 434 (the intersection at which this former Albertsons is located) has seen a good bit of new commercial development in the last few years, including a new downtown area with various shops and restaurants. With all of that development going on nearby, it makes sense that someone would finally take advantage of this 55,000 square foot void sitting right in the middle of all of the new development.
My photos of this store were taken quite a while ago, so our visit to this former Albertsons will depict this building in all of its abandoned glory. I'd imagine the construction to turn this former Albertsons space into a new Sprout's store will wipe away much of the original Albertsons exterior design. While it's nice to see this long abandoned building find a reuse, it's a shame to see this rather nice building get ripped apart.
Like I said before, there is no shortage of arches at this place! Here we're taking a closer look at the left side of the building, looking toward the liquor store and the main store's left side entrance.
The liquor store is located under the arch furthest to the left, but we'll come back to the liquor store a bit later in this post.
Right now, we'll start to take a closer look at the left side of this building, as we make our approach toward the vestibule...
Everything is locked up nice and tight here. Someone went through the trouble of peeling off all the decals that were on the doors sometime after Albertsons closed, which isn't usually the case at these abandoned stores.
Peeking through the front doors, we see part of the former in-store bank lying before us.
A bit of the salesfloor comes into view here. Some much better views of that to come in just a moment...
Classic Albertsons wood paneling. However, things only get better from here...
And finally, a good look into the abandoned salesfloor! As you've probably figured out from the clues in the last few interior photos, this store closed with the Industrial Circus decor. In this image the Industrial Circus remnants are much more apparent now that some of the little square things (I couldn't come up with a better term than that), which were a major part of this decor, come into view. In addition to the Industrial Circus remnants, the floor is a remnant of this store's original decor, Blue and Gray Market. The Blue and Gray Market floor pattern is generic enough that it really doesn't clash with the updated interior this store received in the early 2000's.
Turning the camera just a bit more to the left reveals the space where this store's pharmacy counter and health and beauty departments were located. If memory serves me right, dairy was located beyond the pharmacy counter along the left side wall.
Just a quick look at the center of the building as we move toward the right side vestibule...
The Albertsons labelscar is much more apparent in the above image with the morning sun shining directly onto the building. If you look closely above the leftmost arch, the A-leaf logo is visible. The rest of the word "Albertsons" is faintly visible to the right of that.
Now we find ourselves at the right side vestibule, which contains the entrance into this store's former fresh departments.
If you needed to make a phone call, too bad. This payphone is long gone.
By this time the morning sun was becoming more difficult to deal with, glaring up many of the pictures I took through the dusty right side doors. Thankfully I managed to get a few shots that came out decent enough.
Unlike the left side vestibule, the one on the right side was larger and had a cart storage area.
More glare than anything can be seen in this photo, looking toward the interior windows on the other side of the cart storage area.
Here's our first peek into the right side of this store, home to the deli, bakery, and produce departments.
Upon walking through this opening and turning immediately to the right you would find the deli counter. Beyond the deli on the right side wall was the bakery, with the former produce department visible in the back right corner of the store.
In this photo we can see where the meat and seafood counter was formerly located. It's visible in the back left portion of this photo where you can see the illuminated white tile backsplash.
More wood paneling.
Here we're looking out from Albertsons' right side entrance toward the strip of stores that juts out to the right side of the Albertsons building. For a plaza with a large empty anchor, this little strip still had a good number of businesses in it.
With our tour of the main building over, it's now time to go back over to the liquor store for a quick look at that:
The interior of the liquor store has remnants of the Industrial Circus decor, as well as the Blue and Gray Market flooring, just like the main store.
The Industrial Circus liquor store decor is fairly reminiscent of the decor used in the Grocery Palace stores. The only difference is that the Industrial Circus decor uses darker colors compared to the Grocery Palace variant.
A random photo looking down the left side of the liquor store.
Now turning our attention toward that small shopping center once again, located in the distance beyond the hulking lifeless arches of this former Albertsons store...
The small strip of stores is nestled amongst those Spanish moss draped trees, which made for a nice effect in this shopping center. I visited this shopping center very early in the morning, so there were few other people to be seen yet at these other businesses. However, there was a guy parked near the small strip of stores changing a tire on his car. He seemed to keep looking over at me, trying to figure out what I was doing taking pictures of the old Albertsons store. He never said anything to me about what I was doing, but this certainly wasn't the first time I had a random person watching me as I photographed an abandoned building. At least he didn't call the cops, though!
So before we begin to wrap up this post, here's one final overview of this former Albertsons store and its many arches. It's amazing how a few arches and some little details can really dress a supermarket building up!
The road sign facing SR 434, which lists all of the tenants in the small plaza, in addition to the large blank space at the top where Albertsons' logo once resided.
Over at the Mitchell Hammock entrance, the only signage was this blanked out rectangle that once contained Albertsons' logo. Even though the logo itself is painted over, the distinctive Albertsons blue background still peeks out around the edges.
With that out of the way, now it's time for some satellite imagery, starting off with these Bird's Eye aerial images courtesy of Bing Maps:
And now time for some historic serial images, courtesy of Google Earth and historicaerials.com:
Former Albertsons #4412 - 2018
Former Albertsons #4412 - 2012
Albertsons #4412 - 2007
Albertsons #4412 - 2002
Albertsons #4412 - 1995
Future Albertsons #4412 - 1980
On the corner opposite the former Oviedo Albertsons lies a former Kash n' Karry store, a new build location during that chain's ill-fated expansion into Central Florida in the late 1990's and early 2000's. It's not featured on the map, but there's also a Publix located just to the south of the former Albertsons on the other side of 434. The Kash n' Karry came and went pretty fast, so the Publix was this Albertsons' main competitor for its entire existence.
However, I didn't think to take a picture of the Publix down the street (although if you really want to see what it looks like, you can click here). I was more intrigued to check out the former Kash n' Karry while I was in the area this particular morning. This was to be Kash n' Karry #1846. This store was supposed to open in 2001, but construction halted after the shell of the building went up. Kash n' Karry ceased construction on this store citing problems with the contractor, although poor performance of the other existing Kash n' Karry stores throughout Central Florida probably played a role in this store's demise as well. The unfinshed store sat empty for a few years until LA Fitness came along sometime in the mid-2000's. The exterior of this building is still the original Kash n' Karry design, even though Kash n' Karry never opened here. This building uses the post-Delhaize Kash n' Karry design, which was used from the time Kash n' Karry was bought by Delhaize in 1996 until it was announced that Kash n' Karry was rebranding to Sweetbay Supermarkets in 2004. The round prototype was used simultaneously with this design for a brief period in the late 90's, although the simpler (and more mainstream) design pictured above would later prove to be the most common modern Kash n' Karry building choice. This store's brick facade was also a bit unusual, as these buildings were usually stuccoed and painted white with green trim. While many of Central Florida's Kash n' Karry stores were rebranded Food Lions (like this one), there were still a good number of new-build Kash n' Karry stores like this one constructed around the Orlando area. I have a tour of an identical late 90's Kash n' Karry store set aside for a future post, one which is still serving as a supermarket in mostly original form. These were nice stores, but they just didn't catch on in Central Florida.
With that little Kash n' Karry tangent aside, we'll wrap up this post with a classic image of the Oviedo Albertsons that I dug up, showing the Albertsons when it was still open. This picture came from a real estate listing of this shopping center I dug up years ago. I'm glad I saved this picture when I did, as I couldn't find any pictures of this store in any of my Google searches of this place (at least in a non-abandoned form).
We'll conclude today's post with one final overview of this store's rather pleasant exterior, featuring all of those arches and some other little details that made a rather drab Albertsons building just that much nicer. I'm sure the conversion of this building into a Sprout's is going to mean the removal of much of this facade, but I have yet to see any renderings of the completed renovation at this time to know what will happen here. Frequent AFB contributor Ian W. made a quick visit to this store back in May 2018, right as construction was beginning on the new Sprout's store. You can see some of the construction preparations in this video Ian shot during his visit. Ian also did one of his famous virtual recreations with this store showing how it would have looked in better times, which you can see here. Once the new Sprout's store is up and running I'll have to stop by here and check things out, partly out of curiosity to see what Sprout's did to this building, and partly just to see what Sprout's is all about as they continue to expand across Florida. But that won't be for a while - right now, we'll just use this post as a way to remember the supermarket chain that once called this building home - Albertsons - as they approach the end of their 43-year-long operation in Florida.
So that's all I have for now. Until the next post,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger