Sunday, April 12, 2020

Former Albertsons #4370 - Daytona Beach, FL

Albertsons #4370 / Super Saver #1529
814 North Nova Road, Daytona Beach, FL - Holly Hill Plaza

     Daytona Beach...home of the world's most famous beach, and one of Florida's less famous Albertsons stores. As nice as it would be to spend a day on the world's most famous beach, we'll be spending today's post a few miles inland at the Holly Hill Plaza in Daytona's older retail district. Holly Hill Plaza has seen a lot since it first opened in 1962, so let's travel through time for a brief recap of what's happened here over the last 58 years:

     Upon its opening in 1962, Holly Hill Plaza included JM Fields and its sister store Pantry Pride as anchors. Eckerd was also a long time anchor of this plaza, although I don't know if Eckerd was an original tenant or not. In addition to Holly Hill Plaza, Masonova Plaza across the street and the enclosed Daytona Mall a bit further south Nova Road rounded out Daytona Beach's major shopping centers in the 1960's. With the opening of the Volusia Mall on Volusia Avenue (now International Speedway Boulevard) in 1974, Daytona's retail would eventually begin a shift to that area, leaving the old Nova Road corridor behind in favor of shiny new buildings out by the mall. When JM Fields/Pantry Pride declared bankruptcy in 1978, the company announced it would shutter all the JM Fields stores. That announcement left a gaping hole in the Holly Hill Plaza for over a year, until it was revealed that Woolco would take over the empty Field's store. Woolco opened its Holly Hill Plaza location in 1980, marking Woolco's second Volusia County location (the first being the Sunshine Park Mall store in South Daytona). Woolco lasted here until 1983, when Woolco's parent company Woolworth shuttered all Woolco stores in the United States. Also in the 1980's, Pantry Pride closed this location as that company began to consolidate its operations to South Florida, the region where Pantry Pride would spend its final years. By the mid-1980's, Holly Hill Plaza was quite empty, losing both of its major anchors within a short time frame. With new retail construction shifting toward the Volusia Mall area, the future wasn't looking good for Holly Hill Plaza, being an older shopping center in a declining area. However, in the late 1980's, a redevelopment plan was announced for Holly Hill Plaza, bringing new hope to an area seeing a decline in retail activity. A large portion of the plaza (including the former Pantry Pride store and surrounding spaces) was to be demolished for the construction of a new Albertsons store. The empty Fields/Woolco building was to be repurposed as Volusia's first Builder's Square. With two new anchors secured, Holly Hill Plaza would prosper once again.

     Pictured above is the Daytona Beach Albertsons in its original form, this image coming from a screengrab of a video sent to me by YonWooRetail2. The video this screengrab came from was of two guys driving around Daytona Beach with a camcorder in 1995. You can watch the entire video by clicking here (which gives a nice look at the area from 25 years ago), or just watch the few seconds where they drive by the former Albertsons store by clicking here. By the time 1995 had come around, Builder's Square had already left Holly Hill Plaza, relocating to a much larger, more modern store over by Volusia Mall in 1994. You can see the empty Builder's Square in the background of the video clip. In the late 1990's, the former Builder's Square space was subdivided for smaller tenants, which is how the building remains today.

     In the late 1990's, Albertsons remodeled this building. The remodel brought about some exterior modifications as well as a new decor package. However, I'm a bit conflicted on what decor package this store got. It was either Blue and Green Awnings or Grocery Palace. The exterior modifications made are more in line with those of a Blue and Green Awnings store, although some decor clues later in this post point to Grocery Palace. Murkiness on the interior aside, unlike most late 80's built Albertsons stores remodeled during the late 1990's, this store also had its right side entryway vestibule rebuilt to look like the entryway of a late 90's store. The left entryway was left in completely original form though, which made the building look a bit odd from the outside. I don't know how much was reconfigured inside the store during the late 1990's remodel, but I'd imagine a little bit of work was done considering the exterior modifications.

     As you can see in this photo (as well as the previous one), the Daytona Beach Albertsons was one of the 11 underperforming Albertsons stores selected to convert to the company's new Super Saver discount grocery concept in 2005. The only other Daytona area Albertsons store, located south of here in Port Orange, was also part of those 11 Albertsons Florida locations converted to the Super Saver brand. These two photos I grabbed from a long-gone online real estate posting are some of the best photos I have of former Super Saver stores. I really like the close-up image above, even though you can't see much of the interior through the glare on the glass. Regardless, this is a nice close-up of the reconfigured right side entryway from Albertsons' late 1990's remodel.

     As we know, nearly all the Super Saver stores Albertsons opened were shut down quite prematurely in 2006 as the company's ownership was split between SuperValu and Cerberus. Cerberus got the Super Savers in the breakup, and closed them all immediately, not wanting to deal with the fledgling concept. Shortly after Super Saver closed in 2006, dd's Discounts came along to take over the left half of the former Albertsons store, opening in July 2007. Aldi came along shortly after to occupy the right half of the building, their store opening around 2008. The photo above shows dd's not long after it opened, and the Aldi still under construction.

     dd's Discounts wasn't very successful in Daytona Beach, with that store closing by the dawn of the 2010's. dd's former space has sat empty ever since, with Aldi being the sole sign of life left at the former Daytona Beach Albertsons store. Even with all the modifications dd's and Aldi did to this building's exterior, little bits and pieces of the original Albertsons facade still poke through, especially in the middle and on both ends of the building. The odd blend of old and new also puts this building up there on the list of funky retail subdivisions, with all the wonky bits of original and new exterior pieces everywhere. However, as strange as this building looks now, I still think it will be hard to beat the subdivision mess that is former Albertsons #4362 in Port St. Lucie.

      Aldi's entrance stands where Albertsons' main entrance once was following the late 1990's remodel.

     Between Aldi and the former dd's, this small sliver of the original Albertsons facade peeks out between the modernized storefronts. When Albertsons was added to the plaza in 1988, the exterior of the entire plaza was redone to match the new Albertsons building, including that distinctive blue roof tile throughout. The Albertsons blue tile remains across the rest of the plaza to this day, which is probably why bits and pieces of the original design were allowed to remain on the remodeled Albertsons building.

     Here's a close-up of the Albertsons blue tile that remains on the far right side of the building. I took this photo thinking I stumbled upon a long forgotten Albertsons labelscar on the corner, but I was wrong. In the Super Saver photos above, that part of the exterior lacks any type of sign, and is cleanly painted at the time. It turns out the rightmost sliver of the former Albertsons space is actually unoccupied, and the labelscar was left behind from an old banner advertising that space as for rent. When I visited this store, I didn't realize this little space was part of the Albertsons building, so I didn't think to peek through the door or get any pictures in there. Oh well. I'm just going to assume that Aldi gutted this place rather well and there wasn't anything left behind from Albertsons in that tiny sliver of space.

     Prior to Aldi moving in, the spot where I was standing to take this picture would have been home to Albertsons' right side entry vestibule (which served as this store's main entrance in its later years). Aldi stripped out the old vestibule and adjoining service desk space all the way to where dd's portion of the building began, creating an expanded covered walkway and cart storage area.

     Stepping into Aldi, there wasn't much to see from Albertsons in here. The interior was standard Aldi, this particular location featuring the latest redesign to make the store feel more upscale.

     While Aldi isn't trying to stray away from their discount roots, their latest remodel adds in some classier touches like nicer signage and spotlights over certain parts of the store (all of which are elements that can be seen in this photo). Aldi is trying to portray themselves as the "nicer" discount grocery store, a store that appeals to shoppers seeking both quality and price, rather than price alone.

     Following this store's original layout from its opening in 1988, Aldi occupies the portion of the building that would have originally contained Albertsons' deli, bakery, and produce departments. Even though this store doesn't take up the entire right side of the building, it still occupies the majority of the space those departments would have been located in. I also don't know the extent of the remodel in the late 90's and if that remodel involved moving any departments around. My guess would be the layout stayed pretty closed to the original 1988 floor plan after the remodel, with the fresh departments heavily modified instead of moved around. If anyone was familiar with this store in its final years, feel free to let us know about its layout in the comment section at the end of this post.

     Since there isn't much to see from Albertsons in here, we'll finish up our time in Aldi with a quick spin around the remainder of the store:

     The famous "Aldi Finds" aisle, where anything from seasonal items to closeouts to vacuums to lawnmowers can show up.

     Coolers occupy Aldi's left side wall. Behind the coolers is a stockroom, which separates Aldi's salesfloor from the empty dd's space next door.

     Now that we've taken a walk through Aldi, things begin to get a little more interesting as we venture toward the abandoned side of the building:

     This view along the front walkway would have looked identical when Albertsons was still here. We've now crossed over to the former dd's portion of the building, whose empty space lies behind that wall. While dd's would have most likely done a bit of reconfiguring to the interior of this space, a lot of the building's original elements were retained on the exterior during the conversion.

     Most of dd's exterior modifications can be seen in this photo. dd's closed off Albertsons old left side entrance to move the doors to the front of the building. The relocation of the doors also included the addition of that peaked facade for dd's sign.

     Here's a close-up photo of dd's entryway. When dd's relocated the doors from the side of the building, they had to work around that column left behind from Albertsons.

     An empty bike rack occupies the spot where Albertsons' left side entryway was once located. After the late 1990's remodel, this entryway seems to have been demoted to a side entrance for the pharmacy, which would have been located in this portion of the building.

     Lastly, and as always most interestingly, we find the abandoned liquor store. While the former liquor store has been abandoned for a good long time, it did serve as home to the AFV AFF 32 for a short while after Albertsons closed. What is the AVW AFF 32 you ask? I haven't a clue. I Googled all kinds combinations of the terms "AVW AFF 32 Daytona Beach" to figure out what this place was, but I couldn't find anything. My guess it was some sort of social club going by the name, but what kind, I don't know. A Very Wonderful Albertsons Florida Fan club perhaps? 😁

     Whatever the AVW AFF 32 was, they were very much a low budget operation. As we'll see momentarily, they did nothing to the old liquor store besides some very cheap minor changes. Anyhow, in this photo we look toward the front entrance of the liquor store, which is still original to how Albertsons had it.

     Peeking through the window, we find our well-preserved former liquor store space, complete with decor remnants. Those decor remnants appear to be of the Grocery Palace liquor store design, which would suggest this store remodeled to Grocery Palace during the remodel. My theory is this store remodeled during a transitional era for Albertsons (around 1999 or so), combining the older exterior design with the Grocery Palace decor.

     The AVW AFF 32 boxed in the old beer cooler space for a "Cashier" window, as well as removed all the floor tile, but that seems to be all they did in here. As for what the AVW AFF 32 did in here, that will remain a mystery...

     Before moving on, here's one final overview of the former Albertsons building and its lopsided subdivided strangeness.

     The Holly Hill Plaza road sign, as seen from Mason Ave. The blank spot on the sign will go to whatever eventually takes over the empty dd's space.

     While we've looked over the former Albertsons space well enough, there's still the entire other side of the plaza we haven't seen. Pictured above is the entirety of the Holly Hill Plaza, the former Albertsons space marked at the southern end of the plaza. The former JM Fields building is the large space at the other end of the plaza. Let's head over to the former Fields building for a quick look around there:

     As I mentioned before, this space began its life as a JM Fields, before becoming a Woolco and then Builder's Square. It was when Builder's Square moved into this space in 1988 when the facade was redone to what we see today, clad in blue tiles to match Albertsons' design. After Builder's Square vacated this building in 1994, the building was subdivided into multiple tenants. Presently, those new tenants include Roses Express, Citi Trends, Harbor Freight, and City Thrift. Roses Express occupies a portion of the former Builder's Square that housed a Big Lots from the late 1990's until the turn of the 2010's. At that time, Big Lots relocated to the former Linens n' Things on International Speedway Boulevard, which is part of the plaza that was (ironically) built on the site of the relocated Builder's Square store.

     For those of you unfamiliar with Roses, Roses is a discount store that I like to describe as a combination of Kmart, Big Lots, and Dollar Tree. While most of Roses stores are confined to the Southeast, recent expansion efforts have taken the company into parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Roses stores can range anywhere from 20,000 square feet all the way up to 90,000 square feet, so they're quite flexible when it comes to spaces they can move into. Since this store is a "Roses Express", it's one of their smaller locations. Even with the small size, the merchandise selection was still quite broad here. This is a look from the front of the store toward the back. Clothing takes up the space to my left, with hard goods off to my right.

     There really isn't much left to see of any prior tenant inside this building. Since Roses is notorious for some fairly cheap conversion efforts, I was hoping to find relics of something in here, even if they were relics from Big Lots.

     Moving over to the right side of the store, here's a look down the other main aisle toward the front of the building. Grocery and health and beauty products were in the middle of the store, with housewares off to my left.

     Back outside, here's a look down the main walkway. That patch of brick could be a vestige from this building's early days, but who knows...

     Since I like to do a little thrifting while on the road, I decided to take a walk through City Thrift while I was here too. Thrift stores are also good places to find relics of retail past, both in terms of memorabilia finds and building reuses.

     Unfortunately, I couldn't find much of the latter here. The interior of City Thrift seemed rather generic to me, and didn't really give off any Builder's Square vibes.

     I don't know when City Thrift originally opened here, but it seems likely this place dates back to the building's original subdivision in the late 1990's. This is a look across City Thrift's main sales floor, looking toward the front of the store.

     Hey, there's goes my retail relic! That light-up furniture sign is a Big Lots relic from the 1990's (a relic that still pops up from time to time in older Big Lots stores today). Of course, when I do find the Big Lots relic, it wasn't in the former Big Lots space! My guess is City Thrift bought this sign off of Big Lots before they moved to the new store by the mall, carrying it a few spaces down to its new home.

     The left side of City Thrift was located under a lower ceiling, which is probably a quirk caused by one of this building's former lives. The lower ceiling portion of the store was home to the "Miscellaneous" department, according to that sign. I like a good miscellaneous department just like anyone else, so just what type of miscellany can I find in here?

     Keeping with the retail theme, I spotted this Blockbuster bowl for sale (which I'm sure would make a fitting popcorn bowl during movie night).

     However, as far as the miscellaneous part is concerned, this seemed like a good read. Well, maybe it was a good read, as I haven't brushed up on my Russian recently (or ever) to let you know what this book was about.

     Now that we've had our fun in the miscellaneous department, here's one final shot from inside City Thrift, looking along the left side wall.

     For a big box home improvement chain in the 1990's, this building was pretty small, so I can see why Builder's Square only lasted in this spot for 6 years before moving to a larger store.

     To the right of the former Builder's Square space is Dollar General and the Beauty Bazaar. While clearly not an original tenant, Dollar General has been in this spot for a really long time (since the 1980's at least). The next door Beauty Bazaar was formerly home to an Eckerd, which doesn't appear to have relocated to a freestanding building anywhere nearby.

     While that takes care of my ground coverage, we'll jump into the sky for the aerial image portion of today's post, beginning with some Bird's Eye aerial views courtesy of Bing Maps:


Right Side


Left Side

     And now the historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth and Bing Maps:

Former Albertsons #4370 - 2019 - The entirety of Holly Hill Plaza is shown here, with the former Albertsons building at the bottom of the image.

Former Albertsons #4370 - 2012

Former Albertsons #4370 - 2006 - Super Saver still appears to be in business when this image was taken.

Albertsons #4370 - 2004

Albertsons #4370 - 1999

Albertsons #4370 - 1994 - It's hard to tell in this image, but this is the Albertsons building as it appeared before the late 90's modifications. Also pictured here is Builder's Square shortly after it relocated to the new store on International Speedway Boulevard. You can see on the left side of the building the small garden center/lumber yard added on for Builder's Square's occupancy here (which were removed once the building was subdivided).

Future Albertsons #4370 - 1981 - I was surprised there weren't any historic aerial images from Daytona Beach prior to 1994. Since an aerial image was not an option, to give you an idea of what Holly Hill Plaza looked like before Albertsons was built, I found this sketch of the plaza from 1981 on Those three larger buildings in the plaza's southern wing were demolished to make way for the new Albertsons and some smaller storefronts.

     While we're finished with Daytona's former Albertsons store and our visit to Holly Hill Plaza, let's stay in town just a little while longer for a quick peek at the plaza across the street: Masonova Plaza (pictured in the aerial image above):

     Like Holly Hill Plaza, Masonova Plaza was one of Daytona's original major shopping centers. Masonova Plaza was named after the crossroads at which it sits (Mason Avenue and Nova Road), the name a portmanteau of "Mason" and "Nova". Upon its opening in 1970, Masonova Plaza included Grant's City and Gooding's Supermarket as anchors. Pictured above is the former Grant's City store, whose exterior is impressively well preserved from its opening in 1970. The former Grant's City building is massive, and is a great example of 1970's discount store architecture with the brutalist brick design.

     Grant's City lasted here until parent company W.T. Grant's liquidated in 1976. While many ex-Grant City stores were scooped up by rival Kmart when the company liquidated, Kmart already had a relatively new store down the street from here. After Grant's closed, this building spent some time as a business called Daytona Mart, which was a flea market/vendor booth type place. I don't know how long that lasted, but for a good many years now the former Daytona Grant's City store has been home to a self-storage place. Even though the storage place has made themselves at home here, the interior still has a vague 1970's discount store vibe to it.

     Immediately next to the old Grant's building we find the former Gooding's space. The Daytona Beach Gooding's was actually Gooding's second store, opening in 1970, only 6 years after the company's founding in Maitland. Gooding's lasted until 1991 at this location, after which the space was subdivided. Presently, the Gooding's space is home to a Bingo hall, a used furniture store, and a flooring store. This news article, while not directly related to the former Daytona Beach location, does mention this store, and it's an interesting read about Gooding's back in the late 1980's (when the company was at its peak).

     So from Albertsons to Gooding's to everything in between, we've seen a lot in this post, and that was just from one small corner of Daytona Beach! Next time we'll move away from Albertsons to see part one of a two part bonus store series, a series you guys will hopefully enjoy, as it relates to some recent events in the supermarket world. Be sure to come back in two weeks for Part 1 of that series!

Anyway, that's all I have for now. Until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

P.S. - Happy Easter too!


  1. I was wondering if you were gonna respond to my emails or are you too busy?

  2. I cannot think of recent events in the supermarket world relative to Florida. The obvious events would be Publix opening stores and Winn-Dixie closing stores.

    Florida has seen activity this year in the specialty organic/gourmet grocery store world over three months with the demise of Lucky's Market and Earth Fare.

    1. By "recent" I mean within the last year, and it ties into Publix opening a new store (and replacing an older version of this store in the process).

  3. I agree, those Super Saver photos from the real estate listing are a great find! I'll also concur that this store likely had Grocery Palace - looks like the same wood paneling where the welcome sign would've been in the vestibule in that close-up image of the Super Saver.

    It's cool (albeit odd) to see the bits and pieces of the old facade remaining, as well as the strange liquor store reuse. But as usual, those things make this former Albertsons unique! Love the Blockbuster bowl, too :P

    And a happy Easter to you as well!

    1. It's always nice to discover photos of stores that didn't last long, especially really good photos like those! (Now if only I could find interior photos of a Super Saver!) Grocery Palace seems to be the most likely candidate for this store's decor, although the exterior redesign is really strange. However, there was no shortage of strange things about this store while it was open, and even 15 years after it closed! It's always interesting to see how these old supermarket buildings get reused.

      And a Happy (belated) Easter to you too!

  4. That's really strange that they redesigned the Entry vestibule to a late 90s look in a superstore building. Personallt, I always liked the single vestibule entrance in the late 90s/Early 2000's stores than the dual entrances at the left and right sides. It seems less convenient.

    1. It is strange. I thought the left side entryway was closed in when the right side was reconfigured, but looking closely at the older images of this store, it looks like the left entry was kept. This had to have been an odd store in its final years.

  5. AVW was probably Allied Veterans of the World, a chain of "internet cafes" that were basically fronts for illegal gambling and eventually got shut down by the government. Which explains the cashier's window.

    1. That would make sense if it were them operating out of the old Liquor store. Thanks for that information!