Sunday, August 29, 2021

New Stores and a New Image...Now That's a Winn Win!

Kash n' Karry #1908 / Earth Fare #583 / Winn-Dixie #2557
5410 Murrell Road, Rockledge (Viera), FL - Viera East Market Center

     Well over a year into it now, and Winn-Dixie's new lease on life isn't showing any signs of waning. Store remodels are happening at a rapid pace, sales are up (a factor Winn-Dixie is crediting to the increased remodels, as mentioned here, in addition to COVID-era sales jumps), and Winn-Dixie is on track to have opened four new stores (as of now) in 2021 (Viera, Melrose, St. Augustine Shores, and Westlake), with the first two new stores of 2022 recently announced as well (St. Johns and Apopka). Winn-Dixie has also commented that more new stores are in the works to be announced for 2022, the company embarking on its first new expansions in nearly 15 years. I'm still impressed a company as battered and beaten as Winn-Dixie has gotten to this point, as many had written off Winn-Dixie as the walking dead years ago. Winn-Dixie still has a lot of ground to make up before they can give Publix a serious run for their money again, but there's a chance they could pull something off. Closing so many stores throughout Florida as Publix drops down new ones seemingly everywhere hasn't helped Winn-Dixie's case, which is why its so nice to see Winn-Dixie growing instead of shrinking again, even if it is just some small steps right now. Of Winn-Dixie's four new stores for 2021 announced so far, today's post will focus on the year's first new store, which opened on May 5, 2021 in Viera, FL, a newer development located in central Brevard County. The photo above shows a trailer parked at the edge of the store's parking lot, announcing Winn-Dixie's pending arrival, and later, grand opening. Speaking of the grand opening, we'll start off with a few photos of this store from its grand opening weekend:

     While there was an official grand opening ceremony held on the morning of May 5, 2021, I wasn't able to attend that since I had the early shift at work that morning. Fortunately, Winn-Dixie had a secondary grand opening event the weekend after the 5th, which I did attend, a few photos of which will start off today's post. The Viera Winn-Dixie was the last of the 8 Lucky's Market and Earth Fare stores Winn-Dixie acquired at bankruptcy auction in early 2020 to open. While the other 7 acquired stores were able to open by the end of 2020, Winn-Dixie was given an opportunity to expand this store into an empty neighboring space. Winn-Dixie wasn't expecting to have that opportunity, so the plans for this store had to be redrawn to account for the new expansion, causing the delay in opening. Even with the expansion, the layout inside is still fairly identical to how the building's previous tenant, Earth Fare, was laid out. For a look at what Earth Fare was like during their tenure here, I have coverage of that which you can see here. If you want to go back even further, I have pictures of this building from before Earth Fare moved in, back when the exterior of this building was still mostly original to its Kash n' Karry origins.

     As you can tell by the previous image, Winn-Dixie's grand opening weekend brought out a crowd, a huge crowd actually. Above you can see the crowd stretching out into the parking lot too. I think this event broke some kind of world record for the number of people showing up to a Winn-Dixie in a single day. It used to be that I'd count more tumbleweeds than shoppers at Winn-Dixie - now we get mobs!

     While I'm sure there were a lot of people who came out this day just to see the new store, most of the people you saw in that mob had come here to listen to the results of a raffle, a raffle in which the golf cart above was the grand prize. As part of Winn-Dixie's new community flare initiative, Winn-Dixie wanted to offer a very Vieran raffle prize for this store's grand opening, in addition to the usual gift card drawings they do. The people of Viera love to drive around town on their golf carts, so Winn-Dixie purchased a golf cart to give away to celebrate the new store's opening. What was really neat about this golf cart was Winn-Dixie had it customized to feature the new Winn Win decor graphics and color scheme around the sides, which you can see in more detail if you zoom in on the above photo. I don't live in Viera or play golf, but I decided to enter the raffle anyway just because I thought the graphics were neat. As you can probably guess, AFB did not become the proud owner of a Winn-Dixie themed golf cart - this lady did instead. Oh well, I got a Winn-Dixie emblemed reusable mug as my grand opening giveaway prize instead, which was a little easier to transport home!

     Here's one last photo of the grand opening event, showing the golf cart/gift card raffle as it was happening. The lady on the ladder was the one calling out names, as some other corporate people stood around her. As you've seen, if you ever want to get the attention of the people of Viera, just tell them there's a free golf cart involved and they'll come out in swarms!

     As you'd imagine after seeing a mob like that, the inside of the store was packed. Considering that, I did a quick walk around the store out of curiosity, but decided to come back a few days later when things calmed down for photos.

     With the golf cart gone, we can shop and take some pictures in peace again! Even with the festivities of that prior weekend over, this store was still drawing a crowd, but a much more manageable one though. Even a few months in, this store is still quite busy, which is nice to see. Viera is a rapidly growing part of Brevard County, and one of the higher-income parts of the county as well, so it's pretty easy to see why Winn-Dixie wanted this store.

     Now that we've spent a good amount of time outside, let's begin to head inside to see what changes have happened in here. Stepping through the first set of doors, we see Earth Fare's old cart storage area. Since this area was a bit small, Winn-Dixie opted to keep their carts outside on the sidewalk, using this area for charging the electric carts instead. However, the usual cart corral wall graphics were installed here anyway, as well as Winn-Dixie's new welcome graphics - Let's shop 'n' roll Viera!

     Stepping into the main store, we turn right and enter the produce department. What we see here is the space Winn-Dixie expanded into, however, I don't have any good comparison photos to show the effects of the expansion on the salesfloor space. Compared to the new Mandarin Winn-Dixie we toured earlier this year (which opened in an identical former Earth Fare space), the Viera Winn-Dixie is only bigger by two grocery aisles, and has a bigger produce and wine department. The majority of the new space Winn-Dixie captured ended up going to the new liquor store, which resides behind that wall in front of us. Even though that doesn't sound like much, that little bit of extra space makes the store feel less crammed-in than what we saw previously in Mandarin.

     Winn-Dixie's floral department resides along the front wall near produce, next to the main entrance. I don't recall seeing a floral section in the Mandarin store, so the addition of floral here also appears to be a product of the expansion. When Earth Fare was here, their original partition wall would have begun right about where the transition between floral and that produce cooler is.

     Even though Winn-Dixie ripped out an entire wall to expand the salesfloor out to the right, I didn't notice any scars on the floor or any other noticeable marks from that happening. It's a very clean transition, and you'd be pretty convinced Earth Fare remodeled the building this way from the start. Seen here is the new right side wall, looking from produce toward the back of the store. The produce coolers extended a little ways down the first aisle, a product of this store's size and Winn-Dixie trying to make everything work.

     The first aisle eventually transitions from produce into the wine and beer section, the start of which we can see here. Also, on the wall above, we can see some of the new local flare graphics that are a key feature in the new Winn Win decor, including the Hello (city name) text and the Made in Florida emblem. Since the debut of the Winn Win decor last fall in the first handful of Lucky's and Earth Fare conversions, Winn Win has now officially become Winn-Dixie's new decor package, bringing an end to Down Down's 4 year run. I think this new decor is an improvement over Down Down, as there's a bit more color and flare to Winn Win compared to how plain Down Down was (although later Down Down remodels did begin to add more color and texture compared to earlier ones).

     Spinning around 180 degrees from the previous photo, here's a peek into the remainder of the beer and wine department. In the beer and wine department, aisle 1 expands into a double aisle following the back wall of the liquor store next door.

     In the back right corner we find the meat and seafood counter. Had it not been for the expansion, the seafood counter would have been on an angle in the corner, like this. With the old seafood counter ripped out to expand the store, the new counter was relocated to be flush against the back wall like this.

     Here's the meat and seafood counter as seen from the opposite angle, looking into the back corner.

     Turning our attention away from the meat and seafood counter, here's a look across the back of the entire store. Comparing the photo above to this view from the Mandarin store, taken from the same spot, should hopefully give everyone a decent idea of how much this building was expanded. The addition of two aisles really made a big difference visually.

     Let's depart the back of the store for a moment, and cut down the soda aisle to return to the front...

     Although its buried behind a bunch of new lights and vents, looking across the front end, we catch our first major glimpse at the store's clerestory windows. Those windows are the only major artifact left in this building from its Kash n' Karry days, this building being one of a handful of round prototype Kash n' Karry stores built at the turn of the 21st century. Kash n' Karry's front end and produce department followed that curve line, making for one funky supermarket design, and giving the place its unique rounded layout. While most of these round prototype buildings still exist in some form, most have been converted into other uses following Kash n' Karry's (and later Sweetbay's) financial woes. Due to that, only one round prototype still survives with its original layout, and it's also a Winn-Dixie today. Thankfully, it's a bit difficult to remove the building's clerestory without having to redo the roof's entire structural system, so we get a nice relic of the past in this new Winn-Dixie store (and some nice sunshine as well!).

     A little less clerestory in this shot, but a better view looking toward the store's front end.

     From the front end, back into the grocery aisles we go as we continue through the store...

     About halfway through the sales floor, here's a look back toward the meat and seafood counter.

     Continuing into the left side of the store, we find the dairy department following the meat coolers. Since there isn't a lot of space for all the dairy products on the back wall, the rest of the dairy department runs along the inner part of aisle 12, in a row of coolers across from the service departments.

     Originally, Earth Fare had only a single aisle of coolers for frozen foods. Winn-Dixie added this extra half-aisle of coolers to the mix, creating an aisle and a half for their frozen food department. Considering the store's odd size and layout, that extra row of coolers ended up being opposite the paper products, making for a rather strange combination of items in this aisle.

     Jumping over to the next aisle, home to the remainder of the frozen foods, we get another nice look at the clerestory windows above.

     Health and beauty products occupy the next aisle over from frozen foods, with the next aisle being home to additional non-food items (and another nice photo of the clerestory windows - I think you can tell by now those windows are my favorite part of this entire store!):

     Cheeses find a home in the store's back left corner, right where Earth Fare kept their cheese. However, Winn-Dixie removed Earth Fare's full service cheese counter in favor of plain self-service coolers.

     The store's last aisle is home to the "grand aisle", and all of the major service departments in the place. Coming up the grand aisle from the back left corner, the first department you encounter is the bakery, followed by the deli (seen here), and lastly, the kitchen.

     While the deli takes up the foreground of the above image, my only photo of the bakery sign and counter can be seen in the background.

     Since this is the "grand aisle", it's also a double wide aisle, with various coolers and displays for the bakery and deli departments taking up residence in the middle of the aisle.

     The very last department for us to visit in the grand aisle (and the closest to the front of the store) is The Kitchen, home to the prepared foods. Like most of Winn-Dixie's modernized stores, The Kitchen offers a sub station, Winn-Dixie's famous wing bar, a sushi bar, and a self-serve hot foods bar.

     Here's one last look down the grand aisle, this time looking from The Kitchen toward the back of the store.

     In the other three Earth Fare to Winn-Dixie conversions, this space in the building's front right corner is home to the beer and wine department. Since beer and wine found its home in the expansion space here, this corner became home to greeting cards and some random displays of promotional merchandise.

     Now that we've finished our loop around the new Viera Winn-Dixie, we'll take one last look at the front end before heading back outside...

     Winn-Dixie did a nice job converting this store, and it seems like Winn-Dixie has won over Viera. The store draws a decent crowd, and there are a good number of Google Reviews from locals who love this place, like this one: "[I] enjoy shopping at the Winn-Dixie near the corner of Murrell Road and Viera Boulevard. By far better than any of the surrounding Publix's." It's not often you hear Floridians utter words like that!

      Although the palm tree is blocking its sign, off to the right side of the Winn-Dixie is the new liquor store.

     Interestingly, the attached liquor store opened a full three months prior to the main store next door, opening in February 2021. Apparently this was the first time Winn-Dixie has ever done such a thing, as the liquor stores usually open at the same time or a few months after the main store.

     Walking back to the car, here we have yet another nod from Winn-Dixie to the local community - six special golf cart parking spaces. While there weren't any golf carts parked here on this visit, trust me, these spaces do get used often. The Vierans love zipping around on their golf carts, and one of these days, maybe I'll see that special Winn-Dixie themed cart parked here too - wouldn't that be neat?

     Anyway, that's all I have for today's post. I'm happy to see Winn-Dixie on the rebound, and it will be interesting to see where the company goes from here. Hopefully more new stores will come out of this, and the company can clean itself up enough to enjoy a spot in the Floridian supermarket scene for years to come, because with new stores and a new that's a Winn Win!

So that's all for now. Until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Former Albertsons #4319 - Oakland Park, FL

Albertsons #4319 / Safeway #4319 / Publix #1662
950 East Commercial Boulevard, Oakland Park, FL

     Hello everyone, AFB is officially back in action today! I hope everyone had a good summer, as I sure had my fill of adventures these last few weeks. I figured what better way to mark my return to the blog than share a little sampling of my summer adventures with everyone today. I saw a lot of interesting, unusual, and endangered stores this summer that I'll be sharing with everyone as time goes on, but today, I decided it would be best to share this funky Publixsons with everyone. However, to most longtime readers of the blog, you probably already know the significance of this store from the title of the post - the Oakland Park Albertsons was one of the three Albertsons stores in Florida that held out to be converted over to the Safeway name in 2016, just for those Safeway stores to be sold off to Publix two years later. While the Oakland Park Albertsons/Safeway was talked about quite a bit through the blog's tenure, today will mark the first time we see pictures of the place on the blog. Myself and other blog contributors have taken plenty of photos of the Altamonte Springs and Largo stores through the years - from the Albertsons to Safeway to Publix days for both of those locations. Both of those stores managed to get documented well during the blog's tenure, however, poor Oakland Park never saw much love. I attempted to visit the Oakland Park Albertsons myself during its remodel to Safeway in early 2016, but car troubles on I-95 about halfway there thwarted my attempt to visit. Unfortunately, it took me until this past June before I could finally make it down here for a visit, which was well into this store's new life as a Publix. As nice as it would have been to see this place as either Albertsons or Safeway, at least it's finally documented, and we can now see what this store is like. We'll begin the tour in a little bit, but first, a little background on the history of this store, complete with some older photos of the place I dug up from around the internet:

Photo courtesy of Edric Floyd on flickr
     Albertsons #4319 was the second Albertsons store to open in South Florida on March 30, 1977, following the opening of the area's first store a few months prior in Lauderhill, which is a few miles to the west of here. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, Oakland Park is a city located just north of Fort Lauderdale, a rather typical mid-century suburb with some pockets of light industrial thrown in. With how crazy the population of South Florida has grown since the time this Albertsons store was built, Oakland Park has become just as busy feeling as Fort Lauderdale to the south, but minus all the skyscrapers of its more famous southern neighbor. While this is an area that's only gotten busier through the years, I really can't pinpoint why out of all the Albertsons stores in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, this one was the lucky one to survive all of the company's woes, lasting for 38 years under the Albertsons name.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     Like many of these older 1970's/early 1980's Albertsons stores throughout Florida, this store received a nice refresh in the early 2000's. While not as extensive as some remodels Albertsons did at the time, the Oakland Park store got a dressed-up exterior, an expanded liquor store, and a modernized interior out of that remodel, giving this store the early 2000's Industrial Circus decor, which was retained until the Safeway remodel in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     In late 2015, the Oakland Park Albertsons began its remodel to refresh the look of the aging store, a remodel that eventually involved the conversion of the store over to the Safeway name. While it still is (and probably will still remain) a mystery as to why Albertsons bothered to remodel and convert their last three Florida stores, it was still an interesting experiment to witness. Safeway had a lot of promise, although I'd love to know if Albertsons was actually experimenting with regaining a position in Florida through Safeway, or if it was all just a game to tempt Publix or SEG into buying three dressed up stores for more money than three older stores would have brought in.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     All polished and cleaned up, the Oakland Park Safeway held its grand opening on May 25, 2016 - the same day the Altamonte Springs and Largo Albertsons stores made the switch to the new name.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     It's a bit sad to think that all the money Albertsons dumped into these stores for the Safeway conversions was a bit of a waste, as only two years later Publix would come in and rip everything out that Albertsons had just installed. Like the situation in Altamonte Springs and Largo, the Oakland Park Safeway building just happens to be across the street from another existing Publix, which now co-exists with its counterpart on the other side of Commercial Boulevard. If Albertsons was just dressing up these stores to get a higher price for them, it would have been nice if SEG was the one to take the bait instead of Publix. At least SEG and Winn-Dixie would have had some buffer between stores had they bought the old Safeways instead, but Publix has deeper pockets and took the first bite.

     After closing as Safeway in August 2018, Publix swooped in and wasted no time in getting this place reopened. Following a quick repaint and refresh of the interior, Publix #1662 was up and running by the end of 2018. I believe Publix wanted these stores open in time for the holiday cooking season in late 2018, so the bare minimum was done to get these former Safeway buildings up to Publix's standards.

     While the initial conversion and remodel was a bit hasty, Publix did promise they would do a more thorough remodel later on once the store had been established and the busy shopping season was over. I had actually expected to see the more thorough remodels happen sooner, however, it wasn't until early 2021 that Publix decided to start the more thorough remodel here in Oakland Park. While it seems like Safeway's exterior will continue to live on in its current form, Publix did begin moving things around inside and has remodeled some of the service departments to be more to their liking.

     So that's the background information on this Safelixsons store, so let's head inside for a look at what remains in there...

     As I mentioned before, Publix did a really quick remodel after buying this store in 2018. Besides some new signs and a quick repaint to the Classy Market 3.0 decor, things like the Safeway layout and flooring were retained, however...

     …come early 2021, it was finally time for a change. My visit to the former Oakland Park Albertsons happened about three-quarters of the way through the store's more thorough remodel, at which point Publix began to make themselves feel at home. While most of the work was done, Publix was still working on shuffling some aisles around, and the new floor was not yet fully installed. However, Publix's new Evergreen decor was mostly in-place by the time of my visit, so we'll get a look at how that decor translates into one of these older buildings, which is something I've been wondering about since that decor made its debut in late 2019. These last two photos are glimpse into the store after entering through the right side doors, as seen just after Publix opened, and also following the recent remodel.

     Like most older Albertsons stores, the deli department is located in the building's front corner, the front right corner specifically at this location. Publix has the department arranged where the cold cuts are located at the counter immediately in front of me (which is the side wall), with the Pub Sub counter and prepared foods around the corner on the front wall.

     Here's the entirety of the deli department, with the prepared foods portion visible here. That green patch above the deli counter was the last trace of the store's previous Classy Market 3.0 decor left on the walls, some scars left behind from the old deli sign that was once there. Besides that patch, it seemed like the rest of the new Evergreen wall decor had been installed.

     Produce is located in front of the deli and bakery departments, creating the store's "grand aisle".

Photo courtesy of

     Above is one of two interior photos I was able to track down of this store during its Albertsons days, taken as the store was remodeling to Safeway. Besides three decor swaps over a span of 5 years, the grand aisle hasn't changed much in layout. One of Albertsons' Industrial Circus signs is partially visible in the above photo, with the walls transitioning to their new Safeway decor.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     I couldn't find any spectacular photos of the grand aisle during the Safeway days to do nice overview comparison, so these photos above and below will have to suffice. The above photo looks down the grand aisle from the deli, with the bakery and produce visible in the background.

     This picture shows off those cookies better than the salesfloor, but you can still get an idea of the grand aisle from this overview (and probably a sudden craving for cookies too - they do look good, and we all know Albertsons was famous for their cookies!).

     Moving further down the grand aisle, we enter the bakery department. One of the largest modifications Publix made during the Evergreen remodel was completely reconstructing the bakery. In the photos from the Albertsons and Safeway days, the bakery department was flush with the side wall. Publix rebuilt the bakery to jut out from the wall with the lower curved ceiling, much like you'd find in a new-build Publix store. It's fairly common for Publix to rebuild the bakery departments to something more of their liking in buildings they take over, so Publix must have some particular standards they need to upkeep for their bakery departments!

     Here's a front view of the remodeled bakery department, in its new Publix-ified form.

     Leaving produce, we find the wine department in the store's back right corner.

     The wine department included some cloth panels featuring food and other random designs. The designs don't exactly correlate with the departments they're placed in, but they do provide a nice pop of color (specifically green) to the otherwise gray walls. If anything, these small pops of green help the decor better live up to its name of Evergreen!

     Since the original Safeway to Publix conversions were a bit rushed, Publix never bothered to rip out Safeway's old flooring. Even if Publix leaves most things the same, one thing they normally do before reopening in a building they take over is rip out the floors for something new - usually installing a faux terrazzo linoleum or a checkered tile pattern. That made the Safeway conversions a bit of a strange sight for Publix, as the flooring was a glaring relic from Safeway. Publix has never used faux wood flooring in their stores before and probably never will due to their legacy affinity for terrazzo, so seeing this flooring was certainly a rarity in a Publix! However, three years in, all that new flooring Safeway installed was getting ripped up by Publix, as you can see in the photo above. Interestingly, Safeway only installed their new flooring over Albertsons' old tile, which was exposed back here as the faux wood began to get ripped up. Later in this tour we'll get a glimpse of what new floor Publix was installing, and what will eventually become of the faux wood in this part of the building.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     Switching back to the Safeway days for a moment, here's a look at the store's former Natural and Organic food department, which was located at the end of the grand aisle between produce and wine. While Safeway kept these products in a special area, Publix integrates organic foods into the main grocery aisles alongside the standard products. Therefore, Publix ripped out all these aisles after taking over this building and recaptured this space to expand their own produce department.

     Exiting the grand aisle, we find the meat and seafood department in the back corner, immediately following the wine department.

      Here's a photo showing the meat and seafood counter in its entirety, as well as the new signage.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     While not identical in any way, there are many more similarities between the old Safeway decor and Evergreen than the Safeway decor and Classy Market 3.0. I think that's because the Evergreen department names are mounted to a shiny back paneling much in the vein of Safeway's design, with sleek, thin sans-serif fonts used for lettering.

     Moving into the grocery aisles, we find some funky flooring transitions as a result of Publix shuffling things around. The faux stone flooring was a remnant from the old organic foods department, which transitions into a beige tile that Safeway used for the remainder of the sales floor.

     Looping around into the next aisle, we catch a glimpse of the windows into the upstairs offices. Those offices are located on a mezzanine level above the back service departments.

     The back of the store is home to the meat coolers, which transition into dairy heading into the back left corner. The walls in this part of the store are looking a bit blank, although I can't say for sure that's the final design. As we saw back in the wine department, some cloth panels were installed to break up all the gray, so I don't know if more of those are going to be installed over here before the completion of the remodel or not.

     Frozen foods are located in the middle of the store, taking up this whole aisle as well as half of the next one.

     The frozen food aisle didn't look much different now compared to the Safeway days. The primary difference is that Safeway used the tops of the coolers to sell beach chairs and umbrellas (which is a very stereotypical Albertsons/Safeway trait), while Publix keeps the tops of the coolers free of merchandise.

     Continuing our journey across the store, we've hit the halfway mark. Here's a quick peek across the front end looking toward the pharmacy counter, which we'll look at a bit closer toward the end of the post.

     The remainder of frozen foods spill over into aisle 5, as seen here, before the dry grocery items pick up again.

     With 55,000 square feet to work with, Publix had enough room to create some wide aisles as they moved things around. While this was a spacious store with plenty of breathing room in the aisles, Publix was able to use the extra space to their advantage, rather than leaving strange open gaps in the salesfloor where Publix was at a loss for how to use all the extra room they inherited.

     Moving closer toward the left side of the building, we see what the flooring in the store will eventually look like throughout. In the Safeway remodel, Albertsons' old tile was covered over with new tan/beige tiles across the majority of the salesfloor, which Publix has now ripped out in favor of this shiny beige flooring. I believe this shiny flooring is some kind of tile, but I really didn't look to closely at the floor while I was here to see exactly what it was. The flooring goes well with the decor though, tying everything together.

     Here are a few more grocery aisle shots as we make our way toward the pharmacy counter...

     The pharmacy is located in the store's front left corner, relocating to this spot during Albertsons' early 2000's remodel. Originally, we'd be looking at the store's side entrance here, with the pharmacy located in the back of the building. Closing off the side entrance allowed for this larger and more convenient pharmacy location, as well as a much larger liquor store to be added onto the side of the building.

     Staying in the pharmacy corner for a moment, here's the only interior photo of this place I could find as an Albertsons prior to the Safeway remodel beginning. It's not the greatest overview of the old Industrial Circus decor, but some of the tell-tale traits of that decor can be seen here, such as the aisle marker and the wall detailing.

     From Industrial Circus, it's back to Evergreen for the remainder of this tour. While the bulk of the pharmaceuticals are located in the short aisles in front of the counter, the remainder of those products and some other health and beauty items reside in the store's second to last grocery aisle, aisle 11, seen here.

     Stepping out of aisle 11, here's one last look across the back of the store, toward the meat counter and wine department.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     And another overview from a similar perspective, but from the Safeway days.

     The store's dairy coolers are located in the back left corner of the building, wrapping into the last aisle along the left wall. Unlike all the other department signs in the rest of the store, the dairy signs aren't attached to the wall - they're actually separate panels hanging from the ceiling.

     Turning the corner, here's a look down the store's last aisle, aisle 12. Dairy coolers run the length of the wall to my right, with candy and some other dry groceries located to my left.

     Emerging from the aisles, here's a nice overview of the store's front end, as seen from the pharmacy counter.

     You can see the deli department in the background of this image, as we near the front checklanes.

     Interestingly, while most Publix stores have been installing self-checkouts as part of their Evergreen remodels, this store didn't. Instead, this store has eight regular lanes, and it didn't look like any of these were getting taken out, as the counters had all been replaced with new ones as part of the remodel.

     In front of the check lanes is the dining area and the rather rare-for-Publix in-store Starbucks kiosk. The Starbucks kiosk was inherited from Safeway, and Publix retained the kiosks at all three of the Safeway stores they bought. Publix has installed Starbucks kiosks at a handful of high-volume locations on their own in recent years, but it's still a very uncommon sight.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     The Starbucks kiosk hasn't changed a bit following Safeway's demise, however the dining area next to it has. As part of the local flare element used in Safeway's decor, Safeway decided to give their cafe the name "The Floranada Cafe" - Floranada being a nod to Oakland Park's original name, the history of which you can read about in more detail here. While this was the best photo of the old Floranada Cafe I could find on Yelp, I apparently saved a much better photo of the cafe in a post I wrote a while back, taken from Google Reviews before all their photos of the Oakland Park Safeway disappeared.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     While Yelp didn't give me many results for a good photo of the front of the cafe, I did find this nice shot of the cafe's interior. The inscription on the wall and the graphics were generic ones used in all three of the Floridian Safeway remodels, only the names of each cafe getting swapped out respectively. It's still interesting to see Safeway dig deep into local history to come up with the names for these seating areas. The Largo Safeway had its cafe called "The Citrus City Cafe", another reference to a former name for the area that had long since slipped out of usage. Altamonte Springs' "The Roost" was just a reference to a nearby park, but still a unique nod to the city, and much more interesting than a gray painted room with a 'Dining' sign on the front!

     Looking away from The Floranada Cafe Publix's generic dining area, we see the service desk coming into view after Starbucks.

     Just beyond the service desk is the exit, through which we will now pass as our tour nears a close...

     Exiting, here's a look toward the liquor store, which was carved out of the front left corner of the building during the early 2000's remodel. Closing off the old side entrance allowed for the liquor store to grow in size, and find itself a more prominent entryway on the front of the building.

     Here's a better overview of the liquor store's facade...

Photo courtesy of Yelp

     …and a comparison of how this part of the building looked in the Albertsons days. Interestingly, this store placed an Albertsons logo above the liquor sign, something that wasn't very common to see.

     Looking down the left side of the building, we can see it hasn't been touched much at all since the store was built in 1978. The river rock panels, which were stuccoed over on the facade during the Safeway remodel, remain in-tact to this day on the side of the building. Even the location of the former side entrance is still obvious, including where the doors into the main store and original liquor store were sealed over.

     This last overview of the exterior completes our ground coverage of the former Oakland Park Albertsons store. We'll wrap up this post as usual with a variety of online satellite imagery, courtesy of Bing Maps and Google Earth. First up, the Bing Maps Bird's Eye aerial images:


Right Side


Left Side

     And now some historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth and

     Before we get to the actual historic aerial images, I wanted to post the above image comparing the location of the Safelixsons with the next closest Publix store, located an excruciating 0.3 miles away in the shopping center across the street. The Publix across the street in Northridge Shopping Center has been around a long time, dating back to the wing store era. In the late 1990's, Publix replaced their original store in Northridge Shopping Center with a new one located at the site of the plaza's old Target (nee Gold Circle) anchor, after Target relocated a few miles away to a new store. I still feel having a Publix across the street from another Publix is redundant, but that's just Publix for you. Anyway, back to the historic aerial imagery:

Former Albertsons #4319 - 2021

Safeway #4319 - 2017

Albertsons #4319 - 2014

Albertsons #4319 - 2007

Albertsons #4319 - 2003 - The building as it looked before the Industrial Circus remodel.

Albertsons #4319 - 1995

Albertsons #4319 - 1980

Future Albertsons #4319 - 1969

     After way too long, it's nice to finally have comprehensive coverage of the former Oakland Park Albertsons on the blog, especially since this was one of Florida's longest lasting Albertsons stores. I spent a decent amount of time in South Florida this summer, so we'll finally begin to see more stores from that part of the state find their way to the blog in the future, with more to come from that way as soon as next month, actually. While September's posts will be fun, we still have one more post to come in August, where we'll check in with Florida's other supermarket chain to see what more they've been up to. So that's what you have to look forward to in two weeks! Lots of good stuff to come as we enter the latter half of 2021, so be sure to keep coming back for more!

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger