Saturday, October 22, 2022

Former Albertsons #4332 - Coral Springs, FL (North University Drive)


Albertsons #4332 / Publix #1311
2201 North University Drive, Coral Springs, FL

     It's been two months since we toured our last Publixsons, so we're a bit overdue for another one, right? To calm your Publixsons withdrawal, we're off to South Florida today for a look at another one of these Floridian supermarket anomalies. The store we'll be touring today has a decent balance of Albertsons relics and modern Publix upgrades, and is a nice example of how one of these 1970's Albertsons stores can be cleaned up in the modern day (without the use of a wrecking ball - we all know how much Publix likes to send those out for some of their renovation needs!). So let's jump right into this tour and see what this store is all about:

     Coral Springs is a northwestern suburb of Fort Lauderdale, and one of the many suburban communities to pop up in western Broward County during the construction boom of the 1960's and 1970's. Opening in 1979, Albertsons #4332 would end up becoming the first of three Albertsons stores to call Coral Springs home, the other two stores (#4430 and #4449) opening in the mid-late 1990's as the city began to build out. Coral Springs is considered one of the nicer suburbs of Fort Lauderdale, so it's no surprise Albertsons wanted to have a decent presence in this part of Broward County. While the two later stores were built further toward the edges of town, Albertsons #4332 established itself in the heart of Coral Springs' business district, only a mile and a half north of the busy Coral Square Mall (which to this day is the primary mall serving northwestern Broward County).

     While Albertsons did manage to get their store count up to 3 in Coral Springs by the turn of the 2000's, the original #4332 continued to be the best performer of the bunch. #4430 on the eastern edge of town ended up converting into a Super Saver in 2005 (and closing shortly after), while #4449 on the northern side of town crashed and burned after only a handful of years in business. We'll talk more about those other two stores another day, but needless to say, those two stores could never match the performance of the town's original location, which was sold to Publix in 2008 as part of the 49 Floridian Albertsons stores Publix bought that year.

     Albertsons left this store in mostly original form until the 2002-2003 timeframe, at which time the exterior modification we see here were made. Albertsons consolidated the main entrance to the right side of the building, closing in the original doors and windows along the front of the building (which would have looked like this). A few Floridian Albertsons stores received similar exterior remodels like #4332's around the same time, which usually included an interior refresh to the Broadway/Industrial Circus decor as well (like we saw at store #4328 in Lake Worth).

     Even though a lot of the exterior was stuccoed over in the early 2000's refresh, a number of original elements (like some river rock panels) managed to remain. Some original panels are visible in the above photo (now painted blue by Publix), and a few photos back you can see more original panels to the left of the main entrance.

     I don't have an exact opening date for this Publix, but based off when the store's liquor license was issued, Publix #1311 opened sometime in mid-2009. Publix #1311 would serve as a replacement for Publix #341, located a mile to the west of here (and which you can tour here, as part of a bonus MFR post to go along with this one). Publix left much of the exterior alone when they moved in, only repainting the exterior to a brown color scheme from Albertsons' original tan. The blue paint job happened sometime in 2020 or 2021, a much more recent addition.

     Albertsons built a small cart corral to the right of the main entrance. With the way Albertsons reconfigured the entryway in the early 2000's, the entrance dumps shoppers right into the salesfloor next to the deli (without any kind of vestibule, which is why all the carts ended up out here).

     The entrance in view, let's head inside and see what that Publixsons is all about:

     Stepping through those doors, you find the deli immediately to your right, and the service desk (which we'll see a little later) in an island to your left.

     Next to the deli is the bakery, located along the right side wall.

     When Albertsons remodeled this store in the early 2000's, they left the store's original 1970's Skaggs layout mostly in-tact. These stores had the deli and bakery in the front right corner like you see here, with produce behind me. Albertsons' remodel would have been mostly a decor swap on the interior, with the biggest modification being the relocation of the pharmacy to the front right corner of the building from the back of the store.

     While the layout is original to Albertsons, Publix did heavily modify all the service departments to their liking. When Publix first opened, this store would have gotten Classy Market 2.0, a more thorough remodel to that package considering all the modifications made to the building to make it more Publix-like. The current Classy Market 3.0/Sienna decor appears to have been a quick refresh from the mid 2010's, installed over all the original CM 2.0 modifications. 

     Turning around from our view in those last few photos, here's a look into the produce department (with floral poking out from the left side of the image).

     Produce is located in the back right corner of the building, the standard placement for it in one of these 1970's era Albertsons stores.

     Moving along to the back wall, we find the meat department, with the service counter off in the distance where the wall color switches back to green. Sadly, in many of these Publixsons stores (especially in these 1970's era buildings), CM 3.0 comes off as pretty blah. Unlike CM 2.5 (which had some decorative wall props to fill the blank space with), CM 3.0 never had any of that, leaving us with all this blank wall space.

     We'll return to the store's back wall in a little bit for a closer look at the meat/seafood service counter, but for now, we'll loop back through the grocery aisles as we meander our way to the other side of the store.

     This Publixsons store has the split-aisle set-up, like many other Publixsons stores. The main grocery aisles are set behind a row of shorter aisles, creating a dual front actionway of sorts. The main aisles are the numbered ones seen to my right, with the shorter ones being the unnumbered ones to my left.

     Cutting through one of the short aisles, here's a look across the building's front end. The service desk is located under the lower ceiling to my left, with the check lanes beyond that.

     The first few short aisles in this store are home to wine, and then switch to more non-food items and eventually health and beauty the further to the left you go. The above photo looks out from one of the wine aisles into aisle 3, home to baking supplies and condiments.

     In what I've seen in photos of Publix stores from the 1980's, Publix used to use a split-aisle setup in most of their stores, cutting the aisles in half right down the middle. It seems by the 1990's that arrangement went away, with Publix opting to create single, longer aisles. These Publixsons stores (and two Pub-Dixies I've been to) are the only ones I've seen with any kind of split aisle arrangement in modern times, and it's always the short-aisle, long-aisle arrangement like we have here. I guess Publix just finds these building too deep for their taste!

     Here's a closer look at the front end as we approach the check lanes. The self-checkout stations are a recent addition, as those have only begun to appear in Floridian Publix stores over in the last few years (even though Publix has used self-checkout in stores outside of Florida since the mid-2000's). Usually the self-checkouts are added when a store remodels to Evergreen, but I have seen them added in some late era CM 3.0/Sienna remodels as well.

     Reaching the center of the store, we find frozen foods. Frozen foods occupy two aisles in this store, this being the first of them.

     Peeking out from frozen foods, here's a look at the meat and seafood service counter. The tile backsplash you see in this department is from the Classy Market 2.5 remodel, which used the most creative tile patterns I've ever seen come out of Publix (for example, the backsplash here is supposed to look like bubbles in the water). The current CM 3.0 signage above the department looks rather plain without any of the usual accent this decor would get in a new-build Publix. CM 2.5 also used blue paint for the background of the Seafood department too, which matched the tile pattern much better.

     Next to Seafood we find the signage for meats, located over the coolers. Publix decided to install an "accent bar" (I can't think of a better name for it) over the 'Meats' sign, which broke up some of the blankness on the wall over there!

     After seafood the back wall transitions into dairy, which wraps around the side of the building into the last grocery aisle. Albertsons' pharmacy (up to the early 2000's remodel) would have been located in the area where the dairy back wall is now.

     Returning to the grocery aisles, we find ourselves in the second frozen food aisle, aisle 6. From this perspective, you could probably convince yourself this photo was taken in a building built by Publix - the coolers are the usual Publix style, the old Albertsons flooring was replaced with a faux terrazzo (which looks a lot nicer than any tile pattern Publix would have used), and the lighting was upgraded to Publix's usual square style from Albertsons' old fluorescent tubes. Publix put a lot of work into this old Albertsons to make it feel like a Publix, which hopefully means this building will get to stick around a lot longer than some of the old Albertsons buildings Publix has hardly done anything with over the years.

     Following frozen foods, aisle 7 is home to the beer coolers and chips (your one stop back to college shop) - a combination that could not have been any more perfect!

     Getting closer to the left side of the store, the short aisles to my left begin to transition into health and beauty products (the pharmacy counter is just out of frame to my left). The last few grocery aisles to my right begin to switch over to non-foods as well, containing pet food, cleaning supplies, and paper products.

     However, before switching over to the non-foods, I have this photo looking down aisle 8, home to popcorn, crackers, and other snacks.

     Pet supplies in aisle 10.

     The front left corner of the building is home to the pharmacy counter, which we can see here. The pharmacy was also overhauled by Publix into their standard design, which is quite fancy for a supermarket pharmacy! Albertsons moved the pharmacy counter here from the back of the store in the early 2000's remodel. Moving the pharmacy to this part of the building was common for Albertsons to do in the late 90's/early 2000's. More elaborate remodels usually rebuilt this part of the store to include a large pharmacy counter and a new liquor store, coming at the expense of the side entrance these 1970's stores were built with. Since this was a more budget-minded remodel for Albertsons, the pharmacy was moved up here with the original liquor store and side entrance left in-tact, which we'll see in a moment.

     Dairy takes up the entirety of the left side wall of the store, even stretching into the pharmacy area like we see here. The set-up seems odd, however, maybe it's not too bad of an idea to keep the tubs of spicy jalapeno cheese dip across from the bottles of Tums...

     From the pharmacy counter, here's a look across the front of the store once again.

     Albertsons would have originally had the service desk located along the front wall in front of the check lanes, however Publix moved the service desk into their usual island arrangement like most modern Publix stores have. 

     That group of people block it, but behind them and the pharmacy counter, you can see the side entrance. While it wasn't in use when I was here, Publix does have a small staffed express lane next to the side entrance too. We're going to exit through the side door, and take a look at the liquor store while we're over there:

     While the side entrance makes for a convenient access to the pharmacy, Publix only signs the side entrance as the home of the liquor store. The entrance to the liquor store is located behind the left column, somewhat hidden in the corner.

     Albertsons redid the side entrance facade in the early 2000's remodel too, but otherwise left this side of the building mostly original.

     Publix did a good job modernizing this over 40 year old building for their needs, and hopefully Publix gets a lot more time out of this building too. While the interior has its quirks from being an Albertsons in the past, it feels much more like a Publix inside this store than some other Publixsons I've been to. The exterior though, that's still 100% Albertsons in every way!

     Now that we've finished our tour of the store, let's begin with out aerial imagery, starting with the usual Bird's Eye views from Bing Maps:

Front - these images were taken in the building's brown painted days

Right Side


Left Side

     And the historic aerial imagery, courtesy of Google Earth and

Former Albertsons #4332 - 2022

Former Albertsons #4332 - 2010

Former Albertsons #4332 - 2008 - The building is empty here, awaiting Publix's arrival.

Albertsons #4332 - 2006

Albertsons #4332 - 2002 - You can see the building in its original, unaltered form here, as the remodel had yet to begin.

Albertsons #4332 - 1995

Albertsons #4332 - 1980 - The store was only a year old here.

Future Albertsons #4332 - 1969 - The roads were just beginning to be built at this time.

     As I mentioned earlier in this post, the Publix we just toured above replaced an older store about a mile to the west of here. So as a bonus, we'll also be exploring the original Publix store on MFR today too! Above you can see what the original store looks like in the present, but to see more, be sure to check out my additional coverage on MFR here!

     So that's all I have for this post. If you want to read more be sure to check out my coverage of the former Publix over on MFR, otherwise be sure to come back in two weeks for more Albertsons!

Until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger