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


Back


Left Side

     And the historic aerial imagery, courtesy of Google Earth and historicaerials.com:


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

16 comments:

  1. Wow! Publix really did a great job keeping this place delightfully Albertsons! I really like how they did the front Publix sign. Very classy! Why in the heck don't they treat all former Albertsons stores like this?! I know. None of us can answer that!

    In a lot of ways this one reminds me of 4320 in Seminole, even using the same sea foam green color pallet.

    If I had know you had this post in the works, I would have sent you this:

    4332, prebirth:

    https://flic.kr/p/2knL65m

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  2. The Exterior gives me Skaggs Lake Worth Rd and Tampa(Dale Mabry) vibes

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    1. Tampa(Dale Mabry) remodeled to Grocery Palace while 4328 and 4332 remodeled to IndustrialCircus

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    2. This store is a nice balance of old Albertsons with modern Publix updates. Hopefully with the extensive modifications that means this will be a store Publix will keep around longer, although it really seems there's no rhyme or reason for what stores Publix keeps and which they don't.

      Thanks for sharing the two classic photos of #4332 also. The one with the store under construction is a neat perspective. The A-leaf next to the old block letter logo looks odd. I guess with the 1979 opening date, this store opened in the transitional window before introspect and the A-leaf was rolled out in full force.

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  3. Anonymous in HoustonOctober 22, 2022 at 11:48 PM

    This is a pretty nice looking Publixsons! The colorful decor, tall (and clean) drop ceiling, bright lighting, proper floor covering, and somewhat spread out aisles and displays give this store, at least in the photos, a rather comfortable feel. Maybe things look different in person, but I think Publix would be foolish to consider tearing down this store for a bespoke replacement. Hopefully that isn't under consideration. nEvergreen might be under consideration and I think that would negate one of the major positives of this store as it is now. Hopefully this decor can live long enough until nEvergreen is considered dated itself.

    It seems to me that most Publixes are small enough that an aisle cut-through seems kind of silly and a waste of space. Then again, outside of Kroger Marketplace stores, which I'm not a fan of, the only Kroger stores I can think of with cut-throughs around here are Krogertsons! Specifically, they are Grocery Palace stores. The Grocery Palace Krogertsons near me has the cut-throughs and even though I've been shopping at that store since it was Albertsons 20 years ago, I still have not quite gotten used to the cut-throughs since they're not that common in supermarkets here (HEB has them in their larger stores, but I dislike them even more than the Kroger Marketplace stores!). The funny thing is that Grocery Palace Krogertsons is smaller than most of the Krogers Kroger built themselves in that era so that makes the cut-through seem even more redundant since the bespoke Krogers don't have the cut-throughs.

    Speaking of Krogertsons, I know the Krogertsons merger is of no relevance to most Floridians, but this is the Albertsons Florida Blog so I was wondering what your thoughts are on the merger. Obviously, here in Texas, the merger is a pretty big deal (more so in Austin and especially Dallas than Houston, but it's relevant here as well). Out west, such as in the land of Northwest Retail, it would be like Publix and Winn-Dixie merging! That alone makes me think this proposal will be sunk by the FTC, but we'll see. If nothing else, perhaps the divested SpinCo operation will move into Florida. Ok, probably not. They're more likely to end up back within the Kroger fold or another larger grocer after a few years...if the merger happens even happens at all.

    Back to this Publixsons for a moment, what's the story with the mailbox at this store? Does the store really receive their mail in a residential-like mailbox like that? That seems very odd!

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    1. This place seems to have all the elements of a grocery store you would like! As far as I'm aware this store isn't up for replacement, and hopefully it isn't. Considering all the work Publix put into this building before it opened, that's hopefully a good sign this location will be around a little longer. If this store hasn't been remodeled since the 2015/2016 timeframe as mentioned in comments below, an Evergreen remodel probably isn't too far out in the future for this store.

      Winn-Dixie's Marketplace era stores from the 1990's are the only ones I've ever seen that use an aisle cut through around here. I guess since large supermarkets aren't really a thing in Florida, that's something we don't see all too often here. These old Albertsons stores are large enough to where a cut-through probably makes sense, as Albertsons did use cut-throughs in a lot of their stores.

      I think Minnesota is the only other state besides Florida that isn't going to see any effect by that merger, but still, I think Kroger and Albertsons merging is a terrible idea. Kroger and Albertsons overlap way too much out west, and I think it will wipe out a lot of competition in those markets. It will be a challenge trying to get this one past the FTC, but my feeling is we'll end up with something like what happened with Rite Aid and Walgreens - a semi-aborted merger with Kroger getting a chunk of stores from Albertsons. This is a deal that shouldn't happen, but the people who own Albertsons seem to want out, and they'll probably try to do all they can to keep this deal from getting blocked.

      I'm 99% sure that mailbox is the official one of this store. It isn't the most common setup, but I have seen other retail buildings with a similar set-up. The mailman probably likes this setup too, as he doesn't have to walk the mail inside the store!

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  4. First off, I’ve never seen a Publix receive a Classy Market 2.0-style outdoor sign like that! I feel like the curved look of the metal bars is too coincidental for it to have not been planned like that. This store in general looks a lot like the old #4309 (shocker) in Pensacola except for the mirrored layout and a few other minor differences. That store also received the faux terrazzo, but more on that theory in a bit. I also think you misspoke when you said the pharmacy was relocated to the front right corner of the building, rather than the front left corner.

    Anyway, it is so strange for me to look back at your post of #4328 because I’m much more accustomed to seeing an Albertsons with Publix décor than an Albertsons with Albertsons décor -- the latter just feels wrong to me now!

    As for your comment about this store receiving a cheap Classy Market 2.0 install and then getting a more thorough CM 2.5 / Invigorate install, I respectfully disagree. Based on the fact that this store has the “Sienna Apple” means it remodeled to Seinna before 2016. That alone means it is highly unlikely that this store would have received a décor swap 3 times in 6 years. Like #4309, I’d imagine that this store took a lot of work for Publix to remodel since it was so old, and it was probably closer to November or December of 2009 when it finally reopened as a Publix. Any of the quick-turnaround stores would have received the tan vinyl floors as opposed to the more-expensive faux/epoxy terrazzo. Therefore, I’m pretty sure this store received a thorough Classy Market 2.0 install, and then received a light Sienna remodel around 2014. Foursquare also reinforces that theory with this 2012 picture of the rear actionway and this 2013 picture of the Classy Market 2.0 pharmacy. For those reasons, I feel confident to say that this store never received Classy Market 2.5.

    Regardless of its history, this store does remind me of several other “blah” Sienna stores I’ve been to (with most of them being POBs). I wonder if Publix doesn’t put forth a ton of effort because they know they will tear the building down eventually? At least the more recent Sienna installs in POBs would have installed a grill or charcoal stock photo over the meat department.



    I never knew 1980’s stores had a split aisle setup! Would that have been in the 42E and the 56E or just the older 1970’s style stores?

    Now a word about the seafood department; I’ve never seen a non-CM 2.0 / 2.-build store receive the pendant lights over the counter like this store has! They look so strange being on a flat wall rather than the curved piece like the new-builds have!

    Wow, that is odd to see cheese and HBA co-mingling. It works well for your spicy dip cravings though!

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    1. The signage here is different, but it looks really nice on the exterior. I think it compliments the Albertsons design really well too. I fixed that comment about the pharmacy too, and about the decor lineage (as from what you and others mentioned, this store probably opened at the beginning of 2010 and had only that one decor swap).

      It's been so long since I've been in an Albertsons, I'm more used to Publix decor in these buildings than the Albertsons stuff too (especially since I've been to more Publixsons than actual Albertsons stores too, which doesn't help!)

      I really thought those fancy tile patterns (like the fish bubbles in seafood) were exclusive to CM 2.5 - I didn't know those were in CM 2.0 also. I just associate those patterns with CM 2.5 builds and nicer CM 2.5 remodels. I guess it makes more sense that there's only been one remodel since - however, it probably suggests an Evergreen remodel will be happening soon if this was an earlier CM 3.0/Sienna store.

      If this store does get an Evergreen remodel soon, it will probably address the blankness on the walls (like what happened in Oakland Park). Since Publix put a decent amount of effort into reconstructing this store after taking it over, I'd imagine this building has a much longer projected lifespan than the Publixsons that have had much less work done to them.

      If you watch that video someone shared a while back filmed inside Publix #246 in Deerfield Beach in its early days, you'll see the split-aisle setup I mentioned (I don't have the link to the video right now, but you'll probably know what I'm talking about). There are also a handful of old photos from other early 1980's and 1970's stores that show the split aisle arrangement too.

      With how little effort went into dressing up the back wall, I'm surprised Publix sprang for those pendant lights here too. However, with the cheese and HBA setup, maybe Publix is more forward thinking than we give them credit for!

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    2. Yep, as far as I'm aware, those tile patterns were used with both CM 2.0 and CM 2.5 which is one of the reasons it is nearly impossible for me to distinguish a 2.0-build from a 2.5-build other than age!

      Evergreen will probably make this store look nice since the stock photos can add a lot to the space.

      I found the video that you mentioned, but it didn't look like the store had a split-aisle setup to me. Maybe I'm missing something, lol!

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    3. In that video, the front aisles are even numbered and the back aisles are odd numbered (you can see an aisle 21 later in the video, and the only way a 1980's Publix could have 21 aisles is by splitting them down the middle!) Starting the video at this timestamp, the two guys were standing in the center aisle between even and odd, and after a few seconds they walk over to produce and you get a quick look at the whole aisle from the back of the store: https://youtu.be/Ag6WA83flWc?t=354

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    4. I see what you are saying about aisle 21 (the shot talking about Diet Pepsi -- 6:44 -- shows aisle 19 and 21 in the background). 42E stores definitely have 14 aisles, so I guess the front is even and the back is odd, leading to 28 aisles in the store?

      That being said, I still think the clip you sent shows the back aisle of the store. From that angle, I can count at least two columns in the middle of the aisles and I believe a 42E has three total columns per aisle. The aisle would be split somewhere near the second (middle) column and that aisle looks like it is continuous there. The shot you mention from the produce section definitely shows the back aisle of the store because I see the coffin coolers and the meat coolers behind them. He also shows the recessed section between aisles 13 & 14 which is now often used for Floral when he pans around from produce toward the back of the store. Here is a better look at the back aisle when he is talking to the couple about peaches. I'm still not convinced that this store had split aisles, but I can't exactly explain the odd aisle numbering.

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    5. As far as I know Publix has never used a split aisle layout in stores they built. I remember in the 70's and early 80's Publix had sort of a strange aisle numbering scheme. Each aisle actually had two numbers, one for the front half and one for the back half. But the first aisle on the very far right had three numbers. Aisle 1 was up close to the front of the store near the customer service desk. Then when you got into the regular aisle, the front half was Aisle 2 and the back half was Aisle 3. The front halves of each aisle had even numbers, and the back got odd numbers. That's why, in the video, you saw odd numbers at the back of the store, ending with Aisle 21 back by the produce department. That store actually had ten aisles.

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    6. Well thank you for that info -- that makes a lot more sense! The only part that doesn't make sense is why Publix would use said numbering scheme in the first place, but who knows. I can also understand why they would use a separate number for the area in front of the customer service desk since it typically has its own "department" of sorts.

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  5. Here's another good one I dug up from newspapers.com:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/XSpp6YpJZaU1h11q9

    One interesting thing here is that it looks like they placed a small Albertsons leaf logo to the left of the old block letters. I thought that wasn't done until Introspect was rolled out entirely in 1981. Most of these old Skaggs model stores had a leaf logo placed inside a box located to the left of the signage 'Drugs' 'Foods' on both the left and right sides of the store, but 4332 was done differently.

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  6. I remember this former Albertsons. Went there practically my whole childhood. My next door neighbor worked at this location.
    She transferred from one of the other Coral Springs locations (the small one near Turtle Run that became a Super Saver).

    I have a little information for you: just like the Tamarac store, it had the colorful Transformational Market decor package, except with the italic lettering used in the blue and grey market package (in this case the lettering was white). Also, a First Bank of Florida branch was constructed in the late 90s. After Albertsons discontinued that service after a few years and the bank sat unused for a while until the 2003 renovation, during which the bank was removed and that area was turned back into part of the vestibule.

    I had heard from my neighbor around 2000 that Albertsons was planning on on renovating the store, but somehow that got delayed three years. By the time the renovation commenced, I had moved away and been living over in Port Charlotte for a year. I did get to see the store when it was in the midst of the remodel (most of it was done decor wise and they were putting in new refrigeration units.

    This store had a video rental too.

    Looks like Publix spared no expense on this conversion. It appears that they put in a new ceiling, because I see different lighting, AC ducts and overhead speakers than Albertsons had.

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    1. Thanks for all the information about this store - I'm glad I was finally able to get a post written about this location for you, especially with all the personal connections you had to this location.

      That version of the Colorful Transformational Market would suggest a late 1980's remodel. I've read before that Albertsons liked to remodel their stores approximately every 10 years, so this store seemed to roughly follow that timeline. A lot of grocery stores seemed to get on the in-store bank kick back in the late 1990's, but that trend seemed to come and go pretty fast.

      Publix upgraded just about everything inside the building - the lights and ceiling tiles match what Publix uses in their older stores with a drop ceiling. The interior is really just an oddly laid-out Publix anymore, the store's layout being the last major clue inside that this place used to be an Albertsons. It was hit or miss on how much money Publix put into these old Albertsons stores, as some were extensively remodeled like #4332, and others just got a decor swap and reopened after only a handful of months.

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