Sunday, July 30, 2023

Former Albertsons #4315 - Tallahassee, FL (North Monroe)

Former Albertsons #4315

North Monroe - Publix #1323

1925 N Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32303

Scroll Down for the post on Publix #852 & Staples #1072

Click here for the companion post on the Tallahassee #7 Sing Store & former Publix #150

(Comments in purple are from AFB)

Welcome back to The Albertsons Florida Blog!  I'm lucky enough to have the honor of breaking the ice on the second half of the year following AFB's summer break, and today we are going to take a look at another store up in my neck of the woods.  Located just over a mile south of the Sing Store I toured earlier this week and just across the street from Northwest Florida's first Publix and first indoor shopping mall, former Albertsons #4315 arrived several years after the above retailers and served as the Idaho company's first foray into the Capital City.

Florida Memory - Clark's De Luxe Auto Courts - Postmarked February 7, 1940

It also turns out that the circa 1977 Skaggs-Albertsons supermarket wasn't the first edifice to grace the ground at the intersection of East Bradford Road and North Monroe Street.  That honor (at least as far as I'm aware) goes to Clark's De Luxe Auto Courts.  The roughly 50-room brick cottages seem to date back to at least the 1930's, meaning they had likely fallen into disrepair by the late-1970's (or were just located on some real estate prime for development). 

Florida Memory - Bassett Dairies building and trucks - December 24, 1950

Across the street from the future Albertsons and in front of the future Northwood Mall was Bassett Dairies.  I personally don't know much about either of the businesses (other than the fact that Bassett was sold to Borden in 1952), but still think these old photos are worth noting nonetheless!  Maybe somebody reading this will have some memories—feel free to add them in the comments section below.

The Tallahassee Democrat ( - March 1, 1977

Skipping ahead, Tallahassee's Albertsons #4315 was apparently one of the last stores to open under the 1969 combination food and drug store joint venture between Skaggs Companies and Albertsons. 

"Food & Drug with one central checkout!"

"Skaggs Albertsons drug department features nationally advertised brands of the finest drug and toiletries as well as a modern family pharmacy, cosmetic department, tobacco, camera and electronics department, and a wide assortment of sundries, ranging from notions, toys, hardware, greeting cards, small appliances, giftware, kitchen gadgets, yard and garden and swimming pool supplies. It's fantastic!, and all with one central checkout through any one of our convenient 14 lanes . . . !"

I'd have to imagine that the new store was big news for Leon County when it held its grand opening on March 2, 1977; it was certainly talked up as the best thing since sliced bread by the marketing team.  The 24-hour combination store also likely caused plenty of chatter amongst the competition like Publix, A&P, and Winn-Dixie.

The Tallahassee Democrat ( - March 1, 1977

As if the creepy cartoon food wasn't enough, it seems like not long after the new store opened, it was already caught in the middle of controversy.  On March 12, The Tallahassee Democrat published an article stating that 60 workers had been fired after the first two weeks of the store being open.  Albertsons claimed the positions were only temporarily needed for the grand opening, and underperforming individuals were let go after the rush died down.  However, employees stated they were not aware of this and were challenging Albertsons' quick turnaround since many had quit previous stable jobs to work at the new store.  In response, several letters to the editor were written in the following days by employees who had remained on the team, including this excerpt:

"I AM A resident of Tallahassee and have been employed by the new Skaggs-Albertson's store on Monroe Street for the last month. . . Any store takes time to catch on.  I suggest that the disparaging comments that may discourage customers from shopping at Albertson's will only aggravate the situation and make the time longer before those laid off can be rehired.  Albertson's is giving Tallahassee a chance.  Let's return the favor and get behind them."

Three days later, it is stated that shoppers raided the Northwood Mall Publix, North Monroe Skaggs-Albertsons, and the Thomasville Road Sing Stop and Shop for saccharin following a government warning that the artificial sweetener may cause cancer when consumed in large doses by rats.  The FDA never followed through on a complete ban because saccharin sweeteners such as Sweet'n Low can still be purchased today.  Many of you probably remember the recent announcement that aspartame may possibly cause cancer, and it seems like both of these revelations are supported by ultimately inconclusive evidence (dissenters argue that both unreasonably large quantities would be required, and that humans are surprisingly different from rats). 

The rough start continued following a statement released by a federal study commission that claimed employees shouldn't be required to take polygraph tests as a condition of employment.  The Democrat found that at least two Tallahassee employers, Eckerd and Skaggs-Albertsons, required periodic lie-detector tests during employment.  This seems like a very strange requirement this day in time and was targeted due to its potential to invade one's personal privacy.  I suppose I had forgotten I added this tidbit to my #4315 notes by the time I wrote my post on Disco Kroger because I had a very similar reaction then as well!

Continuing the trend, the Skaggs name was dropped from all newspaper advertisements by September 1977, reflecting the larger discontinuation of the joint venture.  Eventually, all Florida combination stores were turned over to Albertsons, and I'm specifically curious how long it took for #4315 to be rebranded since it was a mere six-months old when the news broke.

The Tallahassee Democrat ( - August 12, 1987 - Page 2

The store reappeared in the news a decade later during a debacle with a dubious direct competitor.  It's stated that the "grocery war" started with the grand opening of Tallahassee's first (and ironically last) Winn-Dixie Marketplace in June 1987.

According to The Tallahassee Democrat, "Both are still jockeying for a position against market leader Publix Super Markets trying to convince shoppers they will spend less and have a greater variety of products to choose from in their stores than at the competitors'.  Publix opened its fifth Tallahassee store on Mahan Drive several days before the Winn-Dixie Marketplace opened."

Albertsons apparently responded to the new Winn-Dixie by launching its "everyday low price" marketing scheme.  The newspaper mentions that Albertsons closed both Tallahassee stores for 15-hours to perform a reset before kicking off the campaign, so I wonder if this change also ushered in an interior remodel of sorts.

The article goes on to say, "the latest Tallahassee Democrat Market Basket survey of 35 food items – staples, produce, and meat – found Albertsons the cheapest, Food 4 Less second, Publix third, Harvest Markets fourth and Winn-Dixie fifth."

I can say that I'm not entirely surprised by these results.  Thanks to a comment made by Retail Retell, I decided to do an unscientific price comparison of my own:  how much does Pasta-Roni cost?  

I'll tell you right now that I've never even eaten Pasta-Roni, but it seemed to be an easy enough item to compare (besides the banana bunches Anonymous in Houston has frequently followed).  For this test, I compared a total of three stores under three banners that were all centrally located in Georgia.  I took a semester of statistics back in college, and I can tell you these results are statistically insignificant, but they still must matter for something!

Pasta-Roni prices in Harveys (top) vs Publix (bottom) - May 28-31, 2023

At a Kroger, Pasta-Roni was typically listed for $1.50 a box but was under a 10 for 10 deal with your Kroger Plus Card (or City Market Value Card in my case).  Next up was Publix (or a Pub-Dixie in this case): boxes of the processed pasta product were selling for $1.48 each.  So far, this test aligned with my general experience that Kroger can have some lower prices, but the differences tend to be marginal in many cases (or at least not worth me getting frustrated by the lack of staff and rotting produce I often see at Kroger).  Finally, we have Winn-Dixie:  I visited a Harveys store several days later and was shocked to find Pasta-Roni listed for $2.29 a box, on sale for $1.59 with your Southeastern Grocers Rewards card.  I've certainly found myself amazed by the prices I've spot checked in the past at Winn-Dixie (the bananas are case-in-point), and it seems like SEG's 'discount' brand simply follows the same tactics its parent company did in the late-1980's.

Publix typically doesn't try to compete in the race to the bottom, but that may not be the winning strategy either.  "While the two other food giants slugged it out, Lakeland-based Publix has remained mostly above the fray – a decision not surprising to the industry observers . . . 'Their position is 'We're the best.  We know it and so do you,'' said Tom Olson, publisher of Food People, an Atlanta industry Publication . . . In 1986, Publix held a 35% market share [in Tallahassee], while Winn-Dixie was in second with 20% and Albertsons in third with 15%, according to statistics from Supermarket News."

In the quarter-century since this article was published, I wouldn't be surprised if Publix holds upwards of 60% of Tallahassee's grocery market share, especially considering that Albertsons has evaporated, and Winn-Dixie has honed down its presence to a single store.

Courtesy Andy Callahan (Flickr) - October 2, 2009

Next, we'll fast forward thirty-some-odd years to the infamous June 2008 announcement.  By now, readers of this blog should know the drill:  it was sold to Publix in 2008, part of Publix's deal to buy 49 of Albertsons' Floridian stores that year (that was literally a copy-paste from one of AFB's earlier posts).  Publix officially took over the lease for this store on September 8, 2008, the same day it closed the deal on the other 48 stores including #4428 across town.  Meanwhile, Albertsons continued to operate #4497 over on West Tennessee Street, while #4343 on Apalachee Parkway had closed back in November 2005.

Courtesy - Tallahassee Democrat - September 14, 2008

While that part of the story sounds familiar, what happens next is a bit more unique.  The Democrat mentioned that, "the former Albertson's grocery store at 1925 N. Monroe St. will become a Publix GreenWise Market once remodeling is complete, the Lakeland-based Publix supermarket company says."  See, unlike many of those 49 stores, Publix didn't opt to immediately rebuild or hastily remodel former #4315.  Instead, it was announced that this location would be the fourth GreenWise Market following ones in Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, and Tampa. 

Courtesy Andy Callahan (Flickr) - October 2, 2009

Some of you may be asking, "why would Publix bother opening a GreenWise here and not just open a regular store?"  Publix may be totally content to operate a store across the street from another store in 2023, but that practice was taboo for the company back in 2008.  See, only six-years earlier, Publix constructed the shiny new store #852 just across North Monroe to replace the aging Northwood Mall store.  It's no surprise that Publix declined to replace a modern store with a "vintage" one built by somebody else, but I'm inclined to say the chain primarily took control of this location to prevent another grocer from getting it first.

Courtesy Andy Callahan (Flickr) - October 2, 2009

For one reason or another, the plans for a GreenWise never came to fruition and the store sat vacant and untouched until 2014.  That year, rumors began to circulate that a Boca Raton developer planned to transform the roughly 60,000 sq ft space into something new.  While local residents weren't entirely sure what the space would become, possible tenants ranged from new retailers, to senior service providers, to an indoor amusement park.

Ultimately, Publix terminated the lease on October 22, 2012, with some poignant conditions.  First, the landlord had to agree that "until December 31, 2041, no full-line retail grocery supermarket use shall be permitted to operate within the Premises."  Some examples are listed, and include: Publix, Kroger, Safeway, Winn Dixie, Wal-Mart, or Sweetbay. Conversely, the document permits a discount grocery store (such as Aldi or Sav-A-Lot) or a business that incidentally sells groceries and as such receives less than 10% of its revenue from groceries and the floor space dedicated to groceries cannot exceed 10,000 sq. ft., including 1/2 of the adjacent aisle space (such as Dollar General or Big Lots).  

Additionally, that paragraph becomes null and void if Publix fails to operate one full-line supermarket within a 1 mile radius of the property (aka Publix #852) for 180 consecutive days.  There are several exceptions to this stipulation, including: a remodel or the reconstruction of the adjacent store, the interruption of utilities (a hurricane comes to mind for this one), a fire or other casualty, condemnation, or force majeure (often seen as the "Act of God" clause and includes war, strike, riot, crime, or epidemic).  These exceptions extend the time frame to 730 consecutive days and require decent notification on behalf of Publix.  Their lawyers really had fun with this contract!  Furthermore, it seems that the Landlord will be responsible for enforcing this clause, but Publix reserves the right "to pursue enforcement of the restrictive covenant."  The Landlord would also be required to provide reimbursement for such actions.

Courtesy Yon Woo Retail (Flickr)

I can't say I've done much to advance the research of Albertsons' presence in the Sunshine State, but one of my few claims to fame is uncovering Publix's planned store number for former #4315.  As I was building out my historical list of Publix locations, I came across a few that were missing.  I asked AFB if he had any insight into the two missing numbers in the 1300 block (home to the 2008 Albertsons acquisitions), and he mentioned that he knew #1310 and #1323 were assigned to the former Albertsons in Tallahassee and Clearwater but didn't know which was which.  I did some digging in the Leon County property records and managed to find the 2012 lease where Publix relinquished control of the property.  This document solved the mystery for both stores as it lists the elusive store #1323 on several pages:  bingo!  It isn't often that Publix issues a store number that never gets built, but it is even rarer for us to actually find the details for such store!  Since I found that this location was planned to open as Publix GreenWise Market #1323, that leaves Clearwater's old #4344 as the planned Publix #1310 by process of elimination.

Drawing by AFB, not to scale, pre-Grocery Palace layout. As you can tell, unlike the Sing Oil Blogger, a graphic design artist I am not!

According to AFB (which I think was second-hand info from Yon Woo), the façade we see here was added as part of a major Grocery Palace remodel around the turn of the Millennium, and that's the decor the store eventually closed with.  At that time, the original side entrance to the store was closed off, and the liquor store was moved to a new dedicated space that was added to the left side of the building.  With the liquor store gone, the pharmacy was relocated to either the front left corner or an island up front (similar to the ones seen in in Grocery Palace new-builds).

"I don't know for sure what decor the store had between its original 70's Stripes and Grocery Palace though," AFB mentioned, "possibly the 1980s 'Transitional Market' based on the time frame of remodels Albertsons used to stick to (every 10 years) but I can't say anything for sure."  A lot of this hobby involves things that we can't say for sure, but I suppose speculation is just part of the fun of it!

In general, however, the interior layout of the store would have largely remained the same over its entire 31-years in operation, which is reflected in AFB's drawing above.  If the sketch isn't quite clear enough for you, AFB covered a mirrored version of this store back in 2021 that received a similar remodel back in the day.

With that behind us, let's take a look at how the store appears today (or at least how it appeared when I visited in 2022).

We'll start by taking a look at the left side of the store, or more specifically, the early-2000's liquor store addition.

AFB mentioned that this is the first time he's seen an old Albertsons liquor store converted into a Japanese restaurant, but it seems like the sizing worked out perfectly (and all these years later, you can still buy sake here too).

Heading toward the center of the building, we can see that Albertsons' Grocery Palace façade is still easily visible, even if has been extended further to the right and painted dark blue (which I personally think looks a bit odd here).  In addition to the Japanese restaurant in the old liquor store, the main supermarket space has been subdivided by Planet Fitness and Altitude Trampoline Park (formerly Sky Zone). 

The three tenants also creatively subdivided the old Albertsons sign out front.  I can't say I blame them for deciding to update the signage with something larger within the last year.

I suppose the modified façade does look more symmetrical than what Albertsons had, but something about it still feels too large and imposing for a gym and trampoline park.

I can't say I walked all the way around the building (the current businesses were fairly crowded), but it does look like Albertsons managed to remove any visible traces of old river rock aggregate panels.  On the other hand, if you zoom into the shot above, it does look like some of the old stucco panels have survived around the back of the store.

Except for some aerial views, that's all I have to say about former Albertsons #4315, but make sure to stick around for my tour of Publix #852 below and take a look at my post on former Publix #150, Northwood Mall, and the Tallahassee #7 Sing Store if you haven't done so already.

Aerial Views

Tallahassee-Leon County GIS - 1970 - Future site of Albertsons #4315

Tallahassee-Leon County GIS - 1983 - Albertsons #4315 in its original form


 Birds Eye Views

Courtesy Leon County PA - February 6, 2007 - Albertsons #4315

Thanks to the Leon PA (and a feature that has since been removed—as I always say, nothing on the internet should be taken for granted), we have this nice view of Albertsons #4315 from February 6, 2007, shortly before its demise.  Here, you can clearly see how the liquor store was just tacked onto the left side of the original building.

Courtesy Leon County PA - February 2007 - Former Albertsons #4343

Rewinding a bit more (or heading across town to former Albertsons #4343), we can get a better idea of how #4315 looked before it was remodeled between 1999 and 2003. (And since I couldn't find any photos of #4343 for my post on this store a few years back, this is a nice look at #4343 in general!)


Since I didn't get to have the privilege of giving a Publixsons tour above (and I missed out on photographing the inside of Publix #150 by a mere two decades), I decided to throw in a "stour" of the Publix that ultimately replaced both the Northwood Mall store and the old North Monroe Albertsons.  Let's jump across Highway 27!

Publix #852

Lake Ella Plaza

1700 N Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32303-5535

Considering I just published my post on this store's predecessor on Monday, I don't think I need to recap much in that regard.  What I didn't mention, however, is what this tract of land on the corner of North Monroe and West Tharpe was in its former life.

Florida Memory - Former J.M. Fields Department Store - May 23, 1965

The earliest use of the space I found was for a J.M. Fields department store that broke ground in 1963.  When it opened in 1964, the 130,000 sq. ft. space was stated to be the "largest department store within a 100 mile radius."  Furthermore, I bet it was the only place in Tallahassee "where you can order a real live baby elephant from the Pet Shop as easily as you can purchase a can of peas in the big 26,000 square foot supermarket."

Speaking of supermarkets, J. M. Fields operated a 26,000 sq. ft. Q/d Food Center in the right side of the building.  At some point, the grocery store was converted to the Pantry Pride banner (Q/d's former private label), which it would operate under until 1984.

The Tallahassee Democrat ( - August 9, 1981

Meanwhile, Kmart took over the vacant J. M. Fields space in 1980, following the latter's 1978 bankruptcy and subsequent 1979 closure.  Kmart leased the grocery space back to Food Fair, the J. M. Fields and Pantry Pride parent company, for $50,000 a year.

In 1985, Geneva, Alabama, based Food 4 Less announced it would take over the old Pantry Pride space next to Kmart, but it seems the location didn't hardly last five years.  I wouldn't be surprised if this was the last store to ever occupy that portion of the building.

The Tallahassee Democrat ( - January 24, 2002 - Vacant Kmart building

After Kmart closed in 1995, the building sat vacant for a number of years, and the expansive parking lot was used almost exclusively as a training ground for teenage drivers.  A common theme I noticed was that the lot was described as being "comically out of proportion to both the space and use".  A 1981 article put it this way, "even when Fields was holding its biggest anniversary sale a few years ago, that lot was never half full.  Yet that large area of black asphalt is reflecting the heat of the sun in a city that doesn't need any additional heat in the summer."

Eventually, Kmart unloaded the property to Lake Ella Plaza Limited in 2001, likely after a deal between Publix and the latter party had been made to construct a new store.

The Tallahassee Democrat ( - October 31, 2002

The new store held its grand opening at 7 AM on October 31, 2002, as the second of three 61M "superstores" Tallahassee would receive.  The new 60,667-square-foot store features many new additions compared to the circa 1969 Northwood Mall space including a full-service pharmacy and a sushi counter.

I remember when I first began researching Tallahassee Publixes, I thought this store must've been built in the 1970's at the latest.  In retrospect, that was a poor assumption considering it's a 61M from 2002; however, it does still boast the condensed version of the Publix logo that hasn't been used since at least 2010.  What's even better is that this is likely the building's original sign since it still uses a dark hunter green rather than the lighter green we see at most stores today.

61Ms are strange beasts considering they are the only mainline Publix prototype to have ever used three discrete entrances (well, it's technically two entrances and one exit—pictured above).  They also utilize a three panel sliding glass door instead of a four-panel one like we see at most stores.  Moreover, Tallahassee has the highest concentration of 61Ms anywhere on Earth!  If you so desired, you could hit up all three of The Capital City's 61Ms while driving for less than 9 miles and 25 minutes.  Tampa comes in a close second, but it would take 15 miles and at least 35 minutes to visit all three of its stores.  I still wonder why the city of less than 200,000 people received 25% of the 61Ms ever built in the state (and 23% of the 61Ms ever built), but it probably has something to do with the fact that most other major Florida markets received a 65N in the decade prior.  Furthermore, many of Tallahassee's stores were coming up for replacement and the largest Publix in town was previously a meager 48,000 square feet.  Now I just wonder why Jacksonville never received a superstore!

Courtesy Sly 14kt (Google Maps) - July 6, 2017

While I was researching this location, I came across this photo of the left entrance to the store from a few years back.  The subtle gradient of colors on the staggered corner accents immediately brought to mind this shot NWRetail posted a while ago of a JC Penney using a similar technique.  I wish Publix had kept this styling rather than painting all of the trim the same shade of brown, but alas, they never asked for my opinion!

Stepping inside, we can instantly see that this store is a bit different than its younger sibling, #1306.  The most notable difference is the presence of the second story balcony which runs along the entire right wall of #852.  Security camera technology in 2002 wasn't exactly as robust as it is today, so I'd assume this balcony was a key supervisory design feature for such a large store.

The lower ceiling also provided a nice divider for this store's health and beauty items.  Likewise, the pharmacy is located in the middle of the right wall of the store.

I do like the curvy nature of the balcony as it adds some subtle visual interest to an otherwise imposingly large structure.

I have to admit that this store is even a bit large and imposing for my taste; it seems like every time I walk in a 61M I get lost while looking for something.  I couldn't imagine trying to navigate my way through a 100,000 sq ft+ Kroger Marketplace!

The funny thing is, I have no problem in the slightly larger 65N stores, probably since their layout strongly resembles the smaller 47N and 55N that I am much more familiar with.  In that same regard, the layout of a 61M is strikingly different from any other Publix design I've seen.

On the topic of getting lost, you may notice that I took a lot more pictures of the H&BA section than I typically do—there's a reason for that.  I spent at least five minutes wandering through these short aisles looking for Chap-stick!  I photographed this store over a year ago, but it didn't take long for me to remember why I had so many photos of the pharmaceutical aisles. 

It turns out that the various lip balms were located somewhere on the aisle under the giant orchid picture we saw above, and the only reason I found them was because I had to ask an employee for help.  You know it must be bad if I'm having to ask for directions inside a Publix!

This photo was taken from the dividing line between pharmaceuticals and cosmetics (with the latter to my left), looking toward the customer service counter off in the distance.  If I didn't know better, I would've thought I was in a much older store based on all of the dropped ceilings I see here!

Courtesy Corry Williams (Google Maps) - January 7, 2017

I honestly hate when I have to resort to using Google Maps photos in my posts, but sometimes I simply missed the boat on documenting some pieces of history (which is why I try my damnedest to make it to any store I know is closing and may have something of interest inside).  This store has a lot of things I wish I could have photographed, but I simply wasn't aware that Publix even hung signs in stores six-years ago!  Oh well, at least the internet has these photos (since many of the unique 61M features have been eradicated over the years)

The first such feature is the large dedicated "GreenWise Market" this store used to have in the front right corner.  I remember this section's counterpart in #1306 being quite impressive when I saw it back in 2010, but it seems like Publix decided to disperse this department into the rest of the store during the 2018 Sienna remodel. 

We'll begin to emerge from my pharmaceutical purgatory and take a look at the section of dropped ceiling over the checkout lines.  The backside of the seasonal display can be seen under the Publix "P", while the windows over the center set of doors can be seen off in the distance.

All of you keen-eyed Publix fans should have noticed something by now:  this store lacks a terrazzo floor!  I can only think of one or two new-construction Publixes I've come across that don't at a minimum use a terrazzo-esque epoxy, so I wonder why Publix opted to use vinyl here.  On top of that, you can see that the pharmacy alcove used a different color of vinyl to boot.

Throughout the store, Publix had these green banners hung on all of the columns in the grocery department.  These appear to date back to this store's Sans Serif Classy Market 1.0 remodel considering their resemblance to the CM 2.0/Invigorate package of the same vintage.  I'm honestly surprised that a 15-year-old banner has managed to survive here, but it would also seem stupid for Publix to come up with a new design that's only used in twelve stores (#1306 lacks these banners since it is a "special" 61M).

The rear aisle of the store isn't anything remarkable; however, at least Publix filled up the blank wall space over the dairy department with this large egg graphic.

Next up, we'll poke our heads down aisle two to take a look at a variety of breakfast items . . .

. . . before turning back toward the pharmacy to look at the second story balcony.  One noticeable difference between #852 and #1306 is the presence of much taller ceilings in the former.  Just based on the air duct placements, I'd have to guess that the latter's ceilings are at least 5-10 feet lower since it doesn't need space for that balcony.

Hopping over to aisle four, we see baking supplies, salad sauces, more banners that make me think of 2008 design, and the hallmark Publix "P" that only started to appear in post-2015 décor installations.

Something else that sticks out like a sore thumb to me is the "Can Vegetables" category card at the bottom of the aisle five sign.  Prior to Sienna, this store had the Bamboo/Classy Market 2.5 package, which I'm presuming it remodeled to in 2013 based on the aisle signs it received.  The first iteration of these familiar green tri-sided signs used a bold/small caps font before adopting the all caps Avenir that is much more widespread.  The presence of the old category card proves that Publix reused those 2013 sign frames when this store remodeled to Sienna in 2018, while swapping out (most of) the card inserts for the newer typeface.  We've already seen where Publix uses the same tactics with Evergreen remodels today.  If it ain't broke, why throw it out!

Let's take a quick look at the front end of the store before moving on.  I believe there is a staircase behind the customer service counter which leads to some second story offices in this section of the store, but I could be mistaken.  #1306 uses the space over its checkout lines for the Apron's Cooking School which is serving its final class tomorrow evening.

Aisle nine boasts detergents of all varieties.

Jumping back to the rear actionway, we can see how the columns don't quite line up with the ends of the grocery aisles (and partially obscure the aisle signs).  Prior to this store's construction, Publix seemingly always provided some sort of boundary around the center grocery aisles, and it seems like they tried to subtly continue that with the placement of these columns and the banners hanging on them.  You'll notice that the two banners hung on corner columns are placed perpendicular to each other while the ones on center columns are parallel to provide the illusion of a barrier.  This isn't quite as drastic as the massive beams or curvy ceilings the chain was using in different stores of the era.

This store isn't in a bad area of town per-se, but you can tell Publix is a bit on edge here considering they installed the anti-theft wheel locks on all of the buggies.  It also appears that this may be the reason why this entire store's fleet of carts remain the older model Technibilt 4140s (thanks Retail Regents), which is an increasingly rare sight to see (I actually can't think of any other store where I exclusively saw the 10-year-old model).  Most stores by now have a mixed-age group of buggies, with many having already replaced or vastly reduced the number of these since the chrome finish on them doesn't hold up very well.  I know it's very easy to spot the circa 2015 carts in my local store (compared to the newer ones) because the finish has flaked off in a lot of places and revealed a matte silver surface, and in some cases, a yellowish primer.  Some suspect this may be the reason Publix switched to the powder-coated grey carts last year since the finish should be more durable.

We can see that aisle twelve is the first one on the left side of the store to be outside the banner perimeter.  This aisle was really hopping with all of the people looking at beer!  I suppose that makes sense for 2:30 on a Summer Saturday though.

Likewise, aisle fourteen was as cold as ice; even though it doesn't have beer, I don't know why people weren't flocking here on a hot summer day!

 Here's a look at the same aisle, just from the front of the store this time.

Publix typically has a small but decent selection of plants, although, I don't recall seeing entire blueberry bushes for sale in a store before.

In review, here's a look over the 2/3 of the store we've covered thus far, with frozen foods located at 9 o'clock, the grocery department at 11 o'clock, pharmaceuticals at noon, the door we entered through and customer service at one, and the checkouts and exit doors at two.  Wow, I didn't realize I could spend over five hours in a single Publix, and I still can't find the damn Chap-stick!

Okay, let's carry on my wayward son.

Now for my favorite part of this store: the grand aisle.  Y'all got a bit of a preview of this as I was recounting the jukebox in my mind over on aisle fourteen, but now we get to see the full-frontal experience of the arched ceiling and clerestory windows we missed out on in #1306.  Another thing that makes the 61M unique is the fact that it's the only Publix that comes to mind where every service department (save the pharmacy) is located on the grand aisle; in front of us we see the produce department, bakery, meat counter, and seafood counter while the deli is just behind me and floral (if that's still even a service department) is off to my right.

I honestly wonder if this arched ceiling was the inspiration behind the different interpretation of a similar feature we see in the delis of mid-late 2000's 39Ms45Ms, and 54Ms.

Courtesy Mike J. (Foursquare) - January 2, 2012

This may seem like a foreign(er) concept to some, but I've come to the conclusion that the 61M debuted Classy Market 1.0/Kiwi with an extremely similar interior design I like to call Prototype Classy Market 1.0.  You may ask what separates the prototype package from the mainline version considering things don't look all that different from what we are used to in the photo above, but this store had already undergone one remodel when Mike J. took this picture in 2012.  Most 61M stores seem to have undergone a light remodel to Sans Serif Classy Market 1.0 sometime around 2008, much akin to the Sienna Refreshes we've seen take place around 2019.  

Judging by the grand opening photo we saw at the beginning of this section, the Sans Serif remodel would have just swapped all of the department sign lettering to Avenir text, replaced all of the category signs, exchanged the banners throughout the store, and removed the old ribbon logo graphics from the service departments.

As for Prototype Classy Market 1.0 itself, it seemed to make its debut several years before the mainline version of Kiwi we saw in #172, and still used the blue and teal aisle signs and ribbon logo department signs which are typically associated with Publix's late-1990's interiors.  Something that would stick around with later iterations of the package is the presence of Bahama shutters adorning the walls (which can be seen in the photo above) and the muted color palette.

I really like how Publix originally made the grand aisle look like an open farmers market with the arched ceiling, truss accents, and street lamp posts stationed throughout the produce department.  It's almost like they wanted to bring the outdoors inside!

Courtesy GiantNinja (Google Maps) - March 13, 2018

Following the 2013 Bamboo remodel, most of these features were removed to make the store look like it does today.  I would, however, like to point out how the truss accents still survived over the cut produce island and the seafood counter.

Turning around, we'll take our first look at the large space allocated to the deli and hot food service options. 

Courtesy Corry Williams (Google Maps) - January 26, 2017

If I could turn back time, we'd see the deli's old truss accent still in place.  I really wish Publix could have kept these around since they tied the service departments into the unique architecture of the store and were only found in the 12 original 61Ms.  Alas, none of these accents remain in any store to be photographed in 2023.   

Something else I noticed is that those old photos appear to show an epoxy floor rather than the vinyl tiles we see today. I wonder if Publix swapped these out during the 2018 Sienna remodel?

The seafood counter has similarly been defaced of its truss, and the fresh-cut fruit island has been adorned by a green layer of sheetrock.

I don't have much to say about the wine and meat departments as they look basically the same as in any other Publix (despite the fact that I can't typically Bordeaux and filet in one fell swoop—the only thing that would make a Frenchman happier is if this store had a charcuterie over here like #1306).

Despite the size differences, most other Publix stores from this era also situated seafood and meat in the back left corner.

Surprisingly, this store has featured sushi ever since it opened in 2001.  I don't recall most stores getting the specialty feature until around 2008.

The American, Floridian, and Tallahasseean flags suspended from the ceiling add an interesting touch since I'm not used to seeing the latter two on display in Publix stores.  It seems like Walmart may show the state flag in addition to the American flag, but I'm not certain on that.

We can also catch our first glimpse of the third and final exterior door, nestled just between the deli and a small seating alcove.

Heading back up front, we see a familiar sight:  a Publix Bakery.  Simply breathtaking!

Courtesy Kimberly Simpkins (Google Maps) - September 8, 2017

Despite missing the old trusses, I think Sienna does a much better job of filling the empty wall space than Bamboo did.  The additional paint colors and tan "bar" do a good job of adding some visual interest, and I like how the Portabello brown stretches most of the way to the ceiling as opposed to the orange which gives way midway up the wall to the blue-grey Windstream.

Our final look inside will showcase the salad bar, another rarity inside a Publix, with the dining nook off in the distance.  All of the 61Ms I've been to have one or two registers located just inside this entrance in case shoppers just want to grab a quick bite from the deli, but I don't recall if any were staffed on the day I visited.

Back outside, we see the small Walmart-style doorway leading to the cart storage area next to the left entrance.  Since the 61Ms have so many unique features, I wonder if Publix designers were just spit-balling ideas at the wall to see what they liked, or if these behemoths were designed by an outside consultant firm who wasn't asked to return.  The fact that Publix dusted off a revised copy of these plans for #1306 makes things even more weird.  But alas. (Dang it, Retail Retell!)

Off to either side of the store is a small section of shops, with these just so happening to be the ones on the right

Thanks to LoopNet, we'll get two more perspectives of this store before heading back up North Monroe to Tallahassee's Staples store.

What a large building!

Staples #1072

2241 N Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32303

I typically don't pay attention to office supply stores, but something about this Staples location inspired me to photograph it last year.  I will say that y'all are probably as tired as I am at this point, and I won't be the slightest bit offended if you just skip this portion of the post.

I think what inspired me is how the inside of this store felt like it was stuck in the year 2000 for some reason.  I shared these pictures with AFB, though, and he said it looks like every other Staples he's ever been to.

It doesn't help that I've only been Staples one or two other times in my life; regardless, I feel like most any Office Depot or OfficeMax I've been to recently has felt like the category killer has been turned into the walking dead.

I also wonder if Shaq is that tall in person.

Maybe some of y'all will be inspired by these photos. 

Well, this scene does remind me of a guy I used to know. I heard he was arrested for running a shoplifting ring where he and his friends were stealing file folders, label makers, and filing cabinets - but I guess that's the price he had to pay for being involved in organized crime.

In reality, office supply stores are pretty boring to look at. I know, right! Everything in an office supply store seems so stationary.

Probably the most interesting thing I saw was the UPS counter:  UPS discontinued that logo back in 2003, so it would appear that this Staples hasn't received a full remodel since that time.  How hard would it be to change out those few logos!

At least this store seemed well stocked.

Anyway, that will conclude my coverage for today, but make sure to check back in two weeks to see what else The Albertsons Florida Blogger has in store for us! (I have a feeling my next post will involve a store that's one of the staples of this blog!)

With regard to my own blog, I think I need a break after cranking out these last two posts; I'll make sure you hear from me at some point in August though.

Until next time,

- The Sing Oil Blogger

This has been a feature post from my series Sing Oil Blog: More Than Convenience, in conjunction with my post on Tallahassee #7.  To check out my other posts from this series or to learn more, click on the logo above.