Sunday, September 24, 2023

Former Albertsons #4342 - Hallandale Beach, FL

Albertsons #4342 / Publix #402
1400 E. Hallandale Beach Boulevard, Hallandale Beach, FL - RK Publix Plaza (Formerly Hallandale Place)

Today's post is a presentation of Broward County retail

     When most people think of this blog, the first thing that probably pops into most people's minds is the Publixsons. It seems like every other post on this blog involves a Publixsons in some form, but there's so many Publixsons stores out there I can't help that! AFB has made the retail anomaly of the Publixsons an online trend, to the point where at least 5 or so people have made the fateful pilgrimage to seek out one of these unique stores on their Floridian vacations. While there are a wide variety of Publix conversions you can find in Florida, none are more famous or widely regarded than our friend the Publixsons. Today's Publixsons tour will actually be of a rather unique location, as this store has seen some more unusual changes compared to Publix's more common "new paint, new floors, and open the doors" style of Albertsons conversion. A lot of that comes from the fact that the store we'll be touring today was the world's second Publixsons, opening in 1992, a year after the world was given its first taste of what a Publixsons store was all about. As such, today's Publixsons is a weird blend of 1970's Albertsons and 1990's Publix traits, so let's jump into this madness and see what former Albertsons #4342 is all about:

Broward County Albertsons ad from 1982, listing the Hallandale Beach location at the bottom - ad clipped by YonWooRetail2

     Albertsons #4342 opened sometime in the Fall of 1980 - I haven't been able to pinpoint an exact day or month when this store opened, but I found a hiring ad for the upcoming new location in September 1980, and the store was open by November of that year. The new Hallandale Beach Albertsons store was built in a busy retail cluster along Hallandale Beach Boulevard, next door to a long-standing Publix-anchored shopping center and across the street from the popular Diplomat Mall. On top of all this, the new Albertsons was only a mile away from the beach, just across the intracoastal waterway from the ritzy beachside high-rises. Albertsons #4342 was primed to be a successful and busy location on valuable Eastern Broward County real estate - however, that's not how the story ended...

     After only a 10-year run, Albertsons #4342 was closed alongside the 4-year-old Albertsons #4365 in Jupiter in Summer 1990, both stores part of a small purge of closings Albertsons did at the turn of the 1990's. In an article I found about the closings, Albertsons cited poor access into #4365 as the reason for that store's abrupt demise, a "real estate mistake" as stated by Albertsons' executive vice president of real estate planning. However, the article mentioned nothing about the reasons for closing #4342 besides the usual corporate fluff and puff of "We evaluate all our operating stores in terms of the competition and the demographic environment," as put by the same real estate executive. While Albertsons #4365's demise was blamed on being a real estate boondoggle, I think both its closure and that of #4342 were due to the areas both stores were built in as being too posh for Albertsons' typical clientele. Back in the 1980's, Albertsons was designed to be a discount-oriented, price conscious grocer. Albertsons' locations near the beach in both Jupiter and Hallandale Beach were both in areas that skewed much wealthier, and Albertsons' all-in-one, no-frills design was probably not what most well-off beachside residents were looking for in a grocery store. Furthering my theory as to both stores being in areas too "well-off" for Albertsons, both #4365 and #4342 were purchased by Publix as the first two Publixsons stores, both serving as replacements for smaller, older Publix stores nearby.

     Publix managed to reopen the Jupiter Albertsons store in fairy short order, opening it just after the New Year's holiday in 1991. As for the Hallandale Beach store, it didn't reopen until April 27, 1992. Unlike the Jupiter conversion (which kept most of the building's layout from Albertsons in-tact), Publix rebuilt the interior of the Hallandale Beach store, creating (what appears to be) a very early prototype of what would become the early 1990's "55D" style stores. While the floorplan of the interior essentially follows that of a standard 55D, some of the architectural details are a bit odd, possibly a combination of Publix experimenting with the new design, as well as having the constraints of building within the walls of a former Albertsons.

     While the inside of the building was mostly rebuilt, Publix kept Albertsons' original facade mostly in-tact. Publix covered over some of the front windows and moved the doors to be on each side of the little jut-out where the service desk was, but the overall design of the facade dates back to the Albertsons days.

     We'll enter the store through the set of doors on the right side of the building, which drops us behind the check lanes on the "grand aisle" side of the store. The grand aisle is over to my left from where I was standing to take this picture, with the Publix logo and the famous CM 2.X era historic photo collage hanging on the front wall. Behind that wall is the liquor store, which I'm going to discuss more later in this post, as a 1970's Albertsons building usually doesn't have a liquor store in that spot...

     Looking into the front right corner of the building, we find the deli department.

    The deli (as well as its neighbor the bakery) are located under this lower ceiling in the front right corner of the building, the lower ceiling similar to that used in the older Publix stores from the late 1980's and early 1990's. Interestingly enough, the deli and bakery were located in this same part of the building when Albertsons was here, although Publix rebuilt and reconfigured both of these departments before moving in to create more of an alcove like we see here.

     Here we can see the deli and bakery's lower ceiling as it transitions into the main store. The lower ceiling makes the deli and bakery feel like they are in their own little world in the corner, almost making that part of the store feel more claustrophobic.

     A typical 1990's Publix bakery counter here, with the sloped tile wall above the counter that used to be used to display cakes. These sloped tile walls were more closely associated with the older style 40E and 40N Publix stores than the newer 47D or 55D stores, which modified the bakery design.

     Another example of how this store seems to blend the 40N traits into this seemingly prototypical 55D is the dairy department along the right wall in aisle 1. Stepping out of the bakery and deli department, you end up in the short aisle 1, which contains cases of dairy products on both sides. A typical 55D has dairy along the back well between meats and produce, while this store took a design cue from the 40N and placed dairy in the first aisle along the right wall. With dairy in this location, meats begins when you round the corner out of this aisle and venture along the back wall.

     Speaking of meats, here's that department as we leave aisle 1 and take our first glimpse along the back wall. The back right corner of the building has a slight alcove where dairy transitions into the meat department, with the meat and seafood service counter closer toward produce like a 40N store. A true 55D would have the meat and seafood counter closer to where I was standing to take this picture, yet another quirk of this prototypical Publixsons. When Albertsons was here, the meat counter would have been over in the area where I was standing, with that department taking up most of the back wall.

     Beer and less-potent drink options occupy aisle 2, which also falls partly under the lower ceiling from the bakery and deli departments. Following aisle 2, the aisles revert to being full-length until we get closer to the produce department.

     Another remnant from Publix taking over someone else's building: a row of support columns line the middle of the front actionway. At least Publix was able to space the check lanes and aisles far enough apart to leave plenty of room for shoppers to pass by with carts, as a row of columns crowding the front end would not be good!

     In aisle 3, we see not only breakfast foods, but also the edge of the lower ceiling from the deli and bakery.

     Out of the little alcove in the back right corner, here's a look across the back wall of the store where we can see all of the signage for the meat department (with Seafood off in the distance). As far as I'm aware, this store still has Classy Market 2.5, as I've yet to see any photos suggesting it remodeled to Evergreen (or heard any news of a more dramatic option being used). This store also received the updated pharmacy signage and self-checkouts too. Typically those two additions happen during "Sienna Lite" remodels to existing CM 3.0/Sienna stores around 2019-2020, but I guess "CM 2.5 Lite" was a thing too? Last I knew, there were around 70 stores left with Classy Market 2.5, and I know that number has dropped a bit since I heard that number tossed around. Considering Publix has 1,300 stores, finding CM 2.5 in the wild isn't the most common thing to see anymore.

      One thing I really liked about this Publixsons store was that Publix opted to use faux terrazzo on the floors here. The faux terrazzo looks so much nicer than the checkboard tile patterns we've seen at other Publixsons stores, and I wish Publix used the faux terrazzo more often in conversions.

     I visited this store on a weekday afternoon and it was extremely busy. The area is really busy in general, being a densely populated area right next to the beach, so Publix certainly has the winning formula to attract shoppers here that Albertsons just couldn't figure out.

     Continuing our zig-zag through the grocery aisles, aisle 6 has everything you need to make spaghetti night a success.

     Frozen foods occupy the center of the store, located in aisles 8 and 9. When Albertsons was here, frozen foods would have been located in the same general area as we see here.

     What's also interesting about the frozen food department in this store is the light fixture above the center row of coolers. That light fixture was actually a design trait from the late 1980's/early 1990's 55E stores! The link doesn't take you to the best example of this light fixture in a 55E, as my example had the original lights replaced at some point, but the lowered ceiling was left in-tact. The light fixture didn't carry over into the newer 55D stores, yet another example of how this store seemed to act as a one-off prototype of the 55D.

     Moving out of frozen foods, we'll warm up a bit here in aisle 11 with an endless bounty of paper products...

     …and that Bounty in aisle 11 will come in handy if anyone bumps these shelves in aisle 14, knocking over a bottle of the vineyard's bounty.

     Aisles 13-17 are only half-length, due to the placement of the produce department in the back left corner of the building (which we'll see in just a moment). The last two aisles we saw were arranged as such, but since I took those photos looking toward the front of the store, it wasn't very noticeable. Since we're near the pharmacy counter in aisle 15, in this aisle we find baby and HBA supplies. The last three grocery aisles (15-17) all contain health and beauty items, in a similar but different fashion to how HBA is located between produce and the pharmacy counters in the later 55D builds.

     Being one of Publix's larger prototypes from the early 1990's, this store's pharmacy is original, having relocated to the front right corner of the building upon Publix's 1992 opening. The pharmacy would have originally been located in the back left portion of the store, where the produce department is now.

     Returning to the back of the building, here's a look across the store's back wall as seen from produce. The seafood service counter is located just before produce like you'd find in a 40N, with meats just beyond that.

     Taking a quick look down aisle 16, let's jump into the produce department and see what that's all about:

      Unlike the narrow-but-long design chosen for the produce department of this design's later descendants, the produce department in this store is a large square-shaped area in the back left corner of the building. The produce department design takes more after its 40N and 55E predecessors than what we'd see in later 55Ds, this store being one big amalgamation of early 1990's Publix designs.

     The main produce department sign was hung on the corner on the left wall, making it clearly visible from the store's back actionway.

     I didn't get a good picture of it, but the floral department was located just behind me where the produce department meets up with the last few grocery aisles.

     Like I said before, this was a busy store! The lines at the check lanes were starting to build as I was about to leave and pay for the few things I had in my cart. It always seems like the big mob of people always wants to check out right at the same time I want to, like they time it that way!

     While the interior of this store may have been stripped of all of its Albertsons relics, walking out, I did notice a 1990's Publix relic still hanging around in here:

     Yes, those are some Wavy Pastel-era "Entrance" and "Exit" signs were hanging above the doors on the left side of the building! While Wavy Pastel/Metallic Marketplace-era "Entrance" and "Exit" signs have survived to this day at a number of stores due to many of them having been printed directly onto the glass above the doors, someone could have easily yanked these signs down and thrown them in the trash, but no one has. I won't complain though, as I love a good Wavy Pastel relic!

     Back outside, we find ourselves looking at the front left corner of the building. Here we can see the very blatant remnants from where Albertsons' original liquor store and side entrance were located, both of which were removed and covered over when Publix moved in to make room for the new pharmacy. 

     Compared to the typical late 1970's/early 1980's Albertsons store, this one was actually built backwards from how it would have normally been oriented. Typically, Albertsons would build these stores with the liquor store and side entrance always facing the cross street of the intersection upon which the store was built, which would have been SE 14th Ave. (as can be seen here). However, Albertsons chose to build the building with the liquor store and side entrance facing the open air courtyard instead, a choice that makes a lot of sense, as more people would probably use the side door to access the businesses in the corridor than the tiny side parking area this store was built with.

     While the little corridor seems empty and depressing from this angle way in the back, it's actually fully tenanted according to the property brochure. 8 smaller businesses call this corridor home, with three more in the front building and a Petco occupying the majority of the eastern wing (the building directly in front of me in the above image).

     While everybody was crowding inside Publix, no one seemed to want to wander off into the corridor!

     From what was a poor-performing Albertsons, we find now what appears to be a very high-performing Publix store. What's ironic was after visiting this very busy Publix, the next store I went to this day was devoid of all shoppers except me! (By that description alone, you can probably guess that store wasn't a Publix!).

     With the removal of the liquor store from the left side of the building, you now have to walk over to the right side of the building to get your fill of booze. The modern liquor store was built out of small chunk of salesfloor between the right side doors and the deli department. In the later 55D stores, they had a dining area in this part of the building that Publix has converted on a number of occasions into space for a liquor store, although I don't know if the space sacrificed for the liquor store here was a dining area or not. When Publix first purchased this store from Albertsons, they had recently dissolved their experiment of operating attached liquor stores. That experiment began with a single location in Coral Springs in 1985, and eventually grew to 3 locations throughout South Florida by the time Publix decided to get out of liquor sales in 1989. As you can tell, the liquor store here wasn't original, so Publix had no remorse for removing Albertsons' liquor store space back in 1992 to build the new pharmacy counter. After a liquor-less run in the 1990's, Publix decided to give liquor stores a try again in 2003, and since then liquor stores have become widespread across the chain, to the point where just about every new Publix store in Florida ends up getting a liquor store now. The liquor store at Publix #402 dates back to 2005, making it one of the earlier liquor stores to be added as part of the concept's revival in the 2000's, its addition probably correlating with a remodel from this store's original Wavy Pastel decor to Classy Market 1.0 (with the Classy Market 2.5 remodel happening around 2012-ish to replace the presumed CM 1.0 decor).

     The right side of the building isn't anything super exciting, but it still retains its Albertsons aesthetic all these years later. And in case you were wondering, the "RK" logos you see plastered all over this building are the trademark of the shopping center's owner Raanan Katz, a former Israeli basketball player turned commercial real estate mogul. All of Mr. Katz's properties have is logo plastered all over, and each shopping center is officially named "RK [Shopping Center Name]" (kind of like what Westfield did with the names of all of its malls, like "Westfield Countryside"). He makes it very easy to tell what he owns, and he owns a lot of shopping centers in South Florida!

     We'll end our tour of former Albertsons #4342 with a look at the shopping center's road sign (which I don't believe is original to Albertsons). In the background though, you can see the tops of all the beachfront high-rises that line A1A only a short distance away - a staple of the South Florida beachside.

     While I probably could have gotten some similar views from the top of one of those buildings, we'll turn to Bing Maps instead for some Bird's Eye aerial images, courtesy of Bing Maps:


Right Side


Left Side

For fun, the above image is of the shopping center just to the east of the former Albertsons store, which is also Publix's original home. The original Publix store was the building at the far left, which while unrecognizable from the ground now, is a former Wing store was was expanded to the left. From above, you can still see the original peaked roof line the Wing Stores had behind the new facade, the former Publix now home to medical offices.

     Bird's Eye images out of the way, let's move on to the historical aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth and

Former Albertsons #4342 - 2023 - As we'll see in these aerial images, this Publix is almost always packed with cars in the lot.

Former Albertsons #4342 - 2008 - I think the above image proves my point much better than the last one did!

Former Albertsons #4342 - 2003

Former Albertsons #4342 - 1999 - For fun I included the former Publix plaza next door in this image. While the old Publix plaza was dead, the new Publix plaza was hopping in '99.

Former Albertsons #4342 - 1995

Albertsons #4342 - 1986

Future Albertsons #4342 - 1980 - Still a lot of work to be done here to get the store open by year's end.

Future Albertsons #4342 - 1969 - The new Albertsons and its accompanying shopping center replaced an old drive-in movie theater. Next door, you can see the shadow of Publix's wings as well.

     As we've seen many times before, Publix has been able to make many success stories out of Albertsons's Floridian failures. Those first two Publixsons stores, Publix #401 and #402 from way back in the early 1990's, set the stage for our favorite funky Floridian retail phenomenon. And don't worry, I have many, many, many more Publixsons tours in my archives, so we'll be seeing more of our old friend before long! However, for my next post we'll take a short Publixsons reprieve, so be sure to come back in two weeks to see where our next Floridian supermarket adventure takes us!

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger