Wednesday, December 6, 2023

This Blog is My Grocery Palace - 10 Years of AFB

Albertsons #4462 / Sedano's #40
12981 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL - Southchase Plaza

Today's post is a presentation of Orange County retail

This Blog is My Grocery Palace

     10 years ago today, a much younger AFB decided it was finally time to launch a retail blog. After thinking and debating about making the dive into this madness for a while following his discovery of the (now defunct) Acme Style Blog, the closure of his local Albertsons store finally sparked him to get going on making his thoughts of a retail blog a reality. Following the success of Acme Style, a blog about Acme's sister store, Albertsons, and its faltering Florida division would be just as successful, right? After a year of researching and locating all of Florida's Albertsons stores, the moment of truth came on December 6, 2013: would this crazy idea of an unofficial Floridian offshoot of Acme Style prove to be a success? Much to the shock of its blogger, yes, I think this blog has been a success, otherwise I would have given up on this a long time ago!

     Over the span of the last decade of writing this blog, my coverage has sent me all over the Floridian Peninsula to document hundreds of retail stores - grocery and otherwise - for your entertainment. To date I've been to 200 Publix stores, 117 Winn-Dixies, every former Albertsons site in the Floridian Peninsula except one (#4459 in Homestead has proven to be a pain to motivate myself to visit), and a variety of other stores from Kmarts to the last Goodings to some of the last remaining fragments of Kash n' Karry. It's been an interesting experience, and this blog has gotten me to visit a lot of different parts of Florida I probably wouldn't have thought to visit otherwise. Prior to this blog, documentation of Floridian retail was fairly non-existent on the internet. I'm happy to have made my contributions to correct that over the last 10 years, and have inspired others to go out there and preserve the legacy of the stores in their community - be it in Florida or elsewhere. In a way, over the last decade, I've made this blog my Grocery Palace, a kingdom dedicated to the preservation of Floridian stores and supermarkets. Thanks to all the readers of this blog, this has all been possible, and here we are celebrating ten years of success and building a community dedicated to preserving the past.

     To mark the 10th anniversary of this blog, we're going to revisit what (I find to be) the most interesting former Albertsons store in all of Florida - former Albertsons #4462 in South Orlando. We first toured store #4462 back in 2016 to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of AFB, and I couldn't think of a better store to feature in the post to mark the blog's 10th anniversary (although store #4459 in Homestead was a strong contender until I discovered Sedano's ripped out the vast majority of that building's original Grocery Palace decor in the last year or two, which also hasn't helped to motive me to make the drive down there to see it either). Unlike its sibling in Homestead, the South Orlando Sedanosons still has the vast majority of its original Grocery Palace decor in-tact, and knowing how much of a sucker I am for Grocery Palace in any form, I feel it's only fitting to have this store mark yet another AFB anniversary celebration!

     We'll reflect more on the last decade of AFB toward the end of this post, but I'm sure most of you came here for the store tour, so let's jump right into that and see what's changed here at the South Orlando Sedanosons since we last visited it in 2016:

     Like the now former Kissimmee Sedanosons store we toured last time, the South Orlando Sedanosons was part of the same package deal where Sedano's bought three of Albertsons' Orlando-area locations in 2009, marking that chain's entrance into Central Florida. Following the closure of the Kissimmee Sedano's in 2021, Sedano's continues to serve the Orlando area from its two remaining former Albertsons locations - #4462 on South Orange Blossom Trail, and #4347 on South Semoran Blvd. about 15 miles north of here. As I mentioned in our posthumous tour of the Kissimmee store, Sedano's has never expanded in Orlando beyond those original stores purchased from Albertsons in 2009. The two remaining Orlando Sedano's stores seem to hold their own, but with other Hispanic grocery chains in Orlando expanding quite a bit these days, and Sedano's shrinking, I'm not really sure what the future for these stores hold. Sedano's appears to have only opened 2 new stores since buying those 3 Orlando Albertsons locations in 2009 - one in Coral Gables around 2012, and a new prototype store in Hialeah in 2019, with a few random store closures here and there. In addition, another new Sedano's was supposed to open somewhere in Miami in 2022, but it appears that store was canceled. Maybe Sedano's is complacent with their current fleet of 35 stores, and they're fine with the status quo after purging a few loser stores? However, the canceled store from 2022 is a bit strange, and adds to the mystery what might be going on at their corporate office. I'm not super familiar with Sedano's operations to have a better idea of what may be going on behind the scenes, or if I'm just overthinking things. At least from my experiences shopping at Sedano's, their stores always appeared to do fairly well, especially in their home turf in Miami-Dade County, so who knows what the company is up to.

     As we've seen in the last few exterior photos, Sedano's has repainted the exterior in recent years, as back in 2016 the building still sported its original exterior paint scheme from Albertsons. A few small modifications have been made to the interior as well since our last visit, but the glorious Grocery Palace decor from Albertsons' June 1999 opening is still going strong inside:

     Stepping inside, it still feels like I should still be staring at a giant Albertsons A-leaf logo on the floor. Even without the Albertsons logo on the floor anymore, we still have the pharmacy island to greet us upon entering the store. During our 2016 visit the pharmacy space was vacant, however, Sedano's has since found a new independent pharmacy tenant to occupy this space, operating as "Southchase Community Pharmacy" (Southchase is the official name of the neighborhood this store is in).

     Albertsons' original deli now operates as a large cafeteria space, with a full-service coffee, pastry, and sandwich shop along the front wall, and a self-serve hot foods bar around the corner where Albertsons' deli counter used to be.

     In the last few years, Sedano's has modernized and expanded this store's prepared foods department, replacing the old coolers (which probably dated back to Albertsons) with new fixtures. Sedano's updates to this part of the store came at the expense of the spinning chef sign and the "Meals to Go" signs that used to grace Albertsons' Grocery Palace deli. While all that original signage was removed, the original floor tiles and wall texturing have remained in place.

     The original deli prep space was converted into an enclosed dining area, relocating the tables from the main salesfloor in front of the ordering counter. The old dining space on the salesfloor was replaced with additional coolers for prepared foods, with all full-service cafeteria operations consolidated into the counter along the front wall (Sedano's used the old deli space as a coffee shop before consolidating that into the prepared foods counter).

     The cafeteria was the busiest part of the store with a lot of people lingering around, so none of my photos of that area came out spectacularly well during this trip. From within the produce department, here's my best attempt at an overview of the former deli/new cafeteria space.

     Turning around, at least we find the produce department is still mostly the same from our last visit - just like Albertsons left it!

     Sedano's only modification to the produce department since 2016 was replacing Albertsons' old produce spotlights with additional strip lights, which now make this part of the store really bright.

     The spotlights shining down on the original produce wall graphics didn't help with photographing them, washing out a lot of the detail, but they're still there.

     The produce crate graphics on the back wall are also from Albertsons, and it almost seems like Sedano's knocked off this wall prop with something similar in the produce department of their former Kissimmee store.

     Following produce, moving along to the store's back wall we find the bakery department. Back in 2016, Sedano's was using the bakery as another cafe/coffee shop. That secondary cafe was removed and this part of the store was reverted back to its original use as a bakery, although Sedano's selection of in-house baked goods is pretty small (mostly limited to some loaves of Cuban bread), with the majority of the baked goods offerings being outsourced.

     Even though it wasn't one of the crazier props in this decor package, I've always liked the Grocery Palace bakery sign. While Grocery Palace never explicitly put the word "bakery" on this department, that sign still does a good job of getting the point across!

     The bakery tile pattern extends out to the right of the former bakery service counter, into space that was home to additional pastry cases (to my right) and the prepackaged breads (to my left). With Sedano's small bakery selection, most of the former bakery floor space was absorbed back into the grocery aisles, with random pallet drops now being housed in the space that would have been home to baked goods display tables.

     Dipping into the grocery aisles, we can admire the star-studded walk of fame down Cereal Boulevard, formerly known as Beverage Boulevard. While some Grocery Palace stores had a full-blown road on the floor to compliment Beverage Boulevard, other stores used this star pattern on the floor like we see here...

     …and you can see this version of Beverage Boulevard in the photo above in all of its glory, the photo above having been taken inside store #4462 about two weeks after it opened in June 1999. That photo comes from an interesting article published in the Orlando Sentinel about consolidation in the grocery industry and how grocers were adapting to change at the time. It's an interesting read that still rings true in a lot of ways today, just minus the crazy over-the-top grocery decor designs that were much more common at the turn of the 2000's! The Sing Oil Blogger clipped this article from for me, so if you want to read it in full, you can do so here (with its continuation here).

     Moving over an aisle, we find assorted baked goods and promotional items in the former home of Snack Central (also visible in the 1999 newspaper photo we just saw). However, Sedano's isn't the one to blame for removing the giant bowl of party mix from the ceiling in this store - Albertsons did that themselves. Most Floridian Grocery Palace stores that survived into the late 2000's received "refreshes" by Albertsons that reconfigured the grocery aisles, which resulted in the loss of the giant party mix bowl and Beverage Boulevard's bucket of Coca-Cola as the aisles were straightened out and the sales floor realigned to follow a normal supermarket aisle pattern.

     Turning around, here's another look down that same double-wide aisle, this time looking toward the front of the store and the pharmacy counter.

     Even sans the giant bowl of party mix hanging from the ceiling, Sedano's "Snack Central" still lives on in the general area of its predecessor, even if the selection was shrunken down a bit from what Albertsons offered.

     Returning to the back wall of the store, we find another decor casualty from the last few years - sometime between 2016 and 2023, the old "International Deli" sign was removed. While the big original sign is now gone, the assorted international knickknacks on top of the coolers are still hanging in there, dust and all.

     While it may not be called the "International Deli" anymore, the prepackaged deli meats and cheeses were still located in this alcove. Ironically, even though Sedano's is a store that sells a lot more international products than grocers like Publix, Winn-Dixie and even Albertsons, the selection of deli meats and cheeses in the "International Deli" was quite American with all the Kraft and Sargento cheeses, and Oscar Meyer meats visible in the coolers!

     Looking out from the International Deli alcove, we see the pharmacy counter in the distance. Let's head up there for a closer look:

     When Albertsons was here, we would have been looking at the main pharmacy drop-off/pickup window to my right. These days, this part of the pharmacy counter is blocked off by stacks of grocery products, with all of the pharmacy's operations now being conducted at Albertsons' express drop off window on the other side of the island just inside the entrance (which we saw in our first interior photo).

     Leaving the pharmacy, we return to the grocery aisles to find ourselves in the Wine Cellar. While the original decor may have been partial to the fermented grapes in terms of signage and aesthetic, the selection of barley-based alcoholic beverages could also be found over here too, in the coolers to my left. At the very end of this aisle we can still see the original "Please, walk in" sign for the beer cooler as well, however, that sign appears to be wrong these days. I didn't try to open the door to the walk-in, but the lights inside were off, so it didn't seem like Sedano's wanted anyone wandering in there!

     While Sedano's has removed some of the original signage in here (like the original Wine Cellar sign), I really can't whine too much about their treatment of the decor overall, considering 80% of it is still in place in 2023.

     Exiting the Wine Cellar, we find the meat and seafood counter housed in its faux rustic fish house.

     Much like I remember from Albertsons, the meat and seafood counter was busy while I was here, and certainly one of the main draws to this store after the cafeteria (which was equally as busy). Sedano's did nothing to the meat and seafood counter during their tenure in this building except replace Albertsons logo on the ribbon atop the faux facade with a sticker of their "circle S" logo. The same goes for the aisle markers as well, which are all original to Albertsons except for the stickers over Albertsons' logo. Interestingly enough, Sedano's replaced all of the original aisle markers at the Homestead store a few years before it remodeled, but Sedano's has never bothered to replace the ones here yet. Looking closely at the aisle markers here, some of the panels seem a bit brighter and newer, making me wonder if Sedano's has been making new replicas to hang from these signs (as this wouldn't be the first time I've seen a supermarket create replica pieces of someone else's old decor).

     Entering the baby aisle, it's still left as it was from Albertsons, even though the dangly ribbon thing from the greeting card aisle next door was removed. What's quite interesting about the letter blocks on the floor is that those aren't stickers or any other kind of printed decals you see - that's actually colored floor tile cut to look like that! I can't imagine how time consuming it was to cut and shape all 26 letters in tile like that. Just installing all the funky flooring patterns in a Grocery Palace store had to be time consuming, with all the different ones used throughout the store.

     From the edge of the pharmacy island, here's a quick peek across the store's front end. Sedano's actually kept Albertsons original check lane lights here too, however, the advertisements that Albertsons used to place on the lights have been permanently replaced with papers featuring Sedano's logo. I actually think the lights looks much better with Sedano's logo on them than the random advertisements Albertsons used to feature there.

     Turning around, here's a look at the part of the pharmacy island closest to the check lanes. This side of the island once featured the Floral counter. The floral service counter has since been blocked off with shelves of assorted promotional items. As far as I'm aware, Sedano's doesn't sell any kind of Floral arrangements at all, so I'm surprised they left the Floral sign hanging from the ceiling (especially after removing other random signs from throughout the store). Maybe Sedano's only removes signs as they fall apart, and not because they lack a purpose anymore?

     Moving further toward the right side of the building, we'll zig-zag through a few more grocery aisles.

     Hay mucho aceite y especias en este pasillo.

     The old pet department, which Sedano's was using as their equivalent of Beverage Boulevard in their version of "El Palacio de Comestibles" back in 2016 (complete with a reskinned version of the old spinning pet department sign) has since been converted into a (very busy while I was here) barber shop. While the reskinned pet department sign was removed when the pets-turned-beverage corner was transformed into a barber shop, oddly enough, the original aisle markers for aisles 23-25 were left in place to hang over the barber shop box (so if you need a haircut while shopping, you can find one of those in aisle 23). The original graphics for the pet department are still on the wall above the barber shop as well, although I don't know which is a stranger combo - a "beverage center" with graphics of playful pets on the wall, or a barber shop with those same graphics, and matching pawprints on the floor too!

     Arroz, pasta, y frijoles en el pasillo dieciséis.

     To the right of the meat and seafood service counter is the packaged meats alcove. Like the International Deli on the other side of the service counter, the meat alcove also lost its hanging sign since 2016. However, those fancy curved category markers along the top of the cooler are original from Albertsons.

     Even without the big hanging sign, the meat alcove still has a strong Grocery Palace feel.

     Let's make a clean sweep through aisle 19, as we only have three more aisles to go!

     Moving next door to aisle 20, yes, that is a bird perched in the middle of the aisle. The little bird just stood there for the longest time to, bobbing its head a little, but otherwise not at all minding the crazy guy a few feet away taking a picture. As I pushed my cart closer to the bird he eventually flew up to the rafters and perched himself up there. Hopefully he's not living up there and managed to find his way back out!

     Returning to the back right corner of the store, we find the dairy department. Being a Grocery Palace store, I think we all know what to expect back here:

     Yep, the famous milk barn!

     Milk still resides in the barn under Sedano's ownership of this store, with the remainder of dairy wrapping around into aisle 22.

     Aisle 20 is home to paper products, but we can also see from here the signage for Frozen Foods and Dairy on the wavy lower ceiling transition.

     The wavy ceiling extends out into the middle of aisle 21, covering the side of this aisle with frozen foods coolers. Sodas occupy the opposite side of the aisle.

     Aisle 22 is the store's last aisle, with frozen foods taking up three quarters of this aisle. The remainder of the dairy department occupies the rest of the aisle, with the dairy products housed in the open-face cooler.

     Leaving aisle 22, here's yet another overview of the store's front end. The alcove in front of the check lanes is currently home to Sedano's customer service counter. When Albertsons was here, that alcove was home to the Photo Center and cigarette counter, with customer service located at its own desk in front of the pharmacy island by the front entrance. While customer service has most likely been located in the above pictured location ever since Sedano's first took over the building, they left the original signage for the Photo/Cigarette counter up after taking over this store, but that signage has since been removed.

     Customer service would have been located along the wall to my right when Albertsons was here, with a small dry cleaners to the right of that in the pharmacy island. The space to my left (which the security guard is leaning against) is the old video rental department. These days, Sedano's rents out all these little nooks to independent businesses, a common practice at these Hispanic grocery stores in Florida.

     Back outside, here's a look across the front walkway once again, left mostly the same as it was from when Albertsons was here.

     To the left of the main supermarket building is the old Albertsons liquor store, now operating as a location of Knightly Spirits Liquors, a small chain of liquor stores throughout the Orlando area (whose name is probably a reference to the University of Central Florida's mascot).

     Coming to the end of today's post, I hope everyone enjoyed today's revisit to former Albertsons #4462, the closest you can get to experiencing what a Floridian Albertsons was like without ever having to leave the state! Every time I walk into this store it's a real blast from the past, and the fact that I spent a lot of time shopping at a nearly identical Grocery Palace Albertsons store for so many years also helps with my nostalgia trips when visiting this store. As of late 2023, this store still looks exactly as you saw it in the previous photos. After seeing what happened to other Grocery Palace Sedanosons in Homestead, I can't help but wonder if this store will end up with a similar fate. However, Sedano's, at least for now, seems pretty content with the spot updates this store keeps getting here and there, rather than going all-out with a full-blown remodel like they did in Homestead. As much as would have loved to see the Homestead store before it received that remodel, at least I still have this Sedanosons to visit, even if it lacked the original Beverage Boulevard and Snack Central signage like Homestead had until recently. From looking at recent photos of the Homestead store, even though that store looks pretty blah in most places now, a few Grocery Palace relics may still be lurking in there, even if this is now the Beverage Boulevard of broken dreams. Maybe one of these days I'll finally motivate myself to go down there and cross my last Peninsular Albertsons store off the list, scoping out what remaining relics I can find, but for now, at least we still have one decently preserved Grocery Palace museum in Florida.

     Anyway, thank you all for 10 years of readership of AFB! I know there are a lot of you who have been following this blog since the start, and some that came along much later. We've seen a lot happen here in the Floridian supermarket scene over the last decade - losing Sweetbay, Albertsons, and Safeway, gaining and then losing Lucky's Market in a spectacular burst of zeal, seeing Winn-Dixie go from bankrupt to a viable company again, with a bizarre turn of evens following Aldi's recent announcement to purchase Winn-Dixie. Those events were only the highlights of the last decade too, and who knows what the next decade will bring to Floridian supermarkets (although I suspect many more Publix stores will be on the way, as even with 830 stores in this state alone, Publix is still finding room to cram more stores in here). Even with all the crazy news that seems to stem from the Floridian grocery industry, thank you for following my travels to all of these stores of past and present, seeing how they've changed and how they've contributed to this unique state I call home. And I still have plenty more stores to write about as well, as I've yet to make it through writing about all of Florida's former Albertsons stores yet. Hopefully within the next decade I'll get around to completing that goal, but I'll see where time takes us and go from there!

     I hope everyone enjoyed this special AFB posting series to commemorate the blog's 10th anniversary. I've written a lot lately, so I'm going to take the rest of the year off from AFB, with posting to resume next year on January 21, 2024. I might write an MFR post during that time, but we'll see what happens. Anyway, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I'll see everyone again next year to kick off the 11th year of AFB!

Thanks for your readership all of these years, and until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

P.S. - Be sure to scroll down for my annual year in review!

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The Year in Review (and Some Random Stats):

Albertsons Stores Covered:
Albertsons #4312 - St. Petersburg, FL (Kenneth City) (My most popular post of the year)
Albertsons #4315 - Tallahassee, FL (North Monroe St.) (Guest post by The Sing Oil Blogger)
Albertsons #4402 - Largo, FL (Largo Mall) (My third most popular post of the year)
Albertsons #4462 - Orlando, FL (South OBT) - Revisit (This post)

Bonus Buy Stores Covered:
Hitchcock's Green Market - St. Petersburg, FL (A Life After Lucky's feature, store since closed too)
Hitchcock's Market - Hawthorne, FL (A look at a location from this rural North Florida grocery chain) (My second most popular post of the year)
FoodMax/Albertsons #4729/Publix #119 - Hendersonville, TN (A guest post by the Sing Oil Blogger featuring one of the Tennessee Publixsons stores, with a Bruno's twist too)
Kash n' Karry/Sweetbay Supermarket #1916 - Wesley Chapel, FL (A tour of the last round Kash n' Karry prototype store still operating with its original layout)
Winn-Dixie #2234 - Apopka, FL (A tour of one of Winn-Dixie's newest stores built from the ground-up)
Food Ranch - Inglis, FL (A tour of a really neat small-town supermarket still mostly in-tact from its 1985 opening)
Safeway #3411 - Tacoma, WA (A guest post by The Sing Oil Blogger featuring an Albertsons to Safeway conversion in Washington State)

And considering this is the blog's 10th anniversary, I thought it would be fun to feature my top 10 personal favorite posts that I've written over the past decade. Some posts just come together well, some have fun content, and some have a little of both. Anyway, here's what I think has been my best over the last 10 years:

#10 - You Should Have Chosen Florida Choice (Originally published October 22, 2017) - A tour of (what was) the best preserved former Florida Choice store in Florida through the windows of the building following the closure of the Winn-Dixie that once called the building home. This store answered a lot of my questions about Florida Choice, but also arose many more!

#9 - Former Albertsons #4462 - Orlando, FL (South OBT) (Originally published December 6, 2016) - A tour of the best preserved Grocery Palace Albertsons left in Florida, what's not to love about that?

#8 - Former Albertsons #4357 - Vero Beach, FL (Originally published October 11, 2015) - A fun tour of an abandoned Albertsons store.

#7 - Former Albertsons #4346 - Venice, FL (Originally published December 6, 2021) - Another fun tour of a former Albertsons store, and I got a good scare here too!

#6 - I Saved, They Saved, But We Couldn't Save U-Save (Originally published June 2, 2019) - This post has become one of my most popular posts of all time, and features a tour of a former U-Save Supermarket in Okeechobee.

#5 - The Most Famous Shopping Center in Florida (Originally published January 21, 2018) - This post took us on an exterior overview of Lakeland's noted Southgate Shopping Center, famous for its large arch gracing the plaza's facade. I thought this post came together well, on top of being a fun tour of a noted piece of Floridian architecture.

#4 - Former Albertsons #4316(1) and #4335 - Lauderhill, FL (Originally published November 21, 2021) - These two Albertsons stores weren't the most extravagant relics of former Albertsons stores in Florida, but my writing was pretty good this day!

#3 - Former Albertsons #4471 - Sanford, FL - Part 2 (Originally published October 23, 2016) - I had no idea Spirit Halloween was operating out of this former Grocery Palace Albertsons when I visited it way back when. It was a fun surprise, and a really fun tour inside a vacant Grocery Palace Albertsons store!

#2 - Former Albertsons #4466 - Port St. Lucie, FL (St. Lucie West) (Originally published June 7, 2014) - A really old AFB post, but you can never go wrong with a glimpse of some Grocery Palace relics through a window, right?

And what has been my favorite blog post to date? Well, here's the answer:

#1 - The Winn-Dixie That Time Forgot (Originally published August 25, 2019) - Surprise, my favorite AFB post actually has nothing to do with an Albertsons at all! While not an Albertsons, a Winn-Dixie that had been sitting abandoned for nearly 30 years also provides some entertaining subject matter. I just feel everything about this post meshed together well, the photos of the abandoned store and its interior, the writing, everything. If you haven't read this post check it out sometime, it's a fun read!

So that rounds out this edition of AFB's Top 10. Thanks again for 10 years of fun and adventure on AFB, and see you all next year!



  1. Congrats on 10 years!
    It's neat that you still have a store you can go to for nostalgia purposes. Hopefully it'll stick around for a while longer.

    1. Thanks!

      I'm glad this store has managed to remain in this state for as long as it has, and hopefully Sedano's keeps it like this for many years more. It's a fun trip back in time for me when I visit.

  2. Congratulations on a full 10 years!

    I'm really glad to see how intact the decor still is here. Other than the Albertsons/Acme stores that still have it, and that Homeland in Oklahoma, this is probably the best-preserved Grocery Palace interior.

    1. Thanks!

      The Homestead Sedano's was even better preserved than this one, probably on the same level as the Yukon Homeland. Sedano's never touched the Homestead store until they swapped out the aisle markers around 2018-ish, and then nothing else until the big remodel in 2021. At least this one is still pretty well preserved, especially for a building that hasn't been an Albertsons in 14 years!

  3. Anonymous in HoustonDecember 6, 2023 at 11:02 PM

    It is always neat to see a nearly fully-intact Grocery Palace and this is a really good example of that! I think the Sedano’s Palace is a little bit more intact than the Food Town Palace in Houston, but it would be neat to combine a few things that the Food Town still has, like the Beverage Boulevard sign and Coca-Cola bucket, with what Sedano’s has! It would be neat to have a comparison between the two famous former Grocery Palaces to see which one is more Albertsons-like! Here is the reference for those not familiar with the Food Town Palace:

    I suppose I’m lucky that I still shop at a Krogertsons Grocery Palace pretty often since it is the closest Kroger to me. The Krogertsons still has the same general layout as the Albertsons and the Grocery Palace floor including the letter blocks, the fake road, and the bakery wood floor. That store was only an Albertsons for a very brief period of time, but it is interesting to see the legacy of Albertsons living on at that Kroger! Granted, there is a well-preserved Blue & Grey Market Food Town just down the street so there is that as well!

    I’m surprised to see that you took a photo of the store right in front of the security guard and what appears to be store employees! I guess Sedano’s security is pretty relaxed at guarding the Palace, but maybe they are used to Grocery Palace tourists! Hey, this is good marketing for Sedano’s!

    It is always hard to pick one, but I think my favorite post this year has been the Hawthorne Hitchcock’s Market. It was certainly interesting to see the Supervalu name on that one and it was just generally an interesting store. I enjoyed Sing Oil’s post about the Tacoma Safeway as well! It seems like the Northwest has been a theme on a few blogs this year! The Clearwater Blue & Grey Market Publixsons post was pretty neat as well.

    As far as my favorite all-time AFB posts, there are a few that stick out, but I’m surprised that the Altamonte Springs Albertsons didn’t make the list somewhere. For some reason, I always think of that as the stereotypical Florida Albertsons and I enjoyed you chronicling it becoming a Safeway. I always enjoy things which have Houston connections. Thus, in addition to the Albertsons, the Greenacres Grand Union was fun and also the Fort Pierce Publix Lion which was a bit shocking given the low-end nature of the Food Lions I remember. Also, the South Semoran Sedano’s post is a special one to me for reasons you’re familiar with! There are some things which really stick out as being awesome on MFR like the Kmart and Sears klosing posts and that Big Lots with the Nissan Figaro in the parking lot.

    There’s just a lot of good information on here and I’m sure my Houston retail enthusiast buddies will tell you that I’m always referencing this blog so I’m glad it is around and hopefully there are many more years of chronicling Albertsons in Florida! Maybe in the next decade, Albertsons will open a new store in Florida if they aren’t swallowed by Kroger. Hey, stranger things have happened given all the strange stuff you’ve chronicled over the years!

    1. Thank you! I'm honored I made the list for one of your favorite posts of the year!

    2. I scanned over the photos of the Grocery Palace Food Town again, and it's a really tough call on which one is the better preserved of the two stores. While the Orlando Sedano's is missing a lot of signs Food Town still has, Food Town modified the decor more and fixed up the building a lot more than Sedano's has. Even though Food Town still has Beverage Boulevard, I think I'm going to have to call this one in favor of the Orlando Sedano's. While Food Town still has Beverage Boulevard and the spinning chef, the Orlando Sedano's still has some of the rarer elements like the original aisle markers, the original ceiling over frozen foods, and no modifications to the signs or paint scheme. It also looks like Food Town replaced all the lighting in their store, while Sedano's hasn't except in produce. Food Town looks much brighter with those new (presumably) LED lights, while the Sedano's still has the calming darker (but not too dark) feel from the old fluorescents. If you could combine the elements of Food Town and the Orlando Sedano's together though, you'd have one really nice Grocery Palace museum!

      It's still crazy that Grocery Palace floor has remained in your local Krogertsons for so long, especially with how all those crazy floor decorations must clash with the rest of the decor. However, a fake road and letter block patterns on the floor look much better with any decor than scarred concrete does, so hopefully Kroger leaves that floor in place! I end up in Orlando often enough where I can stop by this Sedanosons from time to time to relive the glory days of Grocery Palace, so hopefully this store sticks around for a while so I can relive my days of shopping at Albertsons without having to go all the way to Louisiana!

      That security guard seemed much more interested in what was happening in the opposite direction of where I was standing at the time I took that photo, so I seized the moment for a good picture of the front of the pharmacy island. I had just checked out with my few items and it looked like I was fumbling around with stuff while I was standing there, so I was using that to my advantage when taking that photo too.

      It was hard for me to pick my top 10 favorite posts, but I was trying to balance it picking posts that I genuinely liked as well as how popular they were overall in pageviews. The original tour of the Altamonte Springs Albertsons was for sure an honorable mention though, as were the Greenacres Grand Union and the funky Pub Lion. The Hawthorne Hitchcock's Market post was a good one too, and was the second most popular post of the year in terms of pageviews, so a lot of people seemed to enjoy that post. Hitchcock's isn't a store there's a lot of information or coverage on, so I'm glad I've been able to document a few of their stores for posterity.

      I'm glad you are a fan of the blog, and thanks for following the blog for as long as you have as well! It's also fun to know this blog has a following in Houston too, but I guess there are a lot of ways Houston and Floridian retail have managed to overlap through the years! Who knows, maybe if the Albertsons-Kroger merger goes through, Kroger will realize the Albertsons name has some legacy in Florida, and they'll use that as their next crazy attempt to establish a presence here. If not, then maybe their Kroger delivery service in Florida will get rebranded as Albertsons delivery! If Aldi can buy Winn-Dixie, I guess anything is possible!

  4. Congratulations on 10 years! Like you mentioned, that is a sizable achievement and I still have far more years ahead of me than behind me on my journey to the aluminum anniversary. It's been fun to follow along on your more recent adventures, but also look back on past journeys to see bygone eras of Floridian supermarkets. Maybe one of the best parts about looking through your older posts is to see how much you have learned and how much your writing has improved over the last decade.

    While it still feels strange for me to see a former Albertsons that doesn't have Bamboo, Sienna, or Evergreen, I'm glad I was able to broaden my horizons and see the other side, lol! It's nice to see that this store has held on to many of the original Albertsons relics in order to scratch the nostalgic itch for a few Floridians. Let's hope places like Sedano's and Nam Dae Mun don't decide to embark on a remodel spree anytime soon!

    I will say that parts of this store (like the graphics over the produce department) were starting to look faded and tired. At least the floors and fixtures appeared to be well taken care of and I didn't notice any burned out lights. My oh my were these stores a sight to behold back in the day though!

    While I've thoroughly enjoyed reading any posts on stores I've happened to visit, the ones that I always seem to circle back to are on Publix #371 and Publix #577. I wish more people would submit vintage photos from a store's grand opening!

    1. Thanks! I'm still a bit surprised I've been at this for 10 years myself. When I first started this blog I wasn't sure how long I was going to be at this for, but I guess you can say I'm dedicated if nothing else! I've skimmed over a few of those older posts and you can really tell my writing style has evolved, and I hope it's been for the better!

      After all the Publixsons I've been to, seeing Albertsons decor in a former Albertsons is a bit of a refreshing change! Since Grocery Palace was the Albertsons decor I was most accustomed to, it's nice that the best preserved former Albertsons store left in Florida is a Grocery Palace newbuild. Sedano's already stripped one of these stores for a more bare-bones Grocery Palace look, but hopefully that won't happen for a while here in Orlando!

      You don't know how mesmerizing a giant bowl of party mix hanging from the ceiling can be! Considering almost everything in this building was inherited from Albertsons, Sedano's has been doing a good job of building maintenance to keep the appearances up. Sedano's purging some of the signs as they begin to fall apart has probably helped with keeping up appearances too.

      Those photos from #577 were a fun surprise to find in my inbox! I guess that shows there are old pictures of Publix stores out there in people's photo albums, just waiting to be discovered!

  5. What an incredible blog post and look into Grocery Palace! Glad I've been here along the way. Wish the best for you in the future.

  6. I appreciate you keeping up with documenting this part of retail history. It's sad to think of Albertsons' as a modern day Woolworths - we were out in Utah recently and I did a Maps search, and all the Albertsons' stores there were closed as well, and their HQ was in Boise last I checked.

    Albertsons will always hold a special place in my heart as when I moved to Tampa in Nov 2000, the first grocery store I visited was up the road from where I lived (W. Hillsborough Ave), and I shopped that store on/off for the next 10 years. Still seems like it was just yesterday I was walking through the doors but thankfully it's now a Publix in the original building.

    Anyways here's to another 10 years of blogging fun.

    1. Thanks! It's really sad how much Albertsons has contracted through the years. According to their website, only 379 stores remain that use the Albertsons name (and almost a third of those stores are in California). Considering how close Salt Lake City and most of Utah's population centers are to Boise, I'm surprised Albertsons couldn't sustain that market.

      Publix has maintained the old W. Hillsborough Ave. Albertsons quite well, so that seems like a building they plan to keep around for a while. Thanks for commenting and the kind words!

  7. I'm sure I've said it a few times during this celebration, but happy 10th blogiversary, AFB!! This blog has definitely been an inspiration and I'm glad to see it going strong, as well as its offshoots, too. Thanks for all the great content, and for encouraging me to start my own blog way back when, too! Happy to call you a friend as well -- hope you have a Merry Christmas tomorrow.

    This was a fun store to revisit as the grand 10th anniversary feature! While it's sad to see some of the signage removed, I'm glad a majority of the Grocery Palace decor has remained intact. I didn't realize the tiles were all actual tile rather than stickers -- wow! And that Homestead store sounds like it would have been fun as well, but I certainly don't blame you for not having the motivation to visit, especially now that it has remodeled. But that's great there are so many quality pictures of the old decor there on Google -- I guess that just goes to show how certain supermarket décors can attract the attention of even regular customers, and that the idea of preserving such things for the future isn't as niche of an idea as we might think! Long live Grocery Palace and the Albertsons Florida Blog!

    1. Thanks! Not only is my 10-years-ago self still in shock that the blog has lasted this long, be he never would have imagined that others would have been inspired by it to start their own blogs! It's been fun watching your own blog journey as well, and I'm glad to have you as a friend too!

      Had the Homestead store not remodeled, I probably would have made an attempt to visit that store so I could feature it the 10th anniversary tour. However, the South OBT store made for a good substitute, and for a store that hasn't operated as an Albertsons for 14 years now, it's pretty impressive that much original decor is still in place there! It's also pretty interesting how few pictures there are on Google of the Homestead store now that it remodeled; it seems there may have been a correlation between people's attraction to the old decor and the desire to take photos of it. Gray walls certainly don't have that same photographic appeal as Grocery Palace did!

      Have a Merry Christmas too!

    2. Despite the fact Publix seems to have completely dominated Florida, there are still some areas that do not have them. One of the most noticeable areas where this is the case is some of the more rural parts of North Florida, such as Hilliard, Callahan, and Starke, to name a few. I've been through Starke and seen the Winn Dixie there, which I thought was nice. I may be biased as one of the few who dislikes Publix, but that may be because I live up north where Jewel Osco runs the show along with Strack & Van Til. In Florida, I have preferred Winn Dixie simply because I like their more recent remodels and I think they look better than a lot of Publix stores I have seen.

    3. Publix tends to prefer larger towns, but in Florida they aren't adverse to opening in a small town if they feel the conditions are right for a store there (see Lake Placid or Arcadia). Winn-Dixie has always been the go-to chain for small towns in Florida, and I feel those small town stores are what has kept WD around this long. Winn-Dixie has really improved their stores in the last few years, and I've been impressed by the changes, but it will be interesting to see how Aldi will run things once they take control.

  8. Thanks for keeping this blog up. Apparently this thing had been running for awhile already when I first found it a few years ago to fill the void left by the closing of Acmestyle.