Sunday, March 17, 2024

Former Albertsons #4440 - Cooper City, FL

Grand Union #718 / Sun Supermarket / Albertsons #4440 / Publix #1301
10018 Griffin Road, Cooper City, FL - Pine Lakes Plaza

Today's post is a presentation of Broward County retail

     Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! In the spirit of the holiday, why not take a look at a former Albertsons store that these days "bleeds green"? While Albertsons may not have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in Florida, a little leprechaun told Publix that buying this store may bring it as much luck as a four-leaf clover. After some new paint and restocking the shelves with plenty of Guinness, Publix was ready to show off its new emerald aisles to all in Cooper City (which, interestingly enough, has a sister city partnership with Killarney, Ireland - I couldn't have planned that any better!)

     Even though this former Albertsons store only dates back to the late 1990's, the history of this site goes back a little further - to 1983, actually, when something "grand" happened at the intersection of Griffin Road and Palm Avenue in Cooper City:

     When the Pine Lakes Plaza was first constructed, the original grocery tenant for the shopping center was Grand Union, which held its grand opening on January 9, 1983. The Grand Union that opened here probably looked similar to this store, using Grand Union's distinctive arched facade from that era. Sadly, the 1980's were the beginning of the end for Grand Union's supermarket empire, which stretched along the eastern seaboard from New England all the way to Miami at the beginning of that decade. Due to mismanagement during the 1980's, Grand Union began to contract back to its core markets around New York and New Jersey, with the Florida division shut down in 1984. With that decision, the Cooper City Grand Union only lasted a little over a year before it was left vacant. Following the closure, the shopping center's landlord sought out a new grocer to take over the practically new supermarket space in his shopping center. The search proved fruitful, and by late 1984, it was announced that Sun Supermarket (a small South Florida-based grocery chain) was going to open in the space. Sun Supermarket officially opened in the former Grand Union building in 1985, one of a number of former Grand Union stores the chain took over as part of an ill-fated expansion spree stemming from Grand Union's Floridian demise. Many of Sun's new stores weren't successful, and the chain ultimately ceased operations in 1991. However, from looking at old newspaper articles, the Cooper City Sun Supermarket appears to have closed prior to the rest of the chain, sometime around 1989 it seems, based off the math provided in this 1996 article about the arrival of Albertsons to the site:

     After Sun Supermarket's closure, the former Grand Union structure sat vacant for 7 years, a swift re-tenanting not happening the second time around. The announcement of Albertsons' arrival couldn't have come at a better time though, as Winn-Dixie had announced the closure of its 20-year-old store across the street from here the year prior in 1995, leaving this intersection with two vacant supermarket buildings. As part of Albertsons' arrival to Pine Lake Plaza, the former Grand Union building would be demolished, with a newly built 54,000 square foot Albertsons taking its place.

     About a year after its initial announcement, Albertsons #4440 finally opened in 1997, the terrible late 2000's Google Streetview capture above being the only photo of this building I can find while it was still an Albertsons. This store was s typical late-1990's Albertsons store, with a facade designed to match the rest of the 1983-built shopping center. Unlike a lot of times where the adjoining shopping center is remodeled when a supermarket anchor is rebuilt, the reverse happened here, and Albertsons ended up building their store to match the very 1980's architecture of the adjoining shopping center.

     From first glance this building looks straight out of 1983 with the design of its facade, that very distinct sloped terra cotta roofline with the squared-off edges being a popular design choice from that era. While the facade is deceiving, the interior of this building matches up much better with Albertsons' typical design cues from the late 1990's.

     The Cooper City Albertsons store was one of the 49 locations Publix purchased in 2008, with this store having a very speedy reopening by Publix - Publix officially acquired this store from Albertsons in September 2008, with it reopening as a Publix on November 8, 2008 - a two month turnaround. I'm sure this store had a pretty cheap installation of Classy Market 2.0 when it opened, but this store has seen much more thorough upgrading since then, as it got a very nice remodel to Classy Market 2.5 in the early 2010's and then a thorough upgrade to Sienna/Classy Market 3.0 later in the 2010's.

     To the left of the main entrance is the cart corral, this large windowed-in area a staple of these mid-late 1990's Albertsons stores. It also appears that Publix left a water cooler out here for the cart collectors too, which is nice of them, as collecting carts in the Floridian summers is not a fun task! With the water cooler just out in the open like that, I can't help but wonder if random shoppers were helping themselves to water from there too.

     Cart in hand, we'll turn around for this look toward the main entrance, where Publix replaced the original swinging doors with the typical Publix sliding door configuration.

     Stepping inside, we bring you a little Valentine's Day love on this St. Patrick's Day! I visited this store a few days before Valentine's Day a few years back, and this store went all out on balloons and decorations for the holiday promotional displays at the front of the store. Beyond all the love and BOGOs, we see the store's bakery poking out from the front right corner.

     Sadly, I wasn't loving how all these heart-shaped balloons were getting in the way of getting a decent picture of the bakery! The bakery in this store was completely rebuilt into the mid-2010's Publix standard bakery design, and with its placement in the front right corner of the building, this scene looks like something right out of a standard newbuild Publix store from that era. Only the tile floor would make you suspicious this was not a building of Publix's own creation from this angle.

      For the purposes of Valentine's Day, the Floral department is conveniently located in an alcove right across from the BOGOs, Valentine's promos, and all the heart-shaped balloons, between the entrance and the bakery.

     Here's one last look toward the store's bakery from the grand aisle, which we'll turn around to get a much better look at:

     Sandwiched between the deli and the bakery is the store's produce department, which always feels quite large in these mid-late 1990's Albertsons stores.

     Produce displays run perpendicular to the front of the store, and we'll pass by those as we work our way closer to the deli department.

     Painted in St. Paddy's Day green, we find the store's deli department in the back right corner of the building. Publix did modify the deli a bit to bring it to up their standard, but the overall aesthetic of the department's design still holds from Albertsons (unlike the bakery, which was completely rebuilt from scratch).

     A very quiet Publix deli on this particular morning - one of the rare moments where I actually captured a Publix deli counter with no one at it!

     Some of the pre-packaged deli goods spill out into the store's back aisle, with these coolers, the soup stand, and the deli pickup bins occupying some space at the ends of aisles 2 and 3. This appears to be a Publix modification and not something from Albertsons, as aisles 2 and 3 most likely would have ran full-length during their days here.

     Anyway, beyond the deli overflow we see the start of the dairy department on the back wall, which extends down about halfway before transitioning into meats.

     Moving into the grocery aisles and aisle 2, the center store drop ceiling appears. Albertsons' last few newbuild stores before Grocery Palace began its big rollout had the design we see in here today, with the open ceiling over the store's perimeter and the drop ceiling over the center grocery aisles (Kash n' Karry was particularly fond of this ceiling design throughout the 1990's too, and Publix used this design in their larger stores from the 2010's as well).

     From what I've seen, all of the Albertsons stores opened with this hybrid ceiling design had the Blue and Green Awnings interior, and I'd imagine that was the interior this store had from when it opened to when it closed (as it only lasted 11 years). Outside of the ceiling design and decor, these stores weren't too much different in terms of perimeter layout from their complete drop-ceiling, Blue and Gray Market predecessors.

     Dairy lines the back wall up to that cut-out for the stockroom door, upon which the coolers switch to meats.

     All of the store's lighting was replaced by Publix as well, seemingly during the store's Sienna/Classy Market 3.0 remodel (as in the photo I linked to of this store with CM 2.5 earlier, you can still see Albertsons' old light bars in place over produce). The drop ceiling section the store would have had Albertsons' traditional fluorescent strip lights, with Publix swapping those out for their usual square lights (making the store dimmer, but not dramatically - "calmingly bright" is what I like to describe Publixsons stores with the Publix light squares in them).

     It would be im-pasta-ble for me to not say something about the items in aisle 6!

     Sometimes at these Publixsons stores, Publix wipes away a lot of the Albertsons remnants, but thankfully at this store that wasn't much of a tissue.

     The center of the store is home to frozen foods, with those occupying aisles 8 and 9.

     Before looping back around to the grocery aisles, here's another look down the store's back wall, looking at the meat coolers. While Publix replaced most of the lighting at this store during its last remodel, those lights over the coolers look original to Albertsons, as Albertsons did use those "grid" style lights a lot (and I've never seen Publix use them before).

     While the bulk of frozen foods fit into aisles 8 and 9, frozen pizzas ended up by their lonesome over here in aisle 10. While the pizza was the only frozen food in this aisle, it did have chilled beer and the remainder of dairy to keep things cool with in aisle 10. The random aisle of dairy down the middle of the store seems to be another late 1990's Albertsons quirk as well.

     Beyond frozen foods we find more of the non-food product aisles, like cleaning supplies and candles here in aisle 12 (and while aisle 12 is typically a pretty photogenic aisle, this one's aisle marker was a bit photo shy and decided to hide behind that poster hanging from the ceiling).

     The curse of the columns plagued this aisle, and Publix's decision to place random displays in the middle of this already cramped aisle doesn't help much!

     The center store drop ceiling ends over aisle 15, the store's second-to-last aisle, home to soda and water.

     From the left side of the store, here's one final look across the back wall, looking from meats toward dairy.

     The meat and seafood service counter is located in the back left corner of this building, the counter itself located on a slight angle as typical of an Albertsons store from this era.

     The meat department sign is hung over the window into the butcher room, with the service counter on the angle just out of frame to my left.

     The open ceiling returns as we enter aisle 16, looking as chipper as ever.

     The very last aisle in this store is aisle 17, home to the classic combination of white bread, peanut butter, jelly, and wine - AFB's favorite lunch spread! (A nice merlot really accentuates the fruitiness of the jams and the nutty subtilties of the peanut butter between those two slices of bread). Based off of HHR's tour of the much more original Pearland Alber-Town store, wine was always located on the perimeter wall like this in these hybrid ceiling Albertsons stores, with the pharmacy counter located right behind me:

     Like the bakery, the pharmacy was also rebuilt by Publix to match their modern standard, with the Pharmacy logo also swapped out in recent years to match the current Evergreen-era iteration of the logo.

     Health and Beauty occupies a few short aisles that run perpendicular to the pharmacy counter, with the check lanes just beyond that.

     I thought Publix's placement of their Frozen Foods department sign was pretty clever, attached to the ceiling where it drops lower.

     Here's a close-up of the check lanes, 8 total in this store.

     Even on this store's third remodel by Publix, the customer service desk is still located along the front wall. In many cases, Publix moved the service desk to an island next to the check lanes in CM 2.5 and Sienna/CM 3.0 remodels, but that never happened here. With newbuild Evergreen stores opting to keep the service desk along the front wall, the desk will probably remain here when (hopefully) this store remodels to Evergreen (and not the other option). All that open space to the left of the service desk (where Publix's pickup staging area is now) was most likely home to a bank or the video rental department during the Albertsons days.

     Back outside, let's take a stroll down the front walkway for a quick look at the liquor store:

     The liquor store of this former Albertsons is located on the right side of the building, adjoining the original shopping center.

     The liquor store is somewhat hidden in the corner, but thankfully the large sign on the front of the building makes it easier to see where the entrance is.

     That's former Albertsons #4440 in a nutshell. Let's take a moment to go up in the sky for some satellite imagery, beginning with some Bird's Eye aerial images courtesy of Bing Maps:

Front - I didn't take a peek inside the liquor store, but it appears to be oddly shaped with the way it was wedged into the corner of the building like that.

Right Side


Left Side

     And now for the historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth and

Former Albertsons #4440 - 2022

Former Albertsons #4440 - December 2008 - Publix had only been open for a month when this image was taken

Albertsons #4440 - 2004

Future Albertsons #4440 - 1994 - Here we can see the abandoned Grand Union building, which was demolished along with a small piece of the shopping center to make room for the new Albertsons.

Future Albertsons #4440 - 1984 - The year Grand Union closed.

Future Albertsons #4440 - 1980 - Still an empty lot here

     Even as a Publix, this building still looks about 20 years older than it really is, and the white Publix signage (which is something I typically associate with older Publix stores, especially the 1980's builds) isn't helping either. Even with the falsely dated facade, the store's interior is quite modern, and hopefully the modern bones of the interior will allow Publix to keep this Publixsons going for many years more!

     That's all for today, but be sure to come back in two weeks for a fun look at a former Albertsons store with a strange past, and maybe a few additional retail surprises too!

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

P.S. - Thanks everyone for helping the blog hit 1,000,000 pageviews in the last week or so - a feat just over 10 years in the making!


  1. Anonymous in HoustonMarch 17, 2024 at 2:26 AM

    What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than to present a McPublixsons! I suppose McDonald could be either Scottish or Irish, but this Publixsons certainly does look like a McMansard McDonald's! I was shocked to hear you say that this Publixsons is from the late 1990s because the design looks much older than that. Heck, it looks older than 1983 even! You're right, it is pretty uncommon for a new supermarket to come in and match the older design of the shopping center. This is certainly something quite strange!

    I thought it would have been quite strange for Albertsons to take over an old Grand Union so I guess there was more to the story and that involved a wrecking ball. Not a Publix wrecking ball this time, but an Albertsons one! I'm glad this store does not have a nEvergreen interior (well, for the most part at least) because nEvergreen would seem like an insult to the green-loving Irish!

    Anyway, when Albertsons came to town here in Houston, there were rumors that Albertsons was taking over the Grand Union-era Weingarten in my area (yep, we had Grand Union here in Houston until around the time they left Florida via their acquisition of Weingarten's), which briefly became a Safeway after Grand Union left town. In fact, I think this might have even been reported as happening in one of the newspapers, but what actually happened is that Albertsons built a new freestanding store next to the shopping center which had the former Grand Weinway. I think by then, the Grand Weinway had become a TJ Maxx anyway. This is the aforementioned Alberbingo Albertsons and the aforementioned Ollie's and Shopper's World are also in the Grand Weinway shopping center. Oddly enough, Retail Regents left a comment at HHR recently indicating that the Shopper's World here in my area (the only one in Houston I think) is using recycled Publix carts! Well, we may have Publix carts in Houston, but I can assure you that shopping at Shopper's World is not some great pleasure, lol. Oddly enough, the Ollie's next door has recycled Kmart karts!

    It is great to see a citation to the HHR Pearland Albertsons Town photo. You know, I never noticed this earlier until I clicked on the link in this post, but that Food Town aisle marker has listing in there for 'Nuts-Jerky'. Lol, I guess someone at Food Town has a sense of humor!

    Well, anyway, hopefully this store will have the luck of the Irish and will avoid nEvergreen...and the wrecking ball! This McPublixsons situation is quite strange and I'd like to see it stick around in mostly green form rather than disagreeable gray!

    Congrats on 1,000,000 views! I knew you were getting close to that milestone, but I didn't notice that you had already topped it! Perhaps there is a lot more interest in Albertsons out there than you thought was the case a decade ago!

    1. Based on this photo, Retail Regents seems to be right. Publix has been retiring that generation of carts left and right and replacing them with an identical style that is just painted grey. I know I stumbled across some of these old carts at a Bargain Hunt in North Georgia a few months ago, but I'm surprised they made it all the way to Texas! I guess there is quite the market for 10 year-old buggies! I think Publix first rolled out that design around 2014, so other than some rust, they are probably still in decent shape.

    2. Never did I think I'd hear a comparison of a Publixsons to a McDonald's, but that is fitting for this store! Many years ago when I was first compiling my Albertsons list to start this blog, I thought the building was original to Grand Union with how dated the facade looked, but satellite imagery showed otherwise. That facade does look right at home on an old Grand Union though! Hopefully this landlord and their taste for vintage supermarket facade design will make Publix keep this building around for longer, as I'm sure Publix would try to put their feet down about building a new store that has to have a facade that looks like it was from the early 1980's!

      Seeing an Albertsons in an old Grand Union (or Weingarten) would have been pretty strange. It would have been great if Albertsons kept the old Grand Union building here, but that Grand Union was probably too small for Albertsons' tastes.

      That's weird how Publix carts ended up all the way in Texas, but then again, my local Big Lots (until a few years ago) somehow got its hands on old Zeller's carts from Canada! I guess old carts make their rounds!

      That HHR post shows off an Albertsons of this vintage very well, with most of the original decor too, so it was quite helpful!

      Thanks - I was hoping the 1,000,000 mark would coincide with the 10th anniversary, but it wasn't too far off!

  2. It’s interesting to see the mansard roof here because I thought I remembered that being a hallmark design of Grand Union. The front of this store looks like it is straight out of the 1980’s, as does the white Publix signage which I figured had been discontinued by 2008.

    It’s always interesting to see these late-1990’s Albertsons because they look so different than the early-1990’s prototypes despite having the same layout. The extra tall ceilings especially make me think of an early-2000’s Publix store like the 54Ts.

    You also managed to throw in some nice puns and St. Patrick’s Day references, as usual!

    I’d guess Publix decided to throw the pool noodles in the middle of the baby aisle to protect all of the shoppers who walk straight into those columns. It looks like they could have at least made the aisle a bit wider!

    Congrats on passing 1 million pageviews as well – that is quite the achievement!

    1. I'm sure the design of this facade was inspired by Grand Union's old building, as Grand Union did have similar mansard roof stores. The rest of the shopping center uses the same design too, but it's just weird seeing how Albertsons copied that design well after that style was considered quite dated! A lot of the other tenants in the shopping center have all-white signage, so Publix was probably forced to use the all white signs here (and I haven't see a good photo of this building as an Albertsons to see what signage they had).

      Even though it's the same layout, these late-1990's Albertsons stores feel so much more modern than their early-1990's counterparts, and I think the high ceiling feeds into that effect.

      Of all the things to place in the middle of the aisle, at least pool noodles are one of the softer options to walk into! (And certainly cushion you from walking into a pole!) Those narrow aisles with poles down the middle just seem to be a Publixsons staple.

      Thanks! 1,000,000 pageviews has been a long time coming for me!

  3. I came for the AFB post, but that Fortune article you linked to is what captivated me -- very interesting read! I still maintain that Publix these days is a bit overhyped/overrated/overpriced, and who knows: that could just be my incorrect outsider perspective , or alternatively, maybe things really have changed at the chain since the time that article was published (2016 -- the year I graduated high school -- also almost a decade ago now -- yikes!). But I'd be willing to bet that the internal culture is probably still pretty dang close to what was captured by that journalist, and I definitely have a lot of respect for Publix from reading that. They've definitely got a good thing going, and know what they're doing. Kudos to them for keeping it up.

    As for your actual post -- instead of St. Patrick's Day, I'm commenting on Easter! Hopefully it doesn't take me until Memorial Day to read your Easter post! (To make matters even more confusing for me, today I will be prewriting a post for my blog to be published sometime around Memorial Day -- I've got all my holidays mixed up now, haha!)

    Had you not said anything, I definitely would have thought that facade was original to the store's 80s-era opening. Albertsons did a really good job of matching that aesthetic, and I'm glad it has remained, as I am definitely a fan. The term you used, "falsely dated," is great, and makes me wonder just how many other examples of this that there might be in retail!

    In the aerial images, there appears to be a small enclosed area behind the liquor store with a glass/skylight ceiling. I wonder what that space is used for. Zooming in it's hard to tell what's actually in there, aside from the fact that it does appear to be walled off from the outside.

    Congrats on 1 million pageviews!! And thanks as always for the Aisle 12 link, lol.

    1. I'm surprised you haven't seen that Fortune article before - I believe it was shared in TRU back in the day a few times, but still, it is an interesting read. I'm pretty sure Publix's internal culture hasn't changed much since 2016 though - the stores still appear to operate and feel the same in that regard, and I think Publix is one of the few chains that somehow has managed to survive all the COVID-era personnel problems better compared to others (either that, or Publix is just really good at hiding those problems). I know a lot of retailers made changes during that time that killed internal culture and morale, but Publix still seems the same as they did back in the late 2010's. I still see a lot of the same people all the time at the Publix stores near where I live and where I work, unlike other stores where I sometimes see a variety of new people all the time. Service is what got Publix to where they are now and how they justify their pricing and entire store experience, so if the service aspect degrades, they'll start to slip.

      Happy belated St. Patrick's Day and Easter, and Happy Memorial Day in advance if need be! :)

      It's not often you see retailers making stores look older than they really are, except in those cities with strict building codes that make everyone maintain some kind of historical aesthetic. As far as I'm aware, Cooper City doesn't have anything like that, and this was all the landlord's doing to keep everything looking the same in the center, which I'm sure is an even rarer circumstance (as the landlord could have easily redone the facade when Albertsons built their store, but chose not to).

      That little area behind the liquor store is interesting - I didn't even notice that when I was putting together those satellite images. Looking at the GSV taken behind the store (see here:, that's all part of a partially enclosed receiving area for the liquor store. It's a strange configuration, but it appears that was done so delivery trucks didn't try to make the sharp turn between the walls where they'd get stuck, forcing deliveries to be done there and wheeled through the enclosed area by hand.

      Thanks, and you're welcome!