Useful Information

On this page you'll find some useful information about places and stores referenced on the blog, and Albertsons in general, for those unfamiliar with Florida or Albertsons' stores. As we go along I might add more to this page. 

The Regions of Florida:

Florida has many distinct regions like South Florida, the Panhandle, and the Treasure Coast. But where are these places? Below is a color coded map of Florida, broken down by county, showing the different regions as they are used to refer to stores on this blog, with each region a different color (The map didn't scan into the computer as well as I wanted it to):

The areas I shaded in are approximate, but usually these are the areas usually referred to by these names, although I'm sure some of it can be debated. Some counties, though, like Marion, Polk, and Flagler, can be considered in two regions (which is why the colors overlap in these areas). Marion can be either the southernmost county in North Florida or the northernmost county in Central Florida. Polk can be grouped with either Central Florida or the Tampa Bay area, and I've seen Flagler grouped with both Jacksonville and Central Florida. Some regions are more populated than others (Tampa Bay, Jacksonville/First Coast, Central Florida, and South Florida are the most populated), and usually these more populated ones were where Albertsons liked to build their stores.   

Albertsons Florida/Alabama General Background Information:

Albertsons was founded in 1939 in Boise, Idaho by a man named Joseph Albert Albertson (but he was more commonly known as Joe Albertson). Joe began his career in the grocery world in 1929 by working for another large supermarket chain which was also based out of Boise, a little something called Safeway, operated by the Skaggs family. Joe began working for Safeway with the intent to one day open his own grocery store. So in July 1939, and with the Skaggs family's blessing, Joe went off on his own to open his own store. Joe's store was a huge success, and the largest supermarket in Idaho at the time. He was also praised for his many new innovations, like an in-store bakery department. Joe is considered the pioneer of the one stop, self service grocery store. From there, he began to open even more new stores all over Idaho, and then beyond. (The original Albertsons, Store #101, still operates in the same spot where Joe Albertson first opened his original store, at 1650 W State Street, Boise, ID, although it has been heavily modified over the years).

So, in 1969, Albertsons decided to partner up with Skaggs Drug Centers to create the first food and drug combination store. These new stores were to be called Skaggs-Albertsons, and the goal of these stores was to bring a new one stop shopping experience to the Southeastern marketThe first one of these Skaggs-Albertsons stores opened at 4215 SW 45th Ave. in Amarillo, Texas in 1970 (unfortunately, this store, #4201, closed in June 2006 and was torn down around 2009 for a new Walgreens). On October 9, 1974, the first of these Skaggs-Albertsons stores opened its doors in Florida. This store was Skaggs-Albertsons #4301 in Clearwater, at 2170 Gulf to Bay Blvd. This store is what began Albertsons presence in Florida for the next forty years. More of these stores began to pop up all over the state, but in 1978, the Skaggs-Albertsons partnership dissolved, and Albertsons then gained full control over the Florida division as a part of the split. Albertsons Florida was called Albertsons Southco for a while after the split. 

Albertsons would operate a little more than 150 stores in Florida over the next 40 years. But by the late 1990's and early 2000's, Albertsons was beginning to feel the pinch in Florida, especially with growing competition from Publix and Wal-Mart Supercenters. Albertsons' reputation was deteriorating and Publix and Wal-Mart were growing. The last new Albertsons store to open in Florida was store #4384, which opened on June 9, 2004 in Lake Worth (a suburb of West Palm Beach), just to close two years later. Then in 2006, Albertsons sold themselves off to Supervalu and Cerberus to save themselves from debt acquired by the American Stores buyout in 1999. Supervalu was to acquire the more profitable of Albertsons divisions, while Cerberus (also referred to as Albertsons, LLC) was to acquire the more unprofitable divisions, of which Florida was one, along with the other divisions in the Southeast, Southwest, and California. Albertsons presence in Florida slowly dwindled from there. In 2008, Albertsons sold 49 of their 96 or so remaining stores to rival Publix, which cut Albertsons remaining presence in Florida in half. The rest of the Albertsons stores in Florida slowly closed from there, until as of now where there are only four Albertsons left in the entire state. As of early 2013, Supervalu had sold all of the Albertsons stores they purchased back to Albertsons, LLC, reuniting the company once again after 7 years. Oddly, it was exactly 8 years later to the day of the last Albertsons opening in Florida when it would be that Albertsons would have only 4 stores left in the entire state. On April 20, 2015, it was announced that the original Albertsons store in Clearwater would be closing on May 28, 2015, leaving Florida with only Albertsons 3 stores remaining in the entire state, although each of the remaining three stores would be getting a full remodel. 

And here's a little history on Albertsons time in Alabama. Albertsons first entered Alabama in 1977 with a store located at 258 Azalea Road in Mobile (Store #4317). The Alabama stores were considered an extension of the Florida division, which the 43XX store numbers show. In total, Albertsons operated 7 stores in Alabama in Mobile (#4317), Montgomery (#4336 and #4350), Dothan (#43XX), Tuscaloosa (#43XX), and Huntsville (#4348 and #4352). In January 1985, Albertsons sold off all 7 of these stores to Bruno's Markets, citing that the Albertsons stores in Alabama were not performing as well as expected, and the money earned from this sale would be used to expand Albertsons presence in the more profitable markets of Texas and Florida. In the late 90's, Albertsons had plans to re-enter Alabama with store #4453 on the outskirts of Mobile with a new store located at the intersection of Moffett and Schillenger Roads, but these plans later fell through and Albertsons sold off the undeveloped land by 2002.  

     What you saw above was just a basic summary of Albertsons and Albertsons Florida/Alabama. If you'd like to read more, these sites have a much more detailed history of Albertsons:

Albertsons Florida Store Numbering:

All of Albertsons stores are numbered with either three or four digit numbers, and the number the store gets is determined by the division or region the store is/was in. Each division/region, for the most part, has its own unique set of numbers. For the Florida (and the Alabama) stores, they were given numbers between 4300 and 4499. The oldest stores are the 43XX stores and the newest ones are the 44XX stores, with store #4301 being the first Albertsons to open in Florida in 1974 and store #4498 being one of the last to open in 2003. Albertsons store numbers are pretty consistent and almost all follow this rule except for 4 stores, which were the last two Albertsons to open in Florida in 2004 (#4316(2) and #4384) and stores #4375 (opened 1994, but number from late 80's) and #4390 (Opened 1999, number from early 90's).

Albertsons Florida Blog Vocab (I'll add new terms here as needed):

Traditional Supermarket: A supermarket with full service departments and a wide selection of everyday items, like Publix, Winn-Dixie, Albertsons, etc.

Discount Supermarket: A smaller sized no-frills grocery store (approx 25,000-30,000 sqft.) with a limited selection of items and few to no full service departments to lower the cost of the items sold, like Save-A-Lot, Aldi, etc.

Specialty Supermarket: A supermarket that follows the same basic model as a traditional supermarket, but specializes in selling only a certain type of food (like Whole Foods who specializes in natural and organic foods) or caters to a certain group of people (like Sedano's, who caters to Hispanic shoppers). 

The Final Four: My collective term for the remaining four Albertsons stores in Florida from June 2012 to May 2015, which were supposedly Albertsons most successful Florida stores. They are stores #4301 (Clearwater), #4304 (Altamonte Springs), #4319 (Oakland Park), and #4402 (Largo).

The Final Three: My collective term for the remaining three Albertsons stores in Florida as of May 2015, which were supposedly Albertsons most successful Florida stores. They are stores #4304 (Altamonte Springs), #4319 (Oakland Park), and #4402 (Largo).

Publix: Florida's #1 supermarket chain. They were founded in 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida. Publix has very high standards for their stores and an upscale feel, and almost a cult like following from their shoppers. They are one of only 5 supermarket chains in the US with more than 1,000 stores, with about 770 of them in Florida alone (Albertsons only operated approx. 1/7 as many stores as Publix in Florida at their peak, so you can see why Publix really laid a beating on them). They bought up many Albertsons stores in Florida here and there, but their biggest purchase came in 2008, when they bought 49 stores from Albertsons all at once. Publix also did a purchased some of Albertsons stores in Tennessee in 2002, when Albertsons pulled out of that region. 

Winn-Dixie: Florida's #2 supermarket chain. Winn-Dixie was founded in 1925 in Miami when their founder, William Milton, purchased a small local grocery store that he later renamed Table Supply. The name Winn-Dixie came after a series of merges in the 1940's and 1950's that Table Supply, later named Winn & Lovett, was involved in, which is also when Winn-Dixie moves their headquarters to Jacksonville. Recently, they've been stuck in the middle between Wal-Mart and Publix in Florida's grocery wars, with about half as many stores as Publix in Florida. They've scaled back a lot since their bankruptcy in the mid 2000's, but they've been trying to rebrand themselves recently by opening a few new stores and modernizing older ones, and merging with BI-LO Foods from South Carolina in 2012. Currently, Winn-Dixie and Publix are the only two traditional supermarket chains with a large, widespread presence left in Florida. 

Sedano's: Sedano's is the largest Hispanic owned supermerket chain in the United States. Their first store opened in Hialeah, Florida (near Miami) in 1961. Their approx. 40 stores are primarily located in South Florida, but they also have 3 stores in the Orlando area (all of the Orlando area stores were Albertsons stores). Sedano's has purchased quite a few former Albertsons locations over the years, leaving many of them in almost original condition. 

Super Saver: In 2004, Albertsons launched a new discount oriented grocery format to compete with stores like Save-A-Lot and Aldi in some of their weaker markets. The Super Saver name came from Albertsons purchase of American Stores in 1999, where Acme (American Store's Philadelphia area chain) had used the Super Saver name on their discount formatted concept stores in the 70's. Albertsons chose 11 under performing stores in Florida to convert to the Super Saver brand, along with other under performing stores in Texas, Louisiana, and Utah. The Florida Super Saver stores opened in 2005. When Albertsons was sold off to Supervalu and Cerberus in 2006, Cerberus took over the Super Saver stores and immediately closed all of them off since they wanted no part of the fledgling concept. The 11 Albertsons Florida stores that were converted to the Super Saver format were stores #4310, #4334, #4356, #4362, #4370, #4375, #4411, #4415, #4430, #4438, and #4445.   

Rob Rowe and Rowe's IGA Markets: Rob Rowe was a former supermarket executive who started out with Winn-Dixie and later moved over to Albertsons. In 2005, when Albertsons decided to leave the Jacksonville area, Rowe decided to take over the seven stores Albertsons was closing and begin his own supermarket chain called Rowe's IGA Markets. According to one news article, Rowe's dream was always to operate his own chain of stores, and this Albertsons deal was his chance. Of the seven stores he acquired, Rowe converted six of these former Albertsons into Rowe’s IGA Markets, and sold one off to Publix immediately after acquiring it. These six Rowe's store got off to a bit of a rocky start, and within two years. there was only one Rowe's IGA Market left. According to Rowe, some of the five stores he sold off were actually doing well and he didn't want to turn down the fantastic offers given to him to sell the stores. He also felt that some of the sites just weren't fit to be grocery stores (like the St. Augustine store and the Jacksonville-Beach Boulevard store). As Food Lion began to scale back their Florida presence, Rowe decided to take over a closing Food Lion in 2010 as a way to begin regrowing his chain. When Food Lion pulled out of Florida in 2012, Rowe's began to slowly acquire more of these stores, and Rowe says he has plans for more locations in the works. As of late 2013, Rowe's IGA Markets currently operates 5 stores, one in a former Albertsons (store #4325) and four in former Food Lions. The other five stores Rowe's previously operated in were stores #4305, #4307, #4330, #4367, and #4378. The store Rowe immediately sold off to Publix was store #4369. 

1 comment:

  1. Also, Rob Rowe got his start working in Albertsons and went to Winn Dixie when Al Rowland was CEO.