Today's store is small. I think that kind of could start all of these posts, but it's true. There's just so little space in these neighborhoods, and real estate is at a premium.
This Food Dynasty is just a block east of Sal's, and it feels smaller (it might not be, but it's certainly more cramped). It definitely has more selection and more customers though!
As small as this store does look, it was expanded. You can see what it previously looked like here (and see the source here -- I'm pretty sure 98% of that article is complete BS).
Here's the approximate layout: large produce displays outside. Deli immediately inside the entrance, with produce and then packaged meat on the left wall (first aisle). Dairy/frozen in the last aisle and checkouts on the front wall.
Once again, very attractive exterior displays.
This is as much of a shot of the produce-deli area as I could get, but you get the idea. Nice new fixtures, updated decor, nice product selection in a very small space.
Looking down the back part of the first aisle.
Very large butcher counter along pretty much the entire back wall. Notice that the receiving door on the side of the store opens directly into the sales floor of the store!
You can see just how narrow these aisles are here, but also that they pack in a lot of selection and that the fixtures are very nice!
Spacious freezer department. This store has so many tiny corners that I don't entirely remember where this is, but I think it's where the last aisle meets the back wall.
Looking up towards the front of the store and dairy, from what's kind of the side of the store. The wall is on the diagonal.
One of the aisles... I'm now having a lot of trouble remembering what runs parallel to what here.
The last aisle kind of dissolves into the front wall of the store, where dairy is located.
And here's a look at the dairy department in the other direction looking towards the front-end. Nice checkout lights! Now tomorrow we're heading down to our third business street, 183rd St, which is a smaller street than Kingsbridge or Fordham, but has a lot of grocery stores. We're going to start with a tour of another brand-new Food Universe tomorrow!
Right under the Fordham Center sign we saw yesterday is a greengrocer with several other departments as well. At the time of my visit, it was Sal's Fruit & Vegetables, but when driving by later, I noticed the awning had been painted.
Sal's was a large store with strangely little selection, although they did have a lot of produce.
The storefront is, in fact, so wide I couldn't get it all in one shot!
Not a bad display at all of produce outside, but unfortunately it didn't look like it was really drawing customers into the store. This set of exterior and interior photographs comes from June 2018, but when I drove by again in August 2018, the awning had been painted dark green. A new sign saying "Fruit Meat Market" has been added along the bottom, as you can see on Google Maps.
The store is made up of several smaller storefronts combined. Inside, the store was kind of dingy and definitely, well, rough around the edges.
They did have a meat and deli counter running along one wall of the store, with produce in the center and dairy on the back wall. There were a few grocery aisles on the side. As you can see, the store was pretty much deserted.
The layout seemed pretty random to me, and there were several areas in the front corner of the store (not photographed) that were completely empty.
You can see the somewhat random selection of grocery products here, along with the empty case in the front. As we'll see and as we have seen already, the competition here is pretty tough, so some stores do get caught in the middle like this one. This store (now called Fruit Meat Market, and I don't even know if it's still in business) is located at 57 W Fordham Rd, Bronx, NY.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post on the Food Universe Marketplace, Fordham Rd between University Ave on the west end and Southern Blvd on the east end (which is approximately where the Bronx Zoo is) is a major retail corridor, and it also leads to Fordham University's campus. At either end of this stretch is a large sign welcoming you to Fordham Center. Here's what the west end of the stretch looks like, just east of University Ave.
You can also catch a glimpse of tomorrow's Look Inside on the left side of the above picture!
Today's store tour is just a block east of Wednesday's Antillana SuperFood, and is also a newly renovated supermarket. However, unlike Antillana, it appears to have been a supermarket for many decades -- in fact, a supermarket has probably occupied this building since at least the early 1950s, when it was an A&P. The store became a Met Foodmarket by the 1980s before becoming a CTown no later than 2000, I'd bet. CTown converted to Food Universe Marketplace in 2017. Immediately before the switch to Food Universe, the store replaced its CTown awning with a new CTown awning, with the misfortune of the misspelling of the slogan, "Supermarkets for Savings," as "Supermarkets for Servings." This typo is dishearteningly common, as we'll see in a future tour.
As often happens, although ownership didn't change, the switch from CTown to Food Universe brought a major renovation, both exterior and interior. The exterior is practically unrecognizable (see the link at Supermarkets for Servings above).
Here we are looking down University Ave from the north side of Fordham Rd. You can tell the supermarket by its blue pyramid -- I have no idea why, but a lot of supermarkets have those pyramids.
New façade, new awning, new exterior fixtures and windows even.
Like Antillana, much of Food Universe's produce is displayed outside the store. As we'll see, though, Food Universe is noticeably larger and more spacious than Antillana.
You enter to the deli/hot food department in the front corner, with the real produce department just behind it. As I mentioned, absolutely everything you see is either new or redone. New floor, ceiling, lighting, redone produce cases and merchandising, and newly redone shelving.
Beautiful, enormous, and also brand-new hot food case immediately inside the entrance.
Behind the produce department is the newly redone butcher department. The butcher and deli/hot food cases seem like somewhat of an afterthought layout-wise (notice that the décor extends above the deli and butcher, but that would have been installed or at the very least redone in the 2017 remodel), so it's possible they were not originally in that location or present at all.
There isn't department signage here, but the décor that is present is quite attractive. It's also not overwhelming, and the lighting allows the customer to focus on the products. The remodel here is absolutely outstanding.
Meat case along the back wall. Note the fact that the new flooring extends throughout. Too many stores just have it in the grand aisle.
A look at one of the grocery aisles. Look how well-stocked this place is! Clearly the owners take a lot of pride in this store.
And I love the fact that the new floor continues throughout the entire place. If I had to guess, I'd say that the flooring used to be white vinyl tile with maroon and teal accents, the old CTown color scheme.
Last aisle features dairy and frozen. Check out those brand-new fixtures! Absolutely beautiful!
Nice front-end with new registers, lights, and flooring of course. Interesting pattern here! We can also see over to the deli/hot food counter, and get a better view of its décor. And if you liked this Food Universe, we have a second one with the same owners and a similar history (except it was an Associated and then a Bravo instead of a Met and a CTown) coming up next week!
DeVoe Park is located diagonally across the street from the Antillana SuperFood Marketplace we saw yesterday.
The park is approximately on the northwestern corner of Fordham and University and is a nice green space in an otherwise dense urban area. Our next store, another Food Universe Marketplace, is located on the southeastern corner of the intersection. Come back for a tour of that store tomorrow!
Heading straight south on University Ave from yesterday's Food Universe Marketplace to check out another store on the next business corridor south, Fordham Rd. This thoroughfare pretty much extends across all of the Bronx (although it becomes Pelham Parkway in the eastern half) and goes directly to the campus of Fordham University.
This store, as far as I know, has no relation to the Antillana Meat Market we saw on Sunday. It is, however, part of a chain with other locations at 1339 Jerome Ave and 1791 Jerome Ave, both in the Bronx. I do not understand the affiliation with SuperFood Marketplace, a New Jersey-based store with locations in Elizabeth and Ridgefield.
Here's the approach to Antillana so that you can get a feel for Fordham Rd. The supermarket is on the corner and has the red awning.
Like so many of these urban supermarkets, the store is pieced together from multiple smaller storefronts, with the corner part apparently under renovation to be a restaurant owned by the supermarket. I love the billboard on the roof!
You enter approximately under the first A in Antillana to produce along the left wall (although most of the produce is displayed outside). Dairy and packaged meats continue in the first aisle, with the butcher on the back wall. Frozen foods line the last aisle and, if I'm not mistaken, there is a deli in the front corner.
As I said, most of the produce is displayed outside. And I don't seem to have gotten a picture of the interior produce cases, so this one from Google Maps will have to do. I did get a picture of the ubiquitous bulk case, do you remember how frequently we saw these in Hudson County?
Now we can start to get a good look at the store with this shot of the first aisle. The store, by the way, opened in about 2013 in a former furniture store. So all the fixtures, including the lighting and flooring, are quite new and generally in excellent shape. (Well okay, the floors kind of fall apart shortly but we'll get there.)
The store is also very nicely stocked with a nice selection in a very small space. The butcher counter, a big draw for Antillana, lines the back wall.
I'm thinking there are about 4-5 aisles here but I'm not remembering entirely. Something in that range.
Another clean, if very narrow, aisle. At least they don't clutter it up.
I have absolutely no idea what happened here in this aisle with flooring. Whatever did happen, it sure looks pretty bad compared to the rest of the supermarket.
Back to normal flooring for the last aisle, which includes frozen foods as pictured here.
Small deli in the front corner. I do love that these stores carry Boar's Head, which is by far the best deli brand.
HABA selection lining front wall, so they really make full use of the space they have. Here's the front end, looking from deli over to the produce. Also worth noting is that these owners actually opened a new-build store farther south, Extra Jumbo Marketplace at 1384 Nelson Ave in the Bronx, and it looks nice.