Wednesday, January 23, 2019

TOUR: ShopRite - Belleville, NJ

Today we're going to take a look at a former Pathmark in Belleville, NJ that closed before the final bankruptcy, in 2012. The Infusino & LoCurcio families, who co-own the ShopRite of Nutley, gutted the space and replaced it will a brand-new, state-of-the art ShopRite. However, they were working with a very strange space.
Here's a very quick representation of the store's layout, not at all to scale, but everything's in the right place.
On the outside and layout-wise, the store is very much still a Pathmark. (It also still has an operational basement parking garage!) However, the renovations that have been done are very nice.
This part of the storefront is actually over the exit, not the entrance. You walk behind the rows of plants to reach the entrance to the right.
When you enter the store, you're greeted with a spacious produce section. The bakery department is in the front right corner.
As visible here, prepared foods continue along the right-side wall.
All of the departments are named after local landmarks or neighborhoods. Plenge Farms, for instance, was an actual farm right in Belleville.
Overview of produce department.
The bakery department in the front corner. The wall to the right is the front wall of the store.
Hot foods, sandwiches, and packaged deli follow along the side wall, with a surprisingly small service deli after that. I'm not sure what Pathmark's layout would have been, but it was probably very similar.
Nice space-saving three-tiered olive bar! The hot food bar is also three tiered, with the bottom two serving prepared foods and the top displaying rotisserie chicken.
Seafood is approximately where the produce aisle ends and the grocery aisles begin. Following seafood in the back, the side wall of the store becomes ethnic foods. Branch Brook is a reference to bordering Newark's beautiful and expansive Branch Brook Park, which is home to the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the country.
They sure are, and so am I! Although I really like and appreciate the sentiment, I question the decision to place this in the international foods aisle. It seems like they're trying to say something, when I'm sure they're not.
Standard grocery aisles. The butcher and packaged meat continue along the back wall.
I'm not a huge fan of the floor pattern here, as it ends up looking kind of random. On the other hand, the flooring back in the grand aisle is fantastic.
One of the frozen foods aisles, towards the far side of the store, looking to the back wall.
Beautiful new (or at least from when the store opened) cases here in dairy, along the back wall.
Slightly older cases, it appears, here in dairy in the last aisle. Water lines the front of the store next to pharmacy.
This is the back of the "other stores," if you go back and look at the layout drawing I did. The section sticking out to the left is the pharmacy.
Once again, abstract floor patterns that just end up looking kinda random.
Here you can look across the front-end of the store, over to deli. Checkouts are around the corner just past the pharmacy.
Pharmacy is just out of frame to the right above.
Looking back up towards the front of the store. Management offices are on the second floor here, explaining the low ceiling. Produce lines the other side of the wall to the left here, and the exit is straight ahead.
The layout here is a little crazy, but it doesn't actually impede easy shopping, since it still more or less follows the flow of the average shopper. Plus, everyone is very friendly -- both shoppers and employees, so that helps!


726 Washington Ave, Belleville, NJ
Open Daily 7:30AM-10PM
(973) 302-8600
My Rating: 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

TOUR: ShopRite - Livingston, NJ

This week's second tour will be one that we saw previously on Flickr before the account was removed.
For a little history here, this is a 1950s-era store, although it has been renovated and expanded many times. The latest expansion probably came in the mid 1990s, when the store was likely renovated to the decor package we saw in Elizabeth, NJ. (The two stores share an owner, Village Super Market, which also owns West Orange, Garwood...and about 25 others!) Additional renovations came ca. 2005, bringing it up to date with the decor seen in West Orange and Garwood, the most attractive Village decor package in my opinion -- and the most iconically Village. When the nearby Kings Food Market renovated in 2012 and expanded their grand aisle, this ShopRite was redone once again, although leaving most of the decor intact. A Village Food Garden featuring a pizzeria, sushi bar, sandwich bar, fried chicken station, and diner counter were installed, as well as a remodeled café. Only the decor in the grand aisle was really redone, unfortunately, leaving it with a strange disconnect with the rest of the store. Minor renovations in 2017-18 more recently installed new decor storewide, and reconfigured the Village Food Garden, making it far more spacious but removing a few services.

The outdated exterior design was replaced in 2017, first installing a new logo on the facade and then repainting the awning.
I think the black paint across the whole awning is by far the best design they've used in this location yet, although I do think the green awning could have worked fine. Unfortunately, we're kind of still seeing the green paint job.
Immediately after the awning was painted, the outside looked great. However, it soon fell apart...
Within a few months, the black paint had already started to peel. Not sure whether it's been fixed yet. Anyway, let's head inside. The grand aisle is quite impressive and consists of a large produce department with the Village Food Garden along the left side wall, and this is where most of the changes have taken place.
Note the replacement of all of the produce cases with new, sleek black cases as opposed to the dump bins and older cases; this is a big improvement in my opinion! The Livingston Farms sign, which is beautiful (if a little wrinkly around the corners), is an enormous banner hanging from the ceiling that distinctly separates the grand aisle from the rest of the store, which is on the other side. Heading over to bakery...
Bread counter, formerly in the bakery department. (It's now in deli.)
Where the bread counter used to be has been replaced by a self-service bread shelf. Fancy breads are now in deli. Just next to bakery is prepared foods and the café.
Cluttered prepared foods area with a seating area behind the display to the left.
Prepared foods next to the pizza counter.
Diner counter. Both of these counters have been removed.
Spacious prepared foods area now! Also, the floor is really nice.
Café is now open to the rest of the store with only a low case in front of it! The hanging lights are over the tables.
Sub and salad counter has moved to the former diner space, with other prepared foods taking its former space.
Beautiful fixtures to display all of the prepared foods.
The prepared foods here are a big draw; although they are not cheap, they are very good and the selection is huge! Now over to deli, in the back corner...
New cases featuring an expanded selection of cheeses at the deli. The cases also display store-baked breads on top.
Additional cheese cases with more great signage printed on huge banners are just in front of the deli, which you can see to the far right in the above photo.
 Seafood is next to the deli counter.
Butcher is the next stop along the perimeter...
This decor, which I like a lot, is left over from the mid-2000s remodel. I have to imagine the service butcher was originally on the angle here, but a small butcher counter is now located just around the corner.
Totally new, matching signage, finally! New signage also lines the back wall of the store as well. Now let's finish our circuit of the store with all "before" pictures...
Once you get out of the grand aisle, the store isn't honestly all that exciting.
Milk, juice, and eggs in the back corner.
Dairy lines the last aisle.
There are two frozen aisles. The cases to the left used to be coffin cases, which is why they don't match the silver ones on the right.
Pharmacy and a Kosher counter are in the front corner opposite the entrance.
Again, older department signage here. Although I still like this decor, I do wish they'd used the same font for "Kosher" as they did for all the other departments.
Simple and attractive, if a little cheap looking! Floral is immediately next to the Kosher counter.
Extensive floral department with a nice structure over it, the perfect place to hang the Village Market Horticulture sign we saw in Garwood. Except there isn't one. In fact, there was no decor whatsoever at the floral department. Quite strange. But that has changed...
How can you not love a decor package that incorporates an entire bicycle? Now for a quick look at the front-end before we head out...
The floor has been refinished, although it still has not been replaced (three renovations after what it was intended for?).
There's also much less clutter, and the virtually-new aisle markers have been replaced. I can only hope that the old aisle markers went to an older Village that hasn't been renovated.

We see some really nice changes at the Livingston ShopRite (483 S Livingston Ave), bringing it for the first time in many years to a single, coherent decor package. I'm quite impressed also with their ability to reduce clutter overall significantly. But why does Village still refuse to renovate their stores in Millburn, Elizabeth, and East Orange?


483 S Livingston Ave, Livingston, NJ
Open Daily 6:30AM-11PM
(973) 740-2004
My Rating: