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Showing posts from November, 2017

Snapshot: Compare Foods - Worcester, MA plus...

We saw the America's Food Basket in Worcester last month. AFB is the far smaller of the two urban/ethnic-based stores in downtown Worcester, the other being this Compare Foods.
This Compare Foods is actually enormous inside. It looks like a good size from the outside, but it goes way back. You enter at the far end of the storefront and checkouts run along that side wall. Deli/bakery/hot food are where the windows are, and produce is in the front corner where the black SUV is. Meat runs along the right-side wall and aisles run perpendicular to the street. Inside is a full restaurant with hot food, seating, and sandwiches, a pharmacy (unusual in these smaller ethnic stores), a cell-phone retailer, a money-order counter, a clothing and accessories retailer, and of course, a full grocery selection. It was quite impressive, and clearly well cared-for by management. But the best thing about the store?
The tres leches cake from the bakery department. For only $2.25 you get a generous sl…

TOUR: ShopRite - Newark, NJ

Often when a developer announces a project that will "transform" an urban neighborhood by building a supermarket, I'm suspicious of their claims. I'm sure the supermarket will be built, and will do fine, but I don't know how much it will actually transform the neighborhood. The Springfield Avenue Marketplace in Newark was one of these projects. However, I think it's ultimately more successful than most of the projects like this that have been built in this area recently. This project, announced in 2012 and completed in 2015, is a multi-use complex including retail and residential space. It has a strong anchor -- a ShopRite. ShopRite long ago had store(s?) in Newark and a warehouse there, but left as the city started to go downhill. The Newark Riots of 1967, caused by resentment of a largely black population against the largely white government and police force, devastated much of the city, and only very recently have some neighborhoods fully recovered.

This …

Snapshot: Whole Foods - Montclair, NJ

Today we're going back to see some pictures I took a while ago, of a Whole Foods Market in Montclair that opened as a Food Fair, then was converted to Pantry Pride. Fresh Fields, an independent natural-foods store, took over after that before the chain was bought out by Whole Foods.
The art-deco tower is left over from Food Fair.
Due (I believe) to local ordinances, the store's signs are all backlit, but not the standard light-up signs.
Soon after this store opened, Whole Foods took over the nearby Pathmark in West Orange, which is about double the size of this store. Consequently, people use this store as a convenience store and the West Orange location as a full supermarket. That is, those who can afford to do their full shopping at Whole Foods. Everyone else uses the Essex Green ShopRite in West Orange!

Snapshot: Farmers Market by Food Bazaar

Food Bazaar opened their Bridgeport, CT store in 2010. It was a huge former Shaw's that was completely renovated by Bogopa (Food Bazaar's owner) and it is a major success for the company. So much so that the nearby Food World IGA couldn't make it.
2011 image from Google Maps. Not even with their (very nice) facade renovations could Food World survive. So Food Bazaar took over, opening the 25,000-square-foot store as a Farmers Market by Food Bazaar in October 2015.
The Farmers Market is beautiful and contains deli, meat, seafood, and produce departments at full scale and small grocery, dairy, and frozen selections. Actually there was a very large frozen selection -- the entire store was ICE COLD. I swear the air conditioning must have been down in the 50s in there. I don't get it! Check out the interior here.

And happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

TOUR: City Supermarket - Newark, NJ

A Tale of Two Supermarkets Maplewood/Newark, NJ Part II: City Supermarket, Newark, NJContinued from last Monday Ever been to a supermarket that was independent but felt like a big-chain store? That's the feeling I got here at City Supermarket. It's not a particularly bad or good thing, just unexpected. I guess it makes sense because this store location was built as a Stop & Shop in the 1960s or 70s, then acquired by A&P in 1980. A&P closed in the 1990s, and it became a Foodtown owned by the LaRacca brothers, who also own the Foodtown of Lake Hiawatha. Foodtown closed some time around 2008, being replaced soon after by a Super Fine Fare supermarket, which in turn converted under the same ownership to City Supermarket along with a sister store in nearby Irvington. The location in Newark is bigger, certainly, than Irvington.
I don't know my Newark neighborhoods but this is somewhere around Ivy Hill or Vailsburg.
This overview of the store gives us a good look at …