A Tale of Two Supermarkets
Part I: Extra Supermarket, Maplewood, NJ
Heading back to northern New Jersey for our next store tour -- this blog is called NJ Supermarkets, anyway! We're here in Maplewood, which is a somewhat strange town. Maplewood's downtown is easily one of the most pleasant walking downtowns in northern New Jersey (well, okay, it wasn't the day I was there because most of the street and sidewalk was closed for sewer system maintenance, but other times...) and many neighborhoods are very affluent. There is a tiny Kings Food Market in downtown Maplewood, obviously catering to the more affluent clientele. However, Maplewood also borders Union (middle-class), Newark (a pretty nice neighborhood), and Irvington (a lower-income city with unfortunately one of the highest crime rates in the state).
The neighborhood where Extra is located is right where Maplewood, Irvington, and Newark all meet. It's right where a nicer neighborhood meets a less-nice neighborhood. The Extra was probably built in the 1950s as a Good Deal Supermarket, which Sam Aidekman operated. (Sam's brother Alex was a co-founder of both Wakefern and Supermarkets General, which became Pathmark.) Good Deal, which may or may not have been affiliated with Wakefern, went out of business in 1976, at which point this store became a ShopRite, probably operated by Village Super Market. ShopRite was likely gone by the 1990s and Extra, a five-store independent chain, moved in soon after.
Right around the corner from Extra is City Supermarket, which we'll tour next Monday.
Fine Fare in Belleville was also owned by City Supermarkets. City is much nicer, and probably larger, but Extra is really integrated into the neighborhood. City feels a little bit like a big chain even though it's not. (More on that in the post next week.) Let's take a look at Extra now...
Mount Vernon Foodtown post, 100% recycled paper products are very hard to find. But this store had a few different brands! I can't explain that one.
This Extra was a real surprise for me. I knew more or less what the store looked like from online pictures, but it was much cleaner, brighter, and better-stocked than I imagined. Also all of the carts were brand-new and they all match (big points for that). So City has some tough competition. We'll be taking a look at City in a week!
Extra SupermarketIrvington Food, Inc.
719 Irvington Ave, Maplewood, NJ
Open Mon-Sat 8AM-8PM, Sun 8AM-6PM (very limited hours!)
My Rating: ★★★★☆