Monday, October 22, 2018

TOUR: City Supermarket - Irvington, NJ

We're heading over to Irvington, NJ, a small city in Essex County that also has one of the highest crime rates in the state.
Contrary to what you might think, this has not deterred supermarket owners from investing in the township. Supremo opened a store in Irvington around 2005, while City here opened in 2010 under the Super Fine Fare banner, switching two years later. And most recently, James Lee's SuperFresh opened in the former Pathmark in the summer of 2016.

This particular property has a long history as a supermarket. Sam Aidekman had operated a Good Deal Supermarket here beginning in the 1960s, and when Good Deal sold to a ShopRite operator in 1976, it's possible this store became a ShopRite briefly. It was definitely later a Mayfair Foodtown before closing in the 1990s. A short-lived C-Town operated here about 2000-2005, and is visible closed in the 2007 Google Maps street view of the property.
City Supermarkets looks to be very successful five years after it opened, and they certainly have a beautiful facility.
The switch from C-Town to Super Fine Fare involved a complete gut of the entire building, a new facade, and new decor inside. You can read more about City Supermarkets here, and see a tour of their Newark location here.
You can see even the windows to the left have been replaced. In the past, supermarket owners would never put such large windows in a high-crime area, fearing break-ins. But times have changed. A prime example of the older design can be seen at the Compare Foods in Hartford, CT.

Anyway, back to Irvington. You enter to the right and exit to the left.
The entrance takes you into the produce aisle, which runs along the right side of the store. Seafood is located at the back of the first aisle, with meats along the back wall. Dairy is in the last aisle and deli is along the front-end at the far side.
Great first impression. The store's produce department is large, clean, and well-stocked. Prices and quality were very good when I visited.
You can begin to see along the front-end from the produce aisle here.
The customer service counter is just in front of the clear panels, with sale items to the left near the entrance.
This decor package, which is quite impressive with a high ceiling like in Newark, also works on a scaled-down level with a lower ceiling.
Seafood comes next along the perimeter, with a combination of fillets of fish and whole fish.
The butcher shop (uh, I mean, the butcher shoppe) is the next stoppe -- sorry, I mean stop -- along the perimeter. The fixtures were all installed when the store opened in 2010.
Packaged meats continue along the back wall.
The shelves are well-stocked with a very good variety of products. However, the variety of each item is not very wide (because the store is small), so they might only have one brand or one size of each.
The aisles are spotlessly clean and pleasantly clutter-free.
If you zoom in here, you can see they didn't quite catch this Fine Fare logo on the aisle marker. Although City Supermarkets decals were put over most of the Fine Fare logos, some aisle markers remain Fine Fare-labeled -- or Fine Fare on one side and City on the other.
The exposed ductwork and brick, which we'll see shortly, are features typically seen in much cooler or trendier (i.e. more expensive) stores. They're a nice touch in this supermarket.
Notice that this aisle marker has been redone to show the City logo.
A look along the back wall towards seafood.
The frozen aisle...
 ...from two sides.
A look down the last aisle with dairy on the perimeter wall. Again, the decor is very attractive here. However, notice that each department is not painted a separate color as they are in Newark; the whole store is done in yellow. We also don't typically see these hanging pendant lights below a drop ceiling.
The store tops out at 10 aisles, putting it in the 30,000 square foot range or so. The deli is at the front of the dairy aisle (behind me in the above photo).
And there it is, The Deli! Unlike Newark, this store doesn't really have a bakery department, although there are some baked goods near the deli and in front of the managers' offices, visible to the left here. The front-end continues to the left. Also notice the exposed brick column in the corner, which is a nice touch.
Fresh bread and some cookies and other baked goods are sold from the wood-style cases here. As you can see, the deli is somewhat hidden from the rest of the store, so the designers thought it would be necessary to add this hard-to-miss deli sign! The front-end continues past the bread cases.
The huge windows let in a lot of light, making the front-end very bright. More brick columns line the front wall.
Once again, the design of the store makes it look much more upscale. It's a nice touch for a store that does have great prices. Let's head outside before we leave City for a minute.
Here's an overview of the store from the cross street, Stuyvesant Ave. This vacant lot used to be home to the Village Diner...
But let's check out what's on the other side of this sign...
Yes, three tenants after Foodtown left, the sign on Stuyvesant Ave still proudly displays the Foodtown logo! C-Town, Fine Fare, and City all have left it.
As much as I'd like to see this end of the property fixed up a little, it's still cool to see this original sign still intact probably 20+ years after Mayfair closed!

City Supermarkets

10 Mill Rd, Irvington, NJ
Open Mon-Sat 8AM-9PM, Sun 8AM-8PM
http://www.citysupermarkets.com
(862) 772-4829
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