Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Snapshot: Whole Foods Market - Montclair, NJ

Today's Snapshot is a really interesting store. It started out as a Food Fair that closed by the 1970s and became a Consumer's Distributing catalog store until the early 90s, when it became a Fresh Fields natural food store. Whole Foods bought out the chain later, and it became one of their smaller stores then. Thanks to Josh Austin and Styertowne over on Flickr for the info!
I love the look of pretty much any supermarket built in the 1950s. This one is no exception!
The store really fits in to downtown Montclair, although it is on the west end of the town. Many 1950s supermarkets were located way outside of the downtown areas, so that's a little unusual.
The store is located at 701 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ.
Photographed September and November 2016

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Snapshot: Giant Food - Bethlehem, PA

Today we have a quick snapshot of a Giant Food in Bethlehem. I've been inside here, but that was before I started photographing supermarkets. When I returned, I was only going by and didn't have time (or enough interest) to go inside. Giant Food stores tend to be pretty boring in my opinion.
This store is located at 3926 Linden St, Bethlehem, PA. Interestingly enough, it was previously a ShopRite which appears to have been owned by Big V Supermarkets before they went bankrupt and Wakefern exited the Lehigh Valley. (I believe there was also at least one ShopRite owned by the Saker family in the Lehigh Valley.) We previously toured the newer ShopRite of Bethlehem here. This location closed as ShopRite in 2002 and opened as Giant in 2003.

Photographed September 2016

Monday, August 19, 2019

TOUR: Food Lion - Shepherdstown, WV

For today's store tour, we're traveling pretty far away from the New Jersey stores we've been seeing for this one in West Virginia just over the river from Maryland.
My first impression was that this store feels like a Grand Union, with the brick storefront, slight arch, and slanted green awning. However, it was never a Grand Union and it was, as far as I know, a Food Lion for its whole life.
You can enter on either end, but the store's normal flow takes you to the produce department in the front right corner. Frozen foods line the right side with meat on the back wall and beer in the back left corner. Deli/bakery are in the front corner, with customer service oddly right smack in the middle of the front end.
You can see how the produce department only takes up the front corner here. And although it's small, it's a pretty nice produce department.
I have to say, this decor (which Food Lion appears to no longer use) looks very nice here. I'm not a huge fan of the floor, but the ceiling and the wall decor look great.
I like the rustic touches here. A little cheesy, but what supermarket isn't?
The flooring in the rest of the supermarket appears to be older, and the decor does peter out a little bit.
Frozen foods also takes up one side of the first grocery aisle.
Interesting aisle markers. Rather than hanging from the ceiling, they are attached to the shelving and display in between the aisles, rather than in the middle of them.
I don't entirely remember, but I don't believe there was a service meat counter here. You'll notice, by the way, the layout is nearly identical to the Food Lion in Lexington, VA that we previously saw.
Back wall isn't that exciting, although there is a beer alcove in the far corner which we'll see in a second.
Looking towards the far side of the store, and back towards produce:
Flooring has been replaced on the back aisle too.
Yeah, I'll skip the beer and head straight for the Krispy Kreme donuts. I love me a good donut.
Dairy on the far (left) side wall. These graphics are nice because they've installed enough of them along the wall.
Although some of their category markers could use a little help.
Oh, so that's where they keep the Great Selection. (Shhh, don't tell them, but Weis over in Boonsboro, MD has a better selection.)
The deli and bakery are in the front corner. Both are quite small, and Weis' offerings in both departments were far superior.
Oddly, the bakery sign faces into the store (where both the deli and bakery are) but the deli sign faces the checkouts.
Notice that, with this sign setup, the bakery sign falls above the deli department, not the bakery.
The deli sign is over here on the side of this wall, which is odd. The front-end in general is kind of strangely arranged, with customer service in the middle of the checkouts.
I do have to say though, there is plenty of space on the front end. I also like the customer service sign.
The Shepherdstown Food Lion confirmed my general opinion towards Food Lion: it's perfectly acceptable, and the stores are pretty nice, but they are not one of the stronger competitors. Weis, for instance, which is not too far away, is far superior.

Food Lion

85 Maddex Sq Dr, Shepherdstown, WV
Open Daily 7AM-11PM
(304) 876-0601
Photographed June 2016

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Snapshot: ShopRite - Carteret, NJ

The ShopRite of Carteret opened in the 1970s in a former Food Fair, moving from a nearby streetfront location. It's the only store owned and operated by the Sitar family -- and has a very friendly, neighborhood store feeling.
These pictures come from September 2016, prior to the most recent renovation which made changes both inside and outside the store.
Most notably, the entire facade is no longer blue. You can see a newer picture here and a shot of the interior here. The store is located at 801 Roosevelt Ave, Carteret, NJ.

Photographed September 2016

Saturday, August 17, 2019

I Didn't Think This Would Be Necessary, But...

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Snapshot: Extra Supermarket - East Orange, NJ

Yesterday's post was from Maplewood, NJ, and the other supermarket in Maplewood is a location of the Extra Supermarket chain. Like the Maplewood location, the East Orange location was previously a ShopRite, but the East Orange store was the first one, opening in the late 1980s -- as the ShopRite it replaced, owned by Village Super Market, was consolidated with a few other East Orange stores into the existing Brick Church location in 1987.
The store's front end faces the side wall I believe, although I've never been inside. I'd like to go back and tour the interior sometime!
The store is located at 563 Central Ave, East Orange, NJ.

Photographed November 2018

Friday, August 16, 2019

Snapshot: Kings Food Markets - Maplewood, NJ

Right smack in the middle of the quaint downtown of Maplewood, NJ is a tiny, 8,000 square foot Kings Food Market. It's a beautifully maintained store, though, and packs a lot into a very small space.
Kings fascinates me because of the many very old stores they have and the fact that many of their stores were taken over from big chains (Finast, Stop & Shop, and Food Fair, among others). I wish there were a little more history visible in their locations, though. Oh, and I wish they'd lower all their prices by about 40%. This store is at 159 Maplewood Ave.

Photographed August 2018

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Snapshot: Grand Union (former) - Oakland, NJ

Continuing yesterday's theme of Grand Union by taking a look at a former Grand Union here in Oakland, NJ. The store has been subdivided between Staples (shown here) and the Oakland Giant Farmers Market, a very large farmers market/gourmet grocery store type thing that I would love to visit sometime but haven't gotten around to yet.
The Grand Union competed with a nearby A&P and a ShopRite. It's located at 350 Ramapo Valley Rd, Oakland, NJ.

Photographed July 2018

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Memorabilia: Grand Union Bakery Case!

While stopping in a small grocery store/deli for lunch near Wurtsboro, NY (I've tried and failed several times to locate the exact location), I was caught by this bakery case. I suspected, and later confirmed, that it was from a Grand Union. Again, if I could get the exact location of this stop I made, I might even be able to tell which GU it came from.
Another reason I want to locate this place is that the food and service were fantastic! We ordered (freshly-cooked) mozzarella sticks and for whatever reason the cheese leaked out of a few, which the worker apologized for before bringing us a second, new order of better mozzarella sticks for free. (There wasn't even all that much wrong with the first order!) I wish I could recommend this place but have been unable to find it.

Photographed May 2017

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Look Inside: Fresh Imperium Food Market - Landing, NJ

When new tenants took over Pathmark stores, some gutted the stores and remodeled them. Some made the existing decor their own with some strategic decals. Others did even less.
Fresh Emporium, owned by Bronx-based investor Neftali Medina, covered some of the Pathmark logos at their store here in Landing (we toured their other location in Jefferson a while ago). Once Key Food threatened to sue them over their use of the Fresh Emporium name, arguing it's too close to their banner The Food Emporium, Fresh Emporium made a quick switch to Fresh Imperium.
While I wish I had interior pictures from when the store was in business, I was stopped by a manager early in my tour who very nastily informed me photography was not allowed in the store, having me delete the pictures I took and leave my phone at the front office while I was in the store. It was very early in my photography, and I had no idea she didn't have the power to tell me any of that. (If that happened now, I'd laugh at her and walk out of the store. Probably take one more picture just to get on her nerves.)
After less than two years, the genuinely awful Fresh Imperium Food Market closed its doors here in Landing. (I visited one of Medina's stores in the Bronx, and it was quite mediocre. That's glowing praise as compared to these.) The Jefferson location has a nice facility with an excellent location, but Landing is a smaller, older, and less-extensively-renovated-by-Pathmark building that was previously a Grand Union.
While Jefferson got new carts, Landing got the same old Pathmark carts with Fresh Emporium decals. The carts still said Fresh Emporium at the time of my visit during the store's Imperium period, and only one sign inside had been replaced. Excuse me, only one Pathmark sign had received a Fresh Imperium decal over its Fresh Emporium decal.
I returned to the store in May of 2019 long after the store closed (February 2017), and the building looked like Fresh Imperium closed yesterday. It was awesome -- and there was no angry manager to yell at me.
I took a lot of pictures (maybe as my petty revenge) when I returned. Also because any abandoned supermarket is cool!
The empty light box to the left would have held Pathmark's pharmacy sign. The produce department is in the front right corner, with deli in the first aisle. Meat and seafood (which Fresh Emporium never used) are on the back wall with bakery (which Fresh Emporium also never opened) and dairy in the last aisle. Pharmacy (which Fresh Emporium, well, you know) was in the front left corner.
Covering the previous tenant's name with duct tape. Classy.
The good ol' Pathmark Community Bulletin Board!
The Grand Union light fixture is still in place on the ceiling! As you can see, all of the grocery shelving (and even freezer cases, look to the left) are still in place. The decor and aisle markers are even still up!
Manager's office to the right. Registers have been removed but everything else is in place. The produce department is behind the manager's office, to the right. To enter the store, you walk along the front end in front of the registers.
Other side of the manager's office. The darker floor area is where the produce area was. There was a bulk coffee bar to the left (the store's only cool feature) but we see some odd signage caused by a lazy attempt to cover the Fresh Emporium logo.
Looking into the produce department in the front corner. I'm assuming most of the layout is left from Grand Union because it sure is an odd layout for a Pathmark. And yes, the lottery machine is out of order.
Such a beautiful sign. Yeesh.
Pathmark! Almost.
The store is located at 175 Lakeside Blvd, Landing, NJ. Rumor has it Aldi is very interested in this location, although I'd personally love to see Weis Markets move in.

Photographed September 2016 and May 2019