Sunday, March 31, 2019

TOUR: Key Food Marketplace - Beacon, NY

We're coming back to the Key Food Marketplace of Beacon, NY for a real store tour. Let's begin with some history here. The supermarket was built at some point prior to 1965 (Historic Aerials doesn't go back farther than that here), and my guess would be in the 50s, as a Grand Union. GU had a significant presence in the Hudson Valley and while quite a few of the stores have closed for good, many of them were purchased by Tops (such as Tannersville), Hannaford (KingstonPawling), or Key Food operators. Others became Grand Union Family Markets run by C&S (Saugerties).
I can't seem to find the previous owner's name right now, but he owned several other stores as well. If I'm not mistaken, he currently owns only one store. Junior Dabashi, whose family also owns supermarkets in New York City, bought this store, the Mahopac location (now demolished for a new Stop & Shop), and the Milford, PA location from the same previous owner, although he purchased Mahopac and Beacon in 2008 and Milford slightly later, I believe around 2015.
Dabashi had redone the facade of this store when he took it over, and at the time of my visit, was in the process of remodeling the interior as well. Because of the property layout, this has the unfortunate result that the outgoing store fixtures were near the garbage which is just next to the entrance.
Funny, it seems that these are the types of produce cases going in to many supermarkets, not out! As we'll see, the produce cases had recently been installed...
I do prefer the crate look to the table look, as seen here. The store is quite small, and the first aisle consists of produce and deli in the front corner next to the entrance.
We can see some Grand Union-era wood paneling behind the deli here, although it actually works quite nicely with the new produce displays. The manager's office is tucked away behind the deli here, it looks like. I don't know for sure, but I would guess that this deli sign was installed by Key Food, not Grand Union.
Back of the first aisle. We can see the newly-installed wood look flooring here, which is now across the entire store. At the time of my visit, it had only been installed in certain sections.
Aisle 3, which is really the second aisle (the produce aisle is labeled as two aisles), had not received new flooring. Looking back at the first aisle, it appears that Grand Union would actually have had it as two separate aisles.
Frozen and dairy in the last aisle. We can see the freezer cases are all brand-new, and the new flooring reaches this aisle as well. The dairy cases had not been replaced at the time of my visit.
Looking towards the back of the store. In the front corner there is an alcove with baked goods (the store, as it is extremely small, does not have an in-store bakery). Google Maps estimates that the store is approximately 15,000 square feet with just 10,000 square feet of sales floor space. That's quite small for the suburbs!
Also in the front corner is a display of Bob's Red Mill, with a picture of store owner Junior Dabashi with Bob!
Gotta love those personal touches!

Key Food Marketplace

268 Main St, Beacon, NY
Open Mon-Sat 7AM-9PM, Sun 7AM-8PM
(845) 838-0984
Photographed May 2016

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Snapshot: Junior's Food Outlet (former) - Bushwick

Towards the end of 2017, Cactus Holdings, the owner of the Western Beef and Junior's Food Outlet chains, announced the introduction of the Western Beef Market, a new store concept designed to rework existing Junior's stores to a more modern format. While Junior's Food Outlet are hard discount stores, the Western Beef Market stores are perishables-focused, with complete produce, meat, and seafood departments, although they are smaller in footprint than standard Western Beef supermarkets. This facility, located in northwestern Brooklyn, had closed by the time of my visit in anticipation of a conversion from Junior's to Western Beef Market.
Unfortunately, the banners on both the front and the side of the store saying WESTERN BEEF MARKET COMING SOON! had blown either off or up to the roof so it is not visible. (As you can tell, the day I visited this area was somewhat stormy. Luckily, I did not get rained on!)
The fact that there is a large closed-up supermarket in this area doesn't help, but these few blocks kind of feel like a no-man's land. While just across the street from this store are three square blocks of public housing, it didn't seem like anyone was actually there when I visited. Very strange. Stranger still is that this store is just two and a half blocks off of the hustle-and-bustle of Broadway, the main thoroughfare through Bushwick. On that topic, I'm not sure exactly what this neighborhood would be called. It's in an awkward spot between Williamsburg to the north, Bedford-Stuyvesant to the south, and Bushwick mainly to the east. Anyone have any input?
No work was going on the day I visited, and I have no idea what the progress has been like, if any. The store is located at 994 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn, NY.

Photographed January 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

TOUR: Weis Markets - Hamburg, PA

Look, ma! A Lehigh Valley tour that was photographed on a different day! (Side note: I don't think my mother actually reads The Market Report. I think she gets enough from my incessant and overly detailed descriptions of every last grocery store I visit that she doesn't need to relive that over again. Contrary to what Market Report readers might think, not everyone is obsessed with supermarkets. How strange!)
Lots of exterior photos here because I was on foot. This store is located just east of the central downtown area of the small town of Hamburg. Originally a Kings (not Kings; I'm referring to a small PA chain acquired by Weis), this store even was still using King's carts at the time of my visit. Despite this, the store has been extensively remodeled inside with Weis's second-to-newest decor package. It's also been expanded into a few neighboring storefronts, giving it a slightly awkward L-shaped layout. You walk in to deli/prepared foods, with produce at the back of the first aisle. Meats continue along the back wall, with dairy and frozen at the far end. Bakery is in the front corner opposite the entrance, but the expansion with pharmacy and HABA actually extends beyond the front end to form the bottom part of the L.
It had just rained. So when I was leaving, I was lucky enough to catch the store with a rainbow in the background. Forget a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, how about a Weis Market?
Here we can see the store's monument sign, complete with a little hat. I'd assume that the facade originally matched this, with a similar look to A&P's 1970s mansard roof design.
One last look at the rainbow, plus a glimpse of the facade style I mentioned to the right.
The expansion is clearly visible from the outside...
The main supermarket is to the right.
As we'll see, the ceiling in the expansion is rather low, since there are managers' offices on the second floor. Let's grab a cart and head in...
First aisle with deli/hot foods on the right side wall.
The floral department is to the right of the entrance, in front of the deli department.
Here's a look at the entrance with a sale alcove to the right. The front end continues to the right of this shot.
You can see that the store is rather small in this shot. Let's head towards the back of the store...
A remarkably good picture of what I consider to be some of the most attractive supermarket decor among middle-market supermarkets. I think the colors are bold and attention-grabbing, and the text is very well-done. I also appreciate the added visual interest of the patterns along the background.
The facing aisle, as dictated by unwritten industry rule, is condiments. (See discussion here.)
Beautiful bold graphics in the produce department. Weis has retired this decor package, but I think it's actually better than the new decor. (Don't get me wrong, I think the new decor is cool too. It just doesn't have the same punch that this one does.)
Continuing along the back of the store, we see meats, then packaged deli and frozen seafood. There is no service seafood here.
Quick look at the aisles before we head towards the far side of the store...
Pretty decent international selection for a mainstream supermarket. It's not even worth comparing this store to a Food Bazaar or SuperFresh Food World, but they're better than ACME, for instance.
Now on to the last aisle where we see great decor go horribly wrong...
Not a bad start. Although there's no service seafood, it doesn't look like there ever was, so they didn't take out a feature the store had. But what happened to the dairy department?
Okay, I don't think this cow is part of the actual decor package. But more importantly, is there anywhere else they could have put it? Other than right in front of the milk sign?
Uh, yes. Like anywhere else along this entire wall, for instance. We don't get any decor until we get to the front of the aisle...oh no...
Perhaps an earthquake had just hit the dairy department of the Weis Markets in Hamburg. Actually, only the front half of the aisle. But otherwise I don't know that I can really explain this one. (I suppose it's possible the decor was on its way in? This theory is supported by the fact that it appears as though that blue panel is not quite wide enough to fit a full "dairy" sign, so maybe it was being installed. There were, however, no signs of a recent renovation in the rest of the store. I also cannot confirm whether this sign has been fixed, removed, or kept.)
Anyway...here's a look at the bakery in the front corner. Surprisingly full in-store bakery for a very small supermarket. Google Maps estimates the store is in the 25,000-30,000 square foot range.
That's right folks, you're looking at the five registers this store has! Here you can also see the pass-through to pharmacy and HABA past the front end. The bakery is just to the right out of frame here.
It's a pretty substantial expansion. It allows for the store to sell all of this HABA and general merchandise without taking up valuable real estate in the grocery aisles.
As I mentioned, the ceiling is low here due to offices on the second floor. Here we're looking back up towards the main store area.
Limited decor in this section again on account of the low ceilings.
Looking from the registers over to the pharmacy pass-through to bakery and then dairy on the far side. I loved this little Weis! It's got the personality and friendliness of a small town supermarket but the selection and prices of a chain store, plus I really like the decor. I started this post on a random side note and will end on one too: if you're ever in Hamburg, stop by Russo's Family Restaurant & Pizzeria at 2 S Fourth St. Great food!

Weis Markets

552 State St, Hamburg, PA
Open Daily 6AM-11PM
(610) 562-3828
Photographed June 2016