Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Snapshot: Elizabeth Supermarket - Elizabeth, NJ

First off, I've fixed yesterday's post with the video of the ribbon cutting embedded. Now for today's snapshot!

I sometimes firmly believe I am going crazy. I know for a fact I've photographed the Super Supermarket on 1st Ave (albeit just a quick snapshot) and I'm nearly certain it was even up on Flickr. But now I can't find those pictures anywhere and I don't have it listed on my master spreadsheet. Anyhow, luckily I have other Elizabeth content that I can swap in for today!
This grocery store, at 124 W Jersey St, is in that gray space between supermarket and bodega. It's small but seems to have a pretty solid lineup of departments (grocery, deli, meat, frozen, dairy, produce). I've never been inside so I couldn't categorize it for sure.

Photographed January 2019

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

TOUR: Food Bazaar - Elizabeth, NJ Part 3

Yes, this is the last day of the Elizabeth Food Bazaar! Today we'll be seeing some coverage of the grand opening celebration, which really was a big party. The Market Report was on-site for the opening speeches as well (although I got stuck in traffic on the way and was almost late), then we took a look around the store, even getting the chance to speak with Bogopa Service Corp's president and CEO, Spencer An.
Let's begin with some photos of the festivities.
As you can see here, the place was packed. All the important people were there, but a lot of people just came for the free food and giveaways. I got a free reusable bag filled with Bogopa brand products just for being one of the first 1000 shoppers.
Inside, the store was packed and the atmosphere was just one big party. Tables were set up along the front end where employees served free fruit, cheese, fresh-baked breads and muffins from the store's bakery department, and beverages.
It's a nice way to welcome customers to the new store, but it's also a great way to show off the catering specialties from the deli department.
Inside, I did manage to catch a picture of An, if only the back of his head. But don't worry, you can watch his full opening speech, along with Director of Marketing Suzanne Kuczun and Elizabeth mayor Chris Bollwage, right here. UPDATE: I've fixed it with the video embedded.
And here are some assorted pictures from the ribbon cutting. The Star-Ledger got a better view than I did, but that's okay.

 Bogopa Food Bazaar president Spencer An, right.
 Elizabeth mayor J. Christian ("Chris") Bollwage in the dark suit to the right.
 Not sure how I got this (almost) great shot. Maybe I just pushed a lot of people out of the way, I don't remember. Store manager Kevin Kim, far left.
If you've never been to a supermarket ribbon cutting, you really should. This was a lot of fun! Now on to the rest of the city tomorrow.

Photographed July 2016

Monday, July 29, 2019

TOUR: Food Bazaar - Elizabeth, NJ Part 2

And now for Part 2 of the store tour, which consists of the store tour itself. (See yesterday's photos from the opening day here.)
We're here in the parking lot, which is really on the side of the store. The property's address is on Elmora Ave, so the property is narrow and extremely deep. Grand Street runs along what's technically the side of the property, but the store's front end faces Grand. So when I describe the layout, it'll be relative to Grand, not Elmora.
For folks not familiar with Elizabeth, this store is located in the Elmora neighborhood. (Side note, both my parents grew up shopping at this store when it was a Pathmark.) Elmora Avenue is a pretty busy -- and ridiculously narrow -- business district, with a lot of small stores and restaurants. Diagonally across Elmora Ave from this store is the Elmora Farmers Market.
This is the entrance to the store, and to enter you make a 90-degree turn at the rugs (I think that's what they are). We're actually looking at the exit door. When you enter, bakery-deli-seafood run along the left side wall with produce facing. Meat, cold cuts, and dairy run along the back wall with additional dairy on the right side wall. Frozen takes up the second-to-last aisle and the side of the last aisle opposite dairy. Floral and customer service are between the entrance and the exit.
Okay, now I took a lot of pictures but they're all pretty bad. So I've tried to cherry-pick the best ones that really show the store. This sign greets you as you enter the store -- pretty impressive! Although this store is really nice and an amazing improvement over Pathmark, it's not one of the more deluxe Food Bazaars.
Food Bazaar is constantly rearranging things, but generally here's what we're looking at. Produce is the biggest department in the grand aisle, with organics running along the left side (what we can see the corner of here). Cakes take up the other side of that case with service bakery and deli on the wall to our left. Seafood is located in the back left corner.
The backlit signage is color-coded based on the department. Bakery is yellow, as we can see here. All the wood you're looking at is real -- no foam imitation or large-scale decals here.
Deli and seafood on the left wall.
To maximize space, the service deli is located behind a self-serve case rather than a glass display case showing the cold cuts. Unfortunately, the digital signs that list the selections frequently die. Luckily I always order the same thing, so I don't even have to read the sign!
The produce here is almost always amazing, although the store has good and bad days. Definitely a solid selection, including plenty of international and organic produce.
The farm pictures we see here are actually just large boards hung from the ceiling, it's not a wall. No banners, so no wrinkles. The first grocery aisle backs up to this case.
Seafood takes up the back corner. Like everything else in the store, it's been rearranged a few times. It's shown here in a U configuration, with cases running along three sides and a prep area in the middle. After a while, they significantly cut back the selection and arranged it in a single row which worked fine but looked odd. Then the department was expanded to maybe 2/3 of its original size and back into a U shape. I wonder if they temporarily needed some of the seafood stands  for one of their new stores and then just brought them back when they got what they needed.
Ah, but first we must see the Nutz department!
Huge seafood selection here, even since it's been changed. By the way, the guy walking behind the counter is a manager, not just some random customer. (Although my grandmother has, completely oblivious, walked behind that counter. Not even the partially cut whole fish sitting on the counter with a huge knife tipped her off that perhaps she shouldn't be there.) Also note the Pathmark tile on the wall!
I rarely buy seafood anywhere other than Food Bazaar just because it's so great, it's very cheap, and the selection is enormous. (Wild USA catfish $1.99/lb? Wild USA live clams $5/doz? Wild Canada perch $5.99/lb? Absolutely! Prices from this week's circular.)
The first aisle is double-wide and has sales on one side and rice/grains on the other.
Food Bazaar has their own storebrand, Bogopa, for a lot of grocery products. They supplement with Hy-Top and Seven Farms (organic) from the Federated Group.
Meat runs along the back wall, with an island of upright refrigerator cases to maximize selection. I don't believe Pathmark had a service butcher counter. The one thing that Pathmark did have that Food Bazaar does not is a pharmacy. Food Bazaar's bakery is where Pathmark's pharmacy was.
I don't believe Pathmark had this layout, I think they had coffin cases in the middle.
Some coffin cases still intact! You can see how the store goes a little farther back for the dairy/cold cuts part of the back wall.
Well...they won't run out of stock in the first sale aisle anytime soon.
Specialty products are displayed on this rounded shelving. Here we're looking at the gourmet pastas and sauces. It's quite eye-catching and the one merchandising thing that Food Bazaar hasn't changed in this location.
Dairy in the back corner. We're looking at the side wall here with the back wall of the store to the left.
I believe the frozen foods cases are left over from Pathmark, but repainted black.
As I mentioned in the previous post, only the lighting and maybe the cases are left over from Pathmark here. Everything else is new. And it's amazing how relatively little work can really improve the way a wall looks! (This Pathmark closed with Path to Savings, and all Food Bazaar did here was paint the wall and add a sign and a few wood panels to the wall.)
The front alcove is where I believe Pathmark would have had their bread, with a Bank of America branch next to it. The bank was removed before the Pathmark closed, and it doesn't appear that Food Bazaar is using that space for anything.
This would have been bread, I believe. I only actually went to the Pathmark once or twice when it was open.
So the area where Bank of America was is now just additional shelving -- and always a traffic bottleneck, especially when the store is crowded (which it frequently is).
The front end does not have a Pathmark feel to it at all. The flooring with the famous blue Path to Savings tile has been replaced with solid white and all the registers have been replaced. A huge wooden frame has also been installed over the registers, which looks awesome.
Blurry picture, but you get the idea. Obviously, all of this is new. It looks fantastic!
The elevator here would have taken you to the underground parking garage in the Pathmark days, but Food Bazaar doesn't use that garage anymore.
The cart corrals and posts along the front sidewalk are left over from Pathmark, but have been painted.
Food Bazaar has brightened up the windows along Grand St with some new graphics and signs, and they've painted the entire building around back too. (As I mentioned, the building tends to get covered with graffiti quickly.)
Loading docks around back along with the former entrance to the underground parking garage. Come back tomorrow for a visit to the Food Bazaar's grand opening ribbon cutting!

Food Bazaar Supermarket

211 Elmora Ave, Elizabeth, NJ
Open Daily 7AM-12:30AM
(908) 372-3602
Photographed July 2016