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.
Beautiful.
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

Monday, August 12, 2019

Snapshot: Acme Markets (former) - Sparta, NJ

Didn't even realize that my planning lined up another former Acme for today, along with our snapshots from yesterday and the day before. I'm not going to provide an extensive history here, mostly because Acme Style already has done so much better than I ever could.
Anyhow, I have to agree with Acme Style's conclusion that the new facade is very nice and that it is a lot like the newer facade updates Acme is doing now. The store is located at 11 Center St.

Photographed May 2016

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Snapshot: Acme Markets (former) - Parsippany, NJ

Continuing our theme from yesterday of former Acme Markets locations, we are looking at another location in the Lake Hiawatha neighborhood of Parsippany. It's located directly across the street from the Foodtown (former Grand Union) which you can see coverage of here and here.
This 11,000 square foot store is significantly smaller than the 30,000 square foot Grand Union-turned-Foodtown across the street.

Photographed May 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Snapshot: Acme Markets (former) - Montclair, NJ

This store opened as an Acme Market on August 10, 1957 and closed on August 6, 1966, as Acme Style reports. Today, it's a CVS (surprise!) and at 565 Valley Rd, it's just up the street from a currently operating Acme in a former A&P, which will be coming to the blog soon.
This store was only 11,000 square feet. However, the current Acme is only 30,000 square feet or so, and the other competition -- a Kings farther north on Valley -- is smaller at 17,000 square feet.
Like so many stores of this era, the storefront actually faces the street with the parking lot on the side.

Photographed May 2019

Friday, August 09, 2019

Snapshot: A&P (former) - Verona, NJ

Some former supermarkets have been so badly butchered or, depending on how you look at it, so well reinvented, that you can't tell that it was ever a grocery store. Some look like they just closed yesterday. Others fall in the middle -- they still have the bones of the supermarket, but have been extensively altered. Today's Snapshot falls in that last category.
Yes, this building is now a Walgreens, and it was previously a Drug Fair. But you don't have to imagine too much to see it as a former A&P centennial-style store. Obviously the existing facade has been extensively covered, but the shape is still there. And the entrance still faces the parking lot on the side, just like it would have in the A&P days. I wasn't able to get extensive coverage, but there are still loading docks in the back also. The store has a basement, which is a no-brainer because it's on a hill meaning that the lower level is ground level in the back. I'd driven by this store a million times, but I didn't know it was an A&P until much more recently.

Photographed May 2019

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Revisit: Freshway Supermarket - Fairview, NJ

We're here once again at the Fair Ridge Mall in Fairview, NJ to return to the store that we saw:

Note that all of those stores were owned by the same person, Kevin Kim, a supermarket owner out of Queens. Kim has at this point sold or closed all of his stores except this one. We've seen his store in Plainsboro and Belleville, and a few of his other stores will be coming soon to the blog.
As I mentioned, this is his last store and it's pretty obvious that this one is closing as well. Many of the shelves are empty around the store, but where it was most obvious is the meat department -- so often a centerpiece department that makes up for most of the store's perishable sales.
Well, you'll notice this store's service butcher is closed and covered over with paper from the circular the store no longer uses. Oh, and although these signs are all still there, the entire case is only eggs now. Unfortunately this store will be gone very soon, and it's going to be interesting to see what (if anything) replaces it.

Photographed May 2019

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

TOUR: SuperFresh - Linden, NJ

The Market Report was first on the scene photographing the brand-new SuperFresh of Linden, NJ on opening week. The Market Report then promptly forgot about the photos and let them sit in his Google Photos account for three months. But anyway, here we go!
Unfortunately, these are the only "before" photos that I have of the store; this is when it had closed as a Pathmark. I took them in September 2016 after the store closed in September 2015. It was closed in the first round of closures of the A&P bankruptcy; A&P did not even attempt to find this store a buyer. It wasn't until May 2018 that the township officially announced Key Food member Harold Lee under his chain Food World Supermarkets was preparing to move into the location. After a year's worth of extensive renovation -- by which I mean stripping the building back to nothing (keep in mind this store was only built in 1992!) and starting from scratch -- the Food World-owned SuperFresh of Linden opened in May 2019.
Like Lee's nearby Roselle store, this SuperFresh is a beautiful store, although the Linden location is significantly larger at 60,000 square feet. I believe that also puts it as the largest Key Food affiliate out there.
The layout is similar to Pathmark's, but with some modifications. The pharmacy is immediately inside the entrance on the left, as Pathmark had it. The grocery aisles to the left of the entrance, however, are now international foods instead of health and beauty. Large package and bulk foods line the left side wall of the store. Produce is the main department immediately inside the entrance, extending to the back of the store, with customer service to the right of the entrance. At the back of the produce aisle is a fresh juice bar and boba tea counter (gee, didn't Pathmark have great boba tea?), with meat and seafood continuing along the back wall. Dairy lines the last aisle with frozen at the far right side of the store. Deli/bakery/prepared foods are in the front right corner of the store. SuperFresh has split the aisles with a center dividing aisle running from produce to the right side wall.
The store is gorgeous, but it remains to be seen whether it can stand up to the competition. ShopRite is a mile and a half east in Aviation Plaza, with Latin warehouse store Universal Meat Supermarket a mile and a half west in Rahway. I almost think Food World, a traditionally Latin/Caribbean ethnic-based store, didn't attack Universal (a weak store) strongly enough and tried to beat ShopRite too much. This store can beat Universal, but I don't know if it can beat ShopRite.
That said, whatever the business plan may be here, it is executed flawlessly. No beat-up old Pathmark carts here, brand-new SuperFresh carts only! Now let's head in...
The view upon entering. What an entrance! Other than the layout (only vaguely), you can't tell this store was a Pathmark at all inside.
Pathmark would have had a drop ceiling here, and the removal of it really opens up the space. The floor and ceiling (including lighting) are fantastic, and the immediate visual image is stunning.
Prepared produce and a smoothie/boba bar at the back of the produce aisle. This is where Pathmark would have had their deli and seafood counters, and the tiling you see on the back wall is left over from Pathmark.
Pharmacy in the front corner, not yet open at the time of my visit (it is now). It's branded SuperHealth Pharmacy, consistent with the two locations on Staten Island (see my tour of one here), even though those two are under different ownership.
International foods next to produce; here we're looking at the Italian aisle.
And here we see Chinese and "Asian Noodle" aisles.
Polish and kosher along the back wall. (Linden is famous for its Polish population.) We'll see more Polish selection shortly.
Yes, in case you are wondering, this is a double-wide Goya aisle. Yes, it is all Goya.
Taking a page out of the Wegmans playbook, there is a model train running over the international foods aisles. Unlike Wegmans however, there is a model of this very store alongside the train tracks.
Along the side wall of the store, we find sale and bulk pack items. There is a Target at Aviation Plaza, a Walmart at Linden Plaza, and a BJ's on Route 1 as well, so they're probably competing with all of these places.
Continuing towards the grocery aisles, we see a ship captain sailing right into the customer service counter. This is actually a sample/demo station, and there was an employee giving out samples when I visited. (You can't see her, because she's behind the captain.) As you can see here, the first aisle in the front is health and beauty. The back is natural and organic foods.
As I mentioned, the grocery aisles are divided in half front-to-back.
Interesting that they went with older-style gondola shelving instead of the newer warehouse-style, with the columns in front. I would think that would work better for this large space.
Meats along the back wall. I don't recall where the service butcher is right now.
The merchandising is very specific, as you can see here. This section is used for summer barbecue items and soda and so on. We'll see if they keep up with the specific items.
Once again, beautiful merchandising and displays though.
Here's a look at the enormous seafood counter in the back corner. Yes, that's all seafood. They sure give Food Bazaar a run for their money here! Since Pathmark would not have had a service counter here, the tiling on the back wall is all new.
Looking down the width of the store back towards international foods. Milk is on the back wall just to the right here...
Frozen foods take up the grocery aisles in front of milk.
The decor is almost like what might happen if the Acme "theme park" decor collided with the Food Bazaar decor. Definitely closer to Food Bazaar, and that's not a coincidence -- the former store manager at the Elizabeth Food Bazaar is now a manager here, I believe.
The last aisle contains dairy.
Here we can look across the expanse that is the width of the store from the middle dividing aisle. We're standing in the last aisle looking towards the first. Bakery and deli run along the front wall in the corner of the store, with a small seating area and a hot food bar.
I mentioned that there is a large Polish population here in Linden. What I didn't notice until my second visit to this store is that there is a complete Polish deli in the deli department.
And this is in addition to the standard Boar's Head selections at the regular deli!
Hot food, salad, and assorted grab-and-go items are located next to the deli counter, with a coffee and juice bar facing the seating area on the front end.
One side of the bar is hot food and the other side is salad. In the above view, you can also get a sense of how wide the store is and how spacious it feels.
The arched wood structures over the checkout are definitely an idea borrowed from Food Bazaar! Here we can see the front-end, the only part of the store with a drop ceiling, and which also feels nothing like a Pathmark front-end. I wonder whether all those registers will ever be filled. My guess is probably not, but who knows. Either way, this store is absolutely gorgeous and a nice reuse of a former Pathmark!

SuperFresh

651 Stiles St, Linden, NJ
Open Daily 7AM-12AM
keyfood.com
(908) 275-3171
Photographed May 2019