Friday, August 02, 2019

TOUR: CitiGrocer - Elizabeth, NJ

Opened in 2016 in a former Daffy Dan's (later just Daffy's) discount clothing store, this 35,000-square-foot supermarket owned by the Supremo Foods chain is undoubtedly the nicest supermarket in Elizabeth.
The property is virtually unrecognizable as the old Daffy's, and it's worth noting that the roof is actually flat -- the arch you see here is only the facade.
It appears that the CitiGrocer building uses the roof height of the highest part of the old Daffy's building, meaning that the lower sections on either side of the store (what is now the produce/meat aisle and what is now the frozen/dairy aisle).
Down at this end there are several smaller storefronts which have yet to be rented out.
The entrance is on the right side of the store, and the layout is identical to the original Supremo, just a few blocks west in downtown Elizabeth. Produce is in the front right corner with meat in the back right corner and butcher and seafood on the back wall. Dairy runs along the back of the store with frozen in the last aisle. Deli/bakery (this store has a bakery, Supremo does not) are in the front left corner of the store. So let's head in...
As you can see, this store is beautiful. The dark wood floors and black exposed ceilings (which are, I will add, very high), really bring out the color in the walls and the products. It also helps that all of the fixtures are dark.
The merchandising in this store is some of the best I've ever seen. The selection is also nice, with a good amount of international and organic selection mixed in around the store. The owner, Eddie Trujillo, is Cuban.
Sorry for the blurry picture, there's quite a few of them here. You can get an idea of the vibrant colors across the store here, though.
The orange carts you see are former Bottom Dollar carts. This store's carts have all been updated though, with CitiGrocer handles.
Packaged meats are located behind produce in an extra-wide aisle. Cold cuts and such run along the aisle facing.
Service meat and seafood are at the back of the first aisle, with dairy continuing on the back wall. Notice how each department is color-coded, it makes for a very easy-to-understand visual experience.
Very nice butcher and seafood counters, they're a very substantial size.
All of the department signs are actually three-dimensional and curve off of the wall. Because of the high density of native Spanish speakers in this neighborhood, all of the departments are labeled with the Spanish translation under the department name.
A blurry look at dairy along the back wall. The company that designed this store is DY Design, which also did the other Supremo stores and many others, such as the spectacular City Supermarket in Newark.
Beautiful decor on the long back wall here.
First aisle looking towards customer service on the front wall. The wood flooring, like in Supremo, continues throughout the store although here we see a very nice alternating pattern.
Looking across the front-end from the first aisle. Notice that aisles 3, 4, and 5 are all international foods. I have no idea what the "Chinese - Mexican" is doing on aisle 2, this store does so much better than that.
The usual high-stacked displays along the front and back of each aisle. I don't believe this store has a main display in an aisle, just endcaps here.
The international selection is very impressive in any product line. Here's an example -- in the Brazil/Portugal aisle, here's the olive oil. Note that this excludes additional selections in the other international aisles, along with your regular everyday olive oil choices in the oil and vinegar aisle.
The rest of the grocery selection is pretty standard, with international and organic products intermittently mixed in throughout. Like many small chain or independent stores like this one, there is very little health and beauty.
Looking back towards the first aisle. Frozen foods run along the last aisle.
And toilet paper. Because why not put toilet paper anywhere it fits?
I took these pictures on two different days, as I attempted to come back and get better pictures than I first had. Actually, they were just as bad.
A grab and go deli case is located on the front wall next to the deli/bakery counter. The deli counter, on an angle, faces towards the side wall of the store, while the bakery faces the grocery aisles.
Okay, that picture was an improvement.
They just keep getting better! Now I'm trying to remember, did I photograph this store over the course of three days or did I really take two nearly identical pictures the same day?
Deli and bakery cases. This store actually does not bake in-store, but is just minutes from the Ironbound of Newark and all of its many famous Portuguese bakeries, which supply beautiful pastries and top-notch breads.
The managers' offices are located just behind the deli/bakery counter.
Here you can see these counters in context to the rest of the store. The deli wraps around the corner, with the bakery case beyond it (the customer in the dark jacket is standing right in front of the bakery counter).
The bakery almost feels like an afterthought, a possibility supported by the fact that no other Supremo stores have bakery departments. It's the one single aspect of the store that doesn't feel completely thought-through.
And now for a look along the beautiful, bright front-end -- thanks to the many large windows along the front wall -- before we head out. If you're ever passing through the area, this CitiGrocer is a must-see! (By the way, for some context on where it is, it's just about a mile and a half south of Newark Airport.)

CitiGrocer

119 Spring St, Elizabeth, NJ
Open Daily 7AM-11PM
supremofoods.com
(908) 929-1010
Photographed May 2016 & July 2016

2 comments:

  1. The color-coded departments, curved 3D signs, and even the aisle marker designs (to an extent) remind me of Kroger's bountiful décor package. Not saying Kroger has a proprietary hold over any of those elements, of course - just that they work well in supermarket design.

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    1. Absolutely, and I think this store is at least as well designed as a bountiful Kroger. It's just much less common for that to be the case in a small operation like this one as compared to a Kroger.

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