Monday, August 05, 2019

TOUR: ShopRite - Elizabeth, NJ

 
I was a little surprised that Food Bazaar decided to take the Pathmark in Elizabeth given that there is a 70,000 square foot ShopRite just three blocks up Grand St. This ShopRite is nearly always packed with customers, and it's a very solid store as well. It's not one of the more beautiful Village Super Market stores, but it gets the job done.
Opened in 1994 in a former skating rink that itself was housed in a repurposed industrial building, this ShopRite has not been significantly altered over the years. It's gone through several exterior repaints and since there are four logo or name signs around the building, they have all been updated at different times. The biggest change was around 2008 when they added the part that's painted white in the above picture.
Although the property layout is almost identical to Food Bazaar (Grand St is to the right of the trees here), the store's layout is different. Aisles run parallel to Grand and the front end faces the parking lot, not Grand. You enter on the right side to the new foyer, then encounter bakery, deli, and seafood on the right-side wall with produce facing. Butcher is in the back right corner with meat on the back wall. Frozen is in the back left corner and dairy is on the left side wall. Customer service is between the entrance and exit and the pharmacy is in the front left corner. The layout is identical to Garwood.
This foyer is very odd, and it's always a traffic jam area. I'm not sure why they added it, but I'm not sure it works.
For whatever reason, this picture came out really dark, so I had to boost the lighting. Anyway, you get the idea of how deep the store is, although it's rather narrow (11 aisles). My photographs come from two different visits, one in July 2016 (above) and one in February 2017, after the store had been painted.
Ah, glorious 1990s checkerboard! Unfortunately, this chaotic pattern has seen its end here. Although multiple stores received this decor package, Elizabeth is the last to still have it.
Albeit in a modified form.
Appy! For anyone who isn't familiar with the term, Styertowne provides an explanation here.
The appy department is looking blander but sleeker after the repaint.
On the part sticking out, there was previously a Kosher deli/meat service counter. Due to the declining Jewish population of Elizabeth, this department has been removed. For reasons beyond my comprehension, it has not been replaced with anything but temporary shelving in what has to be one of the highest-volume Village ShopRites.
Produce has also been upgraded with new cases and displays.
The selection has been increased in low upright refrigerator cases for most of the department, with new crate-style displays in the front.
Yum! That pineapple looks ready to eat right now! The flooring has also been redone to accommodate the new cases, although you couldn't tell it because it looks just like the old flooring.
Beyond the former kosher counter, in the back corner, are the service seafood and meat departments. It's actually quite a large seafood department for a ShopRite, and that predates Food Bazaar's arrival. Pathmark was not a strong competitor on seafood.
Seafood is on the side wall, with meat on the back wall.
Not entirely sure why the service counter is closed and empty in this picture, that's not how it usually is.
The color scheme really makes the store look a lot older than it is. That said, the newest white and beige repaint has really brightened up the store.
This ShopRite has always had a problem with its aisle markers. Whole signs (on all three signs) were frequently left completely blank. But don't worry, the aisle markers have been replaced, and they've been consistently kept full...
...and hung with some extremely classy chains. Real nice. Because the store is so deep, the aisles are split, with A being the front half and B in the back. The middle dividing aisle was widened as well, which actually really helps the traffic flow.
You can see by just how much the middle aisle was widened here. It originally ended where the aisle markers are. This flooring has since been replaced as well.
Middle dividing aisle before.
The grocery aisles are spacious and generally kept organized, although it's quite hard to keep them stocked when the store does the kind of business that it does, every weekend.
Frozen foods are only in the back corner of the store, they take up only aisles 10 & 11 B. The center row of cases of that would have been coffin cases originally, but they have been replaced with newer upright cases as you can see on the right here.
Milk with its wonderful neon sign in the back corner has not been changed, although it's been painted too.
Because of the unusual history of the building, the ceiling is many different heights throughout. It gets really high (probably at least 2-3 full stories) in the last two aisles, and I have no idea why.
Pharmacy is located in the front corner of the store. It's one of two departments, the other being customer service, with newer (ca. 2005) department signage that's almost definitely secondhand from a renovated store.
Now for a look across the front end...
This was taken from the customer service/produce/bakery side of the store...
Again, the department signage and wood paneling is from around 2005. On second thought, perhaps the wood paneling suggests that the signage wasn't secondhand, but installed specifically in this store. I couldn't say for sure. And for the latest update... self-checkout was recently installed in this store. It probably significantly increases the number of checkout lanes available, but I couldn't say for sure as I haven't been back since. The following two photos come to us from Market Report contributor Joe...
Looking good, and nice new floor too! Hey Village Super Market, does this mean maybe possibly you could do a bigger renovation on this place too? We'll just have to wait and see...

ShopRite

865 W Grand St, Elizabeth, NJ
Open Daily 24hrs
shoprite.com
(908) 558-9126
Photographed July 2016, October 2016, February 2017, and June 2019

4 comments:

  1. Our local ShopRite got similar self checkouts when they moved last fall from their 1990's built store into a store up the street that was vacated by another chain (Price Chopper).

    They have 12 of them (3 on each outside and the 6 like you see in these photos in the middle), plus 2 of the long belt style (similar to what you see here as 4 to the right side, but I think even a bit longer belts).

    It certainly helps out, as the old store didn't even have 12 registers total (10 or 11 as I remember) and used to get long lines at times, but that store just didn't have space for more to be added very easily (and the checkouts weren't deep enough for the three self checkout stack, even if they had switched out some of the registers, I don't think).

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    1. That's good. I know this store can have some crazy lines at times, so I'm sure it's the same situation where you are.

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  2. Aw man, that's disappointing to see the checkerboard pattern painted over. I'm with you, it looks rather bland now.

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    1. Exactly -- at least I appreciated that, before the repaint and new aisle markers, the decor was a single decor package, fully intact.

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