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

2 comments:

  1. Aside from the few instances of anthropomorphic food items... amazing décor and presentation. Love the model train/store and ship as well.

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    1. Fair enough, but they keep that to a minimum here. I agree, it's pretty amazing!

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