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TOUR: ShopRite - New City, NY

ShopRite of New City
Owner: Inserra Supermarkets
Opened: unknown
Previous Tenants: unknown
Cooperative: Wakefern Food Corp.
Location: 66 N Main St, New City, NY
Photographed: March 2019
Returning to New City (we've been here before) for a tour of the 54,000 square foot ShopRite in the center of town. Owned by the Inserra family, it sports the same facade that the since-renovated, (in)famous West Milford location did. That nightmare of a store has since been remodeled beautifully inside and outside, and it's one of the first stores we're going to see in New Jersey. New City is by no means a nightmare, but it has been maintained better than West Milford.
An enclosed foyer runs along the front of the store, with entrances and exits at either end. You enter on the left side to the first aisle, with bakery to the left of the entrance and prepared foods to the right. Produce is in the first aisle with floral at the back. Deli and seafood are tucked away on the back wall with meat, dairy is in the last aisle, and frozen is in an alcove in the front corner. Pharmacy and customer service are in an island on the front end, with the grocery aisles behind them. Now, get ready to go back to the 1980s...
The glorious lit ceiling is fully working here! I'm not sure I've ever seen one 100% working before. See Columbia Park. The decor in this store, while wonderfully outdated, has been maintained beautifully.
As was oddly popular in the 1980s, the service departments are all hidden. Bakery is barely visible in the front corner of the store.
Prepared foods with a very small selection in the front, with a small seating area opposite. I have learned that Inserra ShopRites are not the place to go for prepared foods.
Back to the produce department.
Floral, with lots of mirrored wall panels, finishes out the first aisle. Again, odd to see floral in the back.
The Meating Place runs along the back wall. I regret to inform you that ShopRite meat departments have not been called The Meating Place for many decades, despite the fact that it's a wonderful name.
The grocery aisles are shorter than most stores' would be, since there are islands on the front end. On the other side of the beer wall straight ahead here is sushi and a seating area, while the other island farther down the store has pharmacy and customer service, with health and beauty aids on the back.
One thing about these old Inserra stores, they have a lot of nonfoods items. Oh, and they're organized very oddly, with laundry baskets opposite bottled water.
The cave, I mean alcove, holding seafood and deli is almost definitely an expansion into former backroom space. Notice that there's no second lit ceiling here, as Columbia Park (a newer Inserra model) has. Given the newer flooring, this may have been a more recent change.
Milk & Eggs is next along the back wall, with the rest of dairy running along the last aisle.
Notice the faint ShopRite logo behind the lettering. This actually isn't all that far from what A&P was doing in the 1990s -- just, you know, many times uglier and cheaper.
A wonderfully 1980s frozen foods department in the front corner of the store. The wall with the "Frozen Food" sign on it is the front wall of the store.
A look across the front end, with the (more recently renovated) customer service and pharmacy counters in islands between the registers and the grocery aisles. I must say, that layout element helps the flow of traffic quite a bit.
And looking in the other direction. I just love the assortment of products in aisle 10. Also, notice how the offices are above the courtesy and pharmacy counters, allowing for visibility in all directions. That wraps up this ShopRite, but we have a former supermarket here in New City tomorrow on Grocery Archaeology!

Comments

  1. That ceiling is, appropriately, lit. 🔥 Also, good catch on the similarities to A&P's décor of the era.

    I'm curious -- since independent owners and operators have a lot more leeway as compared to chain stores (which are what I'm used to)... have you found that some of them are a lot less inclined to remodel? So many stores that you've shown us look absolutely fantastic and well-kept, but then there are those numerous others which still rock older décor and seem completely fine and unfazed in doing so.

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    1. Wow, that's quite the question. I think there are a few points that I should address there.

      First off, I think everyone is kept on their toes simply because there are so gosh-darn many supermarkets in the NYC metro area. Within a half hour drive of where I live in northern New Jersey, there are 50 ShopRites, 25 Stop & Shops, 20 ACMEs, 20 Krasdale stores (CTown/Bravo), 15 Kings, 10 Key Food stores, 7 Whole Foods, 6 Foodtowns, 6 Extra Supermarkets, 6 Super Supermarkets, 5 Corrado's, 4 Food Bazaars, over 30 independent or very small chain stores, probably over 20 produce markets... you get the picture. That quite simply means everyone is competing with a million other stores (and I'm just realizing now I haven't counted the ALDIs, Save-A-Lots, or Trader Joe's). And what that means is everyone is under pressure to at least maintain their stores very well. Many of the independent or small-chain operators, even if they don't renovate their stores as frequently as Kroger for instance, are still constantly needing to reset their stores, clean them, bring in new products, fix up what they can, and so on.

      That said, there's a lot of support for independent store owners because the retailers' cooperatives are so strong. ShopRite is far and away the market leader in New Jersey, with twice as many stores as ACME, the #2 in the state (by number of store locations). But ShopRite is a cooperative, meaning whereas this store might otherwise be just an independent Inserra Supermarket, it instead shares a brand name and support structure with 300 other stores. The market leader in New York City is Key Food, also a cooperative that does business under dozens of different banners, including Key Food, Food Dynasty, Food Universe Marketplace, SuperFresh, The Food Emporium, and on and on. So even if you're the independent New Rochelle Farms, you have the support of the cooperative that also runs around 300 stores: https://independent.marketreportblog.com/2020/09/tour-new-rochelle-farms-new-rochelle-ny.html

      One thing that I notice comparing the rural independent stores in western NJ and the eastern part of PA (man, I can't wait until we get all the way out to PA, I have some fantastic stores out that way) to the urban independent stores in eastern NJ and NYC is that the urban stores tend to be more updated than the rural stores are. Many of the Food Universe stores, for instance, are very nicely updated: https://www.marketreportblog.com/2019/06/tour-food-universe-marketplace-fordham_25.html Even some of the urban stores that aren't as updated have updated some fixtures within the store, probably because they get assistance from the cooperative in that: https://www.marketreportblog.com/2020/05/tour-key-food-supermarkets-flatbush.html

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      As far as the independent (non-cooperative) movers and shakers in this area, they include Food Bazaar (29 stores), Western Beef (20 stores), A&E Supermarket Group (Cherry Valley/City Fresh Market; 13 stores each), and on the higher end of the market, Morton Williams (16 stores). These groups are all large enough that they have fantastic decor and design programs, and the money to remodel and update many or most of their stores. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Food Bazaar that hasn't been remodeled in the last 10 years, for instance.

      As far as the ShopRites, like this one, that haven't been renovated, there are a few possibilities. Some of them that are on the older side are single-location or small-chain operators, like Oakland https://www.marketreportblog.com/2019/01/snapshot-shoprite-oakland-nj.html. The rest of the time, they are larger operators like Village, Inserra, or Saker (which each have about 30-35 stores) that have (1) renovation plans in progress, like West Milford for the last 8,000 years or however long it took between the renovation being announced and it actually finishing; (2) replacement plans coming soon, like Old Bridge which is soon to relocate down the street; or (3) simply low-volume stores that do not warrant large investments due to their size, location, and so on, like Millburn. West Milford is an Inserra-owned store that will be coming soon to the blog, and Old Bridge and Millburn are both Village locations.

      I hope that answers your question! The short answer is this: the stores are well-maintained because there is so much competition, and the store owners are frequently assisted in their renovations by the cooperatives to which they belong.

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    3. Awesome, thanks for the very detailed response! I knew your area had a ton of competition, but when you actually lay out the numbers like that -- sheesh, it blows me away! Yep, that would definitely explain the need to stay on top of things, lest they fall even a little bit behind and have their tiny portion of market share eaten up by someone else. Sounds like it gets quite ruthless out there!

      Anyway, yeah, I figured that even the stores that don't remodel still invest a lot of money in keeping the stores clean, adding new products, shuffling things around, repairing or getting new equipment, etc. I don't believe we've seen very many if any at all stores on your blogs that look like they aren't putting in that sort of effort. I was just kinda curious about décor packages specifically, and cosmetic remodels. The stores with the support of the cooperatives definitely make sense to remodel more frequently, as do the urban stores and those partnered with design groups. Of those that don't, I suppose the options you lay out make sense: something's in the works, or the store is low-volume enough not to warrant a remodel. To that end it sounds a lot like the logic out my way; it just seems like we see some definitely older stuff on the blogs sometimes, too, and I wasn't sure if there was any different reasoning behind that or if it really is just more or less common industry-wide. But yeah, I appreciate the explanation!

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    4. Sure thing! Most of that was just the stream of consciousness that makes up my regular thoughts, anyway. It sure is ruthless! In the past 20 years, we've had bankruptcies or closures of Grand Union, A&P and all its stores, Fairway Market, and Kings Food Markets in my immediate area, since it's extremely overstored.

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  2. Is that Old Bridge you refer to the one right on US 9, sits fairly close to the road?

    For some reason I remembered that as being one of the small operators (maybe even a single store owner) - perhaps it was at some point and then taken over by the Village group? That may also explain why it was not upgraded in the past (but would be now)?

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    1. Yes, you're correct on all of that! The Old Bridge ShopRite was owned until about 10 years ago by Charlie Shakoor, whose brother Jack owns Foodtown locations in Caldwell, Wayne, Bloomfield, and North Arlington. Village took it over sometime around 2010-2012 and within the next 5 years or so developed plans to replace the store. I do not know where that project stands now, but I'm assuming it's ongoing for the future.

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  3. The original Shop Rite of New City was located, I believe, in a neighboring plaza. It was a small, outmoded store from the late 50’s/early 60’s. This Shop Rite opened in the early 80’s a few months after Shop Rite of West Haverstraw opened - Haverstraw did a much larger volume business than New City, though New City did volume as well. It was remodeled and expanded a couple of times over the years and looks little like it did in the 80’s except for part of the front where the outdoor signage is. This store looks impressive. Inserra always ran good stores.

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