Skip to main content

TOUR: ShopRite - Oakland, NJ

ShopRite of Oakland
Owner: Joseph and Robert Clare
Opened: 1928, 1972 in current location
Previous Tenants: none
Cooperative: Wakefern Food Corp.
Location: 14 Post Rd, Oakland, NJ
Photographed: December 2020
We're back here at the Oakland ShopRite, one of my favorites, for a wintry tour to supplement our past snapshot! The scenery was looking much greener back in my July 2018 pictures, but the mountains to the north of the store are still there and just as scenic in the winter.
We're looking from the upper (main) parking lot down towards the lower parking lot, which connects to the parking garage under the store, which itself is perched on top of a hill. You can see route 202 in the distance down at the bottom of this hill, where the circular ShopRite sign is.
One of several unusual things about this gigantic 81,000 square foot store is the fact that the storefront, which faces the parking lot and is oriented away from the road, does not have the ShopRite name or logo anywhere on it. Long Hill Plaza includes a liquor store, dry cleaners, and a few other small businesses inside the ShopRite. Now as anyone who's ever been here can tell you, the many, many expansions over the years have left the layout... unconventional. To say the least. So let's begin with a fire exit plan, which shows us the general layout of the space.
We enter at the EXIT label right next to the PHOTO label, and turn right to enter bakery. From there, we can make a sharp right into produce, which also includes prepared foods, catering, and deli islands, with seafood and deli along the outside wall. We then pass through meats in the first aisle with dairy on the back wall of the store. Frozen foods run right down the middle, except for the ones that don't, which are on the back wall to the left of dairy. Aisles 14-19 are mostly health and beauty, with 20-26 all nonfoods. The checkouts are then in an L-shape around the other businesses which run just below the handwritten "CHECKOUTS" label. Does that make sense? If you get lost during our tour, just know I have gotten lost while physically standing in the store.
We're welcomed inside with a great sign still sporting the pre-2002 logo! Although the store interior hasn't been significantly remodeled recently, it's been streamlined in the last few years with a lot of the clutter removed. So now we make a right turn to pass through bakery...
The wooden shelving on the right I believe was either natural or gluten free items in the past, but the whole store has been reset and I didn't look too carefully what it is now. I love the chandeliers! The store also used to have some old-fashioned general store type memorabilia and props on top of the shelving, but that's all unfortunately been removed.
At the end of the bakery hallway, we encounter the floral island with catering on the other side. Are you following along on the layout plan? Good. We now turn right to enter a wonderfully retro produce department...
It seems that as the store was expanded, it wasn't so much scaled up into the larger spaces as simply added on to. So the produce department is gigantic, but then the grocery aisles are still set up the way they would've been since opening.
I love to shop at this store late at night after eating a delicious dinner at the nearby Oakland Diner. A must-see diner and a great part of New Jersey culture!
Prepared foods and cheese in the middle of the expansion area here. The deli is on the far wall straight ahead.
Seafood on the produce side of this side wall (and by the way, you can see the open produce prep area far to the right).
Deli is the next service department along this side wall.
Lots and lots of cheese, packaged deli, and prepared foods cases take up the middle section here. This area also feels very spacious.
The olive bar and catering office are on the back of the floral island.
Packaged deli runs along the side of the prep area as we move into the original grocery store area (you can see the transition in the flooring). The grocery aisles remain from the original store's setup, I'd assume.
Meat lines both sides of the grocery aisle with islands in the middle, with milk on that diagonal wall in the back. Dairy lines the rest of the back wall.
Looking back towards deli/produce.
The dairy department is another unfortunate example of streamlining, as the top of this case used to be lined with various props, potted plants, I'm not even sure what it all was but it looks so boring and empty now.
The grocery aisles are fairly narrow and simple for such a large store, but as I said, that's because they're the oldest part of the store.
Some interesting wood shelving features remain, along with trim along the top of some of the grocery aisles.
Frozen foods aisle running down the middle of the store. As I said, there are additional frozen foods across the store on the back wall.
Double-wide aisle with beverages and snacks toward the end.
Bakery is on the other side of this wall, with bread and vitamins on this side. We can also see here where the aisles switch from running front-to-back to side-to-side.
Aisles 1-13 run front-to-back, and 14-19 side-to-side. Moving into aisle 14, with health and beauty items...
HABA takes up most of the other aisles in this section.
Except for aisles 18-19, which have natural (or is it gluten free?) items and the remainder of frozen foods on the back wall.
And towards the far end of the store, the aisle has nonfoods and becomes aisle 20 in the next set of slightly diagonal aisles (20-24).
This is all we saw last time. At the time of my December visit, the view was wintry but equally impressive...
And circling back into the store, we find a rather odd assortment of... stuff. I'm not entirely sure what to call it all.
And yet another set of aisles that run in a slightly different direction.
As we saw in the floor plan, some of the checkouts face this section and some face into the main supermarket. The set facing the main supermarket were far too busy for me to grab a picture, but we get to see this other part here...
That wraps up our exhaustive look at the Oakland ShopRite, a store that if nothing else is completely unique. There's nothing else like this out there, so it's definitely worth a stop if you're ever passing through. Our next stop will be a small store just to the west over on The Independent Edition!

Comments

  1. That odd assortment seems to be a combination of seasonal (both Christmas and possibly the Sharpie display leftover from back to school season), electrical (batteries) and stuff that would be classified as "As Seen on TV" on the shelves behind the Sharpie/wrapping.

    Definitely hard to figure out the exact original configuration - the aisles make sense, but somehow the produce & deli would have had to fit in (along with checkouts) if that section is all that existed originally (figuring most of the other "services" might not have been in existence in a store of that timeframe).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I've seen everything from toy trucks to clothing displayed in the assorted corners of this store. My assumption on the layout is that the grocery aisles are where they would've been originally, but that they would've been shorter, with checkouts running right above where the layout plan says "floral." I'd assume that what's now meat would've been produce and maybe deli, what's now dairy would've been meat, and dairy would've been on the left side wall of the store. Frozen has probably always been in the spot it is now, though. I'm not sure, but those would be my guesses.

      Delete
  2. Another hometown store of mine! I'm not the biggest fan of this one, mostly because of the bonkers layout. It also helps that the Stop & Shop in Franklin Lakes is closer to my house, so it generally seems more sensible for me to shop there.
    One thing I've heard, but didn't see, since I was born a decade after it closed - apparently, the reason for ShopRite's wacky layout is because the shopping center used to be something of an indoor mall. I'll follow your guess of the grocery aisles being the original part of the store. I know there was a two-screen movie theater there, which opened in 1974 and closed sometime in the early 90s - if we go by its (very minimal) page on Cinema Treasures, it closed in 1993. If that's true, I'd wager a guess that ShopRite expanded sometime around then. I also wonder if the oddball tiles in the far end of the store are left over from one of the mall tenants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, thank you for all that background here! I never looked through the historic aerials of this location, so I just assumed the store was expanded by constructing new spaces. That makes so much more sense, though, that the building was in place and they just added store expansions in the former mall space. It also explains the lack of ShopRite branding on the storefront, instead of just the Long Hill Plaza sign.

      Delete
  3. Ah, this Shoprite has always been an interesting one to me. I like it better than some Shoprites, but I can never not get lost here. My dad worked in the area for 20+ years so this was his after work stop but never our regular shopping destination. I remember being a bit put off by the layout my first time here, but it's grown on me over the years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the layout sure is bizarre but I think you get used to it. I've been here quite a few times over the years and even with my occasional visits I'm more familiar with the setup.

      Delete

Post a Comment