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TOUR: Superfresh Food World - Belleville, NJ

Superfresh Food World
Owner: Harold Lee / Food World Supermarkets
Opened: 2016
Previous Tenants: Pathmark
Cooperative: Key Food Stores
Location: 115 Belmont Ave, Belleville, NJ
Photographed: July 2016, September 2017, January 2018, June 2018, July 2020, and February 2021
Today's store tour is the 55,000 square foot Superfresh Food World of Belleville, which opened a few weeks after its sister store in nearby Bloomfield (which has since been sold). It's one of the largest Key Food affiliates out there, and also clearly a high-volume store. It's not my local supermarket, but I do tend to go here fairly frequently to track down exotic items and cheap produce I can't find elsewhere, meaning that I've photographed the store five times. That's not particularly relevant, except for a few places where I'll point out a change -- of course, until the summer of 2020 when a major redevelopment of the property began, building a mixed-use development on a large part of the sprawling 7+ acre property. We'll see the construction in progress at the end of the post.
Most of the pictures come from July 3, 2016, just two days after the grand opening ribbon cutting. The grand opening was in full swing, with free samples, loud music, and very aggressive sales. Only the free samples have gone away -- this store is one of my favorites for good sales, but man is the music loud.
Like Lackawanna Plaza, the redevelopment of this enormous property, which is itself a former factory site before Pathmark, has begun and will involve cutting back some of the gigantic parking lot for mixed-use development including residences. The location is very convenient, being less than a block away from a light rail station that takes riders into downtown Newark.
For cold weather and night times, the outdoor displayed merchandise is placed behind these Plexiglass-type panels. Much more attractive than the typical garage-style rolling doors!
And in nice weather, they're simply removed so customers can access the merchandise without having to enter at either end.
Pathmark cart corrals remain, with a fresh coat of paint and a new sign insert. The delivery service seems to do big business here, with two vans that are always coming and going when I visit.
Back to opening weekend, we see 103.5 KTU ("The beat of New York!") has set up a table outside and was playing music loudly both outside and inside.
Superfresh Food World opened up Pathmark's produce department and HABA section to expand its selection enormously, with the former HABA department to the right now all international foods. The bakery remains immediately inside the entrance to the right, while Pathmark's pharmacy in the front right corner is now a liquor store (temporarily sale items, as we'll see shortly). Bulk foods line the right wall, with deli/hot food, seafood, and meat along the back wall. HABA now takes up the first aisle or two, with dairy and frozen at the far end of the store. There have recently been a few more changes, which I'll address shortly.
The produce department is gigantic, as you can see. The fixtures are new except for the refrigerator cases lining either side.
These friendly folks under a giant fake tree are also new.
This area has been reshuffled twice. At the time of my first visit, the Pathmark bakery cases were still in place to the right of the service counter, which have since been removed and replaced with refrigerator cases. Then, around the fall of 2019, the bakery service counter was removed entirely and moved back to where the hot food bar used to be in the back, next to the deli (we'll get there in a little bit). A hot food case was installed here, with tables placed in front of the service counter, and the whole area was later leased out to an outside restaurant/catering company to serve hot food here. At the time of my summer 2020 visit, the area still sold baked goods but the service counter was under construction.
Pathmark's old cases are now long gone!
Instead, the area beyond the service counter has been replaced with newer, taller self-service bulk cases featuring rolls, bagels, bread, muffins, and the like. The bakery displays in the middle have been replaced with picnic tables, and additional baked goods have been placed in the back near deli. I like the flags, which ran along the whole front end of the store, but they've been removed.
Looking across the produce department towards the deli and seafood on the back wall. Pathmark flooring remains in place throughout the store.
You can see the blue tile pattern peeking out from under the international sale displays at this end of the store!
A huge international section fills the right-hand side of the store, where Pathmark would've had the health and beauty department.
Where Pathmark's pharmacy was, initially was used as a display area for sale items but later switched to a liquor store.
The international section is one of the largest I've seen, with labeled sections for nearly every region of the world you could think of. I'd estimate about 60% of the international section here is Latin, Caribbean, and African, with the rest split between eastern Asian, Middle Eastern, Italian, Indian, and Eastern European. (The split in Food World's spectacular Linden location is, on the other hand, probably 60% Eastern European, Italian, and Latin; the demographics of the respective areas inform how the sections are designated. Bloomfield, linked above, has more eastern Asian, Filipino, and Italian than anything else.)
The Jamaican and Haitian aisle. (I believe these shelves have been replaced with higher shelving, and aisle markers have been hung from the ceiling to accommodate the higher shelving.)
Sale items line the last international aisle, which is the right-side wall of the store.
Looking along the back wall to deli and seafood.
A look at the deli department.
Enormous fresh seafood department up next, with meats lining the rest of the back wall.
Most of the fixtures, such as the coffin cases visible here, are left over from Pathmark. However, as I've mentioned, the owners have been slowly updating cases. We'll see another example of that soon.
I really like this decor and I think it works well in this larger store. Instead of just a butcher window with a self-service case under it, a full service butcher counter has been installed under that sign.
The fixtures and floor, however, are showing signs of age.
Aisle 3 always makes me laugh, with its accidental combination of "vinegar" and "spaghetti sauce" (there's no vinegar in this aisle). A couple of products have caught my eye on the grocery shelves, too...
This relish jar to the right is still sporting the old Key Food logo, and while I don't know exactly when the logo was changed, it was some time around 2000-2005. (Don't worry, the older jar was not actually that old, it had not expired, but the label had not been updated for whatever reason.) Both of these designs have been eliminated in favor of the Urban Meadow packaging recently.
Bogopa (the Food Bazaar storebrand) croissants have ended up here too, on multiple occasions. They're advertised as Sani (the brand seen below with the blue stripe), and 2/$5 is what I've paid for them at Food Bazaar. I believe this store is at least partially supplied by Bogopa, but I could be wrong.
All the dairy cases here at the end of the last aisle (looking along the back wall) are left over from Pathmark. While the store opened with Pathmark freezer cases in the last two aisles, they were quickly switched to new cases.
The middle freezer aisle is also now split, and you can see in the picture below where the floor was patched.
That's one thing, this store could stand to have all-new flooring installed.
Pathmark cases and flooring remain in the last aisle, with some very attractive new decor.
A look across the front end with the Path to Savings flooring very much intact here too! This front-end is frequently as busy as you see it here on opening weekend, which makes me think this has to be one of the most successful Pathmark conversions out there. This store is a favorite of mine, so thank you for putting up with all 38 (!!) pictures in this very extensive store tour. But we're not done yet... let's check out the property under construction in June of 2020!
Here's an updated view of the storefront. I think this picture might actually be from July, but it was my later visit in summer 2020. I have more pictures of the property under construction from the earlier visit in June...
The parking lot felt so much smaller than it should be, but in reality the reduced parking lot is about the size it needs to be to hold the customers who shop here.
Small strip of parking on the side of the store near Belmont Avenue, with the rest in the back of the property near the store's entrance.
The parking lot previously extended all the way down to where you can see the SuperFresh Food World sign way at the other end of the property. This will all be multi-story retail/residential. Food World owns the building and property around the supermarket, but the former parking lot space is owned by the developer.
Standing on the front sidewalk of the supermarket looking out across the parking lot. More store updates from February of this year...
Having some fun with the wide-angle lens on my new cell phone camera, we can appreciate how large the store is.
This end of the SuperFresh is where Belmont Avenue is, and the road runs along the side of the store.
Secondary retail (a gym) and residences under construction and coming along nicely at the other end of the lot. Now Superfresh Food World is one of two large and most popular supermarkets in this immediate area, the other being a boring Stop & Shop just over the border in Bloomfield, but there's also a smaller supermarket six blocks east that we'll be touring tomorrow on The Independent Edition!

Comments

  1. If you look closely at the cart corral picture, there is a Pathmark Technibilt with its logo filed off.

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