ShopRite of River Road
Owner: Inserra Supermarkets
Owner: Inserra Supermarkets
Previous Tenants: none; Stop & Shop previously had a store on this property
Cooperative: Wakefern Food Corp.
Location: 1717 River Rd, Fair Lawn, NJ
Photographed: December 2020
We're back at the Fair Lawn ShopRite (after our first brief snapshot back in April 2019). It's hard to believe this wonderfully outdated store was only built in the late 90s, since it feels so much older. It's also hard to believe it's a solid 49,000 square feet, considering it feels much smaller inside. We'll see that it has a simpler version of the same decor package as North Bergen, which would've been renovated around the same time this store was built.
The existing building, which is equipped with a parking garage under it, was built on the site of the previous ShopRite which replaced a Stop & Shop. There's also a small strip of parking on street level, and the entrance to the property is marked by this beautiful relic. Unfortunately, as we see in the first picture, there's actually no signage on the storefront, but you can see in the previous snapshot that there's a sign painted onto the back of the store. Interesting choices. Anyway, I wasn't so excited about visiting this store until recently because I didn't think it was that interesting -- but it was announced that this store will be closing as the owners prepare a new 70,000 square foot store at a nearby former Pathmark. Since interior pictures are relatively limited online, I wanted to get to the store and document it for myself first!
For underground parkers, there's a moving escalator-style ramp that takes customers up and down. It's a very cool design in which the cart's wheels lock upon entering the ramp, so it doesn't roll back. Unfortunately, it always seems to be out of service. To get this picture, I had to lift the phone above the barricades in front of the ramp. And when I visited back in 2017, same thing. So good idea, not great execution.
We enter to a grand aisle, with produce lining the right side and two counters on the left side for bakery and prepared foods. The back corner of the grand aisle is home to seafood on the side wall and deli on the back, with meats on the rest of the back wall. Dairy takes up an alcove on the back wall, with frozen lining the outside wall in the last aisle and an alcove in the front corner.
Interesting that the decor is so basic compared to North Bergen. As we'll see, there's basically nothing on the bland white walls other than the specific department signs.
This store was passed over for many remodels, so I wonder if there was a longer-term plan to move over to the Pathmark when it became vacant. But if that were true, I do wonder why the Inserras didn't purchase the store right away, and more than five years after the Pathmark closed, why the construction has barely started. (We'll be seeing the former Pathmark tomorrow.)
We see a very abbreviated version of the lit ceiling, with a few lights out. I'd assume the small upkeep like that will be done less as the new store is prepared.
Hmm. Seafood is looking a little heavy on the ice and light on the fish.
A little more produce on the back wall, which then leads into The Meating Place. Notice how blank the walls are -- absolutely no props other than the department signs themselves. Was there previously more here that was taken down when the walls were painted for a refresh?
Some original promotional signage and category markers here in the grocery aisles. This store does not have a pharmacy.
Notice the "If an item is too heavy..." sign hanging from the ceiling to the right and the old ShopRite logo still on the front wall.
Well, if not the most modern, the store is definitely clean for the absurdly high volume it does. And plenty bright.
Here we're looking towards the grand aisle on the back wall. Dairy begins on this wall and then continues into an alcove with three very short aisles.
Dairy then continues on the outside wall of the store, with frozen picking up in the last aisle.
A whole lotta nothing on the walls draws shoppers to this part of the frozen department, but in the front corner of the store, we're welcomed into Frozen World. Also gigantic teddy bears. I bought a few. You know, for company.
In the freezer department we see a mix of older and newer category markers, although the freezer cases themselves look to have been updated since the store opened.
And looking across the front end back towards produce. Aisle 9 contains Pancake, in case anyone was looking for it. Just one. (My assumption is that, since one of the category panels seems to be done in a different font, there was once a second panel that said Mix that was disposed of when the aisle had more items added to it.)
That is all for this store! Definitely glad I got to document it before it closed for good. At the time of writing, there's no estimated date for the new store's opening yet, so if you want to go check out this store for yourself, please do, you still have time. And tomorrow, we're going to head the half a mile north to the former Pathmark/future ShopRite to see what it looked like in December of 2020 on Grocery Archaeology!