ShopRite of Little Falls
Owner: Chuck Infusino
Owner: Chuck Infusino
Opened: 1970s (in this location)
Previous Tenants: none
Cooperative: Wakefern Food Corp.
Location: 171 Browertown Rd, Little Falls, NJ
Photographed: December 2020
It's almost exactly a quarter of a mile from yesterday's former Fairway to today's ShopRite, but the two stores are basically just across the highway from each other. Both, however, are difficult to access from route 46. While that became a weakness for the Pathmark-turned-Fairway, it's definitely a strength for the ShopRite, which draws a large part of its customer base from the neighborhoods immediately around the store and to the south, serving Little Falls and several neighboring towns.
The approximately 75,000 square foot store (that includes the neighboring ShopRite liquor store) has to be one of the strangest laid out stores in existence -- rivaling Oakland -- but a recently-completed remodel has vastly improved it, as we'll see. The store has been expanded many times before, and has nearly six acres of parking (!!) -- which sometimes is barely enough. Its latest remodel has brought a lot of improvements, as we'll see. There is an entrance at each end of the storefront, with the main one on the left bringing you into a room with produce, bakery, and specialty cheese. There's a walkway then into the main supermarket building with pharmacy on the front wall and HABA in the first few aisles. Meat and seafood line the back wall in the main building, and then at aisle 15 we enter another expansion on the other side. At that point, aisles 16 through 23 run parallel to the front wall, with deli and prepared foods on the front wall, packaged deli on the right side wall, frozen in aisles 21-22, and dairy in aisle 23 which is also the back wall of the store.
Bakery is the first department we enter to, on the far left side of the store. I must say, this store's bakery is exceptional. I also very much like the decor in the bakery/produce room, which is left over from the prior remodel probably around the time that Fairway opened (2012) and has no need for updates.
This self-serve case is just inside the entrance. As we'll see, there's a lot of local charm in this store, such as the Bake Shoppe at Little Falls and the Great Notch Farmers Market, with this store in the Great Notch section of Little Falls Township. This is a beloved store by locals -- something I'm not sure the folks at Amazon understand as they prepare to open an Amazon Fresh in the former Fairway. I'm sure on paper they see a weirdly laid out, 1970s-era independent supermarket, but the amount of volume this store does is crazy. (And off the record... The Market Report does not like Amazon very much. And therefore yours truly does in fact hope that Amazon sorely underestimates this store and fails miserably in New Jersey.)
Beautiful decor and merchandising throughout produce. Near the front of the department is a gourmet cheese island. A very nice touch -- but extremely odd placement, given the deli is quite literally at the farthest end of the store from this area.
Floral is also in the back corner of this department, as we can see above. This part of New Jersey, right along the Passaic River which is also the border between Bergen and Passaic counties, is called the Passaic Valley. You'd think the folks who named these geographical features would've been more creative, but the ShopRite once again pulls from the local names for the "Passaic Valley Farm Fresh" signage.
Here's an overview of the produce/bakery room, looking back towards the main entrance. The wall to the left is the front wall of the store. Now if I turn around 360 degrees and take another picture, we can look across the front-end into the main supermarket...
So for the rest of the tour, everything we're going to see was remodeled in the 2019-20 renovation. We can catch a glimpse of customer service in an island to the left facing the registers, with the pharmacy just out of frame to the right in the above picture. I'd assume this pharmacy counter was originally customer service.
Health and beauty items then line the first few aisles. Note that since the produce/bakery room is shallower than the rest of the store, there's only one doorway between the two. We can also see one exit behind the pharmacy counter, with the other at the far end of the store.
As dedicated readers of The Market Report will know, Wakefern's latest health and beauty departments are absolutely gorgeous. Above is the first aisle, with produce just on the other side of that wall. One thing that we'll definitely notice as we proceed through the rest of this store is that it is immaculate. There is not one speck of dust anywhere in the place -- and in fact, there were several employees cleaning at the time of my visit. Quite remarkable for such a high-volume store, and something a lot of other store owners could learn from.
One of the most beautiful health and beauty departments I've ever seen.
The decor, flooring, and some of the fixtures were replaced in the 2019-20 remodel. The aisle markers, by the way, were not. The brownish wood flooring to the right is for the HABA aisles, with the whiteish tile for the main store and the grayish tile for the meat and seafood departments. The patch of black under the shopping cart is not poorly patched flooring, but just a mat that was starting to peel off the floor.
Extremely well-stocked and clean grocery aisles, although we can tell the shelving itself is on the older side.
Looking back towards the first aisle along the back wall.
Newly remodeled seafood counter on the back wall, even with fried fish. Next we move into the expansion on the other side, with aisles 16-23 running perpendicular to the others. Because I am nitpicky with details, I would like to specify that this expansion was done in two parts; the front half with deli was first done a while back, meaning something like aisles 16-19, then in the 2019-20 remodel, the remaining few aisles were constructed by pushing out the back wall of the store. Or at least that's what I'm pretty sure happened, although I was last in this store more than five years ago, so if I'm wrong, please correct me. The new space, though, is almost seamless, if very separated from the main supermarket building.
In the above picture, we're looking towards the front wall of the store in the expansion. The main supermarket building ends where the drop ceiling ends.
A beautiful dairy aisle takes up the back part of the expansion, which is aisle 24.
And milk is in the back part of the right-side wall of the store, so I'm assuming there's backroom space behind this.
Two beautiful frozen aisles are up next as we move towards the front wall of the store...
And beyond that, the front part has several grocery aisles.
On the right side wall of the store, after the milk, is packaged deli and the service deli counter. All of that area has been completely redone in the 2020 remodel.
So beautiful! But remember, if you want block specialty cheese, you'll have to walk almost 400 feet all the way to the other end of the store to the produce-bakery room.
I remember this whole area before the renovation was a mess. It's much more streamlined now. The deli counter is in the front corner...
Very busy area but the flow is much better. The prepared foods selection has also been expanded from just a little section of the deli to the entire front wall of this expansion. We start with a case in the corner for assorted chickens (rotisserie, fried, tenders, wings, etc), then moving on to the sushi and sandwich bars...
And up next is a custom grill and huge hot food bar, with a small cafe just next to it. The second entrance to the store is also on this end next to the cafe.
I know that seems like a weird place to end the tour, since I usually end with the front end. But we already saw the front end! Up next we're going to head back through Clifton to see two more stores before jumping into Passaic, the second-largest city in the area. Come back tomorrow to see our next store right here on The Market Report!