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TOUR: Kings Food Markets - Garwood, NJ

Kings Food Markets
Opened: 1982
Previous Tenants: Stop & Shop
Location: 300 South Ave, Garwood, NJ
Photographed: November 2020
Like many of our other Kings tours, this one was photographed in the last week of November 2020 just weeks before the ownership was turned over to ACME Markets. This Garwood store, however, is a bit different in feeling than the rest of the Kings stores we saw. The 31,000 square foot store is on the larger side for Kings, and was built as a Stop & Shop back in the 1960s when the chain first entered the New Jersey market, with Kings taking over in 1982. The store itself was a much more "city" feeling supermarket than most of the Kings, with the rest of the mall being more urban in style than most of the Kings' properties. The area, with multi-level housing and light industrial along South Avenue, actually feels much more like the area where the ShopRite in Elizabeth is -- and by the way, that store is about four and a half miles east on South Avenue, which becomes Grand Street in Elizabeth. That said, Garwood is still an affluent suburb, warranting the upscale Kings, although this particular location certainly feels rougher around the edges than the others.
In a similar layout to Millburn, which also was a Stop & Shop, deli lines the front wall to the right of the entrance, with prepared foods and bakery along the right side of the grand aisle. Cheese is in an island along the left side of the grand aisle, with meat at the back right of the grand aisle. Unlike Millburn, however, produce is in the second aisle instead of the last, with seafood and dairy on the back wall. Frozen takes up one side of the second-to-last aisle and the last aisle, with floral in the front left corner.
Cheese counter in the front of the grand aisle. You can just see the tops of wooden structures hanging from the ceiling to the left, and those are over the produce aisle.
As you can see, and as I've said before, the decor seen in this store is sophisticated and simple -- but extremely low-cost. Bakery takes up the back part of the first aisle. Also notice the burnt-out lights as we see the lit trim around the store. I've mentioned this before, but Kings stopped making those little fixes as they prepared to wind down the business in 2019-2020 before ACME officially took over on January 23, 2021.
And next along the outside wall is the butcher counter...
The rest of this back corner is packaged meat. We see the flooring transition to what I'm assuming is older flooring left over from the previous decor package.
Jumping back over to the second aisle, with produce, and it's looking great...
I love the wood structures! They're definitely left over from a previous decor package.
Looking along the back wall. Seafood is the next service department...
Combination of new(ish) flooring and much, much older terrazzo-style flooring here, with the checkerboard-type pattern being the newer one. The older terrazzo flooring doesn't appear anywhere else in the store.
The grocery aisles are very clean but we can see a lot of the bones here are very old, like the flooring itself and the air vents on the ceiling.
Nonfoods aisle towards the end of the store. I'm thinking the shelving here dates to at least the store's opening in the 80s, if not before, but it's all been painted.
Much newer freezer cases and specialized candy merchandising in the second-to-last aisle.
10 aisles in total. The floral department is tucked away in the front corner of this aisle, and as usual, it's beautifully merchandised but a bit light on the flowers.
The front end is clearly less deluxe than other Kings locations, and feels much more like a standard supermarket.
That's all for this store, which is towards the west side of Garwood. Our next stop is in the town just to the west of Garwood, in Westfield, right here on The Market Report tomorrow!


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