Owner: Sam Shnayder
Previous Tenants: Grand Union > Norkus Foodtown > Stop & Shop
Location: 700 Tennent Rd, Manalapan, NJ
Photographed: February 2021
It's time for our very first-ever NetCost Market! Manalapan is one of the 12 locations of the Brooklyn-based Russian supermarket chain, occupying about 42,000 square feet of this small strip mall. Built as a Grand Union and later a Norkus Foodtown that became a Stop & Shop, NetCost opened about a year after Stop & Shop's closure in 2015. Note that that means Stop & Shop was open in this location for just about four years -- a rather short life for a Stop & Shop. As we'll see, NetCost doesn't seem to have left much from Stop & Shop at first glance but there's actually a lot left when you look carefully.
We enter to a gorgeous grand aisle (we're really on a streak of beautiful supermarkets lately, make sure to check out yesterday's Food Emporium here). Produce lines the left side with enormous hot food bars lining the right side of the grand aisle. Deli is at the back of the grand aisle, with smoked fish and fresh seafood counters up next on the back wall and meats extending beyond that. Frozen and dairy are in an expansive last aisle with bakery in the front corner.
I'm fairly certain the produce cases are actually left over from Stop & Shop but well-disguised. Check out this picture for comparison. It seems that quite a few cases around the store are left over from Stop & Shop, but repainted to match the rest of the new decor.
The deli, on the back wall, is really gorgeous but I wouldn't be surprised if those cases were left from Stop & Shop. This is where Stop & Shop would've had seafood, with their deli on the left side where NetCost now has produce. The seafood cases are definitely new...
This store was designed by DY Design, whose other efforts include a wide range of stores including my favorites: Supremo, CTown, Billy's Marketplace, Cherry Valley Marketplace, CitiGrocer, and many more. I wouldn't be surprised honestly if Kings were on that list too -- quite a few of their stores seem to be basically a no-frills version of this decor package.
Meats and the beginning of dairy on the back wall. I think it's pretty fair to assume all of these cases are left over from Stop & Shop although I do wish they'd been painted black to hide their age a little.
The selection here is fascinating to me. I'd say it's 50% regular grocery items and 50% specialized Russian and other Eastern European imported items. I'm pretty sure this is the largest NetCost out there, so it's clear they're stretched a bit thin in the large space. Quite a few of the grocery aisles are double-wide to accommodate sale items in the middle, such as what we see here.
Lots of space, but some very good merchandising. Regardless it's clear this space is too large for them, and hopefully they'll be able to work with it anyway. I would've sliced off about 10,000 square feet.
I do like the rough-looking concrete flooring though.
Milk in the back corner, and I'm fairly certain all of these fixtures date back to Stop & Shop -- actually, quite a few of them could be even from the Grand Union days. Once again, I wouldn't notice it so much if they'd been painted black instead of beige.
Notice the age of all the cases here. I do wonder why NetCost didn't replace any of the cases around the store -- I suppose there was nothing wrong with them. Up next we move into the bakery department in the front corner. Another excellent department with a subtle reminder of Stop & Shop...
That arch is definitely either from Stop & Shop or Grand Union, although I'm blanking on the decor package it would've been included in. Is it just the Super Stop & Shop-era decor that's from that first picture I linked above? The arch idea from the grand aisle could conceivably have been carried over to here as well...
Either way, it's been very nicely integrated into the new decor package. I do wish there were some lighting under the arch though. Now for a look at the spacious and bright front end...
Looking back towards the grand aisle, and in the other direction...
This store's address is on Tennent Road, the side street, but the property abuts US-9. As we finish out our circle back north, we'll be heading north on 9 back up to Parlin eventually but first we have to make a quick detour to the southwest tomorrow just under a mile to two stores in the same strip mall -- one former store on Grocery Archaeology, and one new one on The Independent Edition. Stay tuned!