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TOUR: ShopRite - Parkside, Philadelphia, PA

ShopRite of Parkside
Owner: Jeff Brown
Opened: 2008
Previous Tenants: none
Cooperative: Wakefern Food Corp.
Location: 1575 N 52nd St, Parkside, Philadelphia, PA
Photographed: December 2021
Welcome to Philadelphia! I am very excited to be presenting a few wonderful supermarket selections from within the city. Now, this is by no means the highlight reel of the city -- there are lots of fantastic supermarkets across Philadelphia, and only so many that I've been able to get to. So we'll be going through around 20 tours and plenty of smaller posts over the next few weeks. Let's begin with a major player in the Philadelphia market -- Wakefern Food Corp, which runs ShopRite and Fresh Grocer stores in and around Philadelphia. Wakefern is, of course, the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the world, so each store is individually owned and operated.
So before we begin, some background. The ShopRite stores tend to be larger, more value-focused, and lower-end (though not at all low-end), while The Fresh Grocer stores tend to be smaller, higher-end, and frequently located near colleges. The Burns family is the largest Fresh Grocer operator in the area, and the originators of the banner; the Brown family is the largest ShopRite operator in the area. The Burns own one ShopRite and the Browns own two Fresh Grocers, too. There are assorted other ShopRite operators, ranging from one to roughly 10 stores, and there's a big variation in quality of operations as we'll see. Brown's stores tend to be large, recently-renovated, well-run, and extraordinarily high volume from my observations. And one more note before we go in -- you'll notice the banner on the storefront promoting Jeff Brown and his social media. Brown is considered likely to run for mayor in 2023 and even considered a potential frontrunner in the crowded field, being a progressive but also a business leader in a liberal city that also values small businesses. Anyhow, this is not a political blog so let's stick to the supermarket!
This store opened as a new-build location in 2008, and brought about 65,000 square feet of supermarket to a food desert in western Philadelphia. It's located just south of the large Fairmount Park in a predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood that lacks supermarket options almost entirely, save for an 8500 square foot supermarket in the Carroll Park area about half a mile south. There's also a Save-A-Lot, Burns-owned Fresh Grocer, and ALDI roughly 1-1.5 miles south. This store has a lot of additional features, such as the credit union shown here.
We enter to a colorful and spacious grand aisle with bakery, prepared foods, and deli lining the left side. Seafood, a halal butcher, and meat take up the back wall of the store with dairy in the last aisle. There are two frozen aisles in the front-right corner running along the front wall of the store. A former pharmacy in the front of the first few aisles is now a beer and wine department. In addition to the credit union, this supermarket also features a number of other features and outside vendors, from a locksmith to a Saladworks in the front of the produce department.
After opening in 2008, the store did receive a renovation more recently, although I'm not sure exactly when, which mostly focused on updating the grand aisle with new flooring, decor, and fixtures. The Saladworks above was added after that, and faces the entrance at the front of the grand aisle. The food court also features a Chinese food bar and Brown's famous fire-grilled chicken, along with an outpost of a local soul food restaurant.
Here's a look at the bakery in the front corner. The produce department faces it on the other side of the prepared foods...
We can also see the back of what used to be the pharmacy and is now the liquor store here. As I mentioned, a restaurant has opened up an outpost in the prepared foods department and now takes up one of the hot food bars with some very delicious-looking southern-style cuisine. This is, of course, an outside business but a very nice feature.
The deli is in the back left corner of the grand aisle.
And just to the right of the deli is a very large seafood department. Not as large as we see at some SuperFresh or Food Bazaar stores, but nonetheless much larger than most ShopRites'!
A halal meat department -- another way that Brown's caters to the local population here -- is up next on the back wall between seafood and the rest of the meat. As far as I can tell, this part of the store was not redone when the grand aisle was. Despite that, it manages to look quite harmonious.
But we can tell that the store is not brand-new with some older-looking fixtures, such as the hanging tube lights and the beige cases, which also look older than they actually are.
Heading into the grocery aisles, we find the first few are abbreviated due to the liquor department being in the front half of these aisles.
And speaking of that...
We see where the pharmacy counter was, now the beer garden cashier.
I've mentioned that the Brown's stores are well-run, and that includes a lot of parts of the operation from product mix to freshness and quality, but a big one is maintenance. As we see, the store is absolutely spotless and very visually appealing. Check out how clean and shiny that floor is -- for a store that's already almost 15 years old!
In the back again, the meat department transitions to dairy, which then runs along the last aisle's outside wall.
I'm not sure many of my pictures captured it, but this store was actually quite crowded. We do get a little bit of an idea of that here in the last aisle. Frozen foods are in two aisles at the front of the store...
We can see also that Brown's has replaced the carts here, along with the category signage. The department signage hanging from the ceiling remains from the store's opening, as do these fixtures.
The wall to our left above is the front wall of the store, and we can see the registers straight ahead beyond the frozen cases.
Hey, speaking of the registers! Well I must say that I really love this ShopRite, and most Brown's stores for that matter. We'll be seeing a few more as we pass through the area, so if you're interested in this don't worry. But for now, I mentioned the only other supermarket in the immediate area (especially for a neighborhood that's mostly on foot) was a small store about half a mile south, which we'll be touring tomorrow on The Independent Edition!


  1. While you’re in Philly, you should check out the Giant on North 23rd St. it’s their “flagship” store and is quite nice, most giants are average but that one has some unique features to it.

    1. That store is nice but their selection isn't great when it comes to everyday items.


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