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TOUR: Cherry Valley Marketplace - Waterbury, CT

Cherry Valley Marketplace
Owner: Martin Espinal
Opened: between 2012 and 2016
Previous Tenants: Pathmark > Compare Foods Supermarket
Cooperative: Retail Grocers/General Trading
Location: 155 Thomaston Ave, Waterbury, CT
Photographed: July 9, 2021
Welcome to Waterbury! I've mentioned that it's the larger city in the area, with a population of just over 110,000. Waterbury is about 25 miles southwest of Hartford, 20 miles northwest of New Haven, and 25 miles northeast of Danbury. It feels like a long distance between those cities, but Connecticut is small -- 25 miles due west of Waterbury is the New York border, and 65 miles due east is Rhode Island.
The 60,000 square foot store was originally built as a Pathmark, which by the early 2000s had become a Super Compare Foods. I believe Pathmark opened here in the 1980s, as in 1972 they were located at 451 Bank St in a building I believe no longer exists. (The Pathmark of Manchester opened in 1972, and later became a ShopRite. There were also Pathmarks in Bridgeport and Danbury, and a Pathmark liquor store and gas station in Manchester.) At some point after they moved out, A&E Supermarket Group moved in and converted the store to a Compare Foods, then around 2014 when they moved all their stores away from the Associated and Compare brands, the store became a Cherry Valley Marketplace. A&E also owns City Fresh Market stores. And these days A&E appears to have moved away from ASG entirely, stocking their stores with their own Cherry Valley branded products and some Parade products from General Trading.
Colonial Plaza, where the store is located, is very large with a massive parking lot in the middle, but it's also mostly vacant. The supermarket appears to be the biggest draw here. This is also the largest A&E owned store. Let's take a look at the interior!
This store probably is still sporting its original Compare Foods decor, which is beginning to look outdated at this point although the store is well-maintained. Then again, the exterior has been redone since I visited, so it's possible the inside has also been redone. Here's an example of the new A&E decor package, which is in use at both City Fresh and Cherry Valley stores. I think it's fairly likely the store has been redone, especially since the circular advertises all kinds of things that definitely weren't here when I visited -- pizza, chimichurri, burgers, tacos, catering, juice bar, gelato...
Notice anything special about this produce department? I'm willing to bet this flooring is left over from Pathmark -- in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if most of the flooring throughout the store is left over from Pathmark. Check out this former Pathmark for comparison.
Produce is on the right side of the store, with meat on the back wall. Service meat and seafood counters are in the middle of the back wall, and I assume that's also where Pathmark's deli was. Dairy and frozen are on the far left side of the store, along with some rows of sale items and general merchandise that replace maybe two aisles that Cherry Valley took out. I think this store is too big for them, although they are doing a very good job of running it for the most part.
The grocery aisles are well-stocked, and although the selection here definitely focuses on basics and international foods, there's also quite a few natural, organic, and specialty items to choose from.
The BUtcher with some unfortunate lettering is about halfway across the wall at the back of the store. I assume this is where Pathmark would've had a butcher, although probably a smaller service counter.
Seafood is up next, and I assume today's Cherry Valley seafood counter takes up the space previously allocated to Pathmark's seafood and deli counters. Cherry Valley (or Compare Foods) moved the deli into what I assume was either Pathmark's bakery or pharmacy in the front left corner.
The aisles have a bit of an older Pathmark feel, which I am betting is due to the flooring. It would match pretty closely what Pathmark was using at the time, I believe.
I haven't been back to this store since 2021, so I don't know what it looks like these days. I would bet if A&E renovated it, it looks nothing like this. Check out the before and after of their location in West Hempstead on Long Island, also a former Pathmark-turned-Compare. Or, for another comparison, the City Fresh Market on 106th St in East Harlem before and after.
Here's where we can see the decor is getting old. The store has been reset at least once since it was installed, leading to some unfortunate situations like beer under the milk sign and cold cuts under the eggs sign.
Here we can see where Cherry Valley removed a few aisles at the end, with dairy on the outside wall. Sale items and nonfoods take up the space in the middle.
There are a few rows of lower shelving stocked with things like kitchenwares and toys.
The departments in the front have been shuffled around, too, leading to hot food under the bakery sign. The deli is to the left, and the bakery is beyond that facing the front-end...
I assume this area was either Pathmark's bakery or, if they had one, pharmacy.
The bakery and floral departments are now here, and the Floral Shop at the far end of the front-end is now just stocked with sale items. You can see the signage in one of the pictures below...
Here's a look across the front-end from the deli/bakery side.
I'm really curious to see if this store has been redone, and if so, whether the layout has changed. As I showed above, A&E goes all-out on most of their renovations.
And looking in the other direction...
I mentioned that this store was previously a Compare Foods. There's actually another Compare Foods in Waterbury that opened up since this one switched to Cherry Valley. We'll be touring that in a few days, but we have another grocery store to see in the southwestern part of Waterbury first!

Comments

  1. So there is a sign that says ice cold beer with an arrow pointing to beer that is room temperature?

    ReplyDelete
  2. That definitely looks like Pathmark flooring all around to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always hated that produce flooring. My hands hurt after pushing a cart over it.

      Delete

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