Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Another Retro Shoppers Food Commercial (+Bonus!)

Well, this place is up and running again, hopefully with all the promises kept from now on. I would, however take time to apologize for the unfinished posts I published back in October, since these were rushed to meet the deadline. I would take time to complete all five posts in a flash, and keep them as a "gallery" of posts rather than a constant news feed.
What we do have here for all of us today, however, is another Shoppers commercial that had been unearthed and now presented to the forefront on the blog. Plus, we even have a bonus below, so simply scroll down. Got it?
Dated from 1985, this commercial is basesd on interviews of Shoppers customers and a spokesperson repeating the claims afterwards. While still having a similar logo as later, the font is slightly different than the other logos, and has a somewhat different background.
Credit: Pannoni 9
Throwing an extra goody into the bag today, a WRC-TV (NBC's Washington, D.C. affiliate on channel 4) compilation of ads from 1987 shows another classic Shoppers Food Warehouse commercial at the 8:33 mark. The commercial has the same background tune as the previously shared 1991 commercials, and shows the usual weekly prices. Also to note, there are commercials from rivaling Giant Food and many other retail and food brands.

To sum today's edition of the Shoppers Food Blog up, I'm hoping these two vintage commercials show an out-of-the-ordinary side of the retailer for all of us. More commercials to come soon, so stay tuned.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Shoppers Fun Facts!

Do you like lists? Do you like facts? If so, welcome to YouTube the Shoppers Food Blog (today)! Let's take another brief shopping cart tour of all the history that Shoppers has provided, in short (but sweet) sentences, that are seriously not opinions.

Shoppers Fun Facts:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Shoppers Sidetracks: Giant - Haymarket, VA

Welcome to Shoppers Sidetracks, where we take a break from Shoppers... to end our breaks with other retailers. Change is good, right? Anyways, we'll tend to Shoppers's major competitor, Giant, as they have some interesting stores too. Not all innovation comes from the food warehouse, after all.

More coming soon!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

In Memoriam: Manassas (East) Shoppers

As of late, the most Shoppers stores since 2011 have closed, with the third installment this year being the Manassas location along Liberia Ave., a store that succumbed to low traffic and an expired lease. The store was a more modern example of Shoppers, opening its' doors in the summer of 2004 and remaining open for around twelve years (including a 2011 remodel).

Former Shoppers - Manassas (East), VA (Store #2380)

Credit: Shoppers/SuperValu
Store Info
  • Location:
  • Opened: Summer 2004
  • Closed: August 21, 2016
  • Remodeled: Yes (2011, "Fresh & Healthy" package)
  • Interior packages: Mid-2000s theme (original "Real People. Real Value. Real Smart" variant), SuperValu "Fresh & Healthy" theme
  • Features: Pharmacy (closed in June 2016), Deli, Seafood, Shoppers Café, Bakery/Colossal Donuts, International, Health & Beauty, Beer/Wine, Frozen, Provident/M&T Bank (2004-2012)
After experiencing a wild ride with SuperFresh and Metro Food takeovers in previous years, Shoppers was ready to return to building more new stores, first expanding on some and then starting to place new locations in new areas, such as Gainesville (closed as of 2011), Dumfries, Laurel, and Baltimore. With a growing commercial area (starting with a Walmart) and an older store nearby to replace, Shoppers turned to this locale to build an upgraded modern store, which opened with several other shops and services/restaurants in 2004 in the Signal Hill Shopping Center.
A remnant that made its' way back into the store in 2015.
The store opened with the "Real People. Real Value. Real Smart." interior design and package, which was inspired by the classic Shoppers principles (slatted walls, orange/gray/black band, etc.) but with a more mid-level aesthetic, larger open spaces and multicolored wall signage.
About a year after opening, the Liberia Ave. store superceded the Maplewood store on Route 28 around 2 miles away, which became a unique El Primero Mercado location run by Shoppers. A classic warehouse-era store, the store had not seen major updates since opening in 1991 and market changes had been conducted during its tenure. The store briefly returned to the Shoppers name (albeit with an "International" byline) in 2008, only to back out entirely in the following year.

The store initially had a decent run as the first major grocery store in the area. Unfortunately, it was not long before the tides started to turn on the store. A host of competitors soon comprised the Liberia Ave. retail corridor. Aldi opened doors only four years later in 2008 (catering to a discount market as with Shoppers), Harris Teeter followed in 2010 and potentially the biggest blow to the store, Walmart across the street expanding into a Supercenter in late 2011. These three slowly took away market share along with other nearby trends, leading up to the closure. It was already evident in late 2012 when rival Giant closed their long-standing Manassas Junction store up Liberia Ave. about their effects into the consumer base of these stores.
The store, pictured here in the January 2016 blizzard.
According to certain sources, a closure for this Shoppers location was already planned early into the year alongside the Woodbridge store (which closed in February 2016). Also at the time was the $22.6 million acquisition of the center by the JCR Companies from the original owner, Regency Centers conducted that April. JCR likely may have decided to interrupt the Shoppers lease in favor of what was to come, though this is only a rumor.  Though the final verdict of the Liberia Ave. Shoppers came with their own lease loss, likely as they did not make enough profit and a more suitable tenant arrived in Fresh World.
The pharmacy department a month after closing, with shelves emptied ouut inside.
Preceding the closure, the pharmacy quietly closed sometime in June 2016. While a few Shoppers stores continuously operate without pharmacies inside, some pieces of the fate were already clear. I personally believed the store would continue to operate to an extent, however the store still showed signs of decline afterwards.

August came and the store closing sale finally had begun.  The store had initially benchmarked a closing for September 2 (according to a SuperValu paper), however pushed it forward to August 21 possibly due to selling out stock before anticipated. This concluded the run of the Liberia Ave. Shoppers, once a bustling store fallen to the waning grocery business of SuperValu among other factors.

The Aftermath

Despite no tenant announced during the closing, this store did not stay empty for long. Only a month after the closure, Fresh World, a small international grocer with two other locations around Northern Virginia announced they would be opening a new branch here. Only a month later, on November 18, 2016 they had finally set up shop and had opened doors. Despite installing fixtures in the store to their specifications and modifying the layout slightly, the store retained the general Shoppers decor package and some occasional logos and signs. As of 2018, Fresh World has done decent business and seems to have done several additions featuring various restaurants and the like.

That being said, this concludes the retrospective on this short-lived Shoppers store. I might likely make an entire store tour composed of all store photos from both Shoppers and now Fresh World. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Shoppers Stores Then and Now, 2.0

It's another beautiful day (or night) to get posting right here, so what can we come up with today in the think-tank department? ...well, a sequel. Just like the cinemas these days, or so we thought...

Brief reminder, if you did not know, this post will feature even more comparisons and the typical blasts from the pasts of Shoppers, so you know the first part.
The Manassas, VA (Bull Run Plaza) store as it appeared in the 1990s, as a Shoppers Club. Credit:
While this store opened circa 1986 as a classic Shoppers warehouse store,

Monday, October 3, 2016

Shoppers Building Styles/Layouts

Welcome back to another chapter of the (possibly) infinite Shoppers Food Blog book, and what a necessary one it will be today, depending on what you want to know. Anyways, let's get learning, and back to the time-traveling cart we go...

Also, take note that these tours start at the entrances and then progress around the edge of the store, from the produce, to dairy, to the checkouts. Enjoy.

Warehouse Era

The Manassas, VA (Maplewood) store in the mid-1990s. Credit: Shoppers
 While many stores were adapted from previous Jumbo Food, Grand Union, and other stores' layouts, Shoppers newbuilds also showcased a distinct layout, showing the progress of richer retail amenities and using the extents of their own original concept. 
Upon entrance, the perishables/service departments recieved the longer end of the stick, with a short U-turn from the respective side's entrance. These were coupled with a few rows of produce, as well as surrounding cases of vegetables as in many stores. The deli, amongst other prepared foods (and sometimes floral), were tucked away between the produce and the main aisles, which formed the divide in between the two sides of the store. In this era, the bakery (more specifically the Colossal Donut cases) directly faced the produce area.

Then, these sections were all followed by a corner of meat products, which led into the entire non-perishables/"shelf" products era (excluding the perimeter). Some stores also contained "grindery" grinded beef cases along these lines. In these stores, the rear corridors often consisted of dairy products, which then snaked into the frozen food departments. In the heart of the store, the (warehouse) shelving was arranged in multiple ways across the locations, featuring basic grocery (packaged foods), health & beauty, and club paks in some stores. Also, the bottom corner of the store was relegated to bread, which sometimes became the pharmacy in remodels. The checkout area also featured lower ceilings.

The original Centreville (Store #44) store's layout. Credit:

Shoppers Club

The Alexandria, VA (Potomac Yard) store before opening in 1997. Credit: Shoppers

Here, the stores largely expanded, with, as I stated before, new features. In comparison to before, all of these locations were purpose-built or major remodels of existing Shoppers locations. Shoppers Clubs also grew in size vastly, gaining a handful of aisles in most cases and bulking up on their prepared foods in a noticeable way. Vestibules were finally added into the entrances, and checkouts were further expanded. Dozens of to-go food bars were set besides the expansive deli/hot-to-go takeout section, almost competing with the likes of Harris Teeter and Wegmans in the present day. Towards the front of the store, the floral section was largely expanded and a unique Shoppers Cafe sit-in area was introduced in addition. The bakery was constructed as an alcove just around the corner, letting you sink into a world of Colossal Donuts and cakes (get something?).

Afterwards, a section of meats followed, with the usual departments and cases. This then followed into an expanded row of dairy products, lining the rear of the store. New to Shoppers Club, the back also featured alcoves/coolers for beverages, which have been retained to this day. Otherwise, the usual gathering of frozen foods was placed upon the side of the store afterwards. Rounding out the perimeter of the store, the final corner was mostly reserved for products such as bread and rolls (and bread & rolls accessories...), and sometimes wines as well. This setup did not last long, as pharmacies and Provident Bank branches were installed in place of these around the SuperValu acquisition.

As the stores grew, so did the aisles. While the same warehouse shelving was utilized, several aisles' features broke up the space to account for all the new features, such as the famous Club Paks (shown at right), which were (as stated before) competitors to membership warehouse clubs emerging at the time, like Costco and Sam's Club. Other major features were included in these stores, particularily ranging from mega soda selections, to even an ahead-of-its-time natural & organic aisle.
The Germantown, MD store's original, yet unusual layout exemplifying Shoppers Club. Credit:

SuperValu Era

The Laurel, MD store, pictured after its' 2005 grand opening. Credit:
 Jumping ahead several years or so into the early-mid 2000s, new-build Shoppers stores returned after the SuperValu acquisition of Richfood (and Shoppers), with an almost completely different format akin to other grocery stores. For starters, some features such as the Shoppers Café and larger service departments were retained, while some other features were alscaled back compared to previously. This time, the layout was also available in a couple of distinct options, with mirrored variants and an inverted perishables area with customer service by the front windows.

The store became more wide open than before, with a simpler, more broad layout accompanied with a straightforward ceiling. For the first time, pharmacies (and sometimes banks) were included with the new stores and featured a detailed showcase of health and beauty products, even with floating signs above. The flooring is also enhanced in these stores, breaking from the usual orange lattice and going for a grey/white tiled look, and also fancy new wooden floors in the upgraded International and Health & Beauty sections.

Shoppers Laurel MD
The Beverages department at the Laurel (Maryland City), MD store... what about that invisible sign? Credit: Will (B-More Retail)

Since then, little has changed as Shoppers only opened few new stores after 2007. Certain modifications, however were conducted with remodels to the newer SuperValu looks particularily with flooring and departments. Around the store, the tiles have generally adopted one consistent version of the grey tiles/earth-tone flooring. Both Laurel, MD stores, which cannot sell beer/wine due to Maryland laws originally opened with bread located in the typical alcove (akin to classic Warehouse Shoppers). However, recent remodels have relocated non-alcoholic beverages (such as soda and water) into these spaces.

This concludes our tour of Shoppers Food's design history. Be sure to be on the lookout for more timelines of their history and facts you did not know. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What's Next for the Blog?

Well well, welcome back for this brief nugget of time from the (always) one and only Shoppers Food Blog! Yes, brief indeed since this is one quick post.

Why have I been not updating this blog now, exactly? So far, I have been rather busy (in all ways, however, not really Shoppers) and, well, summer is a time to relax. We want to save the posts for when you're indoors/at home more, now. That is simple logic.

However, what's next? Well, the blog will finally return for good, with a new, long-awaited post followed by a full week of new ones starting Monday, October 3rd.
It's going to take you there... and instantly back!