1150 Malabar Road SE, Palm Bay, FL – Shoppes of Palm Bay
This Publix opened in 1993 using Publix’s typical early 1990’s split vestibule store design. Other than the usual interior updating that Publix does and a few modifications, much of this store is still pretty similar to when it opened.
Continuing my quest to upload photos of at least one of every current Publix store design out there, for this post we’re going to be taking a look at one of Publix’s early 90’s stores. This store in particular is a rather nice example of a 90’s Publix located in the heart of Palm Bay, just off of Interstate 95 at the Malabar Road interchange. This store was the second Publix to be built in Palm Bay, opening 14 years after the original Palm Bay Publix (Store 215 at the Palm Bay Center), located about 4 miles northeast of here.
One neat thing about these late 80’s and early 90’s Publix stores is that they never really followed an exact template for how the facades were to be designed. While the interiors of these stores were similar, I’ve never seen two of these stores with a completely identical façade. For this particular store Publix went with a blocky design, using a few arches to offset some of the blockiness.
As I mentioned before, most of these early 90’s Publix stores used the split vestibule design (pretty similar to what Albertsons’ late 80’s stores used). There are two sets of entrances at these stores, the one in this photo being the one that faces the right side of the building.
Stepping through those doors, we find ourselves in the vestibule. To my left are the carts, and to my right is the cutout that leads into the main store.
The first department we encounter after stepping through the right side entrance is the pharmacy. Originally, the space where the pharmacy is now was home to an in-store bank, Bank of America if I recall correctly. By the early 2000’s, Publix got rid of all their remaining in-store bank branches. Many of the former bank spaces would become home to a relocated and expanded pharmacy counter during the Classy Market remodels (similar to what happened here), although some other 90’s Publix stores have reused this space for other purposes (such as a wine department or snack foods department). Originally, the pharmacy counter in this store would have been located next to the left side entrance, near the bakery.
Here’s another view of the pharmacy counter, with that small aisle of medicines and cough drops blocking our view of the counter itself.
As usual in most 80’s and 90’s Publix stores, the dairy department is located in the first aisle. However, this store is one of a few 90’s era stores to have a slightly different looking dairy department. You can see part of the dairy department in this photo, however let’s walk around the pharmacy counter for a closer look…
Going around the pharmacy counter, we see the beginning of this store’s dairy department. While unsigned, the dairy department is actually considered aisle 1.
For a brief period in the early 90’s, Publix designed their stores to have the dairy department located in this “grand aisle”, complete with an arched ceiling (which YonWooRetail2 describes looks "like an airplane hanger"). The arched ceiling creates a neat effect that makes this part of the store feel different than the rest of the building, and is a little more exciting than the usual 90’s dairy department, which was a regular grocery aisle. In addition to dairy, beer is also located in this part of the store.
Here’s another look at the dairy aisle, taken from a slightly different angle.
Here’s the dairy aisle as seen looking back toward the pharmacy counter.
Peeking out from the end of the dairy department, here’s a look across the back aisle of this store. The part of the wall that juts out a few aisles ahead of me is the deli department, which we’ll take a closer look at in just a moment.
Aisle 2, the first aisle beyond the dairy aisle, is home to health and beauty products.
Here’s a look across the front of this store, near the front end. Like many late 1980’s/early 1990’s Publix stores, this store has the neat giant light over the front registers, which I have some better photos of coming up later in this post.
Aisle 4, home to juices and snack foods.
Aisle 6, which is home to candy and canned goods. In this photo you can see how the ceiling transitions higher above the center grocery aisles.
Aisle 7, which is home to this store’s rather large selection of international foods.
As usual with these late 1980’s/early 1990’s Publix stores, the deli department is located in the back center portion of the store. Here we can see the main deli sign, as viewed from aisle 8.
The deli department is located under this lower ceiling, which juts out from the back wall in the shape of a trapezoid. On the far left side of this photo you can see the main deli counter itself. This was the best photo I got of the deli counter and the little alcove it was located in, as the deli was extremely busy when I was here. The deli is by far one of Publix’s busiest departments, which doesn’t make it the easiest department to photograph!
Here’s a more pulled back view looking toward the deli department, as viewed from aisle 9, home to cereal and coffee.
Greeting cards and soda are found in aisle 10, where we can see another one of the ceiling transitions over the center sales floor.
Water and snack foods in aisle 11, where we can see how the ceiling raises higher over the sales floor once again in this half of the store.
To the left of the deli counter is home to the store’s meat department, whose coolers can be seen to my right along the back wall of the sales floor. Just beyond the meat coolers is the seafood service counter, followed by produce in the far distance.
Pet supplies are located in aisle 12, where part of the meat department can be seen poking out in the background.
Paper products are in aisle 14, where the ceiling transitions for the final time before we hit the store’s left side wall.
The front end of this store is looking quite perfect in this picture, although finding anything less than perfect at Publix is quite hard to do! We also get to see more of the giant light over the front registers in this photo, one of the more interesting features in these 1990’s Publix stores.
This store’s floral department is located next to the left side entryway, between that and the bakery department. The space where the floral department is now was originally home to the pharmacy counter prior to the recent rearranging. You can see some scars in the terrazzo from where things had to be reconfigured to accommodate the removal of the old pharmacy box.
The bakery, which is located in the front left corner of the store, typical for these late 1980’s/early 1990’s split vestibule stores. In the original configuration, the bakery would have been located in a little alcove between the pharmacy counter and the left side wall, located under a lower ceiling. It’s still rather common to see the original bakery configuration like that in many of these older Publix stores. This store just happened to be one that got modified later on.
Here’s another look toward the bakery counter, as seen from floral. This front left corner of the store seemed quite open and sparse, probably due to all the extra space created in this area from the removal of the pharmacy box.
Frozen foods begin in aisle 15, and continue through the next two aisles. In addition to the first row of frozen foods, aisle 15 is also home to this store’s selection of wine.
More frozen foods coolers are located in aisle 16, as well as that odd section of lower ceiling over the front portion of this aisle. I’ve seen that lower ceiling above frozen foods at least once before, but I’ve never been able to figure out if it ever served any kind of purpose or signified something when these stores first opened.
Here’s another look down aisle 16, as viewed under the lower ceiling. It felt darker in this portion of the aisle, even though it looks like a giant light is hidden behind those plastic panels above me.
As usual in these early 1990’s Publix stores, the Seafood counter is located between Produce and the end of the meat coolers along the back wall.
Stepping into the produce department, here’s another look across the store’s back wall. The seafood counter is visible just ahead of me to the left, with the deli in the background.
As with most Publix stores built from the 1980’s through much of the 1990’s, the produce department is located in the back left corner of the store. This photo was taken from aisle 17 looking toward the back of the produce department.
Here's another photo looking toward the back of the produce department, taken from further up aisle 17.
Turning around, here’s a look toward the front of the produce department. The produce department takes up the back half of aisle 17, with the remainder of the aisle dedicated to more frozen foods.
Here is the remainder of aisle 17, which contains more frozen foods, specifically the ice cream and desserts. Originally the ice cream would have been located in coolers along the perimeter of the bakery alcove, which was removed when this store’s pharmacy relocated to the former bank space in the early 2010s.
As we begin to conclude our tour of this Publix, here we have a final look across this store’s front end. This store has a total of 8 registers (which includes the two express lanes, although those got cut off in this image) located under the giant light.
Speaking of the giant light, here’s a close-up shot of it! While it’s nothing fancy, I still think this light makes these 90’s Publix stores a bit more interesting, and if nothing else, makes the front end much brighter.
Our final interior photo from this store showcases the customer service desk, which is placed between the two vestibules along the front wall. Above the customer service desk is a private second floor, home to store offices and maybe even a break room. You can see some windows from the second floor over the service desk.
Exiting the store from the left side, we have this look down the small strip of stores that extends off the left side of this Publix. Not quite as much fun as the classic tile murals, this store has a decorative patterned tile wall covering the blank space between Publix’s entrance and beginning of the plaza.
I will leave everyone with this final exterior shot to conclude our tour of this Publix store. Besides the special "airplane hanger" style dairy department, this is what your average early 1990's Publix store looks like. I have plenty more examples of these 90's Publix stores to come in the future, and you'll find those stores coming to My Florida Retail in the future!
So until the next post,