5270 Babcock St. NE, Palm Bay, FL - Marketplace at Palm Bay
This store has quite the long history. It first opened in 1986 as an A&P owned Family Mart Superstore prototype. In 1987, Kroger purchased Family Mart's Florida stores as a way to expand their Florida Choice division, so that year this store become Florida Chioce #734. The new Florida Choice store replaced an older SupeRx Food and Drug across the street (which we'll see at the end of this post). However, in 1988, Kroger pulled out of Florida after years of failing to find their niche here. Quite a few Florida Choice stores in the eastern and central parts of the state were sold to Orlando area based Goodings Supermarkets, including this one. Goodings pulled out of Breavrd County in 1996, with this store became a Winn-Dixie soon after that. This Winn-Dixie replaced two older stores in the area, one located at the Sabal Palm Shopping Center to the north of here and the other in the Port Malabar Plaza to the east. Currently this store still sports its original late 90's Marketplace interior, one of two Winn-Dixie stores in Brevard County to still have that interior as of late 2018.
My photos of this Winn-Dixie store are some of the first photos I took when I was starting to get AFB and its corresponding flickr page up and running, so I dug out these photos from deep within my flickr photostream! This Winn-Dixie store has barely been touched since it opened around 1997, still sporting its original interior decor. Winn-Dixie put a decent amount of work into this place when they moved in, rebuilding much of the interior to remove most traces of the three past tenants. Therefore, this store feels like most other late 90's Winn-Dixies once we step inside, with the somewhat odd exterior and the spaciousness of the interior being the only clues that anything else occupied this building prior.
Here is another view across the front of this store. About the only major modification Winn-Dixie made to this place since it opened was a refresh of the exterior signage and some new paint in 2016. When I first saw the exterior modifications happening in 2016, I got my hopes up thinking this place was getting a full remodel. However, Winn-Dixie being Winn-Dixie back then, I was quite let down by the results of that refresh.
Here is a closeup of the 90's 'Marketplace' signage and the Marketplace diamond logo, placed above the store's main entryway.
Jumping ahead to 2016, here's what the exterior refresh gave us. While it's nice to see Winn-Dixie putting money into their stores, the new white paint and removal of the old signage made the exterior seem much blander to me. But I won't complain, as the exterior still looks clean and presentable.
This photo is zoomed in more on the entryway, giving us a better closeup of the new signage. Behind the newer logo (which was changed shortly after this store received its exterior refresh, of course) you can still see the scars from where the diamond logo was removed. Even the little point from the top of the diamond was lopped off for the remodel.
Entering the store and turning to the right, this is a look from produce down the right side of the store. In the distance lies the deli, beer/wine department, and seafood counter. This store didn't have much of a bakery, which was combined with the deli area. While this is technically the closest Winn-Dixie to where I live, I tend to not shop at this store much because of that skimpy bakery selection I mentioned. Winn-Dixie's breads are one of the main reasons I'll make a trip out to Winn-Dixie (in addition to my desire for a change of pace from Publix every once and a while), so I instead go to one of their other stores in the area for my shopping so I can get my loaf of bread without any issue.
Turning the camera a bit more to the right, we see the produce coolers and chain link fence that block off the main sales floor from the liquor store. In the years since these photos were taken, the chain link fence has since been covered by ads for the Winn-Dixie liquor store to make the place a little more visually appealing.
In this photo we're looking toward the deli counter. The bakery also shares this space with the deli, but is limited mostly to prepackaged baked goods.
Another photo of the deli/bakery area, whose neon sign wasn't working at the time I was here (although I can't say I've ever seen this sign working during any of my visits here). And sorry about the flowers obstructing the view.
This wet floor sign was a bit of a relic itself, containing the old logo and the 'America's Supermarket' slogan on it. There are still a lot of these floating around at older Winn-Dixie stores if you look closely.
The back right corner of the store, which is where the beer and wine department is located.
Um...those aren't lunch meats! Oh, Winn-Dixie...
The seafood department, whose neon was actually working. Sorry about the pole in the way of this shot (like I said before, these pictures are really old and taken when I was still trying to perfect this whole retail photography art!)
Looking into the prep area of the Meat and Seafood department with this image. Notice the old sign in the background with 'The Beef People' slogan on it, and the old logo? Winn-Dixie never really stopped using that slogan, but it kind of went to the wayside when the bankruptcy happened and they were trying to re-image themselves (where the slogan 'Getting better all the time' was front and center). In recent years, especially since the debut of the "Down Down" interior, "The Beef People" slogan has begun a bit of a revival in the new decor and even in Winn-Dixie's advertisements. It's nice to see Winn-Dixie continue to embrace this part of their history.
Looking down aisle 6 toward the back of the store in this photo. This photo gives you a nice view of one of the Marketplace era aisle markers that always had random (now faded) pictures of grocery items on them. As styertowne said, "Oh I remember how the pictures badly faded after they had been left in for too long. This one's picture doesn't look too, too bad though; however the color-mismatched categories are pretty bad." At one time the slots where those random pictures are now once contained rotating advertisements for a wide variety of grocery products, with these signs provided to Winn-Dixie free of change in exchange for displaying those advertisements. Since those advertisements are no longer produced, the random food placeholder photos now grace these signs until they're removed (or the store closes, whichever comes first!).
One side of aisle 8 is freezer cases and the other side is regular shelves. The frozen food departments in 90's era new-build Marketplace stores usually ran down the center of the store, like it does here.
Looking from the end of one of the grocery aisles toward the Meat Department and the meat cases.
Another view of the meat department signage, as seen from a different angle.
A closeup of the Meat Department sign, where you can see the 'The Beef People' slogan embedded onto the sign.
Here's a nice, unobstructed view looking toward the front of the store from the main Frozen Foods aisle, which is also aisle 9. This is the only Frozen Foods aisle that had the cases lining both sides. Marketplace signage still looking good here too! For a photo taken by a then newbie to this retail photography community, I like how this one turned out!
Winn-Dixie...America's Supermarket. No matter what I did that water display had to block part of this sign! I always thought 'America's Supermarket' was quite the lofty claim for a supermarket chain that barely left the Southeast, even at their peak in the 90's when this look and slogan first came out.
Just a random shot across some of the grocery aisles. This particular aisle was home to the pet supplies.
The transition area from the Meat Department to the Dairy Department along the back wall of the store is pictured here. See that signage below the 'Dairy Products' sign, the ones that say 'Breakfast Meats' (that one is kind of hard to see) and 'Lunch Meats'? That's signage from Winn-Dixie's Transformational Decor, and was some of the only interior signage I saw in this store updated in the last 10 years. Many older Winn-Dixie stores received that updated signage for the prepackaged deli meats for whatever reason. Like we saw before with the signage in the beer and wine department, the Dairy Products signage on the right side of this image is a bit of a misnomer now (but not in as strange of a way as we saw before with the 'Lunch Meats'!).
The Health & Beauty/Pharmacy Department and the Pharmacy counter reside in the front left corner of the store. If you look in the background to the left of the pharmacy counter, you'll see one of those large Toledo scales that are typically associated with Publix stores. These in-store scales have been a staple in the entryway of Publix stores for years, but are certainly not as common to find at a Winn-Dixie.
A shot down one of the Health & Beauty/Pharmacy aisles looking toward the pharmacy counter.
Besides the modifications to the facade in late 2016, another change to come to this store at the same time was the closure of the in-store pharmacy counter. This store's pharmacy closed in the Winn-Dixie pharmacy purge of October 2016. That closure round effected the pharmacies at nearly 100 Winn-Dixie and BI-LO stores throughout the Southeast.
All of the prescriptions were transferred to the CVS about a mile north of here at the corner of Babcock Street and Palm Bay Road (a former Eckerd location if anyone cares).
A picture of one of the Health & Beauty/Pharmacy Department aisle markers, with the beverage center signage in the background. I've never seen these lettered aisle markers before in a Winn-Dixie (although I've seen photos of Kroger using similar lettered aisles in their Pharmacy Departments). Maybe these were only used in larger Winn-Dixie stores that had a special Health & Beauty/Pharmacy Department?
The Beverage Center, which was comprised mostly of orange juice and eggs if you rely solely on this sign. (This store really needs to get their signage straight, although I will give them some credit for getting this one at least partially right!) The 'Beverage Center' runs off to the right of the Health & Beauty/Pharmacy Department and is technically aisle O (if going off the pharmacy department aisle signage).
Just another look at some of the Marketplace decor. This is looking down the left wall of the store, home to dairy. As dahillz67 said, "This is my favorite Winn-Dixie decor. It's actually the only one I remember from the stores I visited in Virginia and Miami in the early 2000's. Though I love it, I gotta admit that it hasn't aged well."
Returning to the back wall of the store for one last look at the area surrounding the Meat & Seafood Department. Those category markers to the far right over the meat cases are from the early 2000's Purple/Maroon interior.
The store's center aisle as seen from the Frozen Foods department looking toward the Beverage Center. This center aisle runs the entire length of the store, although only half the aisle is pictured here.
Another example of Winn-Dixie's old logo still going strong at this store can be found on the side of a chip display. The Meat Department signage got caught in the background of this photo (because we haven't seen enough of that already!).
Here's a little discovery I made as I was strolling around the aisles getting my photos. This is an example of Winn-Dixie's old store brand packaging that was used until 2008/2009 or so when Winn-Dixie began to emerge from bankruptcy and reshape their image. I guess masking tape and duct tape just isn't one of Winn-Dixie's hot sellers, because these rolls of tape had been here at least 5 years when I took this photo! I wouldn't be surprised if this tape was still there in late 2018 as I prepare this post either.
A look across the front of the store from Produce toward the Pharmacy. The checkout lights are from the early 2000's Purple/Maroon interior, replacing the original pink and teal ones from the Marketplace era (which of course I can't find a photo of to link to right now, but they were the same style as these).
Here's a look across the front end of the store, with the registers straight ahead. Produce is in the background behind the registers. In the background of this photo you can see those new advertisements that cover the chain link barrier between the main store and the liquor store.
Thank you for shopping at America's Supermarket! I thought these next few photos of the Thank You sign would be the best way to round out this post. I just wish that sun glare wasn't so bad for these pictures!
Another, but slightly more obstructed, view of the Thank You sign.
So that's about it from the Northeast Palm Bay Winn-Dixie. Let's step outside for a quick look at the exterior of the liquor store before we conclude this post...
And here is the liquor store, which is built into the front right corner of the building. The liquor store is technically listed as Winn-Dixie store #2351, since Winn-Dixie gives their stand alone liquor stores their own store number. This is also the original placement of the liquor store from the Family Mart days.
While we're here, we'll also take a quick look at the Bealls Outlet store at the opposite end of the plaza from the Winn-Dixie. This Beall's Outlet opened in 2003. This space was originally home to a full-line Beall's Department Store (Store #42), which opened with the shopping center in 1986. The Bealls Department Store moved across town in 2003 to half of a former Kmart at 160 Malabar Road SW in the Palm Bay West Shopping Center. That store ended up closing in 2013.
Personally, I quite liked the triple arches over the entryway to this store.
To finish up this post, here's a quick look at the original Palm Bay SupeRx Food and Drug store, located across the street from the Winn-Dixie we just saw at 5275 Babcock Street NE in the Country Club Plaza. This store opened as SupeRx Food and Drug in 1982, and SupeRx lasted in this location for 5 years before relocating across the street as Florida Choice in 1987. Even though this building has since been subdivided into two storefronts (Aaron's Rent to Own and Career Source Brevard), the original SupeRx rounded facade and exterior design remains to this day, clearly showing off what this building once was!
So that's all I have for this post. Until the next time,