Sunday, January 13, 2019

Publix #1398 - Rockledge (Viera), FL (Stadium Corners at Viera)

Publix #1398
5380 Stadium Parkway, Rockledge (Viera), FL – Stadium Corners at Viera

     This Publix held its grand opening on March 17, 2012. This store was one of the very first “hybrid” Publix stores to open in the chain, featuring new additions like an in-store café, an Asian bar, a salad bar, a cheese shop, a wine attendant, and expanded fresh offerings. This store was also one of the first in the chain to get the current Classy Market 3.0 décor. What you see in this store would later become the basis for Publix’s current 54M and 56M deluxe store models, store models which are usually built in more affluent or populated areas and feature expanded offerings and services.

     Today on My Florida Retail, we're going to take a look at an exceptionally nice Publix (although, what Publix out there isn't nice?). This store is an example my favorite of Publix’s current store designs - the deluxe prototype. These deluxe Publix stores have just about every bell and whistle that Publix currently offers, from cooking schools to event planning to an Asian foods bar, all things you don’t usually find at the average Publix, and then some! So let’s get started on this photo tour of Publix #1398, which is arguably Brevard County’s fanciest Publix store!

     When I originally posted these photos to flickr, I couldn’t have picked a better day to start this photoset. Coincidentally, that day, March 17, 2018, marked six years since this store first opened. I find it hard to believe this prototype is that old now, as well as Classy Market 3.0! This store was given a custom designed façade, which I think is supposed to look like a house or row of houses or something along those lines.

     On the left side of the building is the store’s pharmacy drive-thru, whose signage can be seen in this photo (the drive-thru itself is just out of frame at the left edge of this photo). This store also has a separate side entrance that opens into the front of the pharmacy department, which can be seen under the triangular awning.

     A close-up shot of the store’s main exterior signage. Just a mile east of this fancy new Publix lays the remains of Viera’s original grocery store – a round prototype Kash n’ Karry store that opened in 2000 and closed in 2004. That Kash n’ Karry was interesting in its own respect, and you can read more about that place by clicking here.

     In this photo I am standing in front of the store’s exit, with the entrance located off in the distance beyond the few windows lining the walkway. Next, we’ll head inside this Publix and see all of the fancy offerings there are to be seen in there!

     Upon entering the store and turning immediately to the right, you find the Publix Café. The Publix Café is something that has only begun to appear in recent years, mostly in newer stores. The Publix Café features a selection of coffees, small pastries, and also ice cream. Just out of frame to my right was a small seating area. The little café was getting a steady stream of customers while I was here, with what seemed like a good amount of coffees being purchased. Recently, Publix has begun adding Starbucks locations to a select number of stores, so I wonder if those will eventually replace these Publix Café locations in new and existing stores.

     In front of the café is the floral department, which is housed in a small island in front of the produce department. In later variants of this style store, a secondary deli counter is added in this location, with produce moved over to the side wall. Off in the distance you can see the event planning center and customer service, which we will take a closer look at later in this post.

     Here is another look toward the Publix Café and the small alcove it is housed in, as seen from the edge of produce. The store’s main entrance is visible just to the right of the café space.

     Stepping just a bit further back into produce, we get this nice little overview of the front right corner of this Publix store. To the left of the café (from the perspective in which this photo was taken) is the Publix Bakery, located in its usual home in the front right corner of the store (which has been the typical placement for the Publix Bakery since the late 1990s).

     Now here is a close-up of the famous Publix Bakery department, which seemed to carry the usual selection of products as the average Publix store. I didn’t notice any special extras for the bakery at this deluxe store.

     Another look into the bakery department. As you can tell, there was plenty of extra floor space in the bakery, making this part of the store quite spacious. As styertowne commented, "I like the lighting in this store...very tasteful. So much better than the "let's blow up the place with fluorescent tubes" approach. If the floor faux-terrazzo?" Yes, Publix's newer stores have just the right balance of lighting. They aren't too terribly dark or extremely bright. And to answer styertowne's question, the floors are real terrazzo (if you look closely in this photo, you can see the cracking control joints). Publix has installed terrazzo floors in all of their stores since the 1940's, and still does today (although the colors of the terrazzo have changed over the years). Publix is one company that will spend a little more to make something nice.

     Moving further back in the store, the deli is the next department we find along the right side wall. In front of the deli you could find the soup bar, salad bar, Asian food bar, and olive bar. Since this store was an early prototype, the prepared foods selection here is a bit smaller than what you’d find at one of the later deluxe Publix stores. Beyond all the prepared food bars is the specialty cheese counter, which I have a better photo of coming up soon.

     Set in front of the deli and bakery is the produce department. Unlike most typical Publix stores where produce is pushed to either the back left or right corners (depending on when the store was built), produce is one of the first departments you come across upon entering one of these deluxe Publix stores.

     This store’s produce department has two signs, one in the front of the department and one hanging in the back. This is a photo of the sign located toward the front of the produce department, just behind floral.

     Looking toward the back of the produce department. With the way the coolers are arranged here, it makes it seem like produce is located in an alcove in the middle of the store.

     A close-up of the second produce department sign, this one located in the back corner of the produce department.

     While the tomatoes themselves look quite nice and ripe, I was actually taking this photo to show the recently updated map on Publix’s “Southern Grown” produce signs. These signs advertise Publix’s commitment to buying locally grown produce, and over Summer 2017 these signs were updated in all Publix locations to add Virginia to the map (which depicts all of the states in which Publix has stores). While Virginia and North Carolina are the center of Publix’s expansion plans right now, Publix is certainly not done growing yet.

     Sandwiched between the deli counter and produce is Publix’s specialty cheese counter. This counter is where you can purchase a variety of specialty and gourmet cheeses, so if you are craving some Camembert or looking for some Limburger, this is where you’ll find it! While most average Publix stores have a small self-service case of specialty cheeses located near the deli, the full service cheese counters with a “cheese attendant” are exclusive to the deluxe stores.

     As usual, the deli was one of the busiest departments in the entire store. Honestly, it’s rare to see the Publix deli without a line, regardless of which Publix store you’re in or what time of day it is! Unfortunately this photo came out a bit out of focus, but I do have a slightly better photo of the deli counter coming up later in the post to make up for this one.

     There was a small opening between the bakery and deli that led into a seating area. Since I was here a little after lunch time, the seating area was actually quite busy and seemed like a popular eating destination. These deluxe Publix stores also have a register at the deli where you can pay for your lunch, something that most other Publix stores don’t have.

     Here is a much better look at this store’s deli counter. The cold cuts are located in the cases immediately to my left, with the Pub Sub station, fried and rotisserie chicken, and the other prepared food counters in the distance.

     Moving away from the deli and produce, we find the Publix Apron’s Simple Meals demonstration counter. At this counter is a person who cooks samples of the day’s featured “Simple Meals” recipe, which usually consists of a main dish and a side. (From the looks of it, the featured recipe the day I was here was Apple Bourbonnais Glazed Scallops with Spiced Sweet Potato Mash, according to the sign - which Retail Retell commented doesn't sound like much of a "Simple Meal" at all!). If you time your shopping trip right, you can get a nice little sample of the day’s featured recipe (which I didn’t this day, as it looks like the lady at the counter was still prepping it – oh well, I get lucky with these samples sometimes!). The samples are provided to entice shoppers into picking up the ingredients for the recipe on demonstration, with all of the ingredients conveniently placed in a case behind the demonstration counter. Some of the really fancy deluxe Publix stores even have a Publix Aprons Cooking School that compliments the meal demonstration counters; however this store didn’t make the cut for one of those.

     The wine department is located in the back right corner of the store, complete with a giant fancy round sign. These deluxe Publix stores have an expanded wine selection, and even feature a wine attendant too (who is sitting at the counter right in front of me, looking quite bored)! The wine attendant answers any questions you have about wine, as well as what pairs well with the wines (like any of the cheeses you may have just picked up at the specialty cheese counter).

     Here’s an example of some of this store’s expanded wine selection, and look at some of those prices too! My local Publix certainly doesn’t carry any of these wines! While you can still find your budget bottle of $6.99 merlot here, to add to the “deluxe-ness” of this Publix, you can also purchase your $199.99 Dom Perignon and $299.99 Perrier Jouet champagnes here too! All of these fancy wines are kept in a locked case, mostly for theft reasons I would guess, but probably in part to keep clumsy shoppers from bumping their carts into a shelf full of $300 wines too!

     Leaving the wine department and the fresh departments behind us, we now turn our attention to this store’s back wall. After leaving the wine department we come across the Meat and Seafood counters, located to my right, as well as a small kitchen gadget department, partly visible to my left. As YonWooRetail2 commented about this store, "This is what I would call Publix's Grocery Palace! It's hard to criticize Publix when you see stores this nice. It just bothers me with the potential ego (or maybe existent ego) that has been built up through tremendous success."

     Moving further along the back wall for a closer look at the meat department service counter. Beyond the meat counter are the coolers which contain the prepackaged meats, as well as the beginning of the grocery aisles.

     Yet another photo of the meat and seafood counters.

     Aisle 1 contains the juices and crackers. The grocery aisles in this store, as well as most other deluxe Publix stores, are located under a suspended drop ceiling. As duckman66 commented, "Every Publix I've visited that was built in the last 20 years (at least #630 in Spring Hill and higher store numbers), and including the 65,000 sq ft stores built around 1991 (starting with former #412, Savannah Mall) through 1993ish, have an open framework ceiling. Interesting that they went with a drop grid ceiling in certain areas."

     Canned foods are located in aisle 2, which also served as the original home to juices before those were moved to aisle 1. If you look closely at this photo, you’ll notice this photo is older than most of the other ones you’ve seen so far in this post…

     During one of my first retail trips up this way, I stopped by this Publix to see what was so different and fancy about it. I got some pictures that day, but not nearly enough to do a full tour of the place (at least by my current standards, which is why I came back again nearly 2 years later for more photos). During that original visit, this store still had its original aisle signs from when it opened in 2012. Like I said previously, this store was a prototype, so the original aisle signs here looked almost exactly like the Classy Market 2.0 and 2.5 signs, but with the wood grain panel at the very top that would later be featured in the official Classy Market 3.0 design. Shortly after this store opened, these signs were redesigned to the current style ones you’ve seen in the last few photos. Other than swapping out the aisle signs and some other small pieces of signage throughout the store (which were the only things that did not reflect the current Publix interior), this place hasn’t been remodeled since it opened. As l_dawg2000 commented here, "Funny how just changing out the aisle signs can make a quite noticeable difference in the look of a place. I like these newer signs better myself!"

     The customer service counter is located in an island between the entrance and exit. The service counter also has its own large round sign hanging over it to match the rest of the signage in the store.

     Opposite the customer service desk, looking back toward the main entrance and the Publix café, is the Aprons Event Planning Center. The event planning center is essentially a catering service, where an attendant can help assist you with picking out menus for an event and how much food to order. While you can order catering services and platters from any Publix, only certain stores have these dedicated catering counters and attendants you see here.

     Half of aisle 3 is dedicated to international foods, with the international selection consisting of Hispanic, Asian, British, and German products, amongst a few others I can’t remember. The other half of the aisle was home to soups and broths.

     Breakfast supplies could be found in aisle 5.

     Here is a look down the back wall, near the beginning of the dairy department. The sign for the frozen foods department can be seen here too. We’ll take a closer look at that department next.

     Looking toward frozen foods from the front end. As usual in most modern Publix stores (for both the deluxe prototype and the standard prototype), frozen foods are located in the center of the store. In that background is the pharmacy, which I have more detailed photos of to come.

     Aisle 7 is home to chips and beer – one stop shopping for your party food essentials! Frozen foods begin in the next aisle over.

     Without trying, I ended up taking these two photos, nearly two years apart, from nearly the same spot. With that being the case, I thought these photos would make for a good side-by-side comparison of the frozen foods aisle. The photo on the left shows this department with the original signage, and the photo on the right is the aisle after the signage refresh from around 2016-2017. While subtle, there’s still a bit of difference to be seen here. Also notice how the drop ceiling stops over the frozen food aisles. I believe this was done in order to make it easier to run all the pipes and vents to the freezers from the ceiling, without the obstructions of the drop ceiling tiles. As vintagefans commented, "While I like the drop ceiling over the aisles, I'm glad they seemed to have stopped using those mustard yellow cases. To me they don't fit in the color scheme as well as the beige ones. These just look old, like they'e from the 70s or something."

     After aisles 8 and 9 for frozen foods, we come to aisle 10, where pet food and pet supplies could be found. The drop ceiling resumes over this aisle.

     This is a reverse view of aisle 10, looking toward the front of the store and the pharmacy side entrance in the days of the older signage. In this photo the store’s hardware section can also be seen.

     From the end of aisle 10, here is a closer look at the pharmacy side entrance. As Abounding Skate asked, "Does the pharmacy entrance have any "Welcome to Publix" or "ENTRY" words?" To answer that question, no, not that I recall. This entrance is actually somewhat hidden when looking at this store from the outside, so Publix probably didn't want to bother with installing extra signage here. Anyway, the pharmacy and most of the health and beauty departments are located immediately to my right after leaving this aisle, with the registers to the left.

     Now for a closer look at the pharmacy counter itself, which is located in the store’s front left corner. The look of the pharmacy in these newer Publix stores is actually quite nice, with the wood grains and the shimmery glass tiles that were incorporated into the design.

     This is one of the short health and beauty aisles that runs perpendicular to the pharmacy counter, with this particular aisle containing the vitamins and supplements.

     Now a look across the front of the pharmacy counter, looking toward the rest of the grocery aisles. Whatever health and beauty items didn’t fit in the aisles in front of the pharmacy itself were located in aisle 14, which can be seen in the background. From this vantage point, you can also see a variety of the ceiling heights and lighting fixtures that were used in this store.

     A zoomed in view of the pharmacy counter, where you can make out the glass tile lined counter in more detail. You can also see the pharmacy drive thru window in the background. I’m amazed I was even able to get this photo, considering how busy the Publix Pharmacy counters usually are with both customers and employees! As Retail Retell commented, "For some reason I'm getting a definitively old-school vibe from this photo. I think it's the low ceiling, wood paneling, and small glass tiles. Very cool to think this is actually all modern stuff!" Yeah, the glass tiles do give off a bit of a 1950's or so vibe now that you mention it. However, Publix can find a way to make all of these elements look modern, and very nice while they're at it!

     A view across the back of the store, as seen from lunch meats looking back toward frozen foods, meat, and the wine department.

     Cleaning supplies have their home in aisle 12.

     Greeting cards and baby supplies are in aisle 13. The drop ceiling ends over aisle 13, with the last two grocery aisles and the dairy wall under the open ceiling that runs the perimeter of the store.

     Part of the dairy department is located along the back wall in the far left corner of this store, which includes the signage you see in this photo. The rest of the dairy department takes up the left side wall of the building in the store’s last aisle, aisle 15.

     In the back left corner itself is the main dairy sign, which is located over the eggs. As I said previously, the remainder of dairy wraps around into aisle 15, which we’ll take a look at next.

     Aisle 15 is the last aisle of this store. As I said before, dairy lines the building’s left side wall, with white bread taking up the shelf space on the inner part of the aisle. The pharmacy counter can be seen at the end of the aisle. And as I was looking at this photo closer, I noticed one of the loaves of bread on the shelf was pulled out further than it should be. Now that I can’t unsee that, it’s really bugging me! As Retail Retell commented, "LOL! Maybe if you pull the bread, the shelf turns and opens up a fantastical secret world of Publix XD" And to think the key to discovering all of the mysteries of Publix was laying in front of me in plain sight, and I missed the opportunity! I'm on to you now, Publix! 😀

     Departing the grocery aisles and leaving the area of the pharmacy, we have this overview of the front end. This store has a total of 10 registers – 8 regular ones with two express (with 8-10 registers total being typical for the average Publix store, although I have seen some stores with more or less than that number though).

     Here is a close-up of the “Thank you for shopping Publix” sign that looks over the front end.

     Here is a closer look at some of the checklanes. While the register lights are essentially the same as they have been since Classy Market 2.0, some of the newer ones featured in recent Classy Market 3.0 remodels added a slight modification by putting little sayings on the sides of the lights, like “Now for the easy part” and “Checkout to smile about” instead of the Publix logo.

     With the way these photos came out, I’m sure you’re pondering to yourself, “What was Publix thinking by putting white letters on a white wall?” in reference to the thank you sign. Actually, in person the lettering is silver. The strip of lights over the sign just washed out the silver color of the letters for whatever reason.

     Near the exit was this chalkboard calendar, personalized with the name of the store and the shopping center at the top. It seems like every month someone puts a lot of effort into drawing a little picture to represent each day, along with featuring a holiday or in-store event for the day. This was the calendar for September 2017, and in case anyone was curious, I came by this store on Pancake Day (although I still can’t believe I missed the Publix Punctuation Day celebration by two days; I always like to celebrate a correctly used semicolon!). "This is very cool," said Retail Retell, "and I agree: punctuation day sounds like a lot of fun!"

     On the opposite side of the exit doors from the calendar is “the key to the store”. The key to the store is a commemorative plaque (featuring a giant skeleton key) given to a store on its opening day to mark its entrance to the chain. I don’t know how far back this tradition goes, but most Publix stores have this key hanging near the exit or behind the customer service counter.

     Back outside once again, here is another look toward the pharmacy side entrance.

     And another look at the exterior, this time toward the main entrance and exit.

     To wrap up this post, here is one last overview of this store’s exterior. Even though just about every one of Publix’s stores are very nice, these deluxe Publix stores are even nicer. If you’ve never been to a Publix store before, one of these deluxe stores will certainly give you the full Publix experience!

     So that's all I have for this post. Until the next time, and if any of you actually make that Apple Bourbonnais Glazed Scallops with Spiced Sweet Potato Mash recipe please send me some,

Retail Retell (who's manning the desk for AFB tonight, and will answer all of your obscure questions about Publix this evening 😀)

1 comment:

  1. It's true! Whatever obscure Publix question you throw my way, I'll have an answer for!

    (It won't be the *correct* answer, but still!)