Thursday, January 24, 2019

Winn-Dixie #2325 - Cocoa Beach, FL (Pre-Hurricane Matthew)

Winn-Dixie #2325
100 Canaveral Plaza Blvd., Cocoa Beach, FL - Canaveral Plaza

     This Winn-Dixie opened on June 23, 1985 in a space previously home to a Publix wing store, replacing an older Winn-Dixie store further south on Route A1A. This store received a Marketplace remodel sometime in the 90’s, but not much else between then and 2016. This store’s pharmacy also closed in 2014. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused part of this store’s roof to collapse. This store was closed for 10 months after that in order to fix the roof and reconstruct this store’s interior, with a grand reopening occurring on July 26, 2017.

     Welcome to world famous Cocoa Beach, one of Florida's most famous beach destinations! In this post we'll be visiting the town's really old looking Winn-Dixie store (prior to its reconstruction in 2017). It was pouring and late in the day on a weekday when I was here, so the place was fairly quiet compared to the weekends when this area really picks up. Cocoa Beach is a nightmare to drive through on a weekend, especially on holiday weekends. As PlazaACME said, "For some reason, stores always seem more welcoming on rainy evenings."

     A better, less rain blurred picture of the really old W-D style exterior. The pastel pink color of the Winn-Dixie and the pastel green and pink used in the rest of the plaza really give this place the feel of a classic old Florida shopping center, so I'm kind of glad this place hadn't changed much over the years. The old Winn-Dixie logo on the building itself also reinforces this!

     Here's another view of the exterior. My pictures of the exterior of this store came out rather well for being taken on a rainy day. Usually my phone will start taking all kinds of weird, blurred pictures when it rains or gets even the tiniest bit dark out.

     The main entrance, located to the right side of the awning. While the exterior looks really old, possibly hinting at something interesting inside, the interior isn't anything all too out of the ordinary. This store had the Marketplace interior prior to its reconstruction, however it still retained the pre-Marketplace era layout. It's interesting that they never put the Marketplace signage on the exterior after they redid the interior. Anyway though, let's head inside...

     Now inside the store, this is looking up the left side wall from the Wine department into Produce and Juice.

     Looking down Aisle 1 into the "World of Wine" department. The floral department was on the left side of this aisle, but that got clipped out of the photo.

     Rounding the corner from the wine department we find the Lunch Meats. At least they got the location of the lunch meats right here, unlike at the Palm Bay Winn-Dixie at Port Malabar and Babcock!

     One of the grocery aisles, Aisle 10 in particular with soda on the left, and chips on the right.

     Here we can see the front left corner of the store. There’s quite a bit going on here. This area is home to the former pharmacy, the deli, the tiny bakery, beer, and the beginning of frozen foods. Another thing I forgot to mention is this store has had its original Marketplace aisle markers switched out for the ones from the Purple/Maroon interior of the early 2000s. You can see what the original ones would have looked like here.

     Some Chek soda cans in their native habitat. The flavors pictured above were part of a content Winn-Dixie ran back in 2015 where Check fans could submit a new flavor to be added to Chek's core lineup. The three finalists (which were actually put into production to sample and vote on) were Funnel Cake Soda, Key Lime Pie soda, and Tropical Island soda. You can read my reviews on these soda flavors here. In case you were wondering, the winner of this contest was the Tropical Island soda, which you can still buy at Winn-Dixie today.

     The Deil and Bakery departments, which share this space in the front left corner. Winn-Dixie’s older stores typically had a rather small bakery, with the deli taking over most of this space.

     The frozen foods department on the left side of the store, complete with some very low hanging lights and older style coffin case freezers. As andsome96 commented, "The ceiling in these old Winn-Dixie stores seem almost Kmart-like." They are pretty similar, especially when you throw in those large round air diffusers 70's Kmart stores were famous for (one of which is visible in the next photo).

     The customer service counter and a few of the registers can be seen here. The register lights also date to the Purple/Maroon era as well.

     Thank you for shopping WD. What’s interesting about that is this sign usually reads “Thank you for shopping at America’s Supermarket”, referencing Winn-Dixie’s tagline from that era. You can see an example of the more typical sign here. I’m not sure if this sign was always like this or of this was an attempt at updating the sign, since the America’s Store tagline was phased out in the late 90’s. It just seems like an odd choice to put only WD up there if this was original.

     While that concludes our tour of Cocoa Beach Winn-Dixie pre-reconstruction - just wait! There's still more to cover!

Eckerd #37/Bealls Outlet #194
140 Canaveral Plaza Boulevard, Cocoa Beach, FL – Canaveral Plaza 

     Eckerd originally opened with this shopping center in 1964. Eckerd remained in this space until 1996, when they relocated to a new freestanding location in the parking lot (which faces the busy corner of Routes A1A and 520). This space became Bealls Outlet not long after Eckerd moved into the new building, which is now a CVS. This Bealls Outlet location is actually broken into two storefronts. This location is home to the menswear, children’s clothing, shoe, and home décor departments. The other storefront further down the plaza, which I don’t have a picture of, houses the women’s clothing department. 

Walgreens #2284
4150 N. Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL

     This Walgreens opened in 1989 as a rather early freestanding Walgreens. Freestanding Walgreens stores, and freestanding locations for other drug stores chains for that matter, didn’t begin to become popular until the mid 90’s. In the far right of this photo you can see the back wall of the former Eckerd/current CVS building. The CVS and this Walgreens were built practically on top of each other.

Winn-Dixie #2322
655 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL – A1A Plaza

     Pictured here is the original Cocoa Beach Winn-Dixie, which opened in 1966. This is the location that was replaced by the Winn-Dixie we just toured in 1985. This former Winn-Dixie is currently divided into a few small storefronts, most of which are empty. The general Winn-Dixie look still exists on the exterior all these years later though.

Ron Jon Surf Shop
4151 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL

     Before we depart Cocoa Beach, I need to share a photo of what is probably the most famous store in the entire town. If you've driven along I-95 anywhere in Florida, I'm sure you've seen the billboards for the "World Famous" Ron Jon Surf Shop. Ron Jon originated out of Cocoa Beach, and they now have 13 locations along the East Coast of the US between Florida and New Jersey. It's a popular thing for tourists to get their pictures taken in front of this building, and with the various statues they have out front. As famous as this store is, I've only been in here once, and that was when I was a little kid! When you live so close to these tourist attractions, I guess they lose a lot of their luster since you see it all the time.

     Since we're in Cocoa Beach (and we just visited Ron Jons for our beach supplies), why not stop by the beach itself? This picture was taken looking north up the beach. As mentioned during the Winn-Dixie photos we just saw, the day I took most of these pictures was really rainy and overcast, but there were still a few people out here. The rain certainly won't stop anyone from having a beach day! This above picture was taken at Lori Wilson Park.

     But wait - there's even more to this post!

     As I mentioned before, this Winn-Dixie had to have its interior completely rebuilt after its roof caved in during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. To conclude this post, here is a very brief tour of the reconstructed store to see just how the new store is strikingly different from what was here before...

     Above you can see the exterior of the completely revamped Cocoa Beach Winn-Dixie. Other than some painted over brickwork on the exterior, there’s hardly anything left here from the original store. Winn-Dixie really went all out with this remodel, as you will soon see.

     In the front left corner of the store are the deli, bakery, and prepared food departments (called “The Kitchen” here). The wood grain background for the department signs is only used in deluxe Winn-Dixie remodels, so therefore it’s pretty rare! This décor isn’t anything too fancy, but it has a super-modern feel to it. It also looks much better in a store essentially built from scratch with it. A lot of you guys on flickr agreed that this decor looks super nice and fancy, however Jeff did comment that many stores have adopted similar looks to this recently. From Target's new Super Target decor to Price Chopper's Market 32 decor and even to some of Safeway's most recent remodels, there are quite a few decor packages amongst different chains with similarities to SEG's current interior.

     Produce extends out in front of the bakery and deli, taking up much of the left side of the building.

     Since this store is located directly across the street from the beach, a special “Sand & Surf” department was included in this store. Here you can find a nice selection of beach towels, chairs, toys, sunglasses, and most other beach accessories. They had a decent selection here too, and much less of a crowd than Ron Jons across the street!

     Aisles 10 and 11 were home to health and beauty. Like the old store in the two years prior to the roof collapse, this new store also does not have a pharmacy.

     Frozen food and dairy take up the last aisle in this store, aisle 14. To appeal to children, this store included two buttons you could push that make animal sounds, such as the one that says “What sound does a cow make?” in the photo above.

     A look across the front end, with the deli and bakery off in the distance. Like I said before, you guys were quite impressed with the transformation at this store. In regard to that, YonWooRetail2 commented, "Wow! Amazing transformation! That Bakery and Deli looks great! If Winn-Dixie had the money to do this to all of their stores, they'd compete better with Publix." You'd never think that just a year prior to when I took the post-reconstruction photos, this same building housed a store that looked like something out of 1994! I wish every Winn-Dixie was as nice as this one. I think the remodel saved this store from impending closure, and it's amazing at how busy this store became after the remodel compared to before. YonWooRetail 2 went on to say, "The Winn-Dixie I very briefly visited in The Villages had this same decor, but I didn't like it in there for some reason. This store can pull it off though, and I think the reason it can is because of the high (and newly white-painted) industrial ceilings. Ripping out the old ceiling tiles and painted the ceiling white really modernized this store! I think the reason I didn't like this decor in The Villages' store is because they left in the old ceiling tiles and it felt too low-almost claustrophobic feeling. Plus it made the red-painted walls stand out too much." In addition to the extended commentary from YonWoo, here's what some others had to say about this decor: "Bland, but clean. I can dig it!" (Devin Blackwood), "As for the decor, I like it. It may be modern and all, by the colors used make it pop enough for me." (Random Retail), "Bland, but it is clean, fresh, and bright...which I don't think are words that apply to too many of their locations." (mbz32190) and "I got to marvel once again at the fact that those post-remodel pictures do indeed somehow, mind-blowingly, come from the same building!" (Retail Retell)

     For an extended took at the Cocoa Beach Winn-Dixie post-remodel, I did an entire blog post on this store on AFB that you can read here.

So until the next post,


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