Thursday, February 7, 2019

Publix #202 - Lake Washington Crossing - Melbourne, FL

Publix #202
3200 Lake Washington Road, Melbourne, FL – Lake Washington Crossing

     This Publix opened on July 2, 1987, and other than the usual interior refreshes, hasn't seen many major modifications since. This store was given a recycled store number when it opened, as the original Publix #202 opened in sequence in 1977 in Tamarac, FL. When Publix closed a store in the 1980's, instead of retiring the number like they do now, it would become the next available number to give a newly planned store. So when the original #202 closed in 1986, the number was then assigned to this upcoming and unrelated store in Melbourne. Publix's history of recycling store numbers for unrelated stores makes for some very confusing research! However, a big thanks to our in-house Publix expert duckman66 for digging up that info on the history of Publix #202!

     With an opening date in 1987, this Publix was one of the last to be built in the single vestibule style. These stores had a single windowed vestibule with an entrance on each side. Shortly after this store opened, Publix switched to the split vestibule design. In those later stores, the left and right side entrances had their own separate vestibules, and the customer service desk was placed between them.

     What is that I spy near the left side entrance?...

     Yes, this store has a tile mural! This is the only mural at this store, depicting a small harbor and a European-style village behind it. I don't know for sure, but I want to say this mural was painted to reflect the fact that Melbourne's nickname is "The Harbor City", hence the harbor theme. In addition to the usual murals depicting cornucopias and wine bottles, sometimes Pati Mills would create a mural to reflect local landmarks or other local attributes, which I believe was the case at this store.

     Here's a close-up of the harbor scene in the mural, which is roughly the left half of the picture.

     A dock house is featured in the rightmost portion of the mural.

     While these tile murals were quite common at Publix stores built in the 1960's and 1970's where space allowed, Pati Mills only did murals sporadically for Publix in the years after that. Pati Mills would do her last few murals for Publix in the early 90's, hand painting millions of 4"x4" tiles for the company over a span of 30 years.

     Now that we've admired the exterior artwork, let's step inside the Publix as we continue our tour...

     Stepping through the left side entryway, this is what we see. As a single vestibule store, we can see clear across to the right side doors from this vantage point. That opening to my left takes us into the main salesfloor.

     Stepping through that opening and turning to the right, we enter a small corner that is home to the week's BOGO promotions and the greeting cards. Like most 1970's and early 1980's Publix stores, the customer service desk is tucked into the building's front right corner, as are the restrooms (hidden behind that lottery stand).

     Turning the corner, here we have a different view of the customer service desk. The greeting cards are located straight ahead in this photo.

     As usual in an older Publix store, dairy lines the right side wall in aisle 1. Opposite the dairy coolers is the beer.

     Mixed into this post are a few really old photos of mine, which were a part of the short batch of photos I uploaded to flickr from this store a long, long time ago. Those old photos were taken in April 2014, in the middle of this store's remodel from the Classy Market 2.0 decor to the current Classy Market 3.0 look. Since those really old photos hardly gave us a taste of what this store was all about, I returned to this store in January 2019 for a more comprehensive set of photos. Those January 2019 photos are what comprise the bulk of this post.

     Snack crackers and juices could be found in aisle 2. Beyond aisle 2 the ceiling transitions in height to cover the bulk of the salesfloor, which we'll see more of in just a moment.

     Looking across the front of the store, the front end can be seen in the distance. The store's pharmacy and bakery are also hidden in the background too.

     From aisles 3-11, the grocery aisles run under the raised ceiling. What's also interesting about this store is the raised ceiling portion still retains the small circular lights this store was built with. In most Publix stores, those circular lights were eventually replaced with square fluorescent lights (similar to what is seen around the perimeter of the store). The small circular lights make the center store much darker than the perimeter. The photos don't really demonstrate that effect well, although the change in brightness is much more noticeable in person.

     This photo was taken from a similar vantage point as the previous one, but during the 2014 remodel.

     In the back center of the store is the deli alcove.

     Looking into the alcove itself, the deli counter begins to peek out from behind the coolers of prepackaged salads and dinners.

     In early 2014, the deli department looked much more barren with all the old decor stripped out and walls painted white.

     As usual, the Publix deli always draws a crowd. The deli is certainly one of the busiest, if not the busiest, of the service departments at almost every Publix store.

     Returning to the grocery aisles, here were can see the original round lights a bit better. Typically my phone hates taking decent pictures in even the slightest amount of dimness, however my phone decided to make the darker parts of the store seem much brighter this time around!

     Beyond the deli we find the meat coolers, with the seafood counter and produce off in the distance.

     Wines and sodas are located in aisle 8.

     For some reason I took a photo of the cases of Publix brand sodas on the shelf. You can also see the terrazzo clearly in this photo as well.

     Here's a closer shot of the meat department signage, with seafood right next door.

     Peeking out of aisle 10, the pharmacy lies just ahead...

     Tucked between the front checklanes and the bakery we find the store's pharmacy. While this store opened right around the time Publix began to introduce pharmacies to their stores, the pharmacy here is not original to the store's opening. According to Florida's pharmacy records, the pharmacy at Publix #202 opened in 1998, presumably during this store's remodel to the Wavy Pastel interior from the original late 80's design.

     As usual with Publix, the health and beauty aisle is located near the pharmacy counter. This is aisle 12 in this store.

     After health and beauty we find the frozen foods department, which is located in the leftmost portion of the store.

     Leaving the frozen food aisles, we find the store's bakery peeking out from this little alcove in the building's front left corner.

     Here's a look inside the bakery alcove during the 2014 remodel...

     ...and here's the final product. In the previous photo, you can see where the blue angled wall was being constructed and framed out. With the way the bakeries are situated in alcoves in these older Publix stores, they feel like they're in their own quiet little world separated from the rest of the store.

     In this photo we're peeking from the bakery alcove back into the remainder of the store, with frozen foods located just outside of the alcove.

     And through the remainder of frozen foods we go to find the produce department, one of the last departments we have to cover in this store...

     This store's small floral department is tucked between the frozen foods coolers and the remainder of the produce department. At Publix's larger stores, the floral department gets dedicated employees and attendants. At smaller stores like this one, I believe the floral duties just get lumped in with the produce department.

     Here's the produce department looking a bit barren decor-wise during the 2014 remodel...

     ...and now the final product, as seen nearly 5 years later!

     Here's one final look along this store's back wall before we return to the front, where we will wrap things up here at Lake Washington Crossing...

     Considering how busy Publix stores are, even on random weekday afternoons, I'm amazed I got a photo of the front end with not a soul in sight here! Alongside the deli, this area is also usually one of the busiest (and most difficult to photograph) parts of a Publix due to all the crowds.

     And I will conclude my interior photos with a few more from the front end, taken during the remodel:

     And that concludes our tour of what is now Brevard County's third oldest operational Publix store as of early 2019, behind stores #215 in Palm Bay (1979) and #264 in Rockledge (1985). Anyway, before I finish this post, here are a few final shots taken elsewhere around Lake Washington Crossing:

     In the photo above, you can see the strip of stores located to the left of Publix, featuring a carryout only Pizza Hut and a few other stores. I didn't get a picture of it, but this plaza also contains one of the only strip mall KFC restaurants that I've ever seen before. That KFC is complete with interior seating and a drive-thru too!

     Lastly from Lake Washington Crossing is the former drug store anchor. Located at 3110 Lake Wshington Road, this was a former Walgreens store. More than likely this Walgreens closed in 1997, the year when two new freestanding Walgreens stores opened a little to the north and south of here at Wickham Road & Post Road (#4259) and Wickham Road and Eau Gallie Boulevard (#4193). After Walgreens, this space was later home to a Bealls Outlet and then Famous Labels. This space is currently home to a Biotest Plasma Blood Donation Center, which opened in October 2013. As Retail Retell commented, "We always joke, "where there's a corner, there's a drugstore!" So when I first saw one in a shopping center like this - I think it was a CVS - I was surprised... guess this is how they began though." There literally is either a Walgreens or CVS down here on every corner (and sometimes both), so that joke isn't too far off from reality! Back in the early days if suburban shopping centers, they usually featured a grocery anchor and a drugstore anchor. Freestanding drugstores weren't very common until the 90's, when most supermarkets began adding their own pharmacies, making the other drugstore in the complex redundant. There are still some shopping center drugstores out there, but they're getting rarer and rarer all the time.

Anyway, that's all I have for now. So until the next post,


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