1930 State Route 44, New Smyrna Beach, FL - New Smyrna Beach Regional Shopping Center
Fast forwarding through 9 months of construction, today's post brings us to May 23, 2019 - the day Publix #335's replacement opened to the public. New Smyrna Beach locals couldn't have been any happier on this day too, as I overheard plenty of talk on grand opening morning about how glad everyone was to have this store up and running once again. The locals were tired of driving to the beachside or neighboring towns for their Publix fill, and I also overheard one lady complaining about the prices at the Winn-Dixie across the street. Regardless of the reason, New Smyrna Beach was ready to welcome their new Publix store with open arms.
For today's post, we'll be seeing a mixture of two photosets. Some of the photos in this post were taken on grand opening morning, and the rest were taken a week later after some of the hype died down. It will be pretty clear in determining which photos were taken on which days, as the grand opening photos show this place completely mobbed! While I did get some photos on grand opening day itself, I came back for the second visit to capture some scenes of this store without all the mobs of people in the way. Besides, New Smyrna Beach is a nice little town only an hour away from where I live, so I'll take any excuse to come back up here!
If the facade of this store looks familiar to you, that's because it's a near copy of the exterior of the new Cocoa Beach Publix store we looked at this time last year. The design we see here in New Smyrna (as well as Cocoa Beach, and variants thereof) is one of the two common exterior designs Publix gives to their new stores when they're not trying to blend in with other area buildings, themes, or other unique design traits. The other common modern Publix exterior design is this one. However, unlike the Cocoa Beach store, which is a 45M format Publix (the most common and generic of Publix's current store designs), the New Smyrna Beach store is a 54M model. Besides being a larger store overall, the 54M features some upgraded departments like a fancier selection of wines, expanded produce offerings, an in-store seating area, and a slightly larger prepared food selection. Some fancier 54M stores (like store #1398 in Viera) feature things like a specialty cheese counter, Aprons event planning services, an expanded hot foods bar, and an in-store cafe. Even though those fancier things do exist, the new New Smyrna Beach Publix was left to get a rather bare bones version of the 54M prototype.
The crowds were gathering here early on grand opening morning, shoppers eager to get their first glimpse at the town's new Publix store.
See, crazy supermarket bloggers aren't the only ones who wake up early to stand in line outside of a new grocery store waiting for it to open! According to one of the store employees keeping tabs on the growing line, I believe a total of 80 or so people were waiting to enter the store in the few minutes before the doors were unlocked, more people swarming in after the fact too. While I was in line waiting for the store to open, I overheard one lady telling her friend that she was going to be late for work because she decided to attend the grand opening instead. That just goes to show how loyal Publix fans are!
Now that we've patiently waited in line for the new store to open, it's time to head inside. Clearly, this calm photo looking toward the main entrance was taken the week after grand opening day, once the new store hoopla had died off a bit.
As I waited in line, a Publix employee was going around handing out these grand opening circulars. I photographed some of the highlights from it about the new store. The page above was the cover page, welcoming shoppers to the new store and providing information about the new location.
The back of the circular had this little note from the store manager, also welcoming shoppers to the new store. The store manager was also on hand grand opening morning, shaking hands with everyone as they entered the new store, telling people he was glad to be back.
I know it was a bit of a long shot, but I was also hoping that Publix's CEO Todd Jones was going to pop in for this grand opening. New Smyrna Beach was his hometown, and where he began his journey with Publix, so it seemed like something that could have happened. He's also a bit of a local celebrity too, as quite a few people in line waiting for the new store to open were discussing his roots in New Smyrna. While he didn't come to the public grand opening, I did hear that Mr. Jones attended a pre-opening party for the store's employees the night before.
The last thing I want to show everyone before we enter the new store is this map of the layout. One of the most noticeable differences of the 54M compared to the 45M is the much more spacious feeling service departments in the right side of the store, which is helped by moving the produce department further up (compared to the 45M's placement in the back right corner). If you want to compare the two designs in more detail, here's a map of the Cocoa Beach store's 45M layout.
Stepping inside for the first time, we're greeted by lots of flowers and Publix's Classy Market 3.0 decor package. Even with Classy Market 3.0 going on 7 years old when this post was first published, Publix still seems to like this decor package. Outside of updating a few of the department logos for this new store to reflect some recent changes, Classy Market 3.0 hasn't changed much since its inception.
Immediately upon entering and turning to the right, we find the "Dining" alcove, which is this store's indoor seating area.
It was quite the large seating area too, with plenty of tables for one to sit down, relax, and enjoy a chicken tender Pub Sub (the king of all Pub Subs).
The floral department is located in the middle of the sales floor at the front of the produce department, visible immediately when one walks through the front door. All the flowers make for a nice visual when first entering the store, which I believe is the point of placing the floral department right in front of a grocery store's entryway.
Turning our attention away from the dining area and floral department, here's our first peek into the "grand aisle" (as you could probably call this area). The right side of the building is home to the bakery, deli, and produce departments, with produce taking up the floor space in front of the bakery and deli. Being grand opening morning, the produce displays were looking absolutely pristine, everything stacked neatly and orderly in perfect rows. (With that being said, please don't be that person who grabs the mango from the bottom of that pyramid!) I believe the man in the suit in this picture was the produce department manager, with at least three other managers of some kind visible in this photo (the people wearing blue collared shirts). If you ever want to see the largest concentration of managers in one place at one time, go to a Publix grand opening. There were managers everywhere from both the store and corporate level greeting shoppers here on this morning.
Here's an overview of the produce department before we move our attention back to the service departments along the side wall.
In the front right corner of the building is the bakery department, which we also saw a few photos ago.
Making our way toward the deli (and fighting the grand opening morning crowd), here's one last look back toward the bakery.
Here's the deli counter in calmer times. Immediately to my right are the cases of cold cuts, with the sub station and the other prepared foods further down the counter. I'm actually surprised that I caught the deli counter so dead on this particular day, as usually the Publix deli is a hopping place.
However, first thing on grand opening morning, most of the people rushing to the deli department were coming this way for the free samples of deli meat and crackers rather than a Pub Sub. However, who ever said you can't eat a Pub Sub at 7am on a Thursday?
Grab and go foods were located in the cases to my right, featuring the usual deli salad fare in addition to some heat and eat deli meals and take and bake pizza. While this store didn't get the fancy Grab and Go signage we saw at the Cocoa Beach store, the Grab and Go section here had essentially the same offerings, just organized in the old fashioned Publix way in a cooler island in front of the deli counter.
The salad bar, olive bar, and expanded soup bar were the only prepared food upgrades this store got compared to the average Publix. Other 54M Publix stores also have a hot foods and Asian food bar, which is something this store lacks.
Here are a few more views of the produce department as we make our way through the right side of the store.
There's a crowd clustered around the Aprons Simple Meals booth, so that means something must be cooking over there! On grand opening morning, that meal happened to be a Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwich, which was a tasty twist on the usual breakfast sandwiches out there.
With the crowds out of the way, here's a better look at the Apron's Simple Meals booth. As you can tell, this store's Apron's booth features the updated Apron's logo. The updated logo coincides with Publix's recent push to incorporate the Circle-P logo into more designs throughout the store. If you can't remember it or don't know what it used to look like, this was the old Apron's logo. In addition to Apron's, the pharmacy, deli, and bakery also got updated logos, however only the Apron's and Pharmacy signs got the updated logos in the signage in this store. We'll see that new pharmacy signage later in this post.
The wine department finds its home in the back right corner of this store. Some fancier Classy Market 3.0 stores have a large round sign to designate the wine department, however this store got the more simplistic treatment.
Here's one last look into the grand aisle amongst all the grand opening madness. Let's head toward a calmer part of the store as we continue our tour...
The next department we come across after leaving the wine corner is Seafood. In addition to the seafood counter, this store also has a full sushi display and on-staff sushi chef.
Immediately next to the seafood counter is the meat department, followed by the meat coolers. However, wouldn't it be nice is this mob of people wasn't in the way?
Ok, now this is better! This photo is essentially the same as the previous one, just taken a week later when this store was a little bit calmer. You can actually see the meat coolers in the distance here!
Turning into the grocery aisles, here's a look down aisle 1. The shelves to my left bump up against the produce coolers. Also, due to the placement of the floral department in an island of sorts, aisle 1 angles at the very end to merge with aisle 2 in front of the customer service desk. You can see that small bend in the distance in this photo.
All the shelves are neat and tidy here on grand opening morning, with every product in its proper place. In most cases the general public would waste no time trashing this perfection, although Publix usually does a good job at keeping the shelves looking neat and straightened all the time.
Here's the updated customer service desk, as seen from one of the grocery aisles. In the earlier days of Classy Market 3.0, the service desk looked like this. The change in the design of the service desk is one of the only major modifications Publix has made to this decor in the last 7 years.
Turning our attention away from the service desk, here's a look down the front end. While this photo was taken on grand opening morning, it's still quiet up here, mostly because the mob of people who attended the opening ceremonies were still busy checking out the rest of the store!
As usual in the 54M and larger Publix stores, a drop ceiling is installed over the center grocery aisles. The aisle pictured above was home to canned foods as well as international foods.
The drop ceiling goes away in the center of the store, which is home to the chilled beer (pictured in this aisle) as well as the frozen foods.
Here's a look back toward the seafood and wine departments, as seen from the back of frozen foods.
Spinning around, here's a look toward the dairy corner from frozen foods. We'll be taking a look at the dairy department in more detail in just a moment, but first, frozen foods:
Two aisles of frozen foods (aisles 9 and 10) found their way into this store, which is typical of a Publix. The last three photos were a compilation of the photos I took in this part of the store during both of my visits here.
As we finish up the last few grocery aisles on the left side of the store, the pharmacy counter comes into view...
Jumping to the back of the building, the dairy department comes into view too. The dairy department takes up the back wall from frozen foods into the back left corner, then turning to run along the left side wall in aisle 15.
Besides aisle 15, the aisles between frozen foods and the side wall were primarily non-food products. Here in aisle 11 is pet supplies, followed by cleaning supplies in aisles 12 and 13, and baby supplies and some health and beauty in aisle 14.
Here's our last look across the back of this store, looking from dairy back toward meats and seafood.
The remainder of the dairy department could be found here in the store's last aisle, aisle 15, alongside the prepackaged breads, peanut butter, and jelly (all conveniently placed next to each other too).
Leaving the grocery aisles, the last department we haven't seen here is the pharmacy. Like I said earlier in this post, the pharmacy also received the updated department logo, visible in the photo above (the previous logo can be seen here). Other than that, the pharmacy counter retains the traditional Classy Market 3.0 design with the faux wood trim and curved detailing.
The majority of this store's health and beauty selection is contained in these few short aisles in front of the pharmacy counter, with some overflow health and beauty items located in aisle 14.
With the pharmacy out of the way, here's a look down the store's front end as we get ready to leave...
This store has 11 registers total, with all of them open on grand opening morning as you can see here. Unlike the new Cocoa Beach Publix, this store didn't get self-checkouts. While self-checkouts are rather common in Publix stores outside of Florida (in both newer and older stores), self-checkouts at Publix stores in Florida are very rare. I have no idea why that is, unless Publix feels that Floridians just hate self-checkout (which is something I could easily believe, as I can't imagine some of these older people I deal with at work trying to figure out how to use a self-checkout, especially after all of them began to complain to me when Walmart started switching their local stores to almost all self-checkouts a few months ago).
Anyway, here's one last look across the front of the store before we step back outside...
Before we wrap up this post, let's take a quick spin around the rest of the plaza to see what else lurkes/lurked in this place:
To the left of the new Publix is the old Walgreens space, which saw saw briefly in my post covering the old Publix store. In order to make room for the new Publix, a few storefronts between the old Publix and the old Walgreens had to be removed. With the new arrangement, the new Publix building now bumps up to the side of the old Walgreens. In order to accommodate some of the tenants effected by the removal of those storefronts, some of the unused space in the old Walgreens building was carved up to serve as the new home for a Chinese restaurant and Sally Beauty Supply, those two stores located in the left side of the old Walgreens. The remainder of the old Walgreens is home to a doctor's office, their portion of the space retaining the old Walgreens entryway and windows. In addition to the Sally Beauty Supply and the Chinese restaurant, a Subway restaurant was the third tenant effected by Publix's expansion. Instead of relocating elsewhere in the NSB Regional Shopping Center, Subway decided to relocate to a new-build location in front of the Home Depot down the street. That was probably a better move for Subway, as this plaza also has a Firehouse Subs in it, as well Publix serving up their famous Pub Subs. Having three sandwich shops in one plaza was probably a bit much!
Stepping onto the front walkway, here's a look at the front of the old Walgreens store, the old entryway and windows visible in the doctor's office portion of the building.
On the other side of the Publix building is Pet Supermarket, who always seems to place their stores either right next to or really close to a Publix!
Next door to Pet Supermarket is the Publix Liquor store, with the space next to that being the temporary home of the Publix Pharmacy while the main store was being rebuilt.
Beyond the liquor store is this portion of the plaza. Dollar Tree is the most notable tenant in this portion of the plaza, some smaller stores and businesses extending out to the right of Dollar Tree.
While construction on the new Publix had finished, some work on the remainder of the plaza was ongoing (as can be seen by the wrapped columns and exposed beams above them).
The other major tenant to this plaza when it was first constructed was Walmart, which relocated further down Route 44 in 2011. The old Walmart building was chopped up not long after Walmart moved down the street, bringing in a relocated Bealls Outlet as well as a new Big Lots to this plaza, in addition to a few smaller storefronts on the other end of the building. Before we jump into the remodel of the Winn-Dixie across the street, we'll take a short break to wrap up things here at the NSB Regional Shopping Center with a short tour of this old Walmart store, coming up next time on MFR.
With that being said, here's one last look at New Smyrna Beach's new Publix, which will probably be torn down and replaced with another new store 30 years from now just like the original one was. However, we have a long time before we have to worry about that happening! I'm sure before then I'll find more opportunities to document more of Publix's tear down and rebuild scenarios, as we all know Publix is crazy when it comes to remodeling! Surprisingly enough, even Winn-Dixie has jumped onto the excessive remodeling bandwagon in the last year too, but certainly not to the extent in which Publix goes with their remodeling. While I've covered at least one Winn-Dixie remodel in recent times, we'll jump across the street to see how Winn-Dixie interprets the word "remodel", which if you haven't been able to guess yet is a much different interpretation than Publix uses. Winn-Dixie's remodel was no wrecking ball required, but at least the company is trying to show some kind of decent modernization effort for the first time in 10 years. However, more on Winn-Dixie when that post comes in a few weeks.
To officially conclude this post, for grand opening morning Publix set up this giant inflatable grocery bag alongside Route 44. I thought it was a neat little prop, so I made sure to get a photo of it before I left. There's even a giant inflatable bag of Publix brand chips poking out of the bag too! It's still no match to Albertsons' giant bowl of party mix suspended over the snack department, but it's still a neat prop nonetheless, even if it's just temporary 😁
Anyway, as Publix would say on their Facebook page, welcome to the family Store #1649 in New Smyrna Beach! With that being said, that's all I have for now. So until the next post,