Saturday, December 28, 2019

Key Food of Winter Garden

It's time to open an old supermarket with a new Key

Key Food
624 S. Dillard St.
Winter Garden, FL

As I was visiting some people down in western Orlando this morning and early afternoon, I decided to do a bit of quick retail photo scavenging afterwords (something I haven't had time to do in  awhile). I decided to scan the area around Ocoee/ Pine Hills and Winter Garden to see if there was anything that popped out to me. I'm pretty bored of Publix stores, and most of Winn-Dixie's stores (especially Post Bankruptcy and Down Down don't hold my interest very long anymore). As I zoomed in on Winter Garden I saw the grocery symbol and the name Key Food. Cool! anything that's not Walmart, Publix, or Winn-Dixie should be interesting enough to visit! I'm committed. Here I come! 

Hmmm..This looks curiously like a mid-1970's Winn-Dixie. Does anyone know (A.F.B. perhaps) if that is the case? I know from news archive photos I've been able to dig up, Winn-Dixie stores of the 70's had a  metal facade that was in that same type of shape, but then again probably a lot of grocery stores looked similar to this back in the 70's. A.F.B. shared with me (earlier this past year) the link to an obscure grocery store in the tiny town of Inglis on Florida's upper west coast on US 19/98 called Food Ranch. That building seems similar to this one. 

Let me stop blabbering and head inside! 

Ok, I really like this! As weird as this sounds I get tired of Publix, simply because they are like cookie cutter grocery stores. They all look the same on the inside with no real pizzazz or zeal. 
Publix absolutely proves the point that you can keep people loyal to shopping your stores even if your decor is boring, monotonous, and uniform, as long as you deliver impeccable customer service and a squeaky clean atmosphere. I like shopping at Publix too (who doesn't)? Their customer service keeps you coming back, even though people like myself are internally fuming about them seemingly erasing all comparable competition in Florida. I have to tell though, it is refreshing to see other small supermarket chains trying to give it a shot for people who may not be able to afford Publix's high prices and also loath the idea of going inside a horribly crowded and unpleasant Walmart Supercenter to buy their food. What you see here is a grocery store chain that is offering shoppers great values on food, all while giving off pleasant vibes with this comforting decor while catering to the local shoppers needs or wants. 

The right front corner and right side of the store is where Fresh Produce can be found. I turned to the right to snap this photo after walking in. 

I then turned back to my right facing the front right corner. This area is specifically the location for fruits (Cut Fruits). 


It was pretty doggone busy when I got here, so I skipped over to the back aisle after leaving produce. Along the back wall I found Fresh packaged Meats. 

I decided to head a bit further down the back aisle and was able to catch a break in the traffic to snap this photo looking to the right down the back aisle toward the back right corner.

Down at the left end of the back aisle on the back wall were freezers containing frozen Seafood. 

Here is one of the grocery aisles containing canned goods

And another aisle  containing pots, pans, and other kitchenware on the right (if facing the back of the store) and toiletries on the left.

Moving further to the left down the back wall is the selection of cold beer. I like the decor prop used with the glasses of beer. It sure makes the cold beer look all the more refreshing! 

A bit of a crummy attempt at the Dairy section on the back wall (the next section to the left of Cold Beer). 

Along the far left side aisle is the Dairy department and Frozen Foods. Something located directly ahead on the front wall looks very interesting to me, Hot Bread! I love bakery stuff, especially hot bread! But it gets even greater than this as you'll see in my next photo....

On a front end cap between the dry grocery items and snacks is a free standing oven where you can fetch hot bread to take with just before checkout, so you can indulge in it while you're sitting in your car perhaps. 

This store gets even better in the next photos.

The Bakery was the only thing I was a bit disappointed about. It was actually very tiny, and just thrown in next to Deli meats. The Cafe seen below looks pretty amazing though!

Had it been the case that I had not eaten lunch just 20 minutes prior to arriving here, I would have totally bought lunch here. Let's see; a couple of beef empanadas and some yellow rice would have suited me just fine. I will have to come back here for lunch the next time I'm in Orlando.

Up on the wall above beverages on the right side of the Cafe was this mural of the 'Last Supper'. This was quite an amazing religious display placed inside a supermarket. However, many Hispanic people I know and have known in the past are very religious (and of many different Christian faiths). It was also neat how they placed a couple of presents on the little ledge just below the mural. 

Here's a look at the checkout lanes across the front aisle of the store. On the wall above checkout is something common to all grocery stores; thanking the shoppers for 'Shopping with (fill in the blank). 

Haha! My camera wasn't quite fast enough for this man with the basket to pass in front of me on his way to the last checkout lane. Overall, I was impressed with the food selection and the cleanliness of this store. Sure the Publix snobs wouldn't like this place, but I like it! 

Here's one last photo I took inside right after checking out. Those checkout stands look new. That is a lot more creative than what Save-A-Lot did with their 'big' remodel, only repainting those check stands white. 

As I was just getting into my car, I saw this opportunity to capture the Winter Garden water tower (which looks ancient), as well as the sign for West Orange Shopping Center. This is a store I'd like to come back to for some of the delicious looking Latin/Hispanic food seen the Cafe. I wish I had gotten some food at the Sedano's on S. Orange Blossom Trail (ex-Albertsons #4462). That place was amazing! 

Hope you all enjoyed this post!
Till next time,



  1. I agree with you about not liking cookie cutter stores, especially grocery stores. That's always been an issue I've had with Publix (although I also think they can be a bit overpriced). It also doesn't help that their three most recent décor packages are basically the same thing with minimal edits! That said, however, as you noted a lot of people don't even pay attention to this sort of thing, and just shop as they normally would. For Publix in particular their service and presentation (aside from décor) are certainly good enough to warrant becoming a regular shopping destination - that, and the fact they've driven out most all competition, haha!

    With Kroger we have a lot of the same décor packages in our area, but at least there are multiple packages (rather than remodeling practically all stores as soon as a new look comes out, like Publix). Plus, the packages are all distinct and individual, not just evolutions from previous looks, like all the Classy Market iterations. However, I must admit I do a majority of my grocery shopping at Walmart. In my town specifically the store thankfully isn't as crowded as some Walmarts, but even then, before this one was built we still shopped at a busier Walmart nearby... their prices are just so low they often can't be beat!

    Back to this store, though... I like seeing a new brand and décor package. Like you said, this store looks pretty good. The hot bread feature is neat, too! I saw your discussion with AFB on flickr about this store previously being a Bravo. I wonder if other Bravo stores in Florida will be switched over to Key Food soon as well.

    1. Walmart may not be pleasant to shop at but they pretty much have everything you're looking for and dry grocery items there are usually cheaper. Although here in Florida, I really don't see a huge difference between Publix's prices and Walmart. Just purely as an example a 64 oz bottle of Welches Grape Juice usually goes for something like $3.99 at Publix. At Walmart it'll be something like $3.88. I think in Florida both Walmart and Publix are benefiting from less competition. Publix knows they're a well liked high service store, and Walmart can still show they're cheaper, but they don't feel the need to be THAT much cheaper, because it's not like Target is offering super great deals on food (except maybe Milk). Kmart was never much of a food store. And all these specialty stores have their own niche.

  2. I thought the same thing when I first looked at the exterior images, that this was a former Winn-Dixie. A listing in the Orlando Sentinel from 1988 confirms that thought - this was a Winn-Dixie. A little more digging shows this Winn-Dixie (which was store #2248) closed in 1995, although I don't know what happened with this building between W-D's departure and Bravo's arrival.

    A lot of these Hispanic-leaning grocery stores in Florida tend to de-empahsize the bakery (and sometimes the deli) in order to focus on the lunch counters (which always seem popular). This store seemed to have a nice lunch counter, and overall looked well-kept. The hot roll machine was something I've never seen before, and 25 cents a roll is a good price!

  3. Thanks for that information! I had suspected this was a Winn-Dixie but started having doubts. Property records show that this center was built in 1960. A little history on Winter Garden told of how development slowed a lot after the 60's. However, it appears this WD had a 35 year run anyway. To me this store looks much better on the inside than out. I was expecting it to be dump, but was pleasantly surprised when I walked in.

  4. The decor reminds me a bit of Albertsons... Industrial Marketplace? Industrial Circus? One of the two.

    1. I see what you're talking about . I do see the similarities.

  5. As a New Jersey native I'm happy to see this coverage of Key Food (currently based in Staten Island, NY; soon to be based in Old Bridge, NJ) in Florida! This is certainly larger than most of our Key Foods up here, which tend to be in the very urban neighborhoods of NY and NJ. The hot bread is a really nice feature! We don't have that in any of our stores up here, though I have been in stores with warmers featuring fresh made croissants.

    Not sure if you know this about Key Food, but they're a cooperative, so each store is independently owned. That gives you a whole lot of variation among the stores, and it also allows owners to choose the brand under which they operate their stores. Price Choice, Food Fair, Festival Foods, and a few others fall under the Key Food umbrella in Florida, while in NY/NJ we have SuperFresh, Food Dynasty, Food Universe, Food Emporium, and a few others.

    And about this store... am I seeing that right that the cashiers are wearing white dress shirts with Key Food vests? I'm having trouble thinking of a Key Food up here that even uses uniforms... so that's quite a surprise for me. Looks great though!