King's Home Thrift | Former Winn-Dixie #416
Pinson Valley Shopping Center
4496 Center Point Road
Pinson, AL 35126
Marketplace Madness 2024: Something Old
A Diamond in the Rough: A Companion to my post covering Winn-Dixie #500
Welcome back to My Florida Retail Blog! It's been a hot minute since you've seen me here, but I suppose what better way to return from my hiatus than to kick off this year's edition of Marketplace Madness.
The first two chronicles will be served up here on MFR while the last two will find themselves right at home over on The Sing Oil Blog. As you may have seen mentioned elsewhere, this mini-series will consist of four beefy posts involving "Something Old", "Something New", "Something Borrowed", and "Something Blue". I'll leave you to marinate on what I mean by the latter three categories, but the first one should become obvious pretty dern quick.
We kicked off last year's festivities by experiencing the wonders of the Winn-Dixie Marketplace & Food Pavilion concept with a textbook example from Pensacola and a modern adaptation in Columbus; this was followed by a tour through a rare Pub-Dixie in Chattanooga which left little to be desired. This year, I decided to up the ante with four posts covering a diverse subset of both current and former Winn-Dixies. All four of these stores have taught me a great deal about the journey of the Floridian grocer as it rose to the title of "America's Supermarket", descended to the depths of a dated discount grocer, and reemerged as a formidable competitor to Publix (only to send shockwaves with the news of German retailer, Aldi, acquiring the storied supermarket).
The store we will explore today was brought to my attention following an impulsive road trip to document Pinson, AL's current WD nearly two years ago. After recognizing the building from the street, I didn't think to stop in until I reviewed some Google Maps photos back at home. I knew I had to return.
So, what do you say, how about we open up our winn-dow to the past and reflect on what old #416 has to show us.
According to the Jefferson County Property Appraiser, the original Pinson Winn-Dixie structure has a completion date of 1985, which roughly lines up with this store's February 1986 grand opening.
|The Birmingham Post Herald (Newspapers.com) - February 28, 1986
This comes as The Beef People were just beginning to roll out the Marketplace format but weren't entirely sold on the concept for every market. Instead of getting a flashy new combination store, Pinson received a smaller "Superstore" designed to fit the needs of rural areas, adjoined by a Harco pharmacy next door.
What's even more surprising is that 15-years was a long time for The Beef People to stick around in a location back in the day. I've seen stores that barely lasted a decade before they were replaced, or at a minimum, expanded to a full Marketplace. Rather than tacking on more square footage, though, this location remained largely untouched for its entire life . . .
We'll begin our tour of this "Winn-Thriftie" with a look at the King's Home Thrift vestibule and checkout counter. The vinyl wood floors may not be original, but the cashier island stands roughly where Winn-Dixie's old check stands were.
I'm inclined to say that the customer service counter would have been off to my left (similar to most 1990's stores), but there's still a chance that it was situated in the center of the vestibule like most 1970's stores. My hesitation with the latter positioning is because this store doesn't have the signature transom windows that would have accented this space.
Continuing on to the furniture department, we find the reason why we are here (and it's not to listen to some old school R.E.M.): it's the chrome.
Now, let's address the elephant in the room: the suspended chrome structure seen here previously promoted the "produce patch" and provided some eye-popping visuals for shoppers as they entered the store.
Complimenting this structure were some of the original avocado-green floor tiles. This store may have lacked any of its proper department signage, but it will become very clear that it didn't need any . . .
|Courtesy Winn-Dixie (Facebook)
Likewise, Winn-Dixie shared this photo of the department adornments in a similar store so we can see how it was originally configured. I'd like to point out the banners hanging in the space behind the "produce patch" lettering, which would explain the curtain rod holders still in place in Pinson. The walls are also noticeably bare in this shot, which makes me think the package designers felt the remaining shiny objects were sufficient enough.
|W...W...Why is everything chrome?
We'll take another wide-angle shot of the clothing corner and shoe section before progressing on. Isn't it nice how this thrift store matched its clothing racks to the existing décor?
|Everything is chrome in the future!
Jumping to the other side, we get a better perspective of the odd structure hanging above my head (and the strange flooring transition the thrift store decided on). I'd say the patch of modern faux wood doesn't quite mesh with boldly muted 1980's vinyl. Then again, did avocado green ever pair well with mustard yellow?
|Winn-Dixie Chrome Interior Department Decoration - Reflected Ceiling Plan
It's a bit hard to tell how the department decoration is shaped, so I tried to mock it up with a reflected ceiling plan (picture yourself standing on a mirrored floor that reflects the above ceiling) in Paint. I neglected to add the pendant light in the middle and the old banners, but you can nonetheless get the picture. The top of this graphic faced the checkout lines and featured the "Produce Patch" neon, while the left side faced the front wall, and the right side faced the rear.
Turning along the right wall of the store, we are greeted by many more clothes and many more fun tile colors.
The transition to the rosy-brown tile indicates that we have now entered the old floral department. I'd have to imagine that the opposite side of the angled department decoration previously stated such as well.
In the back right corner, we find our next tile design which originally graced either the seafood counter or the breakfast & luncheon meat cases.
The reason why I'm unsure is because I've seen similar stores place their seafood counter here and I know this location had a "Fisherman's Wharf" based on several newspaper ads. On the other hand, this tile doesn't stick out much farther than an old meat case would, and the ceiling and walls don't appear to have been patched by the thrift store.
The strip of orange tiles also looks like something that would line the rear raceway to guide shoppers around the store; I could be wrong though.
The final thing that brings me pause is this section of flooring/ceiling that obviously served as a service department at one point. I'm not sure whether The Beef People had a butcher counter in this store, whether it was combined with the seafood counter, or whether there was only a seafood counter, but regardless, I'd guess this is where the sausage was made, so to speak. From bouncing babies to reclining retirees, this store can meet all your needs from cradle to grave!
If you still can't figure out how this store was laid out, make sure to reflect back on my tour of Winn-Dixie #168 in Chiefland while I reflect on the produce department chrome.
Continuing on, we find more of the reddish/orange tile beyond the mystery service department to accentuate this wonderful display of window blinds and wine racks.
Turning back toward the front, we find a mysterious blue section of flooring that can only mean one thing: frozen foods.
I suppose this former Winn-Dixie is "frozen" in time – all we need is a line of coffin coolers running down the middle and we'd be in business!
In case you are interested in a decade-old copy of Good Housekeeping, you can save 15% on it every Thursday if you are over the age of 65 or save 15% any day if you bring in your church bulletin! Now I just wonder how that works for churches that don't print bulletins anymore . . . or if the discounts stack.
Why don't you take a seat while you meat your brand new (at least to you) floral-patterned sofa!
Those chairs are perfectly placed in case you need to wait for somebody to use the restroom; unsurprisingly, these are also unchanged from how WD left them (as are the chrome cart bumpers protecting the corners; how befitting).
|Future! Future! Future! Future!
Our next department decoration appears in the back left corner of the store above what was previously the dairy area. Now it may not have any milk, but still has plenty of space for your derriere.
Rounding the corner is some nice orange tile outlining the space, reinforcing the theme that dairy departments weren't always born to be blue . . .
|I don't belong here . . . this is all a horrible mistake!
Retail Retell, don't be dismayed, though, despite the orange dairy corner, you could still find a pattern for a full family of Raggedy Ann outfits. If this doesn't fit the template for today's fun featured product, then I don't know what would!
|I've gotta get home – to my own time period!
Tuning around, we see where the orange accents gave way to mustard colored tiles bordered by some quaint brown trim. The 1980's were quite the time for experimentation for The Beef People.
I'll admit that I wanted to hang out in this store for a while because those chrome accents are so cool! We can also see where the banners would have been mounted between the two portions of the department decorations.
|The time machine is down the hall to the left.
The secondairy portion of the department (okay, I totally had to steal AFB's line there) was situated closer to the old deli / bakery and featured another angled accent mirroring the one over floral. I presume said sign previously advertised "cheese world", but now simply provides a shattered refraction of the ground we've already covered.
Winn-Dixie #168 - 1989 - Chiefland, FL - December 2021
Had this store remodeled to the now infamous Rose & Teal package, here's how it would have been configured. I'd especially like to point out the distinctly angled soffit over the bakery which was popular in these 1980's stores. Isn't it crazy how similar my framing is despite these pictures being taken over two years and four-hundred miles apart?!
Regardless, the Chiefland store I toured back in 2022 also would have sported the Chrome interior when it opened in 1989, and it's neat to now have a direct comparison for some of the finishes.
|Oops, that one's just the can opener.
If anything, at least this shot gives us a better perspective as to how that chrome thing hanging from the ceiling is shaped!
For being the lamp department, this section of the store was awfully dark! It also doesn't feel very warm despite being the old bakery department. I suppose in the 1980's, orange was the new black.
|Wow, I wouldn't have chosen this interior.
At least the illuminated tile helped warm up the old deli. I'm honestly shocked at how well this part of the store cleaned up after all of the nasty supermarket auctions I've seen.
|Oh, what's this?
Probably the coolest part of this corner, however, was the old tile pattern pointing shoppers toward these departments. If this doesn't draw your attention, I don't know what would!
|Well, if lamps exist in the future . . .
We'll take one last "behind the scenes" look at the old bakery area . . .
|. . . I better go to the past!
. . . followed by another look at the deli . . .
. . . well, we'll just say I thought this part of the store had a number of things worth photographing.
Also, doesn't the reflection of that "toys" sign in the old cheese mirror make it look like a cartoon grandmother?
This photo of the
deli art department is also the perfect time to point out how even the columns in this store were covered in chrome. THE FUTURE!
The fact that this store was never seemingly designated as a Marketplace leads me to believe that all of the remaining supermarket fixtures are original to this store's 1986 construction. I guess Winn-Dixie had discontinued the wooden interior by that point, rather than keeping it alive for non-Marketplace outlets like this.
I do have to wonder why there are still cabinets placed where the old deli and bakery cases would have been. Are these left over fixtures from the old WD? Did the thrift store just place these to cover up old floor drains, etc.?
That will just have to remain a mystery as we move on to our final department. The former H&BA aisles featured their own banded grey tile pattern; I'm just not sure whether the old gondola shelves were arranged where the clothing racks are today or whether they were on top of the lighter colored tiles.
I don't believe this location ever had a pharmacy, considering the Harco next door, but these aisles still lined up with where the pharmacy counter would have been.
That will conclude this chapter of Marketplace Madness, but make sure to check back soon for episode 2 –
Attack of the Clones Something New.
I'd like to thank The Albertsons Florida Blogger for helping me with some of the information in this post. After all, he was the one who (somehow) dug up the long lost store number in some old property records and affirmed my assumptions about the tile flooring.
Until next time,
- The Sing Oil Blogger
P.S. If you were completely lost with the photo captions, this video should help.