Owner: Mark Caraluzzi
Opened: 1949 (current store constructed 2001)
Location: 98 Greenwood Ave, Bethel, CT
Photographed: May 2019
We are here today in the small town of Bethel, CT to tour the original Caraluzzi's Market, an incredibly attractive 32,000 square foot independent which is serviced by Bozzuto's Food Distributor of Cheshire, CT, which also serves regional IGAs and other chains, including Big Y World Class Market and Food Bazaar.
There is in fact a Big Y at the north end of Bethel, about 3.5 miles as the crow flies, but Caraluzzi's has anchored downtown Bethel since 1949, when former Gristedes executive Anthony Caraluzzi Sr. purchased the Bethel Food Market. In 2001, the store was replaced on the same spot with the existing building, which has been expanded again since (most recently in 2018 to its present size). At the time, the store was rebranded from Bethel Food Market to Caraluzzi's Bethel Market. The chain also has locations in two other nearby towns.
I have to say, I was absolutely blown away by this store. It's everything that an independent, small-town supermarket should be. A friend of mine is from the area, and he agrees that it's one of the best choices for food shopping around.
Heading in on the left side of the store, we first encounter a produce and floral department in the front, before continuing into the grand aisle, which features deli in an island on the right, with produce, prepared foods, bakery, and seafood on the left side wall. Butcher is at the end of the aisle, with meats and dairy continuing along the back wall and frozen/dairy in the last two aisles.
Produce is the first department, and all the fixtures are brand-new (here and throughout the store). I must say, not only was the store very busy with customers, but it was one of the best-staffed supermarkets I've seen. Lots of employees and they were taking a very active role in helping customers.
Gorgeous decor, too. This section seems to be an expansion, and I don't know what the store looked like or what its layout was before its most recent renovation.
About halfway to the back of the grand aisle, produce turns into the enormous deli area, with cold cuts and salads on the right (and cheese behind that), and prepared foods, sushi, and bakery to the left.
Absolutely everything is well thought-out, from the cases and displays, to the tile on the back walls, to the floor and ceiling, to the wall decor.
Cheese and packaged deli behind the service counter, with some unfortunately impossible to read signage.
More baked goods, along with seafood and meat in the back corner. Check out that awesome wood texture behind the butcher counter. And we're seeing the good ol' problem with descenders in the "Local Butcher ShoP."
Meat and dairy on the back wall. The ceiling has been exposed on the perimeter, but remains a drop ceiling in the grocery aisles. I always wonder why a decision like that is made, as I find exposed ceilings so much more attractive than white ceiling tiles. Anyway, despite that, the grocery aisles are looking amazing...
First aisle with what I believe is a walk-in beer cooler on the right here, backing up to the deli counter.
Hy-Top and Seven Farms (organic) storebrand products from Bozzuto's on the shelves.
Some awesome dairy decor on the back wall.
And dairy goes under a fairly low drop ceiling in the back corner.
Frozen takes up one side of the second-to-last aisle and the last aisle, which is not as long (to accommodate managers' offices in the front corner).
You can see here how the offices bump out into the last aisle here, looking towards the back of the store.
Looking across the front-end towards customer service and the entrance side.
It's an extremely spacious front-end. Busy store too, but no lines as you can see. Beyond the registers is a cafe seating area under a lower exposed ceiling...
Spectacular design keeps it isolated from the busy checkouts but not hard to get to. That wraps up our look at Caraluzzi's! (Unfortunately, although I'm sure the other locations are great supermarkets, they're nowhere near as beautiful as this one.) It also wraps up our Danbury-area coverage. Up next we're heading to the northeast to check out four stores around the central Connecticut-Hartford area over on The Market Report!