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TOUR: El Especial Supermarket - Passaic, NJ

El Especial Supermarket
Owner: Jose Arias
Opened: 1991
Cooperative: Krasdale Foods
Location: 278 Monroe St, Passaic, NJ
Photographed: July 2020
At just 4600 square feet, El Especial Supermarket is the smallest full supermarket in downtown Passaic. But it is indisputably a full supermarket, and a really good one at that. The independent store has been in business here since 1991, but the building is probably a former chain store. Very hard to tell though, as the awning disguises the past facade of the building.
That said, the store today is looking fantastic. It's obvious the owners take great pride in this store. We enter on the left side of the store to a very large deli and butcher counter, with meats continuing down the first aisle. Frozen foods line the back wall, with dairy and produce in the last aisle. Let's head in!
Inside we've got bright colors, great lighting, and a wonderful wooden awning structure. The flooring has a few different styles throughout the store, but the front area has a great wood-look.
I love the awning over the deli! And what do we see on the column just next to that? Check out the Krasdale clock!
And while the flooring in the rest of the store is clearly older, it's in absolutely pristine condition.
Frozen foods along the back wall. It almost looks like the store has been shortened, and that it once continued farther behind this back row of cases because we can see the wall continues. Hard to tell though, it maybe was installed like that. (Perhaps a past tenant had service counters on the back wall.)
Stack it high, watch it fly! But look how beautifully stocked those shelves are, and how clean the floor is.
Here you can see how the freezer cases and wood trim are set in front of the back wall of the store. The floor colors are vaguely reminiscent of what CTown was using in the early 90s, but I think they had more of a red than a tan.
Lots and lots of international foods make an appearance here. Looking great! All the various competitors clearly keep El Especial on their toes.
Another beautiful grocery aisle.
Dairy lines the back half of the last aisle, with produce in the front half.
We have a bit of the decor missing here, but I'm going to let that slide on account of the rest of the store being so beautifully maintained.
Here's one more look at the very nice produce department! Our next tour is immediately across the street for another independent store, right here tomorrow. Stay tuned!