Owner: Mitchel Lopez
Cooperative: Retail Grocers Group
Location: 865 E Grand St, Union Square, Elizabeth, NJ
Photographed: March 2020
We have returned to Pointe Grande Plaza just to the north of Union Square in Elizabeth. This store was built in 2015-2017 as Supermarkets Plus IGA, a somewhat shady but nicely built-out new build store owned by Nick Nasser, who has had several other crash-and-burn stores -- some quite literally. Not this one though, which was sold to Jersey City-based Extra Supermarket owned by Mitchel Lopez, who also owns Extra stores in Jersey City and Newark, along with City Supermarkets in Newark, Irvington, and Fairview. These municipalities are all actually very close together, but we've seen them at different times because JC is in Hudson County, Fairview is in Bergen County, Newark/Irvington are in Essex County, and Elizabeth is in Union County. We last saw this store just before it opened back in August 2018. As I mentioned, the store had not been significantly renovated, but it feels like a totally different store. As much as Supermarkets Plus felt dead and dingy, Extra feels vibrant and welcoming.
Compare this to how blah Supermarkets Plus looked! The produce department has been nicely restocked with a large emphasis on Latin and Caribbean items. On the left side of the store, an in-store bakery, deli, hot food, seafood, and butcher line the wall.
Unlike Supermarkets Plus, Extra is absolutely packed with merchandise. This is also Lopez's first store with an in-store bakery, as far as I know. It's fantastic, by the way. The chocolate chip cookies have my seal of approval -- and I'm a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur.
An overview of the grand aisle. Just beautiful! (I'll also mention that I visited Supermarkets Plus on the grand opening weekend at a peak shopping time and it was deserted. I visited Extra mid-morning on a Monday and it was much busier.)
Service seafood and meat counters at the back of the grand aisle. The t in Meat is flying away a little bit -- I'd bet it started to fall down and they put it up a little off-center.
Packaged meats on the back wall of the store. Frozen foods and cold cuts take up the rest of the back wall.
Grocery aisles are looking better than ever. Extra got lucky with this location, since it was basically brand-new, but they've improved it immensely.
The shelves did not seem quite as pristine as Supermarkets Plus, but that looked to be simply because more people shop here.
As with the other Extra locations, there's a wide selection of kitchenware and some non-foods products.
Looking along the back wall. Even the music Extra was playing was more upbeat than Supermarkets Plus's music!
The remaining frozen foods line the outside wall of the store, with dairy on the facing side of the aisle.
Pharmacy is open! I don't know for sure whether it ever opened with Supermarkets Plus but I do remember that it was supposed to open at the same time as the store... and it sure didn't. This is an outside business, and the pharmacy that was supposed to open under Supermarkets Plus was called Hometown Pharmacy if I remember correctly.
A look across the front-end from the bakery department (with the cafe seating area on the other side of the bread cases) to customer service on the far end of the store. After the depressing history of this store location, I'm glad to see it's looking great now! That almost wraps up our Greater Elizabeth area, but we have two more stores just outside the city tomorrow, one on The Market Report and an update over on The Independent Edition!