Gold Valley Supermarket
Location: 211 Morris Ave, Springfield, NJ
Photographed: March 2019 and December 2020
Today's store is a 23,000 square foot Asian supermarket, in fact, the only Asian supermarket in this part of the state. It was built as a Grand Union and converted to a Circus Foodtown in 2001, later becoming Food King a little under 10 years later. It later became an A Seabra Foods (now Seabra's Market), and in 2014 became Gold Valley. Although the decor inside has been modified to include Chinese characters and some more specific signage, the bones are left from Seabra (compare this store to Union). After the initial single exterior shot above from March 2019, I returned in December of 2020 to see the interior and I was quite impressed.
The store is 23,000 square feet, and it's about twice as deep as it is wide. The back 1/3 or so has a second floor, likely for offices.
We enter to a spacious produce department in the front right quarter of the store. There's an island in the middle of the front half of the store where Seabra would've had a deli/bakery, but it's now all prepared foods. Meat and seafood are in the front left quarter of the store, with grocery aisles in the back half of the store. The first aisle is frozen foods, dairy on the back wall, and packaged meat in the last aisle. I'd say this is more of a general supermarket than many Asian stores, and I'd also assume that's because Springfield is 82% white, 9% Hispanic, and only 7% Asian. There's certainly a larger Latin/Caribbean and mainstream grocery selection here than at Kam Man, for instance, this store's nearest direct competitor about 7 miles to the northwest.
A Seabra Foods put in a lot of money and effort to remodel the store (that links to a slideshow of the store at its opening), and Gold Valley didn't need to do much when they moved in. It looks like they expanded the produce department and made a few other selection-related changes, but much of the decor is left over from Seabra. These category markers throughout the store, although they do not use the Seabra name, still have the now-retired A Seabra Foods logo and the slogan.
Frozen foods here in the back of the first aisle, and it's hard to place these cases. It's possible they're left over from the Grand Union days -- they certainly could be that age -- but I doubt Grand Union would've had the frozen foods in the first aisle.
The second grocery aisle in the back of the store has kitchenwares and other nonfood products, and we can also catch a glimpse of a remnant of something or other in the ceiling. I'm not entirely sure what that was. Can any Grand Union historians give us any insight?
Looking down another grocery aisle. As we see, the aisles are clean and clutter-free -- both of which are shortcomings of Kam Man.
Here's a look at one of the grocery aisles with more mainstream grocery items and Latin/Caribbean foods.
Seabra's decor is going strong here in dairy along the back wall of the store. This is one of the sections that's quite mainstream, as Kam Man barely has any dairy items at all.
Prepared foods island, closed for the coronavirus. I'm assuming the decor we see here is all left over from Seabra, and it looks like something may have been removed where the black strips are now.
Interestingly, this part of the dairy department has been reset so that the cases on the side wall (which are labeled Milk above, and can be stocked from behind) are displaying things like juice and iced tea, while milk has been moved to the cases on the back wall of the store, which we see right under the exit sign straight ahead.
Packaged meat takes up most of the back half of the last aisle, with frozen meat in the coffin case in the middle of the aisle. A very large service butcher and seafood counter take up the front half.
Once again, all of the decor, fixtures, and category markers are left over from Seabra, but they look very good.
A closer look at the frozen foods cases opposite meat and seafood. It also looks from this picture that Gold Valley had a new seafood sign mounted directly onto the existing Seabra sign, which hangs from the ceiling (and can be seen in the article linked above).
Customer service is in the corner just behind me in the picture above, with the registers lining the front wall of the store.
I'm glad that after all these years of driving by, I finally made a stop in this store! It was well worth it. Up next, we're going to be heading to the northeast to Vauxhall, on the Union-Millburn-Maplewood border, for two stores before heading into Maplewood. Check out tomorrow's store tour on The Market Report!
The only things that look a bit Grand Union are those frozen meat cases (from the red/white era) and possibly that green/white tile by seafood (though if so it would have been added later, as it was more common to see in newer stores).ReplyDelete
They also did do the island deli thing, but again a later design (mid 1990's), unless they added it in at that point to some older stores (not locally).
No clue on that rounded ceiling thing - the upright frozen cases could be from them, but it does seem odd to be on an outside like that (unless the whole store got moved at some point).
It's really hard to tell what was from Grand Union and what wasn't, but everything you said here sounds logical. I think the big question is not the age of the fixtures but their origin -- being independent or small chain operators, it's quite likely that any of the post-Grand Union tenants (Foodtown, Food King, A Seabra, or Gold Valley) brought in secondhand fixtures from elsewhere. I think if we actually knew the layout of the store as a Grand Union, we could answer some more questions. It didn't even occur to me that the deli island could be a Grand Union relic, but now that actually makes a lot of sense to me. The truth is simply that I've never heard of a Grand Union that was laid out like this, with the store probably twice as deep as it is wide. I would've assumed that Grand Union rotated their normal layout 90 degrees for that reason, but it is also entirely possible this was just a unique (or very unusual, at least) store.Delete
Thanks for your thoughts though, I always appreciate hearing what you have to say!