Owner: Araceli Perez
Cooperative: Retail Grocers Group
Location: 617 E Main St, Bridgewater, NJ
Photographed: July 2020
Bridgewater is the final of four Aqui Market locations that we are seeing on the blog! I've been to Journal Square (which closed in August, by the way) and Garfield Ave in Jersey City, and our wonderful contributor Gerry brings us coverage of Califon which we'll also be seeing soon enough in my own pictures. This store is about 17,000 square feet and was built as an A&P. I assume that the facade, which does not resemble anything I've ever seen on an A&P, came after the opening of Twin City Supermarkets which switched over to Aqui Market around 2018. (This was the last of the original three stores to be converted, and for a while was co-branded with both Twin City and Aqui Market logos.)
Clearly, the bones of the store here are quite old. But it's been remodeled recently and it's looking pretty good. Produce lines the first double-wide aisle, with meat on the back wall, a large butcher in the middle of the back wall, and seafood in the back right corner. I believe frozen foods run down the middle of the store, likely a holdover from A&P, with dairy in the last aisle. Deli and hot food are in the front right corner. I assume most of the fixtures and flooring are left from A&P.
Notice the contrast between the trendier and more modern (but rustic) graphics on the walls and the ancient produce cases! Definitely at least from the 1970s, and definitely left from A&P. Here's what this store would've looked like in its earlier days as an A&P.
The new decor around the store here is absolutely awesome. It's a great personal touch too -- note that this appears to be a scan from a document of a business in Cabaiguan, a town in Cuba. And the owner listed there, Alfonso Perez, is now the owner of Twin City and Pueblo stores, and the owner of this store is, I believe, his daughter.
Very interesting that the signage for "Boucher" (butcher) and "Peixes" (seafood) appears to be in Portuguese.
There seems to be a mix of older and newer cases and shelving throughout the store. Frozen foods (and I'm forgetting which aisle they're in now) are in cases likely left from A&P, or possibly brought in from another store secondhand when Twin City opened here in 1999.
And a large international section is anchored by an extra-wide aisle in the middle of the store.
Heading out to the last aisle for dairy.
Now this sign is in French, right? Any insight on the various languages represented here? (Aqui, by the way, the name of the store, is Spanish for "here".)
Deli and hot food bar in the front corner. A small customer service counter is next along the front-end.
That wraps up our look at the Aqui Market in Bridgewater, and come back soon for another look at Califon. But for now, we're going to be seeing two former supermarkets just to the south tomorrow on Grocery Archaeology!
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