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TOUR: Super Food Supermarket - Pennington, Trenton, NJ

Super Food Supermarket
Owner: Eddie Trujillo
Opened: mid-2000s
Cooperative: none
 359 Pennington Ave, Pennington/Prospect, Trenton, NJ
Photographed: January 2021
Our first store tour here in Trenton is one of six supermarkets in the city. Trenton currently has this Super Food, a Selecto Supermarket, a Food Bazaar, a Supreme Food Market, and two Compare Foods. We'll be seeing all of those except the two Compare Foods this time around. There are also assorted other small grocery stores and bodegas. At a whopping 75,000 square feet, the Food Bazaar is by far the largest, but at 25,000 square feet, Super Food is larger than you can shake a stick at.
This store opened sometime in the early 2000s as a CTown (you'll notice the "Supermarkets for Savings" signage remaining outside and on these promotional flags inside) in a new-build complex, but shortly thereafter was converted to Super Food. Super Food is a single-store banner but part of the Supremo Foods chain. Supremo also owns another store in Trenton, under the name Supreme. Now here's a question, does anybody else know that this store exists? The cavernous store felt even more gigantic when I visited because there were hardly any other customers in the place. How does a store like this stay in business? Does it get really crowded on the weekends or at night or something?
This decor package comes to us courtesy of DY Design, and is charmingly awful. I'm sure it was quite stylish 20 years ago. DY has brought us other, newer decor packages for Supremo which look great (see Plainfield and Elizabeth's CitiGrocer). It is original to the store, and by the way I think it's fairly likely the CTown was also owned by Supremo, just under a different name. We saw yesterday that Supremo had a Supreme-turned-Shop n Bag in the West End neighborhood, and I'm not quite sure why Supremo wanted so many different banners used simultaneously in one very small area, and also why they would've changed so frequently. (Unrelated side note... the Supremo in Irvington, a large but busy store, was also previously a CTown, which may or may not have been the same owners, and before that, a Foodtown.) On the subject of decor and Supremo, we've seen the upgrades that Supremo has done in other stores (painting, lighting, floor replacement) and as of January 2022 that's been happening here too, with new flooring and it seems lighting going in, and while that looks quite good, it doesn't look like the decor is being changed (not even painted), unfortunately.
Obviously, the decor could use some freshening up but the store's looking pretty good two decades or so after its opening. Certainly a nice facility, but painfully empty. Why was nobody shopping here?
The grand aisle features produce and seafood on the left-side wall, with bakery and deli in an island facing. It looks like this store once had a service bakery which was removed later. Meat and dairy line the back wall, with frozen in the last aisle.
As we can see, the grocery aisles are spotless, and the shelves are beautifully stocked. Bright and clean, and from everything I could tell, the prices were pretty good too. There aren't that many other shopping choices in the neighborhood, and Trenton as a whole doesn't have a lot of supermarkets so I'd assume the ones that are there would be very popular. Well, as we'll see, that's not necessarily true. I was at the Food Bazaar in town just 45 minutes before coming to this store and it was predictably busy but not packed either, so I wonder if the population of this area just doesn't shop at this time.
Wall of Values in the middle of the back wall.
Cold cuts and then dairy take up the rest of the back wall.
I may have mentioned this before, but Supremo used White Rose products until White Rose went under in 2014. At that time, they switched to Supervalu and now carry Essential Everyday and Wild Harvest.
Looking back towards the grand aisle of the store. As we see, the store looks much larger than it actually is.
The color scheme contributes to the store's dated feeling, especially the signature 90s/early 00s CTown pink/maroon and turquoise which are everywhere.
Frozen foods, still in coffin cases, in the last aisle of the store. I have to think that I just caught the store at an off-time, because we see maintenance is excellent here -- it doesn't have any of the signs of a failing store, such as empty shelves and burnt-out lights or malfunctioning coolers. Everything is pristine and in good repair.
There's a very odd alcove under the offices in the front which is used for beverages and some snacks now. I wouldn't be surprised if this area was originally a pharmacy, which some Supremos previously had (but none currently do). Check out Jersey City's former pharmacy area, which is both in the same area and converted to the same snack/beverage area.
And a look at the front end with this wonderful elaborate series of triangles that, again, isn't helping make the store look really modern. But I will point out that each of the triangles has two lights under it to illuminate the register numbers, and every single lightbulb was working. Impressive! See, this store is really well taken care of, and it's large and complete enough that it's gotta be a place that gets crowded at times, I guess just not when I stopped by. Anyway, tomorrow we head straight into downtown for a look at our next two Trenton stores, the Food Bazaar and a small independent one a couple blocks away. Check them out with one here on The Independent Edition and one over on The Market Report!