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Special Report: Food Depot Supermarkets - Belleville, NJ

Food Depot Supermarkets
Owner: Orfilio Chaviano and Nick Gonzalez
Opened: June 30, 2023
Cooperative: Krasdale Foods
 325 Washington Ave, Belleville, NJ
Photographed: July 2, 2023
We are back at the Belleville Food Depot to check it out! The 12,000 square foot, Krasdale-affiliated store opened on Friday 6/30 in a former Walgreens that was originally built as an ACME. Food Depot has extensively renovated the interior and exterior of this store, and we saw it about two weeks ago almost finished with the final touches being put on.
The store is in its soft opening phase, and as we'll see it's very very close to complete. There are some price tags that need to be added and a few sections of an empty shelf here and there, but it's basically ready. As we can see above, the store feels much larger than it is and feels like a complete supermarket, not like a little store in an old drugstore.
Produce lines the right side of the first aisle, with meat on the left side. Service seafood and butcher are at the back of the first aisle, with cold cuts on the back wall and dairy/frozen in the last aisle. I was surprised that the small store has service seafood but not a deli.
Produce and meat looked really nice, and the seafood selection is small but complete. The store is very complete for such a small location, with a lot of selection. My main complaint is price. Across the board, this store seemed very expensive. Grapes ranged from $4-6 a pound here, while all varieties were $1.99 a pound at the SuperFresh Food World in Belleville. Blueberry pints were $5 here, $2 at SuperFresh.
But the design of the space is fantastic, and they've certainly made the best of this space.
The butcher counter is very nice and in the back right corner of the store. Moving into the grocery aisles, we see a very complete selection in the small space with a mix of Best Yet and Krasdale items. I don't know exactly where the pricing issue comes from, whether that's a decision by the owners to raise prices or whether, as I suspect (and have observed at other stores), Krasdale is struggling with pricing lately.
Here's a look across the back of the store. As we see, it's not a large store but it's got plenty to offer.
Perhaps if the store functions more as a convenience store, the pricing will be less of an issue as people are using the store for its location, size, and convenience rather than a full weekly shopping.
Here's a look at the dairy department in the last aisle, with frozen opposite. The decor is great here! And buy fresh, buy local is very close to Pathmark's Go Fresh, Go Local (now used by Seabra Foods). There was a Pathmark just north on Washington Avenue, which is now a ShopRite. That's another reason this store might want to rethink pricing.
As far as I can tell, all of the fixtures in this store were new and nothing was brought in secondhand. If anything was secondhand, it's been very nicely refurbished. The store looks great!
And a look at the front-end, with four registers (and customer service just out of frame to the right). Looking good!
We'll have to see how this store does going forward, and how customers respond to it. The official grand opening is on July 12, but the store is fully open and functional in the meantime. That's all for today, but I will be doing a lot more updates and special reports over the next few days during the summer break!