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Update: Corrado's Market!


Welcome back to the Corrado's Market in Fairfield! If you recall, I was blown away when I went to this Corrado's as I definitely visited it at its high point. But Corrado's as a whole has been declining steeply and quickly, with the first cracks in the operation showing when they canceled their upcoming Brick store (and apparently doing the same in Old Tappan). Their strip mall in Wayne was foreclosed on, then the store closed last month. They closed stores in North Arlington and Denville in 2021 and 2023, respectively. While I don't know exactly what's going on inside the company, it sure looks like it's crumbling before our eyes. Then again, there's no sign of that when you enter Fairfield, with a beautiful, fully stocked produce department, a huge deli packed with fresh products, and a massive fully-stocked salad bar. There's even fresh pizzas out in a dedicated service counter. But that good first impression is ruined if you look closer.
So many spots in the produce department were filled with these bagged produce items, all branded Marketside -- the Walmart storebrand. I visited on July 15th and nearly all of them expired on either the 15th or 16th. There were yellowed spinach leaves, black-spotted cauliflower, mushy brown broccoli...
In fact, all of what once was the organic produce area (you can see the signage remains) is filled with this product, and every one was from the same lot, as I said all with dates of the day I visited or the next day. I don't understand why this is. On the other hand, some of the other produce was fully stocked and really nice.
There are only two Corrado's stores left, this one and their original location in Clifton. We haven't toured that location yet, but we'll be seeing a few pictures later on.
Things look worse in the grocery aisles, where the stock is almost definitely thinning out. Empty shelves and endcaps abound, with the space filled by way too many facings of the same product.
The Avenue A storebrand items they had previously are all cleared out, and here the only storebrand stuff I saw was, again, some random Walmart storebrand items.
Here's some Great Value mustard, and you can also see the big empty spaces on the shelves.
Dairy was pretty lightly stocked too, especially compared to how it used to look. There was one full freezer door with nothing but the same type of pita.
Almost nothing in the baking department, except a few random remaining products. My question is: is Corrado's preparing to do something other than close here? I would say an outright closure, especially given the recent events, is likely, but it's also possible they're looking to do something else here, like reduce the store to just a deli and maybe cut back the size. The only reason I think something like that is possible is that the deli was so packed with fresh and store-made prepared foods, something that seems awfully strange to pack in a store that's near closure. On the other hand, the garden center and pet market in the back of this supermarket have closed, which makes me think Corrado's might want to just evacuate soon.
Endcaps and every empty space around the store, including what I believe used to be the butcher counter, were filled with these odd wafers and one other similar kind. Like, piles of these things (all expiring this September) all around the store. It was so strange.
Who's actually shopping here when the store is in this condition? And be careful what you buy, if you are shopping here...
There was a LOT of this teriyaki sauce, which all expired in December of 2021. I know it's basically colored saltwater, but what supermarket other than a surplus grocery store is selling two-year-old products? Let's see if the original store in Clifton is faring any better these days...


I was here a week or so after I visited Fairfield, on July 23, 2023. Keep that date in mind when we're looking at the expiration dates shortly. This is a very nice store (and much larger, at close to 50,000 square feet). But unfortunately, some of the same issues we see in Fairfield are also present here.
Piles and piles of the Walmart storebrand produce items are also displayed here, in fact probably more than was in Fairfield. And all of it was dated July 15 or 16. I know dates don't always matter, but they do when your broccoli is brown and mushy.
Disgusting lettuce that had expired a week before, anyone?
I don't get this at all. What's the endgame here? I saw so many people just bypassing the produce department with empty carts because they didn't want anything they had here. A few were actually commenting on the poor quality. Meanwhile, some of the produce remains perfectly high quality that it had been before. Not to mention that, how is Corrado's getting these Walmart branded items? I have to assume they actually ordered them, and how would you go about doing that? I suppose there are surplus wholesalers and things like that, but that means Corrado's is actually seeking out second-rate product, right?
Some were more visibly spoiled than others, but every one of these bags was expired.
Looks like Corrado's is being supplied, at least in part, by General Trading in Carlstadt these days, given the presence of a very select few Parade items around this store. Fairfield had no Parade items.
And more teriyaki sauce that expired in 2021! This time in big jugs for your expired convenience...
Everything that was on sale or on an endcap was expired, some more than others. Here's vinegar that expired in May 2023, but it's vinegar, which has a long shelf life so that means it's very old. What's going on? Much of the fresh cheese I looked at, too, was very close to its expiration. The only thing, interestingly enough, that looked okay was meat and seafood. I think seafood might be an outside vendor here, so they might be operating on their own.
One whole row of freezer cases was packed with nothing but these Open Nature (secondhand from some Albertsons chain, probably ACME) ice creams at 99 cents. Notably, these were not expired.
There is an ongoing redevelopment at this property, which seems to involve Corrado's significantly downsizing their presence in the neighborhood. Their nearby gas station is now Gasna, and their property across the street is preparing to be redeveloped into a warehouse. The tenants across the street -- the garden center, the wine and beer making facility, the pet market, and a Planet Fitness -- are expected to move into the existing supermarket facility. Is there any space left for a supermarket then? I suspect if anything, it will be a small specialty market, maybe just a deli, in maybe 5 or 10,000 square feet of the roughly 60,000 square foot present complex (some of which is currently occupied by other tenants). I just don't see a logistically possible way Corrado's could continue to have a full-size supermarket in the new development, but also, I suspect Corrado's is on its way out of the mainstream grocery business.
Above is a look at the building across the street soon to be demolished. But wait, there's more!

Bonus Tour!!

Corrado's Market
Owner: James Corrado
Opened: 1970s
Cooperative: none
 1578 Main Ave, Clifton, NJ
Photographed: June 22, 2022
Let's take a look at what this store looked like when it was in its prime, or at least doing better than it is these days!
We enter on the right side of the supermarket to produce in an expansive department that extends from the front of the store all the way to the back wall. Back in 2022 when I took these pictures, the produce was all beautiful and perfect -- as we can see with the peppers below.
Dairy is split between the back wall and the left side wall, with frozen partially right up in front and partially in the back left corner. Meat, seafood, deli, hot foods, bakery, floral, pizza, and the liquor store are all in the front left corner in front of and next to the registers, with the cheese and olive island prominently in the middle of the front-end.
Along the front and left of the store are a few outside tenants, mostly small restaurants and a Dunkin' Donuts.
Back in its better days, this was an impressive produce department that rivaled the best of them. Pricing was (and still is) great, too, although the quality has significantly declined.
Worth noting here briefly about the layout that the way I described the layout is rotated 90 degrees from the parking lot, since what used to be the right-side wall of the store is now the front wall with the way the property is now set up. The doorway you can see below goes to a small wholesale area, mostly of imported and produce items, which was also a little bit cleaned-out when I visited most recently.
This is what the produce department used to look like! No Walmart rejects in sight.
And here's a look at where the dairy department begins on the back wall. I would say the store could stand to get a good deep clean, but it was in really good shape when I visited a year ago.
The grocery selection (you know, back when the shelves were actually stocked) was very diverse, with huge international sections. It leans towards specialized foods, like international and gourmet items.
The store was long a bastion of the Italian-American community in the area, but over time adapted to encompass large Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisines. While the store was operating well when I visited a year ago, it had clearly declined from its early-2000s peak that the New York Times described in a 2006 feature. That article also discusses the store's evolution.
Huge seasoning and spice departments here, too. I don't remember whether this is still all there, but it looks like it may have even been beginning to thin out back in 2022.
A massive cheese, olive, and prepared foods island in the front of the store! This is a phenomenal feature of the store, although glancing at a few packaged cheeses around this island, I saw a lot of very soon or passed expiration dates. That's a sign of poor inventory control, but it's also a sign this store is doing very low volume. When I visited recently, it was almost eerily quiet inside. I went on to the Hackensack Market which was buzzing, and then on to the Fairview Food Bazaar which was, of course, packed.
Packaged cheeses and frozen foods in the slightly odd location of between the front-end and the grocery aisles.
Here's a look at the incredibly impressive international aisle, or should I say one of several international sections in the store. I'm sad that this probably won't be able to be preserved in a newly renovated (and presumably downsized) store. And even less so, of course, if the store goes out of business entirely.
Lots to choose from here, although the focus is on imported items.
And of course, pasta and sauce take up one entire aisle all by themselves!
A look at the Latin American aisle.
Frozen foods are in the back corner, which give way to dairy and packaged meats just in front of that.
The middle cases are packaged meats with dairy on the outside and breads in the shelving facing.
The store was beautifully stocked, especially in this aisle, when I visited a year ago!
I just can't figure out what happened. Did the chain just expand too quickly and spend too much money on locations they didn't need and weren't making money? Why couldn't they make it in a great store like Wayne? Is it just a series of coincidentally bad locations that pulled the whole chain down?
Service butcher and seafood are in the front corner, with the deli and hot foods beyond that. Opposite that is the back of the cheese and olive counter...
Fish in the front corner, with meat behind it from this perspective, and deli to the left.
This area is a little bit strangely set-up, and doesn't really feel like it relates to the rest of the store. You have to walk through the corner where it says hot food for the bakery and liquor store, which are in front of the registers.
Here's a look at how you get to floral, liquor, and bakery.
The bakery was very nice and very much a traditional Italian-style bakery with great Italian style cookies and the like, along with cakes and other supermarket bakery items. Some good bread, although I will say the better bread is packaged in the bread aisle from local bakeries.
In my 2022, the only sign the store was beginning to falter was the liquor store, which was obviously struggling. There's almost no selection here, with big sections covered by too many facings of the same product, and as you can see in the picture below, the refrigerator case filled with just some random six-packs of beer.
But opposite the liquor store on the front end was a full pizzeria, which was fully stocked in 2022 but appears to have closed since...
The seating area is also in this area. I believe the seating is still there, but at least when I visited last month, the pizza counter was empty and it didn't look like there were any dishes or ingredients around.
But the pizza looked pretty good when I was there... Fairfield still had its pizza fully stocked when I visited most recently.
Here's a look at the front end. As you can see, it's an old store, and it's in need of some TLC, but it looks like it's kind of going in the wrong direction with less maintenance and stock.
Here's a look across the massive front-end, clearly built for volume the store doesn't do anything close to anymore.
It's a shame to see what's happening with Corrado's, but I'll keep an eye on any developments that happen with the chain. In the meantime, here's the other things we'll be checking out today:


  1. Nice pictures! But wow, it's really a shame to see how they've fallen. Clifton seems like a really nice store, and the 2022 photos look great, but the product selection nowadays is not good at all. Although, I guess it's nice to know that I can still count on them for teriyaki sauce that expired two years ago and Walmart-brand packaged produce that's on the verge of expiring.

    1. Clifton was a really nice store, and yes, it used to be fantastic. These days, that's about all you'll find here!

  2. Very, very strange to see the Walmart items. I agree with you in wondering how on earth they even sourced those?

  3. It appears they are not keeping those bags of lettuce refrigerated like it says on the package. That is most likely the reason it is rotting away where it currently sits.

    1. Probably one of many. I think the products are old to begin with, too.

  4. I am so sad after a recent visit to this store. The Clifton store used to be a family favorite. We looked forward to stocking up for the holidays. A week before Christmas, visiting with my son, the first sign something was amiss was the pizza area in front had been ripped out entirely (my son had wanted a slice). I wondered if they might be renovating it into a better space, but by the end of our visit, that seemed doubtful.

    There were few shoppers. Granted, it was Monday afternoon, but still, one week before Christmas? (I remember the place always packed the week prior to Christmas.) Although the front had its usual assortment of cakes, pastries, packaged candies, many aisles had bare or sparsely stocked shelves. Prices of some of the common supermarket items (Pepperidge Farm Goldfish) were higher than your average supermarket. I stopped at my usual favorite spot, cheese and olives, for olives, of course, some grated and a chunk of parmesan, and a few specialty cheeses. I noticed they had done away with some of the salads they used to have by the olives, and there were fewer selections of olives. But still for a a decent price, I bought some. I got what else I could but skipped buying olive oil. It was not at the price it used to be, the same selection, and some of it looked questionable. On our way out, we also stopped at the bakery, which has a beautiful looking (key word is "looking") selection of classic Italian cookies. I made some impulse purchases. I thought I remembered some of the cookies we got last visit not being the best quality, but they looked so good, I decided to try again...

    I got everything home and am now astounded by the poor quality. The cookies were all stale and not tasty. I will never buy cookies there again (if they survive). I have known for a while they don't make the cookies there, but I don't want to guess how long those sat in the case.

    The final kicker that sent me searching for information on what has happened to our beloved store was the pre-grated parmesan I bought. At an Italian market, this is the worst tasting parmesan I have ever had. Kraft is better. It's stale and tastes like it's half sawdust. We used to always buy pre-grated parm and romano here and never was it like this! What on earth is going on? I have higher hopes for the chunk I bought, but the whole bag of grated "parmesan" is going into the garbage. Also, those 99 cent Open Nature (usually a decent brand) reduced fat ice creams are crumbly and desiccated, like they've been in someone's freezer for 30 years. My son had picked out a macaroni salad from the deli area and ate part of the container. Later we noticed it had already been a week expired when sold.

    This article, following my most recent experience with Corrado's, confirmed my fears. Seems this place is on its way out. I bought some jars of olive spreads, etc, often given as stocking stuffers in my family, I'm afraid to gift without trying now. I don't know if I want to even go again. I would rather remember Corrado's as it once was: a family run business (we used to joke about what "family" because the prices were so good and the quality never in question). We boasted about the place to our own family, a place we could get favorites at great prices and even find a few new interesting selections as we made our way up and down the packed aisles. And after I moved out of the area, when I came back to visit, I always made sure to stop on my way out to stock up on goodies to bring back. When I moved back last year and stopped in, it was maybe not quite in its hayday form but not nearly this bad (although the selection reduced in some aisles, everything I bought was fine). I am chalking this up to a delayed reaction caused by COVID. I don't think this place is going to be the same again.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience here -- I agree with everything you talked about. It's a shame to see the decline of this chain.

  5. 1/16/2024 visit. All the bags in produce, Cole slaw. Parsley, etc. by marketside all dated Jan 11, 2024. Already 5 days past. Price .99 cents. Produce prices peppers, banana's cost more than ShopRite. Now the meats, blood leaked/left the protein. Chicken breast each breast a different color. Also juices/blood left
    Basically afraid to buy anything in this store. The front pizza place is gone.
    They have filet mignon for $200 packages. What customer will purchase that? Therefore who knows how old meat is.
    Corrado products have different labels different packages due to age when produced.
    We remember when we had to stand in line to buy produce. Carriages would backup. People shoulder to shoulder anywhere in the store.
    Cash registers and produce outside the store.
    Meat area just 2 or 3 packages per cut. No. One to purchase. Does ccorrados throw all that meat out?
    Eggs were 2x the price of Aldi.
    In short we were in complete disbelief. When we pulled up the parking lot was empty. Before we couldn't find a place to park. Don't understand how store staying Open. Believe the competition around corner Brothers and their huge expansion put a huge dent in their business. Along with opening all those stores. When more stores open prices went up to normal supermarket prices. We expected better pricing since buying more volume for their added stores.
    Or if something wrong within family management. Or did corrados sell the store to a new owner?
    Something has gone gravely wrong.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience -- I don't know what's going on, and I really don't have an explanation for any of this. So strange, and such a decline from how the stores were not that long ago.


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