Tour: Stop & Shop - Phillipsburg, New Jersey

My hometown Stop & Shop-- in a town void of any supermarkets at all at this point. Stores are starting to retreat-- starting with Pier 1 back in 2014... then Ahart's last year, along with Staples. (Update 11/29/19: Now Best Buy has left; and half the Phillipsburg Mall is demolished). Stores are closing at such an alarming rate around here. Why? One reason. More New Jersey shoppers are going to Easton and Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) for one thing. Lower sales tax. 1% isn't that much, but when it comes to grocery shopping, it adds up. I still can't wrap my head around how some people who live in Pennsylvania travel two hours to Delaware for tax-free shopping... really? I think you make up what you saved on tax in gas down there.

For those unfamiliar with the region, Phillipsburg (Pohatcong) is at the border of New Jersey, near Allentown, Pennsylvania-- home of A-Treat Soda, Yuengling Beer, and Jaindl Farms-- who ironically also invests in A-Treat, Yuengling, and a large portion of real estate throughout the region. The area has had a high influx of A&P brands over the years, including a previous post about a former A&P. Pathmark had been in Bethlehem, and Allentown, at some point, if I remember correctly. The last store owned by A&P in this area closed in 2011.
This Stop & Shop is a former Edwards located in Pohatcong Plaza, the town's second-oldest shopping center, with the Home Depot Plaza (Shoprite) opening in 1997, and the Pohatcong Plaza opening second, in 1998. Interesting story about the store I've heard numerous times from an employee who helped with the opening of the store, saying I remember putting the shelving together (it was after a remodel in 2001), and the manager comes out and tells all the employees to stop working... we've been acquired by Stop & Shop. The store remained unfinished about until 2006, when the remodel that we see currently, was put in. This explains a lot of things (I didn't know this story until a few years ago). There were no Welcome signs in the corridors, no "Thank You..." sign, or logos around the store at all. Its as if Stop & Shop never really moved in here.

Look at the rest of the center. Words are that the former Rag Shop (Seen far left under construction), then a Club Metro Gym, is now becoming an Old Navy, as stores also make their retreat from the infamous Phillipsburg Mall left of the plaza. (Since writing, the store has been open for two weeks now)

This store has definitely aged over the years. There is a part of this awning that has mold on it... I think it might have finally been cleaned this year. This store, in corporate's words pretty much, is "can't see it from my house". They replace coolers and machinery every so often when they need it, but renovations are non-existent. The front-end is terrible. So many tiles have been ripped up over the years that they don't bother to replace them-- just add mortar to the place where the tile formerly stood. 

Abandoned Toys-R-Us/Babies-R-Us next to Stop & Shop. This was one of the chain's most successful locations, receiving practically every remodel. I've been in there numerous times, every time with a different look, flooring, and checkout sequence. Stop & Shop should take a hint from Toys-R-Us and REMODEL THEIR STORE! (As you can tell I'm stressing this point to corporate... I've even come up with my own plans for renovations. Not kidding. At all.)

Cart corrals... beautiful cart corrals. Brand new, replaced in the last year or two. Not good for "US" anymore... S&S should take them. They're still using the original Edwards cart corrals... and carts.

I still see "Edwards" in this building. Sorry. Green Diamonds. Not red, not purple. Green. Definitely one of Stop & Shop's more neglected locations.

2000's S&S decor. Obviously bland. I have no recollection of what this store formerly had for decor... can anyone bring me to some Edward's Decor pictures?

These well-done pictures of produce are about as famous as A&P's Fresh 1.0 Canvas boxes. Cheap, but classy. Sad at this point, because I remember when they were installing these... brand new, bright. Now they're tearing at the seams. You can see that in Customer Services, when we get to it... Silence of the Lambs.

Decor dies down here. Formerly prepared foods, now Grab-and-Go. No signage was ever put in... another thing I'm still wondering about!

Deli area. Purple for a reason! This store got a deluxe treatment on the Deli... new monitors, ticketing system, and kiosk all were replaced in the past few months.

Large American Flag has been here as long as I can remember. Reminds me... isn't Ahold a Dutch company? I've never seen an American Flag in any other stores of theirs. Odd. Once again, most are drop ceilings.

Services! Checkouts! New Coolers! Oh my! This store actually tested out the Carousel Lanes before any other store did... it's pure agony at the checkout here.

'Nother shot with the American flag. 

Service Seafood was taken out in the last remodel due to the low-income area, which doesn't buy fresh fish.

Chip aisle with the Edward's flooring obviously seen here.

New Self Checkouts were installed here.

Jumping over to Meat in the back, just up the aisle near self checkouts. "Something Special" was somewhat of an afterthought. It is under all the other decor, and actually blends into the wall from a distance.

"Butcher"... Really? Most of this Stop & Shop's meat is frozen. 

This store has way too many "All The Ingredients" aisle markers... in almost every shot that features an aisle marker, it has the "All The Ingredients" tagline. Just a filler? Most likely.

Eggs... over yogurt? Eggs are actually to the left of the farthest photo. The layout has changed many times over the years.

Waffles? ...under Sour Cream? Butter is all the way at the end of the aisle. If the pictures actually worked, it would be awesome. 

Red-lined cases! Edwards floors! Oh my!

Bakery looking pretty fresh. It's been looking a lot better since the case upgrades. Bagels used to be where the fresh breads are now. Too bad that the price has gone up!
Fresh cakes with new-age homogenized Ahold decor. It doesn't exactly work with the old 2000's, Giant-MD/S&S based decor.

A great view of the store from here!

Pharmacy with bakery cases in front... next to Starbucks, and a sale case of chips.

The Starbucks has recently been upgraded here. It used to have the older-style wood panels. While this store has practically been left alone for the past 15-20 years or so, it's surprising its kept both Starbucks, and PNC Bank. 

And, ladies and gentlemen, here's the shot you've all been waiting for... the bright smiling face next to checkout light #1. Absolutely horrifying for new customers... I captioned this All The Ingredients: Fava Beans, and a nice bottle of Chianti
McCue-manufactured Edwards cart corrals, unchanged since day 1 (minus PNC's updated ads). The pylon on the side of the plaza going towards Alpha (near QuickChek), has the old Super Stop & Shop Logo on it still, as well as Walmart's. I'm positive there is Edwards lettering for Pharmacy on there also, as it is a green.

A look at the carts... Unarco-branded, with off-brand 2010-era handles, and 2001-era flaps. There is one cart inside somewhere that still has the white "Stop & Shop" lettering on the cart handles. They used to all be like that... it's a shame.
Plaza sign out at the corner of Route 22. Take a left, and you're down at the Phillipsburg Mall. Take a right, and you'll be someplace familiar...

The old Laneco, now Walmart, is there! Being dubbed the "Pohatcong Plaza II", this Walmart moved out of the original location in the Stop & Shop plaza in 2012. 

New signs out at the corner of Rt. 519. Aldi is being built right up the road from here at Raymour & Flanigan...

Taken in July... about a month before opening. It's been open for awhile now... not much to note. It's like every other Aldi out there!

And on the way back... a stop at the region's premier gas-and-sub shop, Quick Chek! 

Stop & Shop of Pohatcong

1278 US-22
Phillipsburg, New Jersey

History: Edward's > Stop & Shop

Comments

  1. Seems strange that tax rates would have much factor on grocery shopping, since groceries (at least in NJ and PA) aren't taxed to begin with? Or at least not the majority of them (food items).

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    1. It definitely is. They look at me like I'm crazy when they found out I paid 6 cents more for an item at the dollar store.

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  2. Reminds me quite a bit of the S&S in Piscataway. As soon as I walked in, I knew I was in an old Edwards.

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    1. Mike, it's definitely a match. I was actually passing by the Piscataway store a few months ago and thought "I bet that has an interesting history". The Phillipsburg location had the same decor as Piscataway before the current decor was installed.

      One major difference is the fact that Piscataway is actually well-maintained! The floors at the Phillipsburg location are a nightmare, and are always being patched. They don't have any replacement tiles anymore. If you ever go in, be sure to look at the area in front of the "Best Sellers" section by the right foyer... there's no tiles left!

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  3. I was in here once years ago-- we needed something or other on the way home from a road trip (I had forgotten about the ShopRite across the road). I noticed how seafood was only freezers. Cut to a few months ago, before TRU went bankrupt-- my mom was shopping at the Marshalls/HomeGoods (previously part of the Walmart) and I went to check out the TRU before they got closed. I strolled by the S&S, and I noticed that the diamonds scattered along the facade were still rimmed in Edwards green. I thought maybe someone had forgotten them. Turned out they'd forgotten the store.

    I do know of several stores that got their hands on Edwards decor, some indie markets covered at The Market Report: one in Rahway (http://njsupermarkets.blogspot.com/2017/01/universal-supermarket-rahway-nj.html), and another in Clifton (http://njsupermarkets.blogspot.com/2018/11/tour-super-exito-clifton-nj.html). Neither were ever an Edwards, though.

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    1. It's good you didn't go to the ShopRite... it's always awfully busy. It seems that S&S and Giant are removing service seafood at a rapid pace-- my local Giant in Hellertown recently took out their cases during a remodel, and are not returning them.

      The Phillipsburg location has definitely been neglected through the years. Two logo changes and Stop & Shop still hasn't picked up that maybe the diamonds should be repainted. Notice that the rest of the center is trimmed in red, not green or blue (as the pylons may suggest).

      The Piscataway S&S location still has the Edwards decor, I'm pretty sure. My location's layout is practically identical to that one, and actually shares a circular with it.

      The latest logo swap (they're back to the stoplight... again) brings a chain-wide renovation goal set by Ahold. The company said that they will extensively renovate every store that needs it. So your best chance is, the next time you'll be at this store, it will be completely renovated inside (and possibly the outside).

      Ironically, this store does very well. It's always pretty busy.

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