Thursday, February 14, 2008

Last Remaining Vacant Bradlees Found In Foxborough


Thanks to some research by us, with great help to Microsoft Live Maps, we've confirmed a lone, surviving former Bradlees department store nestled within Foxborough, Massachusetts -- which is also the last vestige of a completely in-tact, vacant Bradlees within the state.

For some time now, we've been fascinated at the marvel that is Live Search Maps apart of Virtual Earth here at the Caldor Rainbow. When we began using the program created by Microsoft last year, there weren't many advancements in Microsoft's satellite imagery program that hadn't already raised eyebrows since Google's own Satellite feature.


BRADLEES AT 30 COMMERCIAL STREET; FOXBORO, MASS AS SEEN ON MICROSOFT LIVE MAPS

But now, we see many states are now apart of the most impressive feature the program sanctions: Birdseye Imagery.

Because of these impressive steps, we're now able to make researching far outside our scope more convenient. While not absolute and often times uncertain, our range of visual research has been extended to further investigate sites we don't always have local watchdogs to scope out.

As we've trumpeted before, the New London, Conn.-based Bradlees department store chain was beloved among northeasterners before it shuttered all remaining locations in early 2001 following a day-after-Christmas 2000 announcement of ceasing to continue business after a half of decade of retailing. In its later years, Bradlees housed it's corporate affairs within Braintree, Mass., roughly ten miles outside the state's capital of Boston.

In 2001, Bradlees left a hefty 33 vacant properties within Massachusetts as opposed to only 17 in its neighboring, origin state of Connecticut. By 2008, all but one property has been swallowed by today retailers which have included Wal-Mart, Kohl's and Burlington Coat Factory -- but not Foxboro.

While taking almost ten years to almost fully secure new homes for the former holes left by Bradlees, the question remains: Why doesn't anyone want the empty Foxboro location at 30 Commercial Street?

About a mile off Interstate 95, along (MA) Route 140, the secluded Foxboro Bradlees sits vacantly beside a somewhat dried up, islandic Foxborough Plaza, anchored by the bargain bazaar Ocean State Job Lot, a handful of smaller stores and an outparcel Papa Gino's restaurant.

Bradlees opened its Foxboro location at the height of its expansive years on April 22, 1982 and made it all the way to the chain's finish line in 2000. It has since been banking of eight years of vacancy.

The store is a true relic apart being brown-draped, with brown-and-caramel toned counters and a rarer white-faced logo, escaping the typical red used by the chain throughout the 1970s until the end. With inexplicable recent Stop & Shop bags seen at the checkouts, we suspect the husk was recently used by the former parent for limited use/training facility despite the plexiglas Bradlees logo still up there.

The Caldor Rainbow took the trip in early January (on a surprisingly balmy afternoon for early Winter), so we hope maybe some of our southeastern Mass'ers can tell us more about Foxborough Plaza, and maybe a little more background on what was here before Bradlees took over. There's a label scar of sorts, but it's largely indecipherable so we're hoping you can help.

UPDATE: April 2009. Believed to have originally been a King's, became Bradlees 1982. Lease was purchased by Stop & Shop in 2001.

You can see the entire gallery of photos taken on January 8, 2008 on our Flickr.

104 comments:

greg8370 said...

amazing it's lasted so long.

LeftCoastGuy184 said...

Bradlees was one of the Stop & Shop companies. That's probably why there were Stop & Shop bags at the counter. My guess is that they weren't going to print up anymore Bradlees bags if they were going out of business.

Marissa said...

When my family moved from Puerto Rico to Hartford, we had the family ritual on Saturdays.
Stop & Shop for groceries, Bradless for shoes, shirts, etc. and Medi Mart for prescriptions and the ever famous Christmas ornaments. It could not have been more perfect in terms of getting all of your shopping done in one place.
Of course imagine my surprise when while living in NYC a Bradlees opened at Union Square!! I couldn't believe it. Only those of us who had lived in the suburbs giggled in astonishment that a Bradlees was coming to New York City.

greg8370 said...

congrats on the Courant article!

Anonymous said...

I believe the Bradlees space in Manchester, CT has remained vacant since it closed. I'm pretty sure that whole plaza is empty, there used to be an old Stop and Shop adjacent to the Bradlees. I don't think the sign is there anymore but I haven't peered into the windows to see if there is any Bradlees evidence remaining. Check it out!

Anonymous said...

For what it is worth, I believe there is also a free standing Bradlees in New City, NY that has been empty for many years but still has it's signage intact..

However, since my dad managed a Caldors in Brookfield for many years, and received an employee discount, I cannot remeber ever shopping at Bradlees until I moved out of Danbury and the family home.

jglongball said...

The Stop&Shop bags are not a surprise as leftcoastguy says - same company. The Bradlees/Stop&Shop on Jordan Lane in Wethersfield CT even shared an entrance back in the 70s - I think you could go between the stores without going outside, but maybe not inside the checkout area. Precursor to the "Grocery/Discount Retailer" model of Fred Meyer stores in the Northwest (now sadly part of Kroger).

mike721ct said...

After looking at the additional photos on flicker I am confused. The store looks simply like an abandoned Bradlees, but those are current (up to date - not old) Stop & Shop Checkout stands in the window. Those are what they use in new and remodeled stores. From the photo I cant see much farther into the store to see any Bradlees counters. I know that because of their previous relationship S&S owns many of the Bradlees buildings. Maybe they are using this one for storage of extra S&S equipment. But why would the bags be there? It does not make sence that S&S would use this as a temporary store as there would be too much work involved with equiping the building for all the refrigerated areas and if they were going to go through with that much trouble they would have changed the sign on the front.

mike721ct said...

I haven't been to Manchester in a while but last I saw that Bradlees was still standing. Also the one you can see in Hartford off 84 although the sign has been removed from that one.

mike721ct said...

I recently came across a picture of me at Christmas about age 2 playing with a Bradlees/Stop & Shop/Medi Mart truck. Not like a Matchbox car but it was about 1 to 2ft long made of plastic. I asked my mom but she has no idea where it went.

I worked at the Bradlees in East Haven and Guilford, along with the Stop & Shop in North Haven and a summer in Branford. I vaugly remember going to the S&S in Wallingford when we lived there (now a Walgreens) and going to the Stop & Shop in East Haven once when it was where Toys R Us was. It was attatched to the Bradlees and there was a photo booth in the connecting hallway.

Ginger said...

The Bradlees which is vacant on Broad St in Manchester, CT still has the sign up (though it is rather broken.) Just to confirm what a previous commenter mentioned.

Mark said...

My guess would be from the building it at least probably opened somewhere in the 1970's or maybe early 80's, that corrugated metal look was popular on many retail buildings back in those days.

BTW any info on what OSJL used to be? maybe a former Stop&Shop possibly???

Mark said...

Here's some article on the plaza dated recent, it says that Stop & Shop held the lease on the vacant Bradlees.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/01/25/analysts_call_local_retail_market_strong/

Mark said...

On second thought it looks more like a former Mammoth Mart.

The Doctor said...

i worked at this store! haha

Anonymous said...

YOU CAN’T BEAUTIFY BLIGHT

Published in the (Manchester, CT) Journal-Inquirer on Saturday, August 23, 2008

To The Editor:

After putting up with years of steady deterioration of the former Bradlees complex of the Manchester Parkade, the citizens of Manchester called upon the leadership of this town to take definitive action with regard to the deplorable condition of that property.
The town fathers promptly asked the residents to back down and be patient because an unidentified big-box retailer was interested in the site.
Should we assume that the retailer is no longer interested? The property is still sitting there, unused except by pigeons, seagulls, and of course, one of the area’s largest shopping cart graveyards.
We’ve waited long enough. Those buildings need to be bulldozed. Broad Street looks as bad, if not worse, than East Hartford’s mini ghost town on Silver Lane.
The town obtained funds to improve the road and sidewalks, but why should good money be thrown after bad? Eliminate the blight. Blight cannot be beautified.
Residents should make Town Hall aware that we don’t want money used to improve the streetscape until and unless the buildings themselves are either cleaned up and occupied, or razed.

Robert J. Lockery
Manchester

clubninja said...

06 September 2008 - Forgetting this Bradlees was even there, the wife nearly freaked out when we passed by on a trip to someplace else today. Looks just like it did during your Jan visit; however, it looks like the entire strip is getting a facelift. Except for the lovely Bradlees. Above each shop is plywood, with a simple plastic banner displaying the store's name. The Bradlees remains untouched.

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes I don't live too far from that plaza, I was surprised the day I went there seeing that there was an empty Bradlees building. Brought back memories, I lived out of state for 6 years and when I came back Bradlees was gone.
Up until 1992-93 we didn't have any Walmart stores in Massachusetts, before then Bradlees was one of the stores I shopped at.

Anonymous said...

I live the neighboring town of Mansfield, which boasts a large Stop & Shop as does Foxobo. The stores are almost equidistant from the Bradlees. Stop & Shop used this facility as a place to train new cashiers and baggers. Especially since Stop & Shop hires a lot of challenged kids and adults to work in their stores, this was an easier place to train them, absent the distraction of a bustling store.

As of 9/22/08, the entire plaza - except the old Bradlees building - is undergoing a facade face-lift.

Anonymous said...

ha! this is where i bought star wars toys when i was a kid!

the ocean state job lot used to be a Roche Bros. grocery store, and there was a liquor store next to that. i think just to the right of bradlees was a pay less shoe store at one point. oh, and in the middle there was a bank and the ubiquitous kodak shack.

googler said...

Before the Foxboro, MA loation was a Bradlees store, it was a King's Dept store for many many years.

Mystery solved.

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

Googler,

I had surmised greatly before originally posting that this store might've been a King's (since they went out in 82) but could find no confirmation on it. Thanks for the submission.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Foxboro. I have no idea why the owner does not sell this. It's a good location right off rt. 95.

The Ocean State Job Lot used to be an Almacs. I don't remember it ever being a Roche Bros.

ItsMePhil said...

Hi folks.

As of 6/19/09, the Bradlees in Manchester is still standing. I had no idea it was still there until I read this blog (thanks for that). I have to say I was excited to see it (unlike the residents of Manchester) and yet a bit sad. I was bummed the whole thing is boarded up so you can see anything inside. So I took some pictures and my son and I took home a piece of the red plastic from the sign that is now littering the ground. Plenty left if you want to take home a piece of Bradlees history :)

It got too dark so I couldn't go around the bad as it was too creepy. I'll have to go back another day.

Thanks for this website. It is fantastic! Do you have anything on my other favorite store as a kid, Woolco?

Happy Summer and Father's day!

Julie said...

And as of 10/9/2009, it's still there in Foxboro with the signage. I noticed as I drove by that it looked like there were lights on inside.

When I'm there again next month I'll stop in that plaza and see if I can get a closer look.

Julie said...

I went by the Foxboro Bradelee's yesterday (11/13/09) and peeped through the windows. It was a cloudy day and the lights weren't on, so I was surprised I was able to see as much as I did, but the place is almost completely gutted inside now.

I saw a railing in there that might have been from where they kept the shopping carts all lined up, but I couldn't see any other fixtures at all.

There was a lockbox on the door like what Realtors use, and there was a sign that said the property was managed by Keypoint Partners. So it would appear that it's for sale.

The Ocean State Job Lot, plus a Shell Station, Dunkin' Donuts, Papa Gino's, and something else I'm forgetting seem to do a good business in that plaza, so I'm surprised that the site is still available, even in this crummy economy. Like an Aldi's, maybe.

However, it can be tough to make a left out of that plaza when it's busy - maybe it's not traffic-friendly enough. Or maybe the building needs repairs. But it really is cool to still be able to see a Bradlee's in the meantime.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,
I live near this Bradlees and drove by the other day- a friend of mine who grew up around here said it was a Rochelle's before it was Bradlees. Does that sound correct to anyone? He also affirmed that Ocean State Job Lot was an Almacs.

There was a Roche Brothers nearby but it was in Mansfield.

Corrie McDermott said...

It makes me sad that this is the LAST Bradlees left standing in MA. I saw it about two years ago and took pictures. I almost cried when I saw it.It brought back so many memories I went to the Fall River, MA Bradlees so much as a child. I still have a CD player I bought from the Store Closing sale. I also visited the Somerset Store alot. They tore it down to put in gas pumps for Stop and Shop. I made a bookmark of part of an old Bradlee's flyer that I have in an old book. I miss that store so much. the Fall River Bradlees is now a Walmart and a crappy one at that. Bradlees was so much better.

Corrie McDermott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corrie McDermott said...

Thought you might like to see these gems I found in my receipts that I used to keep. Bradlees, Ames, Ann & Hope and KB Toys

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v145/cormak/Defunct%20retail/

Anonymous said...

As of July 2010, this location is still vacant and apparently intact. The plaza is even more empty now; only the Papa Gino's, Job Lot, one lone store, gas station, and a new (awkwardly placed) donut shop are there. The entire plaza got repainted in 2009, but the Bradlee's was left alone.

aelvisbe said...

Get y'all facts straight. A Bradley still stands on route 30 (white horse pike) in stratford, NJ. Right next to a good will store.

DJ Mike G said...

There is a vacant Bradlees in Dennis, MA, on Cape Cod. Its next to a vacant A&P! I should take pics and send them in.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in the Foxboro area for a number of years, and remember when the Job Lot was a grocery store, Almacs. Whoever said it was a Rochelles was probably thinking of the Rachelles (a children's clothing store) that was on the other side of town on Rt. 140, which is now a Stop & Shop. I don't clearly remember what was there before Bradlee's, but Kings sounds about right. There was never a Roche Brothers in that Plaza, and the one in Mansfeild was only there for a few years.

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I don't think the sign is there anymore .

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Brand_a_Lion said...

I work very close to this Bradlees in Foxboro and always wondered why they didn't fill the space. I noticed some recent work being done in there, so I was Googling, found your blog--then found this link:
http://foxborough.patch.com/articles/talk-of-the-town-work-out-world

"Work Out World (WOW) has recently hung their banner on the former Bradlees building, officially announcing their presence in Foxborough.

WOW, a fitness chain founded in New Jersey, plans to occupy a 20,000-square-foot portion of the vacant Bradlees building on Commercial Street.

WOW will join neighboring businesses Ocean State Job Lot, Dunkin Donuts, and Personal Best Karate.

The fitness chain has yet to announce an official opening date for Foxboro.
What do you think about Work Out World's presence in Foxborough? Are you happy that part of the Bradlees building will be occupied? "

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Anonymous said...

Bradlees Foxboro Store number 566 Worked there as a teenager in the 80's. Wow lots of memories meet my wife there. Yes it was a Kings store before it was Bradlees. I can remember some of the old Kings merchandise racks in the storage room.

Anonymous said...

Fyi. Could prove it too. If you go into the air handler room it has Kings maintenance records posted on the equipment with the Kings logo all over it. lol.

Will Emerson said...

The Foxboro location is now occupied by Ocean State Job Lot.. http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/ocean-state-job-lot-to-move-into-former-bradlees-in/article_198db0d6-b5c8-11e3-bf5a-001a4bcf887a.html

Ronnie G said...

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