Thursday, August 07, 2008

Vacant Bradlees In Hazlet Remains


It's not easy for Jersey residents to forget the eight-year defunct, Connecticut-originated Bradlees discount department store chain -- especially when they're reminded of its history as Two Guys or just seeing the sites upon passing to work or in everyday travels -- like one in Hazlet, New Jersey.



Located on the Poole Avenue-Route 36 split, the withered, cracked pavement, red-shingled topped plaza sits as its done for almost eight years and counting. Anchored by Bradlees, the late New London, Conn.-originated discounter, is one of five remains of the late chain in New Jersey which max out any other state where Bradlees entered.

The semi-boarded up, wasteland plaza along the much traveled arteries sits in the back (and front) yard(s) and for many locals is serves many travelers as a peaceful rest stop where few venture.


A scarred "Bradlees" logo is burned onto the white-painted brick husk with a nearby, seemingly active looking road sign. Above is a cavity of sign placement, once shared by co-tenant Foodtown, a local grocery chain who moved out shortly after Bradlees collapse. Since, the eyesore plaza has faced many difficult years attracting enthusiastic tenants, its value and property declined began before neighboring tenant Foodtown closed up in April 2002, a year and a half following Bradlees closure, citing the plaza's landlord being unreasonable to strike a deal to renew its lease in the half-vacant lot.

A couple weeks back, The Caldor Rainbow took a rather costly jaunt down to the retail-saturated New Jersey to capture one of the state's many leftover, vacant Bradlees sites. Well I for one didn't expect it to cost $8 to cross a traffic-congested George Washington Bridge (amongst other "penalties" for missing exits, toll booths... I digress).

Besides Hazlet, a slew of other remaining sites exist: Toms River, Woodbury and Bordentown, specifically leave their vacancies behind with largely unclaimed territory. Other sites recently vacant have found new futures, like one in Ventnor City, which recently became a subdivision of two smaller retailers and ones in Turnersville and Stratford, both formerly Jefferson Ward, a fellow fallen Jersey-heavy discount chain Bradlees also swallowed upon its expansion in the early 80's. Both have found new tenants in mixed fields, one a black-painted closeout chain and the latter a medical facility, still donning the recognizable white-and-red tones.

Though much speculation has gone around about the future of the site, it ultimately remains unknown. Anyone who might know more about the history of the site, shine some light on it by dropping a comment.

Find out more about Bradlees, specifically on our extensive spotlight in our hometown of Connecticut or our other recent session in New City, New York.

Just a minor announcement folks, I will be away from August 7th through August 15th. In my absence, enjoy the complete gallery of photos taken of the vacant Bradlees site in Hazlet, New Jersey and others you might've missed on our Flickr.

34 comments:

greg8370 said...

Old Two Guys auto bays pictured here remind me that the New London, CT Two Guys Auto center, that was a separate building from the store, still remains today as a Monro Muffler site.

greg8370 said...

Like the new layout!

Anonymous said...

Not related to this post, but I was checking your post on Sun-Vet Mall (the ONLY good one on the Net I might add) and thought to mention the Centereach Mall. If you still get to Long Island, check it out. It's bizarre.

Reena said...

The 2006 election will mark the fourth time that the question of an open space tax has appeared before Hazlet voters, and despite three previous rejections, the Hazlet Environmental Commission has decided to try yet again.
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greg8370 said...

Nick....you still with us?

Raziel said...

I remember driving past the Hazlet Bradlees countless times when i lived in NJ, I also worked for the Middletown store right up to the bitter end. It was my first job and was actually really upset when i left on my last day, after a year and a half I got to know everyone there so well it hurt to have to say goodbye (i also worked in the same space when it was made into a kohls a few years later, and my old manager at bradlees was my manager at kohls lol

Ive been tempted to sneak into the hazlet store to wander around, now that Ive moved out to CO i wanna try and do it when Im able to come out and visit after the new year, anyone wanna join me?

Panda said...

Hey there! Please don't say you've given up on this blog! I miss reading your posts!

polytonic said...

Raziel, I used to work at the Hazlet store in 1987/88. Missed those days. Those pics of the old store looks sad. I don't recall there ever being a Foodtown at that time. When did that get built?

Raziel said...

I guess they opened up after your time there, since they closed in 02. I was not yet a driver so I didnt pass by that place much. Im still interested in sneaking into the place, coming out to the area in a few weeks if anyone wants to join and knows how to get in.

GothicPrincess76 said...

I was there on January 3rd, 2009. I have 2 photos of it, one of the scar and one of the road sign. It brought back so many memories of growing up around that area in the 80's-90's before my parents moved me to Florida. Thank you for the photos on here, just tonight I found this site again after stripping my computer and losing everything. My pics should be on my flickr account under gothicprincess76, or search Bradlees. Again, thank you, sir, for providing all this wonderful info and photos.

Raziel said...

I jus saw ur pics, man that takes me back, feels like I havent been home in forever. I used to live in the apartment complex on knollwood, I grew up wit that clown. Makes me homesick, but happy to see he's still watching over my hometown

Anonymous said...

I worked at the Middletown store from 1995 to 1997. Even back then, I knew the company was going to end up going under. The Hazlet store is the first department store I can remember my parents taking me to for my toys. As for Foodtown, that was there since as far back as I can remember (I think it opened in the late 70s or early 80s). I heard rumors that Walmart was supposed to buy the Hazlet property, but they'd have to buy adjacent property to make the building big enough to house such a store.

Anonymous said...

^ Anonymous, weird as I don't recall ever going into Foodtown when I worked at Bradlees. It's like it didn't exist or something as I have no memories of it at all. Hell I remember collecting carts in the parking lot and don't recall exactly WHAT was there.

Another piece of trivia is I remember a girl that worked there during that time named Shirley was dating the payroll guy Rich, well anyway she was promoted to a manager of juniors or something and was generally a bitch to the friends she used to have since she was now better than everyone else. I remember a few guys that worked there graffitied the store under the scarred lights with black spray paint, "Shirley Eats It!"

John said...

I heard the same thing also about Walmart trying to get this site. But I have also heard the the politicians in Hazlet are fighting it. Maybe they want open space but this place is an eyesore and I think a Walmart would be a good fit in the area. It would also provide much needed jobs. Open space leaving a building standing in disreapir is worse than having open space period. While open space is nice to have in a town it is also nice to have jobs and affordable housing.

Anonymous said...

I heard today that there will be a walmart in the Bradlees/foodtown i hope its true

Anonymous said...

I HOPE AND ITS THE BEST IDEA FOR A WALMART ITLL BE THE BESTIVE WORKED FOR THE WAREHOUSE IN RARITAN CENTER AND PERTHAMBOY STORE AS A TEEN LOVED BRADLEES ALSO IF ANY1 HAS INDOOR PICS OF HAZLET BRADLEES EMAIL ME @ JOHNNY8342@GMAIL.COM

auto body shop said...

GOOD !!

daniel said...

is this still vacant?

Viagra without a prescription said...

I think that many of the circuit is really good, I would like to have the chance of read more about this place!

William said...

I'm on old Bradlees employee, from the Ramsey NJ store. I came across the Hazlet location today, 6/25/2011. The lot is still completely vacant.

Thank you for this site, I've been reading it for the last two hours, and enjoying the old memories it's conjuring up.

Bill

pharmacy said...

haha wow it's very funny, It's really amazing how places like this survive through the time, but also many buldings are abandon.

pharmacy said...

Great post! Keep it up the good work and also keep posting.

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Anonymous said...

Lot still vacant as of December 2011. ---A Hazlet resident

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Anonymous said...

I live in Hazlet and thought I'd share that the store is presently being torn down. Its December 2013.