Sunday, February 04, 2007

Surviving Caldor in Groton Confirmed

One of our local readers, Greg, has checked up on a suspected long-vacant former Caldor site in Groton, Connecticut he mentioned a while back in an earlier comment posted here. Located right off I-95, along Kings Highway, behind a bowling alley, this site has been long overshadowed by future developers for it's somewhat obscured placement apart the other retail establishments along Groton's retail corridor. After we pursued his claim about a "dead 70's plaza", he further offered to photograph the site known for containing a Caldor and Shop-Rite supermarket. After looking a little more into it, some feedback on the Ames Fan Club had presumed the site was purchased and converted into something other than retail which caused us to further investigate.

It was conclusive through some research, the once vacant site was purchased by Pfizer Pharmacutical Company and was misinterpeted as having been converted or demolished for a Pfizer Kings Heights Global Research & Development branch. As it turns out, the information was partially true based on some inconclusive information from a town report, predating back to 2002. Greg has confirmed the former Caldor building is in fact still standing!

Picture from town report displays entrance (red dot) behind the former Shop-Rite while former Caldor (blue dot) is unaltered but currently owned on current Pfizer property.

In the report, which vaguely captions a picture from the "former Caldor Shopping Center" actually displays the former Shop-Rite which has since been dramatically converted into the research center. Greg also states stores in between the two anchors are now nowhere to be found, most likely demolished in the renovation for the former Shop-Rite. Our reader went by the facility today and took some superb shots of the secured former shopping center to reveal a highly unusual looking former Caldor which is certainly an oldie!

Pfizer has done some cosmetic enhancement to site including what looks to be newly paved asphalt and their new facility practically leaving everything else standing including a vacant outparcel bank and some security measures. To our dismay, the site is heavily secured by chain-link, barb-wire fencing, reported security cameras in addition to a main steel gate covering the entrance to the lot to detract traffic flow.

As it turns out, this Groton location was one of the 12 that closed just months after Caldor declared Chapter 11 in 1996, in the first wave of the company's purge. Judging by the sloped brown facade and appearent label scarring on the building, a fellow Caldor enthusiast, Caldor1999, over at The Ames Fan Club forums has made note that this store closely resembles one former 1976-built store at the late Fairfield Mall in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Greg believes the bottled beverage machines seen in this picture were held over from the store's life. We believe these were placed here recently for Pfizer employees.

The label scarring, and a difficult one to make out, it appears this store was unlikely a "rainbow" era store, perhaps an orange-letter era but features plenty of patch work likely from graffiti. Does anyone remember what it looked like in its heyday? We hope to visit the site in the future, but of course given it's new ownership, will have to exercise extreme caution.

Currently, there very few former Caldor locations left in Connecticut with Newington, almost complete as Stew Leonard's future home as well as a former location in West Hartford, most recently used by Ames. When Caldor went out in 1999, other big box titans of the times including Kohl's, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot have snatched a bulk of the former sites.

The Caldor Rainbow would greatly like to thank Greg and his reporting and images which were taken by him and used for our site at his behest.

Last edited: February 5, 2007; 12:37 AM.