Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Timewarped Stop & Shop Remains In West Springfield

Check those expiration dates! Roll that cart back down that aisle! Way back...

The Caldor Rainbow has uncovered a true gem of chain supermarket-dom somewhat rare, even around these parts, an old-school Stop & Shop. Along the stretching retail hub in West Springfield, Mass., a timewarped interior Stop & Shop with plenty of long-bygone signage you might not have seen in decades still exists.

But for how much longer?

W. SPRINGFIELD, MA -- Stop & Shop, just one of 11 in a 10-mile blast radius, at Riverdale Shops plaza along Riverdale Street is an endangered species among the entirety of stores in the leading Northeast supermarket chain, Stop & Shop. In just the last year or so, the vital and somewhat aggressive remodeling campaign sought to transform many of the falling behind 25+ year "Super Stop & Shop"-era stores into newly-faced, in-and-out and color-schemed with "fruit basket" logo stores, we caught our first glimpse of in mid-2008.

Like mega-retailer Walmart, the chain followed a similar campaign, rapidly overhauling many of its stores that flood the Northeast market as the dominant, prominent supermarketeer. In 2010, finding a "Super Stop & Shop" is endangered. Finding one with signage from the mid-80's is, well, near impossible.

Twas an ordinary lunch run on a gray afternoon. Approaching the entrance, immediately visible from the parking lot was a maroon awning with a retro "Pharmacy" sign, sending a flash back to the 80's and early 90's-era of the chain's funkier signage. Upon entering the store, furthering into time's abyss, we witnessed architectural marvel all around us; spots of wood paneling, brown-tinted and paneled shelving and endcaps but shockers abound: the retro signage -- almost all of it. I further looked for a video rental store...

"The Bake Shop", complete with exuberantly grinning bakery man all still in-tact, complete with a putrid, yet lovely outdated, earthtoned Caldor Rainbow-style motif all over the rims of the walls. Zigzag "Creamery" signs, "Butcher Shop" and "Frozen Foods" all sent me back just a little.

Looking around for a nearby USA Today, I had to rest assure I didn't just step into a wormhole, sending me back to 1986. "Great Scott!"

Know of any Stop & Shop's that have missed a few eras of remodel? Please let us know as we find more and fight atrocious spammers attempting to hijack the often vacant Caldor Rainbow.

Here's to my readers, reporting safely in the present: March 23, 2010.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Krispy Kreme Klosed

At 1440 Boston Post Road in Milford, the red-glazed neon once signaling freshly-made glazed donuts right off the conveyor belt lights no more.

Driving up and down the ever-bustling US-1, Boston Post Road in Milford, many will now have to chose Starbucks or perhaps for their donut fix, the newly-built Dunkin' Donuts across from the juggernaut Connecticut Post Mall. Once a beacon to one's afternoon sugar attack, the state's final free-standing Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (not "Donuts!") has finally closed.

Yes, finally. And quite frankly, I'm surprised its taken this long.

If the 1-800-Junk truck didn't scare customers away for the past year and a half, the wild sugary values and aggressive critics found in Krispy Kreme's delicious glazed doughnuts might have. Or perhaps it was the grizzly murder locals remember taking place here when it was KFC back in 1999...

Slowly dwindling from the Milford store included merchandise, a play area for kids, specialty drinks and other menu items to even plastic cups for iced beverages, Krispy Kreme tightened its belt with a firm squeeze over the last couple years of its life enough to splatter the jelly all over the walls. On a typical afternoon, one would be eerily greeted by a hollow presence in the store's lobby. Yeah, don't scare the staffers...

The location which opened to much, much fanfare in 2002 along with sister shop in Newington closed quietly in late 2009 though the Caldor Rainbow has discovered this upon passing in late January (yes, where have we been...). Forthcoming "drive-in" service restaurant (that's correct, no dining room!), Sonic is been among the rumored to open in its place -- as well as make for the first site in Connecticut. We'll surely expect blistery Winters and limited warmth in the fertile months are among the culprits for Sonic's future troubles in the Northeast and not high-caloric and sugar scares which were those largely (pardon the pun) responsible for Krispy Kreme's league of disappearing acts.

Krispy Kreme, who has closed up many stores over the last few years has no more than a handful of remaining locations along the eastern seaboard including a lone surviving Connecticut location inside Mohegan Sun Casino.

Another shop on The Berlin Turnpike closed in early 2006, caused once, albeit short-lived crippling traffic concerns along the mighty 5/15 stretch in Newington. Today, the troubled blue-accented site sits vacant after being used briefly by a since-vacated, widely-shuttered Citibank branch.

Once a treat for being on this end of the state is no more. My last trip here was in early October and even though I regularly patronized the typically ghost-town Milford Krispy Kreme for many years now, the closure is deeply saddening.

Here's some of our archival photos to remember the tale of Krispy Kreme in Milford and its brief stint in the Northeast.

View more of our photos of Krispy Kreme and more on Flickr.

n an editorial note, I deeply apologize for the lack of maintenance and atrocious levels of spam that have collected on pages at The Caldor Rainbow over many months of our inactivity. I'm working to delete what I can since Blogger hasn't any simple, bulk deletion or effective captcha against such terrorists. Some pages' comments sections have been overrun and, in some instances, hijacked by surmountable levels of Japanese spammers.