Original Tenant: A&P
Address: 789 St. Georges Ave, Woodbridge, NJ
Address: 789 St. Georges Ave, Woodbridge, NJ
Later Tenants: Crunch Fitness / LIDL
Photographed: July 2020
We're just to the north of downtown Woodbridge to see a store that's either on St. George Ave or St. Georges Ave, depending on who you ask. The store seems to have been a combined replacement for closed stores at 1555 St Georges in Avenel and 3 Lafayette Rd in Fords, both smaller stores and both in different unincorporated communities within Woodbridge. Avenel was a former Stop & Shop acquired in the 1980s while Fords was a renovated centennial. This store closed in 2011 and sat vacant for several years before opening as a Crunch Fitness in 2015. Despite the time lags, the store still sports its original 1990s A&P facade although it's been repainted. Today, LIDL also occupies a portion of the store. We'll be seeing Fords but first we have to tour the (still-open) grocery store just across the highway from it! Check out that tour tomorrow on The Independent Edition.
Just to add to the confusion, the county map I have for Middlesex calls that part of 35 (east of the 1&9 underpass) Amboy Avenue. It's labelled St. Georges to the west (heading towards the Avenel Pathmark and Colonia).ReplyDelete
This store always seemed a bit "hidden" behind the ShopRite as that plaza fronts 1&9 as well as 35 (particularly being a replacement for at least partially the Fords one that also faces right onto Route 1) - not sure if that was what led to it closing before the rest of the chain did.
Is that 1555 St. George's address what is now (I think) Home Depot across from the Pathmark site? I know there were empty stores there the first time I wound up over that way, but don't remember any indication of what they had been.
Oh boy. Google Maps, interestingly enough, labels the street as Amboy Avenue just south of the A&P location, but at this spot it's still St Georges. I didn't realize myself until very recently that 27 wasn't St Georges all the way down, but that in Avenel it splits off as Lincoln Highway. I guess I never really went that far on 27!Delete
Yes, this certainly seems a really strange location for A&P to choose to replace the Fords location with. That seems like prime real estate, while this is weirdly tucked into a neighborhood. They also once had a downtown Woodbridge store at 107 Main St which is right in the middle of town. All of those (plus Colonia, which was at a major intersection on a large road) seem to have been better locations than this. My impression was that the ShopRite predated the A&P, but I'm not 100% sure that's true -- if it is, though, it makes this location selection even stranger. A&P should've known by the late 90s or so that they were no match for a Saker ShopRite.
Yes, exactly -- that was built as a Stop & Shop/Bradlees combo, and became Foodtown and then A&P (or maybe it was A&P and then Foodtown?!) before Home Depot took over the whole thing. I believe although I don't know for sure, that either Food King or Food Circus purchased that Colonia location along with the Inman Avenue Stop & Shop in Colonia in the 80s and reopened them both as Foodtowns. St Georges was sold to A&P, then, and Inman was sold to Nicholas. Does that sound right? I mean, it feels like a logical enough progression but that certainly doesn't mean it's true... But then A&P bought stores directly from Stop & Shop, including the nearby location at 1185 Amboy in Edison. So I really don't know the history for sure there.
Yes, I do remember the ShopRite prior to the A&P (I don't go back that much further - maybe mid 1990's - as being in that area was only due to knowing people who live there and being there for various events over time).Delete
The ShopRite at that point was the store closest to 1/9 and somewhat smaller - where the current store is was (I believe) a Caldor, so that would make their move likely around the same timeframe as the A&P one (that is, after Caldor ceased to exist).
Can't be more factually helpful on the other part - as noted before, I don't remember ever seeing any actual open stores in the plaza across from Pathmark, but thinking that the progression with A&P last would be sensible.
If that one closed around the time this one opened, any afterlife (like being Foodtown) would have to have been short(er) lived and I think I would have been more likely to have noticed it (as I would have been trying to find as many different brands of stores as possible to visit and likely would have found that one as more convenient than the Inman Ave. one, given having another store right across the street.
So maybe A&P just got the short end of the stick, if they moved right around the time that Caldor closed so ShopRite moved into the former Caldor right after A&P opened and overshadowed their mediocre, poorly located store with a much larger and more modern store with a better location.Delete
I need to do some real digging on Foodtown because there's a huge amount of history that I really don't know much about. But I do know that A&P bought both Mayfair and Vitale locations, so it's not impossible that it was a Foodtown purchased by A&P, but who knows.