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831 NJ-10, Hanover, NJ - Part 2

Original Tenant: Foodtown
Address: 831 NJ-10, Whippany, Hanover, NJ
Opened: 1991
Closed: ca. 2000
Later Tenants: Pathmark (ca. 2000-2011) > Farmtastic Supermarket (2014-2015)
Photographed: June 2020
Part 2 of our Pine Plaza coverage deals with this larger supermarket, built in 1991 by Michas Brothers Foodtown as a replacement for a much smaller store in a former A&P next door, which is part 1. Michas Brothers (later Manyfoods) sold the 35,000 square foot store to Pathmark around 2000, which in turn closed in 2011 as the 20-year lease expired. In Cedar Knolls, we saw a Michas > Manyfoods > LaRacca Foodtown which then closed in early 2014. Well, a few months after the LaRaccas closed Cedar Knolls, they opened this location as Farmtastic Supermarket which lasted all of about 18 months before closing for good in mid to late 2015.
As I mention in the A&P post, Pine Plaza is in an extensive redevelopment process which involved clearing out all of the remaining tenants for the upcoming demolition of the plaza. Here's some info on what's in store for the nearly 20-acre complex, and contrary to what some political candidates have said, it's not the taxes that drove businesses out -- it's the redevelopment. But anyhow, as of the summer of 2020 -- when I stopped by to photograph the former Farmtastic -- the strip mall was nearly completely empty and those businesses that did remain were winding down. As of the summer of 2021, the mall was completely vacant and fenced off but still entirely intact.
We do manage to see pretty clearly inside the store though, and all the decor is still up on the walls. Apparently it was deemed either impractical or not worth it to bring this decor into Lake Hiawatha, LaRacca's last operating store (which is also set to close soon). Here's the grand aisle on the right side of the building.
Otherwise, our interior views are a bit limited but we can still see some of the freezers remaining. Those are certainly old enough to be Pathmark freezers, or even remaining from the original Foodtown days.
The front windows all had blinds down, but some of them were open like this. I do think it made for some unintentionally cool photos.
It does look like most of the fixtures were removed, and presumably either sold or sent to Lake Hiawatha. I haven't looked really carefully at Lake Hiawatha's fixtures so I don't know whether any were brought in from this store. I think it's fairly likely that some were brought here from Cedar Knolls.
That wraps up our look at this soon-to-be-gone store, and I'm glad I got to photograph it while it was still standing (and unobstructed by fencing). If you haven't yet, check out the former A&P in Pine Plaza here as well, and tomorrow, we have two stores (one here on Grocery Archaeology and one over on The Market Report) to finish out our Greater Morristown group!


  1. Anyone else remember the Foodtown that was here? It wasn't just your regular ol' Foodtown. It was absolutely incredible. I was in the store in the early 90's. It had the most beautiful produce department I had every seen. The displays, lighting and décor were very high-end. (I can barely see the images in my mind now since it was soooo long ago but I do remember how blown away I was.) The last aisle had the deli, bakery and FOOD BARS!! First time ever seeing self-serve hot food. Another interesting feature was that each register had a tube that ran up to the ceiling and over to the office for sending money back and forth. Same sort of tubes you see at a bank drive-up window. The whole store was designed to be next level which I thought was very surprising for a Foodtown. After my couple of visits in the early 90's, I never got back until it had changed over to Pathmark, with none of Foodtown's features remaining.

    1. Acme Style, thanks for sharing your memories of this Foodtown. While I was never in the store, I was quite surprised that it failed, since I thought this Foodtown was very popular.

      I'll share this same information over on Part 1 of this blog's coverage of Pine Plaza, but here's the history of the shopping center that I was able to ascertain:

      *A September 22, 1960 A&P advertisement in The Madison Eagle mentioned that its Whippany store had opened the previous week.

      *The Whippany A&P closed in May 1975, making it the first Centennial in Morris County to have closed. (An article in the Jul 13, 1975 Daily Record mentioned the A&P closed two months prior. That same article mentioned that Foodtown was considering moving into the former A&P space.)

      *This shopping center's first Foodtown opened in February 1976 (per an advertisement in the February 12, 1976 edition of The Bernardsville News). As I cannot find any exterior photos of the A&P-turned-Foodtown, I do not know if changes were made to the store's exterior (other than a sign change) back in 1976.

      *There's an excellent article in the September 13, 1991 edition of the Daily Record that discusses the soon-to-be completed massive expansion and renovation of the shopping center. Construction had already been going on for 16 months, and there's a great photo showing the finishing stages of (the newly named) Pine Plaza's construction.

      *The original Foodtown's last day of operation was September 14, 1991, per a September 8, 1991 advertisement for an "Inventory Clearance Sale" in the Daily Record. The ad went on to mention that a new Super Foodtown would open in November.

      *The shopping center's expansion and renovation was complete when the then-new Super Foodtown opened on November 21, 1991. (I've got to say, I was not a fan of the center's post-renovation exterior appearance.) The November 22 edition of the Daily Record discussed the opening and has a picture of the Super Foodtown. (In addition to the words "SUPERFOODTOWN," the supermarket's sign also had the words "HOT BUFFET" and "COLD BUFFET," albeit in smaller lettering.) Among the cool features of the new store was that on four days each week, live piano entertainment was provided in the supermarket's eatery.

      *The Whippany Super Foodtown closed in late December 2001. A February 21, 2002 article in the Daily Record discussed the difficulties faced by the Michas family and also mentioned their desire to concentrate all their efforts on their Cedar Knolls store.

      *The Pathmark opened after February 21, 2002 but earlier than May 14, 2002. While I don't know this Pathmark's closing date, a February 15, 2011 article posted on listed the Whippany store as being part of a batch of closings A&P was planning.

      *Based on my research, it appears that the Farmtastic opened in May 2014 and that it closed no earlier than July 2015.

      *When I drove past Pine Plaza a few months ago, it had been demolished.

      --A&P Fan

    2. I was part of the team that put that store together. I remember searching the USA for the fake fruit they wanted for the decor in produce. And the hot food bar was amazing too. Live piano playing during lunch. Way before its time for a supermarket. Bill Michas and his team were great to work for. I even left the company I was working for to work for them.

    3. Thanks for sharing those memories, that sounds great!


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