Original Tenant: Grand Union
Address: 1750 Whitehorse Mercerville Rd, Hamilton, NJ
Closed: late 1980s
Later Tenants: Laurenti ShopRite (late 1980s-late 1990s) > Big V ShopRite (late 1990s-2002)
Photographed: January 2021before and after here).
abandoned strip after all the tenants closed but before the property was blocked off. I was able to wander in to this mall, which is all still supposed to be available retail space, for some very cool exclusive interior photos. (To my knowledge, no one else has gotten interior photos of this store.) Note the two doors covered over to the left here, which may have been an original entrance/exit setup. At some point, the entrance was moved all the way over to the right of the main set of windows with the exit on the left side.
here. The store was built in the 1970s as a Grand Union, then sold to the Laurenti family in the late 1980s. They reopened the store as a ShopRite before selling their whole chain to Big V Supermarkets, also a ShopRite operator, in the late 1990s. Big V became large and powerful and wanted to leave the ShopRite/Wakefern cooperative, but Wakefern had put stipulations in membership contracts that made it very hard and expensive to leave the cooperative if you are large and powerful (if I remember correctly, there was a charge per store and also relative to the volume that the store does). That, of course, was a response to Supermarkets General leaving in 1968 and forming Pathmark. It was designed to let single-store or small-time operators to leave if they so desired, but make it hard for the cooperative to lose a large lot of stores all at once. Wakefern left a loophole: if the operator intended to go off on their own completely and not sell out to another chain, the charge would be nullified. So Big V attempted to convince Wakefern that they were planning to become totally independent while simultaneously meeting with Stop & Shop for an acquisition deal. Problem is that the Stop & Shop negotiations were barely kept secret and Wakefern refused Big V's independent claim. Big V had run out of money and declared bankruptcy, with many of their stores being purchased by assorted other operators or Wakefern corporate, and if I'm not mistaken just one store going to Stop & Shop. This store was not purchased and consequently closed in 2002.
was expanded to its present 82,000 square feet and seems to be, as with most Saker stores, crazy popular.
And here's a shot of the whole strip mall, as I said, all vacant and closed off. Unfortunately, we won't be visiting the Hamilton Square ShopRite (we'll be stopping by the other ShopRite in Hamilton Township, though) but we will be taking a tour of the supermarket just across the street from it tomorrow on The Market Report. Stay tuned!
Thanks so much for sharing these extraordinary pictures. IMO, this abandoned building is on my list of top ten worst looking former supermarkets, though it still isn't quite as bad as the Clementon Shoprite/Pathmark/Acme (since demolished), the A&P/Key Food on Spruce Street in Newark, or even the Egg Harbor City Acme.ReplyDelete
Though I cannot provide any specific dates regarding the Grand Union and ShopRite that operated here, I can report the following:
*The shopping center didn't yet exist in the 1970 view provided on HistoricAerials.com
*An August 10, 1975 newspaper ad for Light 'n Lovely (which appeared to be a fitness club for women) mentioned that one of its locations was at Klockner & Whitehorse - Mercerville Rds. in the Grand Union Shopping Center.
*From June 1978 through July 1979, Grand Union newspaper ads stated that prices were effective at all stores in New Jersey other than Ewing and Hamilton. This statement stopped appearing in August 1979 Grand Union ads, so I'm assuming that both the Ewing and Hamilton stores were closed by then.
*The ShopRite opened no later than September 1981. Per the 9/19/81 edition of the Asbury Park Press, "Laurenti's Shop-Rite Supermarkets 10 Kilometer Run, starting at 11 a.m. from Shop-Rite, Whitehorse-Mercerville Road, Hamilton Township" was going to occur on September 27.
Before I conclude this post, I just want to say that I agree with "styertowne," who left a comment below JoshAustin610's photo in which he stated that this store's exterior reminded him of the supermarkets Stop & Shop was constructing in the late-70s.
Thanks for the history!Delete
This building is now going to be repurposed for a school building for HTSD.ReplyDelete
Very interesting, thanks for sharing!Delete
The building is not being repurposed. The entire mall is being razed and a municipal complex consisting of both the Township Municipal Building and School Board will be on the property.ReplyDelete
The property that has the self-storage was another, smaller strip mall. The anchor store was "Cost Cutters," which was like one of those big box drug store types of places. Not really a department store. There was a famous unsolved murder in the Cost Cutters parking lot in 1989. That space was later briefly a dollar store. There was definitely a video rental place in that strip mall in the 80s.
The space that Hamilton Square Shop-Rite occupies now used to be Shop-Rite on the left side and Jamesway on the right side. Penn Fruit was in that mall, but I think it was on the left-hand side (where the Petco is now).
Thanks for the details!Delete
Very familiar with Cost Cutters. I have vivid memories of buying (or convincing my grandmother to buy) Tonka trucks at the one in Elizabeth when I was growing up.