Tour: SuperFresh - Lionville, Pennsylvania

Photos courtesy of PlazaACME
Welcome to Lionville! This Philadelphia suburb is located just a stone's throw away from Exton and West Chester.

This particular SuperFresh opened in 1996 as a BRAND NEW store. A&P had no prior stores in Lionville, so this was somewhat of a risky venture. It closed in 2011 the same way it opened-- with the 90s Foodmarket decor.

PlazaACME is treating us with his own photo collection of Lionville today. This was his local SuperFresh, so it was easy to take photos of over the years- with technology advancing as we go along. Let's check it out!

The SuperFresh Days

Entering the store, we can see that this store has a rather deluxe version of the 90s Foodmarket decor which we have all grown to love over the years. This particular one has the illuminated department signs in addition to the lettering and script on the walls. I personally think these illuminated signs add a nice touch, and give the store a bit more depth than the typical decor.

The Corner Deli, shown here.

Since this store opened a bit earlier than most 90s Centennials, A&P felt the need to showcase customer reviews throughout the store using these signs, which I feel once again, adds a nice personal touch.

The classic black square flooring can be seen here, next to what I believe was a bank of some sorts. We'll get to those again later in the tour.

...and now we're here with some better photos, taken the same time, but with a real camera rather than a cell phone.

I have to admit, the aisle illumination here is on-point. There's no breaks in the lighting or the wood slats, and there's few waves. The latter is exactly why GIANT Food Stores of Pennsylvania decided to pull theirs (at least lighting-wise, in Hellertown, my store) from most of the chain-- because it's not the 90s anymore. I believe aisle toppers are a thing so reminiscent of the 90s, and creates an old feel to the store by casing in the aisles and blocking more of the ceiling.

Maintenance-wise? They're great. Usually in the A&P stores that used these religiously, there would be no lighting above the aisles other than that. So when one of the fluorescent tubes burns out, you don't need a 15-20 foot ladder and likely three employees.

So to answer the question absolutely nobody asked, How many store associates does it take to change a lightbulb? The answer is three. Always three. Because one will climb the ladder and replace the lightbulb, while one spots the other for insurance purposes, and another tags along just so he can get off register 5 for a few minutes.

Speaking of lightbulbs, you have to wonder how many of these department signs out there still have fully-functioning illumination.

As if you could not get more 90s than the aisle toppers, the Frozen Food section here also has these odd signs, complete with the cliche snowflakes to represent frozen I guess.

The store ends at a somewhat small fifteen aisles, which is a bit odd considering the model of this store usually has closer to 20 aisles.

After a second look at this area, I believe that this was the Pharmacy here, which had since closed, maybe even before the closing sales began at the store?

Customer Service has no shortage of reusable bags.

Alright, time for part two of the tour... the Redner's takeover.

Redner's Warehouse Markets Transition

Redner's, a Reading, Pennsylvania-based chain focusing on a warehouse-like feel and low prices, decided to set their hearts on Lionville to open their next 90s-esque store.

Work started on the space in late 2011 after SuperFresh packed their bags, and the store opened in 2012.

While most chains simply convert former supermarket spaces into their own format, Redner's tends to rip each store apart, brick-by-brick to make sure they have a consistent look in all of their sixty-four stores to date. I have to admit, in the name of retail management, I think this is a great idea. In the name of retail history, however, I think this is the worst possible thing to happen to a space.

We can see that the drop ceiling is starting to be added back in here...

...and almost fully completed here, along with the linoleum floor tiles.

Shelving is starting to get put in here, early 2012... 
...sadly, Redner's did not last long here. The store closed by late 2014, and sat abandoned for several years...


Redner's left the store after a short few years in business, and the Shops at Lionville Station was now missing an anchor tenant.

Judging by the carts in the vestibule here, it appears Redner's left most of their fixtures inside the store.
In recent years, half of the space has now been occupied by Tractor Supply Company, while the other half still remains vacant today...
Photo courtesy of Equity Retail Brokers
It's still unclear what the other half will become, but I have a feeling our German friends at LIDL may be interested in the space sometime soon...

SuperFresh of Lionville

447 E. Uwchlan Avenue
Lionville, PA 19425

SuperFresh > Redner's Warehouse Markets > Tractor Supply Co.