Plank Road Grocery Stores

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Moderator: Groceteria

Post Reply
pseudo3d
Senior Member
Posts: 345
Joined: 24 Sep 2012 00:04

Plank Road Grocery Stores

Post by pseudo3d » 14 May 2016 16:29

So, I was doing some research for my former Albertsons list and I discovered an error...I had recorded a Rainbow clothing store in a former store off Plank Road in Baker, LA, which was part of the Houston division (and north of Baton Rouge). There's two supermarkets next to it.

The former Rainbow was actually a former Kroger...but it's hard to tell since the Greenhouse was destroyed AND the characteristic "six HVAC units" on the roof have also been removed. It was later an A&P (possibly Sav-a-Center, though I'm unable to find when that closed). The building to the north was an Albertsons that also closed. Cars in the Albertsons parking lot disappeared between 2005 and 2008 and it makes me wonder if it was an LLC closure in 2006, because the LA market was in relatively good shape by the time the merger rolled around in terms of how much damage LLC did.

I'm 99% sure that Albertsons used to be a Kmart as it is about that size and there looks to be remnants of a Kmart garden center (I'm told the smaller building hanging to the north was a Blockbuster, not an Albertsons liquor center). This looks like it has a cool history behind it...

wnetmacman
Senior Member
Posts: 332
Joined: 06 Nov 2005 23:48

Re: Plank Road Grocery Stores

Post by wnetmacman » 14 May 2016 17:35

pseudo3d wrote:So, I was doing some research for my former Albertsons list and I discovered an error...I had recorded a Rainbow clothing store in a former store off Plank Road in Baker, LA, which was part of the Houston division (and north of Baton Rouge). There's two supermarkets next to it.

The former Rainbow was actually a former Kroger...but it's hard to tell since the Greenhouse was destroyed AND the characteristic "six HVAC units" on the roof have also been removed. It was later an A&P (possibly Sav-a-Center, though I'm unable to find when that closed). The building to the north was an Albertsons that also closed. Cars in the Albertsons parking lot disappeared between 2005 and 2008 and it makes me wonder if it was an LLC closure in 2006, because the LA market was in relatively good shape by the time the merger rolled around in terms of how much damage LLC did.

I'm 99% sure that Albertsons used to be a Kmart as it is about that size and there looks to be remnants of a Kmart garden center (I'm told the smaller building hanging to the north was a Blockbuster, not an Albertsons liquor center). This looks like it has a cool history behind it...
The Rainbow was indeed a Kroger. The 6 units on the roof aren't for HVAC; they're for the compressor equipment for the coolers throughout the store. Similar to a home a/c unit, there is a remote compressor unit for the multiple sections of cooling equipment throughout the store. Typical smaller Kroger stores had a 6+3 or 6+4 arrangement. (6 compressors and 3 or 4 exhaust portholes) Later stores would continue to have more and more, but the advent of the remote cooling rooms that could be installed on the roof eliminated the need for a compressor room inside the store.

The Albertsons was originally a 7000-series Kmart. The liquor doors are on the right side next to the old Kroger. The Kmart closed prior to the 2002 meltdown/bankruptcy. The Albertsons did not make it to the LLC days either. It was among a handful of stores that old Albertsons rushed to build in lesser-populated areas in Louisiana (two others in Ruston and Natchitoches closed at the same time; Natchitoches was sold to Brookshire and Ruston became the town's library). That effort resulted in some really nice stores in locations that couldn't support them. Baker and most of the northern Baton Rouge area are a very economically depressed area, so not much survives there. Plank Road houses most of Baker's retail, though some is available a few miles west on LA19.
Scott Greer

KrogerTexas
Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: 14 Jul 2014 20:13

Re: Plank Road Grocery Stores

Post by KrogerTexas » 15 May 2016 19:31

The 6 boxes on the roofs were actually air intakes. The compressor and condensers were all located in the engine room. The circles were exhaust fans that were controlled by thermostats. Some of the stores a/c condensers were located on the roof near the engine room as the huge a/c unit was next to the engine room. If compressors were added sometimes the condenser would be put on the roof.

Part of the arrangement of the a/c unit close to the engine room was reclaim heat. In the winter the Freon was routed from the condenser to the a/c handler for heat. The hot water heaters in the store also used reclaim heat with gas booster that would bring it up to temp if the compressors were not doing it.

pseudo3d
Senior Member
Posts: 345
Joined: 24 Sep 2012 00:04

Re: Plank Road Grocery Stores

Post by pseudo3d » 18 May 2016 21:16

Cool, thanks for the info!

I'm a bit surprised that the Albertsons did in fact take over a Kmart...there was a former Albertsons in Florida that took over a mid-1990s closure Kmart and moved right in, and actually kept the original ribbed concrete outside Kmart (the main facade was changed, though). Most grocers (or heck, even Target or Walmart) would just flatten the thing and build fresh. Did Plank Road close in 2001 with the first round of closures in the Houston division?

wnetmacman
Senior Member
Posts: 332
Joined: 06 Nov 2005 23:48

Re: Plank Road Grocery Stores

Post by wnetmacman » 19 May 2016 01:18

pseudo3d wrote:I'm a bit surprised that the Albertsons did in fact take over a Kmart...there was a former Albertsons in Florida that took over a mid-1990s closure Kmart and moved right in, and actually kept the original ribbed concrete outside Kmart (the main facade was changed, though). Most grocers (or heck, even Target or Walmart) would just flatten the thing and build fresh. Did Plank Road close in 2001 with the first round of closures in the Houston division?
I've seen several former Kmarts remodeled and the new tenant kept the ridged brick walls. It's pretty hard to cover with anything other than stucco, which would require building a false wall that could be ripped off in a storm.

As for the closing date, i had to dig a little deeper for this one. I found a couple of things for the store. First, an equipment auction site shows that this store was built during the blue/pink/gray period:

http://www.bonnetteauctions.com/auction ... igeration/

The auction was held in 2010. The store did, however, close 4 years earlier. I found an archive article in June 2006 (after the LLC began). This store was in the beginning wave of closures with others in Texas and Oklahoma. I can't find when either the Kmart closed or Albertsons opened, but the decor package puts it between 1992-1997.
Scott Greer

pseudo3d
Senior Member
Posts: 345
Joined: 24 Sep 2012 00:04

Re: Plank Road Grocery Stores

Post by pseudo3d » 20 May 2016 11:25

wnetmacman wrote:
pseudo3d wrote:I'm a bit surprised that the Albertsons did in fact take over a Kmart...there was a former Albertsons in Florida that took over a mid-1990s closure Kmart and moved right in, and actually kept the original ribbed concrete outside Kmart (the main facade was changed, though). Most grocers (or heck, even Target or Walmart) would just flatten the thing and build fresh. Did Plank Road close in 2001 with the first round of closures in the Houston division?
I've seen several former Kmarts remodeled and the new tenant kept the ridged brick walls. It's pretty hard to cover with anything other than stucco, which would require building a false wall that could be ripped off in a storm.
While there are plenty of recognizable former Kmart stores out there, most "first-rate" tenants that would occupy the whole building, like, say, a supermarket or discounter, are going to demolish the entire building and rebuild from scratch. I can think of one store that Target occupied without demolition, but it was a relatively new store (built mid-1990s originally as a Venture) AND it still had the front facade completely torn out and rebuilt. The fact that they would recycle that much of the original 1970s infrastructure for a grocery store in the mid-1990s is simply amazing. A little more work went into the Baker, LA store, but still, wow!

Post Reply