Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (2024)

Kings Food Markets
Opened: 1975

Owner:Albertsons Companies

Previous Tenants:none; Safeway > Finast > Good Deal previously on this property


Location:393 Main St, Chatham, NJ

Photographed:June 16, 2024

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (1)

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (2)

Albertsons Companies bought the Kings and Balducci's chains in 2020 after their owner declared bankruptcy, but they didn't change much over the subsequent years and I'm not sure that the stores are any higher-volume than they were previously. Slowly, a few changes have started to be seen in Kings and Balducci's. Earlier this year, Balducci's embarked on a remodel at their location in McLean, VA, including a small expansion and new fixtures throughout. And earlier this month, Albertsons announced the closure of two stores -- a Balducci's express location inside Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and the Kings supermarket in Chatham, NJ.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (3)

This Kings opened in 1975 on the site of a former supermarket that was occupied by Safeway, Finast, and Good Deal. The 23,000 square foot store got a few rounds of remodels during its life, but was last remodeled in the 2012-2016 range with the recognizable "Where Inspiration Strikes" decor package, which made it into all but two Kings stores. (Both closed in Kings' 2020 bankruptcy -- Hoboken/River St and Bernardsville.)

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (4)

It's worth noting that Kings -- prior to its bankruptcy -- didn't really close stores ever. The Berkeley Heights location did close, but only when Gillette opened nearby. And they didn't exactly close the other six locations that didn't make it through the bankruptcy; they simply weren't part of the sale to Albertsons (which also runs ACME in New Jersey, of course). Two are now Green Way Markets, in Maplewood and Ridgewood; Gillette, Bernardsville, and Hoboken remain vacant (with Ace Hardware looking to move into Bernardsville soon); and the Warren location is set to become a medical facility. It was rumored that shortly after Albertsons bought Kings, the Livingston location was set to close, too, although I can't find any evidence that that's true. (The store underwent a minor renovation and remains open.) But regardless, the longtime upscale supermarket chain has struggled a lot in the last few decades, and the closure of the Chatham location to me suggests that Albertsons hasn't figured out the formula for this chain, either.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (5)

The entrance and exit are in the back, as you may recall from my original tour. I visited the store on Sunday, and although the closure had been announced, I wasn't sure whether the store had actually started the liquidation process. Turns out not only had they started, they were pretty far along.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (6)

Store closing signage was posted prominently around the store. Generally, it looked like the perimeter departments weren't discounted, and the sections that weren't discounted were clearly labeled as such. Still, it's clear they stopped ordering for most of the perimeter departments a while ago.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (7)

Here we see the produce department with the bins installed by ACME when they took over the store. They replaced several fixtures here, but didn't do any major remodeling. I don't like this decor package, but for a 10-year-old renovation, the store was still looking pretty solid all these years later.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (8)

Similar signs appear in various sections across the store, including vendor direct items like chips and soda, and most of the perishables. Produce had been moved up to the front of the department, with overflow dry goods displayed behind it.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (9)

Albertsons certainly never got Kings' pricing under control, and so even with a storewide 30% off, many items were priced similarly or higher than other supermarkets. I compared a few items I had just bought the day before, all of which were higher at this Kings even with the 30% discount.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (10)

It's always sad to see a supermarket (or any business, for that matter) closing, but I can't say I have much sympathy for this particular one. Kings has long been poorly-managed, in my opinion, and it has suffered for years from high prices without high-quality offerings or extensive services to justify them. (Uncle Giuseppe's, for instance, which has a location about eight miles northwest of here, is not exactly a bargain store but is exceptionally high quality, especially in the perimeter departments.)

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (11)

And the biggest thing, in my opinion? Albertsons didn't do a darn thing when they took over. It wouldn't be too hard to really transform the chain (and there's no shortage of operators who run really good higher-end stores, whether that may be Brooklyn Fare or Livoti'sor ).

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (12)

Even the perimeter departments that were still up and running were winding down. Here we can see the large bulk cheese packs being sold alongside the individual blocks.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (13)

Part of the meat department was closed up, too, with just a small section for packaged meats in the middle. Store closing liquidations tend to move pretty quickly, so I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of this is already reduced in the last few days.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (14)

But the grocery aisles were (mostly) fully stocked, and it looked like the closing liquidation sale had just started.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (15)

The meat room appears to have closed, and this case under the meat window was empty, too.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (16)

Dairy/frozen was beginning to thin out, and it looked like they stopped getting bread deliveries.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (17)

There haven't been any plans made or even proposed, as far as I know, for this building once Kings vacates. The property is currently available beginning in early 2025. The floor plan linked on that page doesn't include any fixtures, so it's possible Albertsons is planning to take these fixtures with them. Some are quite new, and some have even been installed since Albertsons bought the store in the last three years or so. I also wouldn't be surprised if the rent were pretty high given Chatham's overall affluence. I find it somewhat unlikely that another supermarket will move in. Within five miles, there are four other Kings, three ShopRites, two Stop & Shops, an ACME, a Trader Joe's, a Whole Foods, and two small independent stores, Madison Market and Barth's Market. The operators that are currently expanding around New Jersey -- say, Grocery Outlet, Sprouts, the various Key Food brands -- probably wouldn't be a great fit here except for perhaps Sprouts, and although it's possible Green Way (or Foodtown, a related brand) could want this space, it's probably a tough sell with Whole Foods and Stop & Shop within walking distance on this same street. Still, that would leave the borough of Chatham without a supermarket. There's always the wild-card possibility of Village deciding to open their first New Jersey Fairway, or Nature's Food Markets going for a second location, or King Kullen deciding to come to New Jersey for the first time, or... yeah, none of that is going to happen. But you never know. (Obviously, if the fixtures are left behind, it's much more likely that another supermarket will move in.)

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (18)

Seafood, surprisingly, was fully stocked and operational, including the service counter.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (19)

Here's frozen in the last aisle, with the deli and bakery at the front.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (20)

Those areas were starting to thin out, but again there were some oddly well-stocked sections. Fresh baked goods weren't included in the liquidation discount, and there were fresh pastries and breads out in the case.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (21)

But sushi and prepared foods are long gone. There were small packages of things like sprinkles and cake decorating accessories out that they no longer need in the bakery. The deli was still open, but only selling out the last few items they had in the case.

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (22)

And a look at the front end. Clearly, this store isn't completely dilapidated and could definitely be used as another new supermarket, but I kind of doubt it at this point. We'll have to wait and see, though. In the meantime, I'm glad I got to visit one last time before it closes for good, and here's the other stores we're seeing today!

Update: Kings Food Markets - Chatham, NJ (2024)
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