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Super Fresh Closes Its Doors

The East Windsor store shuts down today.

When I walked this week into the that I’ve known for the last 20 years, I had that eerie, awkward feeling similar to when you pay your respects at a wake for a close family friend.

The regular faces of the long time cashiers, managers and customer service people were at their posts but I got the sense that although their bodies were there, their spirits had departed this workplace.

Most employees were open to discuss the this East Windsor store. However, I had the feeling that they would rather not be quoted directly or offer their names in fear of jeopardizing their retaining a job with the A&P conglomerate in the future.

“Seems that those who have about 20 years of seniority have been offered a spot at the Plainsboro Super Fresh,” voiced one 23-year veteran. Those who were below that cutoff had other plans.

One cashier almost with a resigned look explained, “Hey, I’ll just go on unemployment and let them pay me to stay home.”

Another referred to the corporate decision to purchase Pathmark as a move that seemed to draw much needed energy and attention away from the Super Fresh brand.

A third hard-working employee was moving merchandise for the third time.

“The managers tell us to put it here, then shelve it there,” she mumbled under her breath.

The general feeling running through the rank-and-file employees was that they enjoyed their work here and had a good support base of loyal East Windsor patrons.

 The entire back of the store was devoid of any merchandise along with the dairy and frozen foods that were long gone.

By now, the final sales had most items at 60 to 70 percent off. That was fine if you needed a hundred double AA batteries or some Christmas decorations, but there were not many staples such as bread, milk and produce.

Another cashier asserted, “People come in here now and complain because we charge them 32 cents and they thought it was 28 cents. These are not our regular customers who were always pleasant.”

She went on with her praise of the East Windsor community. “I’ve been here a long time and I have been lucky to meet many good people,” she proudly added.

 “I’ve been here 8 years so I'm now unemployed. But, hey, I’ve got a real sick dad at home and I guess this is a blessing. I’ll be able to take care of him a bit more now,” one customer service worker said.

Out in the parking lot, there were fewer A&P shopping carts and no weekly fliers strewn around. Some of these last-minute shoppers may have come simply to circle like scavengers looking for a bargain in these tight economic times but many others were longtime customers who voiced a sincere sadness with their store locking its doors.

Kathy, a teacher from East Windsor, voiced an uneasiness with the closing.

“I have come here for the past six years and I knew where everything was located. I could be in and out in a few minutes,” she explained.

Another 20-something man was looking at the chocolate Easter candies all marked down, but when I asked if he had any feelings about the A&P closing, he held back, hesitant to offer any thoughts. “Hey, I usually don’t shop here. I only work in the area and was looking for some bargains.”

As one shopper came out with her cart brimming over with mops and other household cleaners, I asked her if this was her supermarket. She preferred not to offer her name but did share her thoughts.

“Sure,” she said. “I come from South Jersey but work nearby and

I like this A&P. The employees are helpful and more importantly, I do not like that other big store on 130. Too big, too noisy and always so crowded.”

The weather had turned a bit more spring like by the end of this closing week, but for the loyal ladies whom I saw sitting on benches outside taking a well deserved break, there were probably more storm clouds over their heads as well as the families they have supported all these years.

We wish them well. But I think I’ll still hold on to my Super Fresh Value Card.

Hey, as Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”

Joe Diaz April 17, 2011 at 12:32 AM
no big loss... Shop-rite is much better & cheaper.
jim Belsky April 17, 2011 at 04:38 AM
reread the article several times to try to understand the location. Apparently, E. Windsor is small enough that everyone in the area knows the exact location?
Stacey K April 17, 2011 at 12:22 PM
@Jim, yes, I would guess anyone that lives in East Windsor knows where the Superfresh is and the shopping center it is in. I do not miss Superfresh, but I do not like Shop Rite at all! East Windsor needs a good supermarket. I heard rumor that a Stop & Shop is replacing Superfresh, but no one can confirm. A Stop & Shop would be FABULOUS, I think it is an excellent market, imho.
Geoffrey Wertime April 17, 2011 at 03:56 PM
The location map was inadvertently left off of this article, but it's now been added. Thanks for catching that!
hugh breyer April 18, 2011 at 07:13 AM
Superfresh was an easy-access parking experience. Sure, it didn't have the inventory of Shoprite, but at least you didn't have a bunch of geriatrics with oversized cars smashing into you (or the possibility thereof) each and every time you parked your car! Convenience has it's price, and I would rather pay a couple of cents more going to Superfresh than face the long lines and grim expressions of clearly fed up Shoprite employees. Having seen Genuardi's go by the wayside, and now Superfresh, it's obvious we are in the beginning stages of an economic depression. Store closings - of anchor stores - will have a horrible effect in this community. It's not funny. The strip mall where Superfresh sat will lose other majors in that area like Blockbuster and Staples. Then what? Will they be replaced by more Big Lots? How classy. And, if you want to see the future, go down 130 for about 45 minutes...Cinnaminson and surrounding towns there are these strip malls empty for years.

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