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capital region supermarket size comparison

Comparing the size of Capital Region supermarkets


When you're the "world's largest" Walmart, you have some room for extra amenities. Like a cartscalator.

With the news that Walmart is planning an enormous (technical term) new supercenter at the Latham Circle Mall redevelopment, we were curious about how Capital Region supermarkets compare in terms of square footage.

So we looked up a bunch of examples.

A table with the results, and big graphical comparison, along with a few notes and thoughts, after the jump.

A sampling of Capital Region supermarket sizes

We picked these locations because we figured they either illustrated the local range of stores and/or help provide some point of reference. (Note: The Walmart supercenters sell many products beyond just groceries.)

Graphical comparison

It's above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up. (It's just a comparison of square footage -- it does not represent the actual shape of the stores.)

A few things

+ That those Walmart locations top this list isn't surprising -- the stores sell all sorts of things in addition to groceries. But their square footage compared to the other stores does give some sense of how (really, really) big they are.

+ On that note, the supermarket-only version of Walmart -- the "Walmart Neighborhood Market" -- is just about 40,000 square feet, much smaller than the supercenters.

+ While the super large big box has gotten so much attention over the last decade or so, there also appears to be a trend (or perhaps a representation) of the not-so-big store. The Walmart Neighborhood Market mentioned above, the relatively new Malta Hannaford, Healthy Living, Honest Weight, and the in-construction Whole Foods are all in the 30,000 square feet range. Even the in-construction Watervliet Price Chopper -- the subject of so much drama because of the St. Patrick's demolition -- is kind of on the smaller side, 40,000 square feet. That's not really all that big.

There's an ongoing low-level buzz for supermarket options in some of the Capital Region's urban areas -- like downtown Albany. We wonder if the apparent trend -- if that's what it is -- toward not-so-big stores makes that more of a possibility. Because no company is probably ever going to drop a 100,000 square foot store in downtown Albany. But a 15,000 square foot store? Maybe...

+ This comparison also highlights how tiny Trader's Joe's is compared to most other stores. And in our experience of shopping there, that's one of the best things about it -- as long as you can dodge all the people gawking spicy-tahini-sesasme-apricot whatever, the store is a quick through trip.


In some cases numbers are rounded, and many of these are bound to not be exactly corrected. Numbers were pulled from a range of sources, including the Record, the Biz Review, TU, LoopNet, and company press releases.

Earlier on AOA:
+ 180,000 square feet
+ The big box gets smaller


Oh great Map Gurus, can we get a map that shows where one can live that is as far as possible from a Walmart/Sam's?

Seriously, they are a blight.

Wow, I must live under a rock. I had no idea we had the country's largest Walmart. Um...go us? I haven't been in that Walmart since 1999 when I bought a broiler pan and, upon bringing it home, discovered it was stuck together with someone's chewed gum. That was the last time I've been in a Walmart.

I like my clean, mid-sized, newly spiffy Hannaford on Central Ave.

I think it was the biggest Walmart, thought I'm pretty certain that the honor goes to Honolulu now

My kid was given a Wal Mart gift card, so off we went a few weekends ago to our local "world's largest" Wally World. I must admit that we were lost for some time looking for the toy isle all the while being tempted were tempted to try out the cartscalator with each other in said cart!

@komradebob It's an interesting questions, and after Google Mapping it, it looks like Ballston Spa and its environs are far from Walmarts. But anywhere between the Hudson and Massachusetts/Vermont is especially bereft of Walmarts (Hoosick, Averill Park, Nassau) or down towards Voorheesville and Slingerlands.

And we wonder why downtown Albany is a ghost town.

So, this new super Walmart means that the one across the street in Latham Farms will close. So, they're leaving one giant big box empty to build another one? And in ten to fifteen years, they'll abandon that building as well? Latham, you're bein' used, and that starts with U and that rhymes with W and that stands for Walmart.

I'm loyal to the Central Ave. Hannaford also. Didn't see it listed in the square footage lineup but I know it's big enough for lots of variety and small enough that I am not filled with despair while shopping. Not including Walmart, their prices seem to be the lowets, and I like that they are holdouts in the "buy one get one free/100 unnecessary items for $100 dollars" promos. I've seen the same workers there year after year so I'd like to assume they treat their employees well.

@Rebecca: I tried to find the square footage for that store because I figured it'd be a good reference point for a lot of people, but I couldn't turn up a number.

This is just a guess, but I bet it's between 65,000 and 80,000 square feet -- so somewhere in the range of the nearby ShopRite and Price Chopper.

@Greg: I'm also loyal to the Central Ave Hannaford but I feel like it's smaller than the nearby ShopRite and Price Chopper. Those stores leave me feeling overwhelmed from trudging through, while the Hannaford doesn't. I would guess it's bprobably about 50-55,000 square feet.

Too many choices overwhelm me and give me a headache. That's why I prefer small/medium sized stores without a dazzling (mind numbing, paralyzing ) array of consumer choices. In essence, I want informed and savvy store buyers to curate their wares for me.

Alvin Toffler came up with the concept of choice overload or "overchoice" back in his 1970 "Future Shock."

"[Overchoice takes place when] the advantages of diversity and individualization are canceled by the complexity of buyer's decision-making process." -- Alvin Toffler

These super stores (even the revered Wegman's) are citadels of overchoice, at least for me.

Maybe we should start a Central Ave Hannaford fan club. I've been shopping there since 1999 and, like Rebecca, I've seen the same people working there for YEARS and they do a good job. The lines move quickly, it's usually well-stocked and always clean. I love that.

Even with the recent remodel it does feel smaller than the nearby Chopper and Shop Rite - which I like because they utilize space well. I never feel the urge to strangle anyone in Hannaford like I do at the other nearby grocery stores.

See, this is why we need name tags at the AOA get together: so all of the Central Ave. Hannaford fans can find their kindred spirits!

@Rebecca, Amy, Valerae: This conversation prompted me to check with a Hannaford spokesman about the size of that Central Ave store. The answer: the sales area of the store is 65,000 square feet.

I also shop there often, and like other people have pointed out, that store has a nice a feel about it. I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but the mood there usually seems pretty calm.

And Rebecca, I think you're right about the number of people who have worked there for years. I recognize a lot of the same people, and they seem to recognize me, too. I think that adds to experience.

Please do not go to the Wal-Mart Friendly Market in Niskayuna.

Please. Don't.


Because that store is the fastest, easiest, most pleasant grocery shopping experience anyone will ever have. And I do not want hoards of people to ruin that for me.

I have lived in the Capital Region for most of my 29 years and, after sampling every single store on your list, I have to say the Friendly Market is the best. Trader Joe's comes in at a close second, but I simply cannot deal with that parking lot (or the people who forget the mechanics of driving/parking/exiting therein).

A fan of the Central Ave Hannaford here too - it is not hard to find good parking.

+1 on Hannaford's Central Ave. Has been my preferred market since the Shop N Save days, and the remodel did make it even better- once I learned to find everything again. Nice low-stress atmosphere, good staff. I wish they still stayed open all night though.

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