The ‘Supermarket Sweep’ Supermarket Takes Up an Entire Aircraft Hangar
The Supermarket Sweep supermarket looks like the grocery store of our dreams — just look at the immaculate food displays! Those spacious aisles! That coffee bar! Sadly, though, the Supermarket Sweep store isn’t a real supermarket.
As the Los Angeles Times revealed in August 2020, a couple months before the latest version of the game show premiered on ABC, the new Supermarket Sweep is filmed in Barker Hangar, a 35,000-square-foot aircraft hangar at California’s Santa Monica Municipal Airport.
You’ve likely seen that versatile space on screen if you’re an award-show buff: According to IMDb, the same hangar has also hosted the People’s Choice Awards, the Teen Choice Awards, the Kids’ Choice Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the MTV Movie & TV Awards, among other ceremonies.
The set for ABC’s ‘Supermarket Sweep’ had to be durable — and fully stocked.
Set decorator Rae Deslich revealed behind-the-scenes secrets about ABC’s Supermarket Sweep to Set Decor Magazine in December 2020 — saying, for example, that the fake grocery store “had to be so durable to deal with the gameplay and the enthusiastic contestants.”
Rae added: “Even before the Big Sweep happens, people would jump around, wave their arms, run into things, grab things, etc. We knew everything had to be as real and as solid as possible for their safety.”
And Alycia Rossiter, an executive producer of the show, told The A.V. Club a year ago that the shelves of the set are fully stocked. (And yes, the food is real.)
“The thing about Supermarket Sweep is that you can’t control that fast motion,” Alycia explained. “A human being that’s grabbing as fast as they can might upset the apple cart. We don’t want there to be emptiness behind those three boxes of cereal that have toppled over.”
In designing the space, Rae and the other set decorators “had a great time searching out all of the little everyday things that make a grocery store feel real — produce scales, bag dispensers, twist ties, standing signs, and more!”
And Rae also pointed out the whimsical design elements in the store, including the apple cart in the shape of a huge apple and the milk case in the shape of an oversized milk carton. “The art department [conceived] so many cute, whimsical displays because we needed the grocery store itself to have a lot of fun built into it,” Rae added. “Our set was just so big; every idea we came up with had to be done times ten because that’s how much space we had to cover.”
The 2000s-version of ‘Supermarket Sweep’ had a smaller set, judging from one contestant’s account.
Sounds like ABC’s Supermarket Sweep boasts a bigger store than past versions of the game show. Mike Futia, who competed on PAX’s version of Supermarket Sweep in 2001, told The A.V. Club in 2014 that the set of that iteration of the game show was a “a little bit bigger than a bodega in the city” and had perhaps four aisles in total.
“It’s very tiny,” Mike added. “It looks huge, but it’s small. Even in the aisles, you had to be careful if you and your cameraman were running and another group was coming down that aisle. You had to make sure you were all the way to the side or there could have been an accident.”