Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Former Acme — Toms River, NJ

Photos courtesy of dougbalt

Location: 1 Route 37, Toms River, NJ 

And here we are with yet another "return" to a store that has been previously covered on the blog. This time around, we're getting a look at things from ground level. The original post contained aerial views only as I was attempting to wrap up coverage of the Jersey Shore stores. At time, I wasn't even sure that this exact building was the former Acme of Toms River. Turns out it was. It is now divided into a Mandee, Carter's and a third space that is currently not leased. The Acme ended just before the clock tower which has been built over a driveway which runs along side the building…

The former Acme on the left. I would assume that the doors towards the rear were used mainly for produce deliveries. This section was part of a measly 15 foot addition that was added in the late 60's. Bill Haines shared that information in the comments section of the original post. Looking at the aerial images, the addition is quite evident. It also included a second floor for compressors. I have no idea of what the layout was here but I would guess this addition provided for a produce alcove here in the front corner. According to the historic aerials, the building on the right arrived sometime between 1963 and 1972.

A closer look at the doors along the side before we swing around back which is chock full of Acme goodness.

Delivery doors with NO docks! Check out the compressor room door up on the second floor…

Completely sealed up but the lifting beam remains intact after all of these years.

These awnings are up so high they probably didn't do much to shield the delivery areas from the rain.

Aerial Views…

A view of the whole shopping center as it is today. Notice the little building in the lower left-hand corner. Doug got a shot of it's sign which looks very similar to an old Acme sign…

Back to the Acme...

The stores seen here in this aerial shot have been replaced except for the party store who's space is currently empty. You can easily spot the former compressor room in this view.

Today Kohls and Foodtown are to the right of the former Acme.

Foodtown is currently taking a hit from a brand new ShopRite across the street.

To this day, you can still see a faint line the runs along the roof where the addition joins the rest of the building.

Historic Aerials… 

Acme opened in December 1954 and as of 1956, it remained the only building on the property. Judging from the shadow in the upper-right hand corner of the store, there appears to have been an elevated sign next to the building. 

More stores added to the left side of the Acme. No addition yet to the right side. 

Massive buildings added to the right side with an alley between the Acme building and the new section.  

As far as I know, the Acme was long gone by this point. HUGE crowd at the Foodtown.

And now for the comment left by renowned Acme expert, Bill Haines, under the original post:

The Toms River Shopping Center store replaced a metal front Acme on Main Street in downtown Toms River. The store was expanded in the late '60's with about a 15' addition on the right side, which can be seen in the photos. The signage was changed at that point from the signature to the fisheye logo. The massive building to the right and in the rear was W. T. Grant/Grant City. Back in 1961, when the Barnegat store closed, being the last Asco Service Store in Ocean County, the groceries were transferred to Toms River. ShopRite was across Rt 37. It closed about ten years ago, and ironically, a new Saker ShopRite is being built on that site today, even though the other ShopRite's in Toms River are Perlmutter stores. Not sure how they work things out on that score!

Want to have a look at the original Acme on Main Street?

Click here and look over on the left edge of the photo. Doug and I have been trying to pinpoint exactly where the original Acme was located on Main Street. This is where I'm placing my bets...

This is approximately 22 Main Street. The Acme, along with the building to the left of it, have since been torn down. A 7/11 now sits in there spot. A Chase Bank is now located where the Mobil gas station originally stood. You can see the Mobil in the old Acme photo if you look very closely. And if you're not careful, you can get lost in that old photo for hours!

UPDATE: Yes! That is exactly where the Acme was located. Doug was able to track down yet another old photo which confirms the location. In the photo, you'll see the 3-story Ocean House which was somehow located on this property as well. It was literally on top of the Acme.  By 1956, the Ocean House was relocated to another part of town. Below is a link to the second classic photo of this Acme. The link will take you to a full photo collection (a direct link is not available). The Acme is in the 9th row down, 4th photo over. The thumbnail won't look like it's the right one but it is. Click on it and the scroll back to the top of the page were it can be viewed at a larger size. Here's the link…


Thanks to Doug for his on-the-ground coverage and extensive research of the former Toms River Acmes!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Acme — Clifton, New Jersey

Location: 467 Allwood Rd, Clifton, NJ

This week we're returning to the Clifton Acme for the full Acme Style treatment! Pictures of the original store appeared on the blog back in 2009 along with a quick look at this newer location. In 2010, the new location here on Allwood Road was featured briefly again when its Pharmacy was eliminated. At the time, I had wondered if this store was in danger of closing.

The Clifton store is the Acme that I live closet to. Unfortunately, it is not within a convenient traveling distance for regular grocery shopping. I have stopped in here numerous times since it opened in 2004. Each visit proved more disappointing than the one before. A few years ago came here to do some shopping and was horrified at the conditions. It seemed to have aged more than stores that had been opened for decades. On top of that, shelves up and down every aisle were empty and a mess. I left not buying a single item and decided to never return. That, of course, all happened while SuperValu was running Acme into the ground. When I returned  this past weekend, I was stunned by the improved conditions. The store looks as good as it did when it first opened. That's certainly not something I would have said two years ago.

Let's start out by taking a quick look at the ever changing signage here. The picture above was taken back in 2009. "ACME" was originally centered above the entrance but was moved to the left to make room for the "Sav-on" sign. The Seatles Best Coffee sign began as a Starbucks sign. "Pharmacy" was above the entrance at the other end of the store with "FOOD" over the main entrance.

In March 2010, the store lost its pharmacy so Sav-on went bye-bye.. An unsightly scar remained for quite some time. Seatles Best's sign would soon be removed as the coffee shop switched affiliations yet again, becoming Bucks County Coffee.

As the store looks today. Both "FOOD" and coffee signage are gone and ACME has not been moved back to the center. A fresh coat of paint was finally added to cover up all of the scars.

The coffee shop was a pretty big draw while I was here. I circled around to the area about 4 times to get a shot without customers buying up gigantic frapa-somethings.

When it comes to the new "cleaner stores" promise, Clifton is delivering! I've honestly not seen this place this clean since it's grand opening.

Even the blue light boxes are illuminated! Some stores have pulled the plugs on these.

Regular Deli on the left, Kosher Deli on the right. The entire store caters heavily to the local jewish community.

One area still in need of some help here is the Bakery. Selection was slim. Many of the display tables were not even half full of product. I was surprised to see absolutely no Culinary Circle fresh baked breads. Some of the best you can find at a grocery store these days. Even beats the hell out of the offerings at Wegmans.

Huge improvement in the Produce Department. I have always been underwhelmed by the selection and quality here. That wasn't the case this past weekend. The department is looking better than ever.

Frozen food cases here are stocked with Kosher foods.

The Kosher Marketplace has lower shelving for the center aisle.

The original aisle signs remain with no category markers for grocery. A store directory would also be a very helpful addition.

The store seems so much larger than I remember. Maybe all of those unstocked shelves that I encounterd here in the SuperValu days made the place feel smaller. This time around the place felt huge! The stores tops out at 20 aisles with 3 more aisles located in the Health and Beauty Aid Department in the front corner.

A portion of the Frozen Food Department runs along the back of the store. Dairy also resides nearly enterely along the back wall. Due to the constraints of the property, the store is extremely wide allowing more departments than usual to line the back wall.

There is also one and a half aisles of frozen food cases...

The original category markers still hang from the ceiling here. The new "Acme getting better" signage can be seen throughout the store. Gone are the "Card Free Savings" signs.

Dairy along the back.

Additioanl dairy in an alcove in the back corner.

Aisle 20 is quite wide. Shelving has been added here on the left. A huge improvement over the junk aisle that this used to be.

The Pharmacy is gone. Shelving now runs along the front of it. A similar situation can be seen at the Milltown store.

There is an additional entrance and exit here on the left.

Customer Sercice on the right.

Seasonal shelving right in the middle of everything. I'm not sure if this has always been here. There is a double wide "Seasonal" aisle which I did not get a picture of. I'm also not sure if that has always been there. Meant to circle back to see if there were any scars from removed shelving.

Looks like no one was here but this place did seem decently busy. Certainly not drawing the crowds that the new Stop and Shop on Broad Street does. You can visit the old Stop and Shop/former Grand Union by clicking here. I swear I have pictures of the new Stop and Shop somewhere on this blog but have yet to track them down.

Update: Found 'em! They were posted as an update back in 2009. To jump to the post, click here.

"Pharmacy" used to be above this entrance.

New "ACME Getting Better" banners attached to all the cart corrals.

The huge sign on top of the A.C. Moore building as it was back in 2009. Sav-on is now covered over in red.

Classic Acme trailer in excellent condition parked on the side of the store.

Sav-on has been covered over here. Some signs around the center have been updated with "ACME" moving back to the center.

The entire Styvertowne Center just off of Route 3. The Acme and A.C. Moore sit downhill from the rest of the stores.

This Acme makes up in width what it lacks in depth. Delivery doors and bays are on the sides of the building.

No delivery doors along the back.

The original Clifton Acme over on Route 46, nearly 4 miles away from the replacement store...

Classic Photos courtesy of Rob Ascough

1006 Route 46 West, Clifton, NJ

The original Clifton Acme opened in May 20, 1959 and closed on February 2, 2004, the day before the replacement store opened. Despite the red oval logo on the front, the store did not receive the 80's Remodel. It retained the 70's Colonial Decor until the later 90's when it was swapped out for the Convenience Store decor package. The same situation played out at the Sparta store and ironically both store lasted longer than many of the 80's Remodels. 

Big Lots took over the Acme space. Not sure if the jazzy new color scheme came before or after the Acme left. Fortunately, a better upgrade was in the center's future...

Huge improvement here with the new facade and columns.

The entrance and exit configuration remains unchanged from the Acme days.

It still has that Acme feel!

Produce ran along the left wall.

Dairy was located along the back wall, which is here on the left.

Meat and Deli were located along this wall. The Deli was in an unusual spot, all the way up in the front corner.

The Big Lots registers are in the same location as Acme's registers.

This door was most likely for Deli deliveries. An emergency exit was located further to the left.

This was a fairly large store for 1959. You can see here that the back room  and second floor ran along the right side of the store as opposed to the back.

A look at the neighbor's place...

An A&P was once located in the shopping center next door. It appears from the aerial images that it was closed by 1987.

The A&P is now an Unclaimed Freight which extends into the former stores to the left of the A&P building. Not sure what the deal is with the light gray building. There are some stores along the front but not sure what's going on in the rear of the building.

A barrel roofed A&P with the Centennial front.

Fortunately for us, very little has changed here since the A&P days!

A&P's entrance and exit which had been used by Unclaimed Freight. According to a sign on the door, Unclaimed Freight moved the entrance to the front of the building.

Scars from the magic carpets!

When I first walked in, I thought this place had a tin ceiling! Turns out it was just shiny...

That may be the original A&P office there in the far corner. It was hard to tell for sure.

The entrance and exit on the other side of the store is now covered over. Magic carpet scars are still visible on the cement...

I would have swung by here years ago if I knew the place was so unaltered!

Historic Aerials...








Jumping back over to the Styretowne Shopping Center...




For a look at the original Clifton post, please click here. To check out an Acme that is truly benefitting from the company's new owners, please visit here.