Thursday, May 21, 2009

Abandoned Acme! Washington, NJ



I always knew there was an Acme in Washington New Jersey but had no idea where Washington was. Thanks once again to Live Maps, I was able to track this Acme down. Sorry to see it has long been closed and abandoned. A 50's/early 60's styled store that has very little done to the exterior since it first opened.


Looks like the green section was added on in the early 90's. I am guessing that this store had the fish-eye sign up against the brick (as can be seen in the Egg Harbor City pictures). Looks like the sign-age went from the fish-eye right to Acme's new block letter logo. Both the fish-eye sign and red-oval would have been placed in a cut out section.

Another difference from most North Jersey stores is that the window on the right side were never replaced with opaque panels. This was done to allow for shelving to be put in on the inside and for the produce or floral departments to be expanded. At this store, they simply painted the inside of the windows just half way up.


Entrance and Exit to the left. These types of Acmes were most commonly free-standing stores. Looks as though there may have been some sort of drug store next door.


I never know what I am going to see on the interior when I walk up to these abandoned stores. This one has the checker-board arch decor of the early 90's. That look is still in use at the store in Manasquan NJ. But at this store only blue and green are used for all the departments. In Manasquan the Meat and Dairy departments are checked in red and dark blue.


This decor package followed the 80's remodel. But it looks like this store was skipped in the 80's as it doesn't have the checkerboard floor. Must have gone from the 70's colonial decor right to this. Acme stuck with the arch look for 3 rounds of interior designs. The next look came in the early to mid 90's in newer stores. Much more delux decor of course but arches nonetheless. I hope to do a post soon just dedicated to Acmes's interior looks over the decades.


The green lights were over the free standing produce tables. That dark area on the bottom left was probably the greeting card rack. "Lunch Meats" to the rear of the first aisle.


The deli was straight to the back. The orange panels are, of course, remnants of the 70's decor.


"Meats" to the rear. Cool blue light bars over the registers. I only count 7 aisles in this store, the first one only being half an aisle.


"Dairy" to the left. The orange stripe is left over from the 70's dairy decor.


Office/Customer Service. The classic Acme clock appears to have been removed or maybe was never at this location. The clock was built into the wall over the customer service area on the Dairy aisle wall. It might be blocked by that wall that has been put at the start of the dairy section.


Must have been a pretty busy store with 6 registers in place til the end. Most stores went down to 5 or 4 to expand the sales floor space.


Cool decorative awning hanging by the front windows.


Maybe this was the floral/plant area.


All the holes in the green section seem to indicate that this store had the latest Acme signage.


Another unusual aspect of this store is that the Produce department backed right up to the exterior wall. There was no backroom like in most stores of this style. There must have been some building restriction here that caused Acme to alter it's standard design. Here the backroom sticks out from the rear third of the building. You can see this better in the areal shot down below.


Great sign at the entrance of the parking lot.


Here you can see the unusual backroom area sticking out from the building. This does not look like an addition close up. Looks original to when the building was first built.


Here's a look at the old school ShopRite on the opposite end of town. I drove past and even pulled in but didn't go in the store. Looked very unappealing. I find ShopRite to be the least interesting grocery store chain in existence. Apologies to any ShopRite fans who may be reading this.

UPDATE 2.10.10: For not being a high volume store, the tiny little Washington Acme did get some surprising attention from the company. Was still looking good back in 1999...






Images above courtesy of Rob Ascough

16 comments:

  1. ShopRites are less interesting (or maybe more interesting depending on your view) because for the most part, every Shop Rite is different...there is no real standard design as individual owners alter their tastes (my local Shop Rite opened as a Super G and latrer a Shop & Save owned by SuperValu, so it kind of still has that look)

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  2. The store did have the red block-style logo in the end. One of my managers used to refer to the store as "the dollhouse" because it was supposedly a perfect little store, very clean and well-kept. That couldn't be said of all of Acme's older locations.

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  3. That Shoprite is supposed to be closing and moving to a new location on Rt 31

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  4. I believe the store next door was the original location of the Eckerd in Washington, which moved to the opposite side of town and is now a Rite Aid.

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  5. Wasn't Channel lumber also in this shopping center?

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  6. I remember from the early 90's a store called 'Five Star Value' being next door to the Acme??? I believe they were kind of like a Channel and were a local chain. I believe they closed sometime in the early 90's as I moved to the area in '92 and it was shortly after that they closed.

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  7. Acme was in the plaza as well as a Shelbys discount store and The Spaghetti House pizza place

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    1. Back in the 60's there was a W.T. Grant and a dry cleaners next to Acme.

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  8. It turns out I was wrong about the Eckerd; it actually relocated from near the Ames at the other end of town. I haven't even found any info that there was a drugstore chain here at all.

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  9. Does anyone have photos, especially from the 60's, of the Acme that was on Route 130 in Burlington, NJ ? My dad worked as a meatcutter there for many years and on Saturdays I would ride my bike down to the store and visit him. It's just an empty lot now...I would be very grateful.

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  10. I have gotten a bunch of requests for the old store in Burlington. Unfortunately, I don't know of any pictures. I may do a post just on the empty lot since there's been a bunch of interest in that location.

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  11. I was based in Succasunna's Acme for 6 years but temporarily worked at a variety including Washington. The interior was about as odd as I had ever seen. For starters it had a basement with chicken coup like cages. The truck unloading was done through a cellar like door. While most of the back room was open space all the way to the ceiling there was a free standing stair case which led upstairs to a suspended in air break room. It was a truly odd design.

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    1. Washington N.J. Acme didn't have a basement Worked there from 1966 until it closed

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  12. Odd, but I think a lot of old Acme locations had the same characteristics. I worked in North Plainfield for a day (the start of a remodel- its last one, I suppose) and was surprised by the basement being a series of catacombs. I could see merchandise finding its way down there and never again emerging! In fact, I am pretty sure the Washington store was about the same size as North Plainfield (and Union, for that matter), making me believe that Acme built stores of different sizes in the 50's. I think the typical Acmes of the 50's were more like Newton, which was larger than this one.

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  13. I lived in Washington for over 20 years and my grandmother shopped at this ACME from it's opening until she died in 1991. Shoprite was cheaper on the other end of town. The store next to ACME was Shelby's Dept. store (a five and dime style K-Mart). There was a pizza parlor in the middle of the two called "The Spaghetti House". Even when they redid the exterior, the store was still the same for the most part on the inside. It did have an odd shape to it and the aisles were small and there wasn't much turn room with your cart. I think it had about 7 registers and a small courtesy counter to the west end of the store. The east end of the store was the produce and of course the deli was in the back with the Lancaster Meats foam sign on the wall. I just remember it being very old and becoming outdated when bigger grocery stores popped up in the area. Either way I had some great times shopping with her over the years. I heard that they wanted to turn the plaza into family services offices or DYFS or something along those lines.

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  14. I thought this was an old Ames due to the green all over the exterior, but the old Ames is/was next to what is currently a Tractor Supply Co., kinda overlooking the old ShopRite. Currently, as of this writing (6-7-11), the ShopRite over near the A&P Fresh is now open. It is so massive, that when I first saw it under construction, I thought it was a mall! I was shocked when I saw it was going to be a ShopRite. Due to the size and location, A&P tried to stop and/or delay construction of the store. I guess they thought it would be unfair for business. (Good thing the Acme isn't around, or they would have closed anyway!)

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