Sunday, May 10, 2009

Former Acme — Succasunna, NJ

Here is the abandoned Linens-N-Things which is the former Acme at the Roxbury Mall in Succasunna NJ. I believe the Acme closed sometime in the mid-90's. Not sure how long it sat empty until LNT moved in. At one time, this Acme used to be one of the most successful in North Jersey. It wasn't particularly large and faced tough competition from the much larger ShopRite at the opposite end of the strip. This Acme was one of the first to be remodeled in the mid 80's and then had the 90's decor put in... the checkerboard arch look which can been seen in the Manasquan post. The checkerboard floor from the 80's remained. The facade was also changed with the addition of the green pyramid over the entrance. The latest Acme logo was put here as well as a smaller version of the logo on the right end of the store's facade.

Acme's entrance was kinda tucked out of the way. Home Depot is next door. Exiting the Acme must have been difficult with cars coming around the corner there.

The Acme entrance and windows were where the darker brick section is now.

I believe the railing and bench are left over from the Acme days.

LNT made alot of changes when they took over. Glad the left the old green pyramid in place.

Windows of course lined the front of the store when it was an Acme. I think that door was put in by LNT. One interesting thing about this Acme is that the in-store bakery was at the back of the store near the dairy department. Acme in-store bakeries were almost always located at the front of the store in the corner opposite the entrance.

No Acme labelscar that I could see. I don't think the store remained opened very long after it's last remodel. Not sure how it survived as long as it did with the huge ShopRite practically next door. Strangely too, Acme was one of the only stores to not have it's logo on the signage out by Rt. 10.

The Acme used to have it's red oval logo on a section that looked similar to the Carter's store signage. LNT removed it when it built it's new entrance.

Here's what it looked like with the Acme sign.

This snap shot from Live Maps was taken while LNT was still in business. I wonder if Acme ever attempted to get the Carter's store moved so it could expand. No expense was ever sparred to keep this store updated to compete with the ShopRite.

Here you can see the ShopRite to the left of the strip. It was always a larger store than the Acme and wass expanded significantly over the years.

You can see here how far back from the main road the Acme was. This strip mall was originally located much closer to Rt. 10 but caught fire and burned to the ground. I believe that happened in the late 70's. The mall was rebuilt further back to get the stores re-opened as soon as possible. Years later Caldor built were the strip mall used to be. That store is now a Kohl's.

I believe this is sort of the replacement store to the old Succasunna location. It's located about 4 miles away in Randolph. Not sure when this location opened and if the opening was timed with the closing of Succassunna. Hopefully someone will have more information to share. This location is similar to Acme's of the past... at stand-alone building in a residential area. No other stores or shopping centers nearby. I was in this Acme once. The interior is one of the nicest I have ever seen.

UPDATE 7.14.09: The Succasunna store closed on May 23, 1998. The Randolf store was not a replacement store. This location opened on October 1, 2002. It is a former Grand Union.


  1. My orientation took place at this store. I don't believe there was any signage on the front of the building except for the red ACME letters below the green pyramid. I remember being told that the store made money but in the end it made sense to sell the lease because Acme made more money by doing that than operating the store as it was for another 10 or 20 years (I forget the number I was told). I guess it made no sense to keep the store when Shoprite was so aggressive.

    The Randolph/Mt. Freedom Acme was never a Grand Union. Grand Union was going to build a store there and actually broke ground but went out of business almost immediately. Acme picked up the location but their plans must have differed from the original plans because the town had to approve a new building which meant that Acme had to break ground again for their store. The Randolph/Mt. Freedom Acme is very close to the Morris Plains Acme that exists a few miles away on Hanover Avenue- at the time it was thought the new Acme would take sales from the Morris Plains location, which was the most profitable in the area. In the end there were enough sales to support both stores.

  2. Carter's was not right next to Acme, Cheeseblock Deli was directly to the left of Acme. There were constant infestation problems in the Bakery due to Cheeseblock being on the other side of the wall to the Bakery. There was never any desire to expand the store, it was big enough to handle the sales volume. Except during the Shoprite strike, this store's take was much smaller than Shoprite. Shoprite was a million dollar store while this Acme simply survived on the runoof in the avenue of 140,000-170,000 per week. During the strike the volume shot up to 750-800k a week and surprisingly was able to handle the extra volume quite well since so much extra help was brought in including some Shoprite workers.Shoprite wanted to expand but could not do so because of existing lease covenants so bought out Acme and that is why it was closed. At the time the store was doing poorly due to the most horrible manager ever (and the one before her was pretty horrible so the fact she was worse says volumes) and American Stores was trying to sell the chain.

    Clothing Town was directly next to Acme on the right side for most of the existence, Home Depot was only around for a few years before it closed. The in door was practically right up against the wall. Then the carts were lines up in 3-4 rows for people to have easy access as they walked in. The out rdoor was on the opposite side of the carts thus the doors were rather far apart.

  3. To add a little more information...

    All the brick work was done for Linen N Things all the original brickwork was covered over and removed. The right wall that is part of Home Depot now had payphones then a railing and immediately after the railing was the in door. The amount of space between the in door and the wall was only about 2 feet. The railing still standing in the photo is the railing that was to the left of the out door. The out door was right after that railing. The bench was originally much closer to the street, it was moved.

    This store never did the volume of Rockaway or Morris Plains (except during the Shoprite strike) which were the top performing stores of the region but this store was used as a testing grounds of sorts for new registers, configurations etc and even used in a tv advertisement.

    In the matter of less than 10 years from 1986-1994 the front end went through 3 different remodels. Initially, walking in you would see a giant box to the right. The walls of this boxed off area went to the ceiling. This boxy area housed the safe, book keeper room etc and is where cashiers received their tills and counted out at the end of their shift.

    This was ripped down and a Video rental section was immediately to the right as you walked in. There was a counter with a register and against the wall was the case with all the VCR tapes. The couple of aisles in front of the counter had empty video boxes. You would pick a video and take the box to the counter and then be given the tape after signing it out.

    The CSR desk was right around the corner. next to the registers. It was probably the only CSR Desk in the chain out in the open with a safe exposed. There were two out doors but they did not face the same way. The first door faced directly towards what is now Home Depot then there was a 90 degree turn and the second out door lead out of the building with that railing to the immediate right.

    Immediately to the right of the first door was the safe then an iron railing (like is used on an outdoor stoop) that ran 2 feet, the railing then made a 90 degree turn running into the store. If you were standing with your back to the windows of the store then immediately to your right were the 8 registers. The first register was the express line and the people in that line were right next to the iron CSR railing thus could reach over if they really wanted to and also could reach over while going out the door. The CSR had to constantly go in the safe to get money for change, to prepare tills for new cashiers (the empty tills sat right on top of the safe), to cash out the cashiers who finished their shift and for pick-ups. Also when the armored car came they had to take money from it. That all this happened in the open was rather amazing. Oddly enough the only theft that occurred the entire time of this configuration was from registers never from the desk. A couple of time my chashiers had their registers robbed but never my desk and no other CSR had it robbed oddly enough.

  4. Ok so on one side of the area was the metal railing. The opposite side moving from closest to the windows to the right were: the safe then a desk with the computer and finally a small crappy desk to write out rainchecks, credit vounchers and the like and to count out the cashiers. Yes the cashiers were counted out right there in front of everyone. The part of the area facing inside the store had no railing or barrier of any kind you just walked right in the area so the customers were facing you with no barrier of any kind and were right there in arms distance while counting out cashiers.

    There was no register at the CSR desk so often the Video register was used. CSR's would send people to the Video desk to get money back if necessary to issue a refund instead of writing a coucher otherwise to the express line. At night they rarely staffed enough to cover video and that is naturally when most people came to rent or return videos (which is when they had to pay) so the CSR had to run the front end from Video and naturally could not see around the corner to see what was going on.

    Right in between the CSR desk and Video area was the timeclock. Yes the timecards with our socials were sitting right there in front of the entire World including customers.

    The last remodel removed video and built a new boxlike structure in the area which had 3 compartments none of which ran to the ceiling. The first section was a counter with 2 registers. It was for cigarettes, money orders and lottery tickets. Previously cartons of cigarettes were in a locked 3 sided case at the end of the aisle across from the express lane and the single packs were in the area right in front of the express lane. The CSR had to unlock the case to get cartons out for customers but customers could grab packs themselves and often stole them. To prevent stealing and more strictly enforce carding all tobacco was placed behind the counter. It was supposed to be staffed by a cashier and the other register in theory was for the CSR. In reality much of the time the CSR was alone and simply had to do it all. The second register was set up as an express lane with a small counter area running where the old metal railing had been. It had no conveyor belt jsut a small area then was the door to get behind the counter area which was not that high. The second compartment was a small area where the cashiers would have to go to get counted out. We had gone from one extreme to another. Cashiers were no longer allowed to even be near the CSR when counting out they were in a box with a locked door where they had to pass everything to us through a window. On the opposite side of that window was the final compartment- the area with the safe and the computer as well as plenty of closet space and a long counter so there finally was room to actually do things. There was no window though to see outside. The wall was 3/4 of the way ot the ceiling so someone could climb over but not see over it (on more than one occasion I had to climb over because a CSR had left the keys inside). So a CSR counting out someone could not help customers at the desk which sat empty till done sometimes and could not see what was going on outside. This forced CSRs to make a cashier help by using the front register instead of having a belt fed register which could handle more volume.

  5. Within 4 years of the last change though the store was closed. Most of the customers were people who hated Shoprite because it was so crowded. We had double coupons which ate into profits then there was the theft which further diminished profits. The biggest problem though was bad managing. Managers cut help up front to the bone which meant long lines. So people who wanted to get away from ShopRite lines had to wait on long lines in our store and at that rate many went elsewhere or back to ShopRite. As long as waiting on long lines in either store they went for ShopRite's prices. Bad managing also lead to bad ordering and not enough stock help which lead to not having the shelves stocked well enough. This also drove away customers. The manager who truly drove the store into the ground was the queen of that. She refused to have proper help and brought her people for the Washington Store with her. I did price changes in both stores and it took a quarter of the time to do Washington's since they had so many fewer items. Price changes were supposed to be done by Sunday but were still being done as late as Thursday because she didn't want to pay to have it done right. The pricing issues (improper signage/lack of signs and items not scanning the marked price) were really the final straw for many customers. The store lost many customers, especially when IGA opened in Kenvil. This put the store further in the red and caused even more cuts to help which just made it even harder to keep shelves stocked though in the end the lines were shorter since there were fewer customers. Much of the part time help was no longer used but the large pay owed to full timers meant the store was operating in the red. The salary of full-timers was made it impossible to make a profit on the meager revenue. American Stores was looking to dump the chain and began closing stores that were not performing well. ShopRite bought out the lease in order to be allowed to expand and Acme jumped at that offer.

    After Acme closed ShopRite expanded but instead of doing more volume mismanagement resulted in a sizable drop. The store was finally remodeled with adequate shelf space and storage space in the rear to handle the million dollar volume it had been doing for 10 years yet ironically lost most of its consumers in the process. They also had spent a fortune on a revolving door that flopped and they finally removed it during the expansion.

    1. I know this is a forum about Acme but is there anyone out there with a photo of this revolving door at shoprite?

  6. Back to Acme
    After the 8th register was the emergency door. Then was an area that had the rental carpet shampooers. Then was a small room that was maybe 4 foot square it was the scanning room which had a computer to do price changes and also various circuits for the registers. After Patty took over it was never used. A card table was set up in Patty's office and the scanning pal she took with her used that.

    To the left of the in door was a small nook which had flowers and against the wall facing the in door was the refrigerated flower case. To the immediate right of that case (if just coming in the store it would be to your left) was a mirror. That was the back of the emergency exit door from the breakroom. Behind that door was the breakroom. We (I) usually rigged it so the alarm would not ring and frequently used that door instead of walking all the way around. If leaving the break room from the main door there was a hallway with lockers on the left, on the right was the Ladie's room then men's room then the office. There was an outer office area with a phone and cabinets/drawers then an inner office for the store Supervisor. I had a computer and phone and another safe area. The bookkeeper (head cashier used it usually along wiht the Store Supervisor and Associate Supervisor until the remodel and Patty took over).

    The Grocery manage was often in the outer office area though it housed various junk so others were often there at one point or another to get something.

    After the office the hallway opened into the back room storage area. After a huge theft of cigarette cartons (most likely by nightcrew) a metal cage was built to keep cigarettes and other expensive general merchandise items locked up. This cage was immediately on the right. On the left were metal slots for pallets to be stored and plenty of other pallets were on the ground in front so you had to climb on top to dig things out. After the cage were the doors leading into the main store. The timeclock was eventually moved to right next to these doors (in between the doors and the metal cage) instead of out in front for anyone and everyone to see/steal our timecards)

  7. When entering the store you were at the end of the produce aisle (the first Aisles was the produce aisle (more like two aisles) The salad bar was right there to the right and to the left along the back wall ran the Deli and Seafood area. Walking along the back wall next was the meatcase and a door leading to the meatroom. After the meat cases were some cold cases with frozen fish and chicken like Gortons and Tyson. There was a coffin bin plus a case with shelves. The set of 2 doors and finally bakery. The bakery had a glass case and behind were the bakery people. Customers could barely reach over and talk to the because the case was so high. It was much like the deli area. If you went through those doors to the immediate right would be the entrance to the bakery case then the door for the dairy case. Above the dairy case was a loft with various junk I climbed up there on occasion to get things. Next was a giant shelf with all damaged items. On the left of that was a small desk used by the receiving clerk. At the end facing the 2 doors was the reciving door which opened by a metal chain to roll it up. When you reached the reciving door if you turned left there was a huge hallway wide enough for exactly one pallet. Upo above were a long row of lights. The first door on the left of this hall was the frozen food case. Bakery and frozen food shared it. The next door on the left was to the meatroom. Directly to the right were two huge doors leading to outside which could be used for reciving if needed, often Frito Lay, Nabisco or Pepsie used it when bringing in huge loads. After the meat room was was another cooler with the door from both the meatroom and the back hall as well as the Deli. The meatroom and Deli doors were just plastic ones that opened in or out like all other doors. The hallway one was a metal cooler door like the dairy and frozen food doors. After the hallway ended you were in the main backroom. The first doors on the right were to the produce cooler and then after that was a door to the garbage compactor. Then the cardboard bailer was outside of it. The the 2 bay doors for trucks and finally an emergency exit. To the left was the door to enter the Deli area and then a produce prep station with a counter, sink and knives.

    The Produce prep area was at the end of a wall. Immediately around the corner was the hallway already discussed earlier with the doors, timeclock, cage etc.

  8. Great stuff! I wonder why this store was a testing ground when the more successful Morris Plains and Rockaway Acmes were so close? Wouldn't it have made sense to test changes in a high volume environment?

    I assume this was the first store in the area to get the checkerboard arch decor?

    FYI, the Acme is now Ramsey Outdoor, having moved from its previous location in Ledgewood at one of the world's homliest strip malls.

  9. It is more difficult to test changes in a high volume setting. Trying changes will invariably lead to longer lines etc. and have more customers in the way during the process. So in essence it means more customers in the way and being inconvenienced and you don't want to drive away customers from your highest performing stores. Store 7241 was large enough yet not too big thus a good test vehicle.

  10. dame shop rong i am so mad they are takeing over!!! dont shop them at all just shop small!!! from keeping the past alive!!!

  11. LNT changed to Roxbury Grill then moved to where Vermont Pancake House was used to be

  12. The Store, LNT in Roxbury Mall used from 1980s to May 2011. Now Linens n Things and Vermont Pancake House was closed the Same Time.

  13. In 2011, Vermont Pancake House & New England Grille and Linens n' Things were both replaced by Ramsey Outdoor.

  14. Roxbury Grill Replaced Vermont Pancake House and LNT. Ramsey Outdoor Replaced LNT and Vermont Pancake House.

  15. The Vermont Pancake House is not Replaced by Ramsey Outdoor. Tt changed name to Roxbury Grill and the Roxbury Grill Closed.

  16. Actually, The Ramsey Outdoor moved from Ledgewood to Succasunna, so The Walgreens moved from Succasunna to Ledgewood. In 2011, Vermont Pancake House reopened, changed name to Roxbury Grill, and redesigned as the Roxbury Grill.

  17. Actually, The Acme has an entrance wich crosses by the Petco, which is formerly a half of electronics expo. Two store which went out of business in 1990 took over The Wiz, which took over the Electronics expo.

  18. Acme took over LNT. Actuallay, The Kmart was divided into Korvette's, Luigi's Pizza, Dress Barn, and Famous Foot Wear.

  19. Why does the Acme have no Yelp page yet.

  20. THe ShopRite is in the same side as the Acme. Next to the ShopRite was a Stein Mart, which was originally a row of two stores (Odd Job and Rag Shop). THe Odd Job store was converted to Amazing Savings, who lost its lease.