Thursday, May 13, 2010

Former Acme – Port Reading, New Jersey



Classic Acme images courtesy of Rob Ascough

The Port Reading Acme closed in September of 2000. Judging from the building style it opened sometime in the late 60's. From what I can gather, this style came after the pitched-roof concept was retired and was used for only a few years. Larger stores with alot less charm were built throughout the 70's. The only store of this style still intact that I know of is Manasquan NJ. That store is also the only Acme still displaying the fish-eye logo.


After sitting empty for four years, the Acme wound up becoming the new location of the "Gurudwara Dashmesh Darbar Sahib". Not sure what all of that means but essentially the building has become a church for the Indian religion of Sikhism. There were people coming and going while I was there. I desperately wanted to take a peak inside but didn't want to offend anyone by asking. Kept my distance while taking pictures. Figured I would have a tough time explaining my obsession with Acme as my reason for taking a million pictures. This is not the first former Acme to become a house of worship. The others I know of are former pitched-roof stores which seem to lend themselves better to being converted into churches.

The cart coral gates are still in place along to sidewalk. Look closely and you can see where the Double Coupons sign was hung.


Sad Acme. I'm very curious about the layout here. Judging from the entrance the Produce department was located on the right side of the store yet the Produce receiving doors are on the left side. Can't say I have seen this set up before. This store is the late 60's style but appears to have the layout that became standard in the 70's. The 70's wouldn't have doors here on the left. This corner would be occupied by the in-store Bakery. It also seems as though the backroom area of this store was relatively large compared to the overall size of the building.

A very tall store. Seems to feel larger than it really is.

Produce receiving doors with some Colonial touches remaining on the door frames.


The walls seems massive for this size of store.

Guessing this was Dairy and Frozen receiving.

Grocery receiving still relatively intact. I could not find evidence of where the second floor breakroom room and employee bathrooms were located. Probably located along the back.

Now and then...

Image courtesy of Rob Ascough

You can see here how it would seem logical that Produce was to the right with Customer Service to the left of the entrance and the registers lining the windows. Exit out behind the Customer Service Department. Standard layout of 70's and 80's Acmes.

Extreme close up! You can almost see inside. If I had a GPS 10 years ago I could have gotten to so many of the stores that were shuttered the minute Albertsons took over. Tons of classic Acmes sadly met there demise in the very early 2000's.

Was there a building next door? The Clayton store has a similar patch of grass in the same exact location.

The Port Reading Acme was literally located on the edge of town. Now the Acme Market may be gone, but the Acme Manufacturing Company remains right next door. ACME has all the gates and railings you would ever need.

Acme enjoyed providing massive parking lots back in the day when space permitted. Was this parking lot ever half full in the Acme's heyday? I can't imagine it was.

17 comments:

  1. Wow, amazing how a little paint and foliage planted in the parking lot make that building infinitely more welcoming. I remember the whole area being very creepy, like a residential neighborhood dropped in the middle of a heavy industrial area. The store looked very lonely, even sinister, sitting in the middle of a huge, empty parking lot with smokestacks and factories forming a backdrop.

    I figured that style of building followed the A-frame/pitched roof stores of the late 50's. Other recently-closed stores with that look are Belmar and New Providence and those stores opened in the early to mid-60's, correct?

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  2. Pitched-roof stores weren't built until the early 60's. New Providence opened in 1968. Not sure when Belmar opened but I would guess the late 60's. The Port Reading building does look very good. The sides and back look brand new with just a fresh coat of paint. The awning hasn't been touched but is till in good shape.

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  3. HTE PORT READING STORE WAS THE FIRST SUPER SAVER BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP IN NEW JERSEY IT OPENED IN 1972 OR 3 THE FIRST MANAGER WAS BOB HESTIFER IT WAS STATE OF THE ART FOR THAT TIME ACME SPENT A LOT OF MONEY ON THAT STORE I SPENT 2 WEEKS WORKING THERE FOR THE SETUP

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  4. Ah yes...good old Acme # 7078, Port Reading, NJ. If you click on the photo for a larger view, you will see that there is an Acme tractor trailer to the right side of the store making a delivery. Guess who...maybe...na.
    Seems like many people are under the impression that Albertson's was responeable for many closings, however...SCAGGS had more to do with these closings than you may know. It was SCAGGS that crapped out the idea to build their current distribution center in Denver, PA. It was a selling point with a DC center central to their stores..untill they closed ALL the Allentown and Reading, PA stores that were just minutes away.

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  5. Acme Style...there's an old pitched-roof Acme at 25th in Reed in South Philly that is now a Christian church.

    Speaking of which, are you planning to document the Philly Acmes someday, since that's the birthplace of Acme?

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  6. Philly area stores will be making there way onto Acme Style. I haven't covered that area yet because many of those stores and former stores already appear on the internet on other sites and flickr. I have been trying to focus on areas not seen much on the web. Plans are also under way to cover Delaware and Maryland stores.

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  7. I lived in Port Reading from 1964 to 1989.
    My mom still lives in Port Reading yet.
    I worked at the Port Reading Acme. I was a cashier during my college years. Early 1980's The break room was located in the front of the store. I have fond memories of the people I worked with. Some customers were a little crazy but most were nice.

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  8. The adjacent property was not the Clayton store. It was the Clayton Block company - which manufactured and sold building blocks and such.

    Also, the Acme (originally a Super Saver) was not on the edge of town - it was about a half mile or so from the Carteret border.

    Finally, the parking lot was (is) huge; I never recall it being even half full.

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    1. I worked for the Port Reading Acme, (I think) 1988 Until 2000. The only time the parking lot was "Full" was when they were predicting a snow storm !

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  9. I used "edge of town" more figuratively than literally as there is no civilization behind and not much to either side of the location.

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  10. The break room was in the front? I remember the Succasunna store being set up that way. Seems Acme stores built from the mid-50's to late-60's had two-level structures in the rear, with the second floor housing break rooms and restrooms. Did that design element get thrown out the window beginning with stores built in the late-60's and early-70's?

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  11. HI I TOO WORKED AT THE PORT READING ACME I WAS A GROCERY CLERK THE BREAK ROOM WAS TOWARD THE FRONT PRODUCE WAR TO THE RIGHT ,CUSTOMER SERVICE WAS RIGHT THERE AND THE DELI WAS AT THE END OF THE PRODUCE AISLE IF YOU WENT STRAIGHT BACK . KJH

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  12. i worked there too. the break room was in the back you walked down the produce aisle thru the produce doors and to the left ther was a breakroom u could also find it if u walked thru the deli. i worked ther for three years. i loved it and i miss that stor so much. live right across the street

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  13. personally I think that the ACME looked more "close to home" than the gurdawara shahik ighbin(?) ( I know that I got the name wrong )

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  14. Grocery receiving still relatively intact. I could not find evidence of where the second floor breakroom room and employee bathrooms were located. Probably located along the back.

    THE ABOVE IS FROM ONE OF YOUR PICTURES, But it is actually the "Produce receiving dock" not grocery.

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  15. There was no second floor breakroom or rest rooms. The break room was in the front left where you thought the produce receiving doors were. The rest rooms were in the back behind the deli and meat room. The "second floor" was the generator room. It was only about 3/4 the length of the store. The grocery receiving dock you pointed out is actually the produce dock. The back dock actually handled all the other deliveries. The customer service "office" was to the left of the entrance. The produce aisle was the first aisle and ran the length of the store on the right wall. Worked there for 8 years, with some super people, IT WAS THE BEST JOB EVER!!!

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  16. Ah Nice, I was wondering how the Gurdwara looked before as a Store.

    It's a Sikh Temple, anyone of any race or religion is welcome inside as long as you cover your head and remove your shoes. While your at it, have a free meal at the communal Langar kitchen!

    It's sad to say though, the building interior was renovated, but I still remember the old interior where it more resembled a store.

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