The Rockaway Acme, located at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, opened in 1980 and closed on April 10, 2010. It had moved from a smaller location in Rockaway township. This new location became one of Acme's most successful North Jersey stores.
The store began it's life with the fish-eye logo along with the deluxe version of the 70's Colonial decor package. The 80's remodel came to this store around 1986. Although the store was only 6 years old it received all new cases, fixtures and registers as well as the red oval logo which you can see below.
Classic Acme images courtesy of Rob Ascough
As successful as this store was it was passed over during the Checkerboard Arch remodels of the early 90's. The next remodel, which was desperately needed, came around 2000 with the Chalkboard Market interior. The store was essentially gutted and remodeled from floor to ceiling. The exterior upgrade you see above did not happen until years later. The store kept it's "Super Saver" style awning but had a 3D logo put in the space where the red oval logo had been. The property's landlord upgraded the facade of the shopping center just a few years ago.
The latest signage was put up when the facade was redone.
All of the photos above come to Acme Style courtesy of Rob Ascough. The interior photos below were sent in by a new Acme Style assistant... Shaun from North Jersey.
I had been in this store a few times in the mid to late 90's. The store was in terrible shape. I was shocked to see how this once mighty Acme was a filthy mess. I visited again in the early 2000's and was stunned by the complete reinvention of the store. It was my first encounter with this decor and layout. It as quite impressive. The Acme was still going strong back then as the gigantic ShopRite down the street hadn't opened yet.
The former Starbucks alcove, which was closed years ago, was never again used for much of anything. Most stores saw their Starbucks converted to Seattle's Best. Business here must have dropped to the point where a coffee cafe could not be supported. We'll take a look below at the competition which destroyed this once high-volume store.
As I began seeing more stores with this decor package I realized the one used in the Rockaway store was a less deluxe version. It seemed the remodel was never quite finished here particularly with the department signage around the store.
The Bakery was moved from the far left corner to the right side of the store during the 2000 remodel.
Notice the case in the back of the Deli is empty. The store had been phasing out perishable offerings over the last few years as business continued to spiral downward.
The deli case there stocked only with bottled drinks. Fresh offerings long gone. Now... I don't do much pricing commentary here on this blog but I really need to point out something here. Morning Star products have been a staple in my freezer for years now. I buy them at Pathmark, Stop and Shop, A&P, ShopRite and Target. I have never once seen them priced higher than $4.99. They are more often in the $3.99 to $4.59 price range. If business at your store is declining, what is the motivation for charging more than everyone else for a product? I realize this us just one example in a store full of thousands but the difference in price of this one item to the competitors is pretty shocking.
The Fisherman's Net still has water... but no fish. This department was shut down long before Acme announced it's closing. May have even closed a few years ago.
The famous hole in the Meat Department ceiling which was only recently repaired after being a mess for years.
Floral was moved from the entrance to over near frozen food during the remodel.
No Pharmacy in Rockaway.
The Chalkboard Market brought back the official Customer Service desk. The Rockaway Acme had the CSR stand put in durning the 80's remodel. Sometime in the 90's the CSR stand was replaced by a make-shift Customer Service department and express register. During the remodel, Customer Service was moved to other end of the registers next to the former Bakery Department.
Rockaway originally had the hanging dome lights which can be seen here in the Shrewsbury store. They were replaced with these recessed lights a few years ago.
Shaun has also provided us a look at the backroom areas. A first here at Acme Style.
And now we'll head back outside...
The Best Buy building used to be a 6 cinema theater back in the 80's. It closed years ago and remained empty until Best Buy moved in. The Office Depot started as a Kids "R" Us. It is now a vacant space. Several other stores are closed as well. Several new strip malls have been built around the mall leaving this one in their dust. Not much to see here anymore besides the Best Buy.
Now the abandoned Rockaway Acme...
Rob captured these erie pictures of the abandoned interior. I believe the lease runs out at the end of May. I'll try to get photos after the store gets cleared out.
The original Rockaway Acme...
Looks like the huge Acme sign came right out of the top of the building. Must have been easier to cover over than remove completely.
Looks very similar to the former Union City Acme.
Now we'll take a look at the competition...
The Rite Aid in nearby Wharton was a Food Town back when Acme opened. I believe it survived into the early 90's.
The ShopRite over on Route 46 was the Rockaway Acme's main competition back in the 80's. It moved down the street into a mostly abandoned shopping center that once house a Jamesway and even earlier... a Two Guys.
This was the Rockaway Acme's first serious competitor... and by no means it's last.
Costco opened near the entrance of the mall in the mid 90's. To help compete, Acme removed an entire aisle of groceries to make a double-wide aisle of mega-sized merchandise. They added these departments in many of their larger stores... I can't recall the name but can still see the signage in my mind. The new aisle lasted only a short time at Rockaway. Regular sized groceries made their triumphant return as not everyone needed to by 48 rolls of toilet paper at once.
And then real trouble came to town... this huge ShopRite is located just across the street from Costco. Opened in the early 2000's.
Rotate the satellite view and you can see the newly added solar panels on the roof. There's a big sign on the front of the store declaring it's new "green" status.
The final nails in Acme's coffin... Target and Walmart opening in the mid 2000's. Both located even closer to the Acme than the 2 ShopRites and Costco.
The Walmart can be seen from Route 80 but is tucked away in the back of the mall. Not easy to get to if you don't know it's there.