An abandoned Pathmark in Randolph, New Jersey just off of Route 10. Bonus Store worthy? Not at first glance. Architecturally speaking, you won't find a more uninteresting grocery store than a Pathmark. Many of their locations are quite ugly and often trashy. The interiors, until just a few years ago, were bland and generic. In the past decade Pathmark has attempted to change it's image many times over. They rolled out one ad campaign after the next with none ever seeming to stick. Since being purchased by A&P back in 2007, the chain has now become A&P's "price impact" format now known as Pathmark Sav-A-Center.
This particular Pathmark achieves Bonus Store status by being one of oldest Pathmarks in existence as well as being one of the chain's very first SuperCenters, a format Pathmark pioneered back in the 70's. While most grocery stores were paired up with drug stores in the same shopping center, Pathmark incorporated the drug into their SuperCenters, often times having a full service pharmacy which was not common in other chains at the time. SuperCenters also offered an unusually wide range of general merchandise.
As these stores spread throughout New Jersey and New York, Pathmark rocketed to number 1 in the region. A position it held for many years. It's downfall began when it did not make adjustments to changing tastes and shopping habits of consumers. Pathmark built much of it's early success on carrying low-priced generic products and stuck with those products long after they fell out of favor with shoppers. The chain eventually lost the top spot to ShopRite. Interesting to note here that Pathmark started out as a group of ShopRites that broke free from the Wakefern Cooperative back in 1968.
Not sure how this Kmart is still surviving these days. I did go in to check it out. There was one employee in the front end handling customer service and running the only register that was open. The new stores over at the Rockaway Mall are undoubtedly hurting this shopping center in the same way they drove the Rockaway Acme out of business.
It's hard to know if this store closed due to poor sales or if A&P decided to pull the plug to drive customers to their Super A&P just up Route 10. You can see on the signs below that shoppers are being directed to the A&P.
The Denville A&P, seen in the lower right-hand corner of the sign, is a much further drive away than the Randolph A&P. The Denville store is the very first A&P Fresh Market. Opened back in 2004. The old Sav-A-Center was torn down and a much larger Fresh store was built in it's place.
Now we'll take a tour of the interior. The overall look of the store was from a remodel in the early 2000's. I believe Pathmark did every single store in the chain back then. At the time, it was a huge step forward and big change from all the truly ugly looks they had in the past.
This store, like every other Pathmark, was converted to the Sav-A-Center concept under the new leadership of A&P. Most stores did not receive a name change but they all got the word "save" splashed all over the interior of the store... to the point of overkill in my opinion. Hung from the ceiling, the shelves, on the aisle markers, stuck to the cases and on the floors... the word was everywhere.
You can see the yellow "save" signage everywhere in this abandoned store but those signs have since disappeared from Pathmarks. It appears that company is softening it's savings message. The tagline "Save all over the place" has already been retired and replaced with "Where the only prices are low prices". The interior promotional signage has been reduced significantly and is more subtle than the previous "save" signage.
You looking at one of the best things Pathmark has to offer! Check outs where you bag your own groceries check outs. The cashier rings up a customer and sends their groceries down one belt, then can ring up another and send that person's groceries down the other belt.
It's sad to to see this store empty. I remember back in the 80's and 90's when this store was doing some serious business.
Wonder how long this Kmart will survive with so many other tennants closing up shop. At least the didn't turn this place into a Sears Essentials.
Looks like the Pathmark was still open in this satellite shot.
Here's the Randolph A&P, just up the street on Route 10.
Built back in the 90's, it replaced a Centinel Store that stood in this very parking lot in front of the new store.
This store has yet to be converted to A&P's Fresh format.
Pathmark: Go Fresh! Go Local!
In the mid 2000's, Pathmark launched it most ambitious remodel plan ever. It was paired with the new "Go Fresh! Go Local!" ad campaign which lasted a year or two leading up to A&P taking over the chain. You'll see how some of the department names have a local flavor....
This store had deluxe custom designed aisle markers to match the decor. They were removed in favor of these cheap "Sav-A-Center" aisle markers.
The "Live" Bistro featured a live chef cooking and explaining recipes. It lasted about two weeks. Since then the Bistro has been dead.
You can check out more pictures of the "Go Fresh! Go Local!" concept here. A&P, unfortunately, put a big old stop to this tagline and to this look. They also eliminated the Pathmark brand in favor of their America's Choice line of products. It's getting to the point where I'm not too sure what the difference is between Pathmark and A&P other than the name.
And now to bring it all back to Acme... this Pathmark is located in a former Acme located on Aramingo Ave in Philadelphia. The Acme closed sometime in the mid 2000's. The pyarmid you see there over the entrance was done to alot of stores that recieved the Checkerboard Arch remode in the early 90's. Back then the awning was all green. The store was extensively remodeled with the Red/White/Blue look of the mid 90's. I believe a ShopRite opened down the street which ran this Acme out of business. Take a look in the lower right-hand corner... a former pitched-roof Acme!