Saturday, June 19, 2010

Letter M on fire!

This picture of the Lawrenceville Acme comes to us courtesy of AceJay. He reports that repairs were done to the letter M after it was not working for the past year. Shortly after the repairs, the M went up on flames.

This Acme had an addition put on at some point. Looks like it's size nearly doubled. Not sure which half was the original Acme. There is/was a CVS in the front left corner of the store. I heard this CVS was moving to a new free standing store and that the Acme was going to expand into that space and remodel. I don't believe any of that has happened. This store currently has a fairly nice version of the Chalkboard Market decor.

A view of the whole shopping center. Look what's not far up on Route 1...

A brand new ShopRite. The store is now open. Can't find any information on how long ago it opened.

UPDATE 9.24.10: Click here to check out the letter "M" on fire! AceJay sent in some pictures a while back of the repairs in progress...

The letter "M" now seems to be a bit off center.


  1. The CVS moved last summer according to the sign hanging in the now-empty store; it still has everything except shelving in it.

    The Shop-Rite used to be a Kmart that closed in 2002; it could be as much as 7 years old.

  2. Thanks Josh for the info. I did see an article online dated 2003 that said ShopRite was planning on building a new store at the old Kmart site. It didn't say when the ShopRite was going to open. You never can tell how old these satellite shots are.

  3. Thanks for the mention! That ShopRite opened in either 2004 or 2005, about a year or two after another "World-Class" ShopRite opened fairly close by in Ewing (Parkside Plaza)

    That one (Ewing) replaced a Shop-n-Bag that was vacant for maybe 2 years. That was the big thing that spawned redevelopment in the 2000's in Mercer County, actually.

    After the massive success that was (since there were no big chain stores other than this smallish Acme) ShopRite decided to expand in Mercer and open a slightly better (reversed floorplan, lol) store there at the Mercer Mall.

    That also was the catalyst that made Mercer Mall into the impressive strip mall that it remain today. As a result of that, Acme lost a LOT of business, and subsequently pushed the owner of the Lawrence Shopping Center to do a remodel on the whole center, which made it look slightly better. The Acme got the best exterior treatment.

    That shopping center is fairly depressing though. The parking well exceeds the necessary amount, even on the busiest weekends. There are sinkholes galore (township's fault with some pavement in Lawrenceville) and there are many, many vacancies. The large stand-alone building north of Acme has been 5 different furniture stores in the past 12 years, and the most recent one left about a year or so ago, in response to the Raymour & Flanigan that opened as a co-anchor next to ShopRite up the road.

    In addition to that, a Bassett Furniture (formerly Ethan Allen, which moved up to another small power center north of the ShopRite with Lowe's [and now Trader Joe's]) across the street from this Acme is closing, which means there will be a vacant building, an un-leased brand new 2-occupant strip building, and a handful of small vacancies, facing Acme as well. That area is not in the best of shape, sadly.

    As far as the CVS goes, they moved out October 2009 IIRC, and their new location has been (probably) ridiculously profitable. It's ALWAYS busy. This location, sadly enough, advertised with their big 24 hour window signs, and about a week later the Township decided not to approve it. (7-11 can stay open, but Quick Chek and CVS can't? Uh...)

    Also, it should be noted that CVS built a stand-alone store half a mile south of the LSC one, in 2005-6 as well.

    This satellite view seems to be from 2005:
    the Orange is the CVS next to Acme, and the Red is the South store, while the Green shows the location of a local Arts-and-Crafts Store that sadly discovered Asbestos in the building, which was torn down for the CVS of roughly the same size.

    This store is very Rite-Aid-ish, as far as the style and layout goes. At some point CVS realized "Oh, these stores are really redundant," and thus the new store was born, slightly North. This only works because there are no Rite Aids or Walgreens' nearby.

    I could wrote a book about Mercer County Retail...ugh. If anyone has questions about anything, let me know!

  4. AceJay. Actually the Parkside Shoprite was never A ShopNBag. it was first a Foodtown from 1990 to 1995 then an Edwards (then part of Giant-Carlisle/Ahold) until the summer of 1997 when they moved up to Capital Plaza to replace a 16 month old Pathmark Giant had bought. The Shop N Bag (originally a early food-drug combo Grand Union) was actually on ParkWAY (not Parkside Avenue) and closed in 1999 Marazzo's Thriftway remodled that store from top to bottom and reopened it the following spring. it just celebrated. however I have a question about the Lawrence Acme. was this store always an Acme, because someone once said that it was originally a Pantry Pride before Acme. I remember the store design when it had the Fish-eye logo and the deluxe Colonial Exterior and noticed that it did'nt have the look of the traditional super saver or earlier style Acme. however I can say I do remember when the store got the 80s remodel the store expanded to the right, this was in 1986 or 87, right on time with the other Acme remodels. On the Shoprite, I concur with Josh, since I am from the area, the store opened in the spring of 2004

  5. Anon, you're right. I was thinking of that after I posted last night. Also, I completely forgot about the Pathmark at Windsor Green and the ShopNBag at the Brunswick Circle. Those were the other two smallish stores, though Pathmark was pretty big. Wegmans opened in 1999 IIRC as the first one in Jersey, which hit a lot of local stores fairly hard.

    By the way, wouldyou happen to know what the heck is up with this image:
    That's the furniture store next to Acme in '79 - are those houses? looks like there were two more around back as well? What?

  6. Presumably they were amall offices (eg law firms, real estate offices etc) in houses. there are houses up Texas avenue where said furniture shtore us. For the record. the Furniture store started out sometime in the 60s or early 70's as Huffman Koos (a big New York Furniture chain) then was sold to the independent Park Lane furniture and stayed that w2y for the next two decades or so until it was bought back by Huffman Koos in 1995, Huffman koos then merged with Good's ( a popular chain in the Philadelphia area. and rebranded the store aa Good's then her's when th real big changes started, in the early 2000s good's/ Huffman Went out of business and Levitz took over this store. Levit's then went out of business and Oskar huber rebuilt the store wiuth a nice upscale exterior. Oskar only lasted about a year and now another furniture store has taken its place.

    PS. AceJay
    back to the subject of the Acme, Do you remember this Acme being a Acme prior to '79

  7. Sorry, haha, I was born in '89. Also, the furniture store is still vacant, nothing's moved in yet. Madison Marquette bought/assumed management/leasing of the property last year, actually:

    I have high hopes with what they've done with Marketfair, Bayfair Center in CA, and other nice retail, but of course they've owned Plainsboro Plaza for a long time and nothing's really been done there.

    Also, progress!

    When you look close there are still a bunch of small burn marks. Hopefully they clean them off before replacing the letters. Till then, it's just A food store :P

  8. To Acme Style. This did not originally open as an Acme. According to two sources, one of them being Bill Haines and another being my mother. they both said that this store opened in the 1960s as a Pantry Pride (Food Fair) and was one of the stores Acme bought at auction in 1979. it reopened aa Acme in 1980 or 81 it of course had the Fisheye logo then then in 1987-88 it got remodeled with the bakery and new decor.

  9. Wow - that would explain a few things. Thanks!

  10. There is also a new Stop and Shop in Pennington (opened 2006) that about a 5 minute ride from this Acme. When that store opened the ride was worth it because it was a much larger, cleaner store with better prices, selection and a public bathroom.

  11. Ace Jay, to answer your question about the Quik-Chek and CVS not being allowed to stay open, the reason is because a few years ago Lawrence Township, passed a law that did not allow businesses to stay open 24 hours. Trenton had passeed this law a number of years back and Lawrence followed to keep the Riff Raff from Trenton out of Lawrence in the middle of the night. At the time the law was passed there were (3) 24 hour businesses in town that were grandfathered in, the 7-11 on Rt 206, The Crystal Diner on Route 1 and the Exxon on Rt 1 next to Princeton Mercedes. The new CVS at Darrah Lane was not supposed to be a 24 hour store, the reason the 24 hour banner went up in the window was due to an error by CVS's interior sign installation crew.

    While we are on the Subject of Lawrence and the area around the Acme, has anyone seen what is going on at Colonial Bowling Alley across the street from Acme. They are completly gutting and re-doing the place. From what I hear when it is done it is going to be more like a Dave & Busters with a larger Arcade, Laser Tag and Less Bowling Lanes. It is about time the Colonial has become quite an eyesore the last 15 - 20 years

  12. I lived nearby in the late 70s and can also confirm that Pantry Pride occupied this space before Acme. This PP had had a striking exterior makeover, which featured large (at least 10x10) square pebble-textured panels across the top of the entire front facade; silouhettes of various foods, e.g., vegetables, a roast, etc. were "embossed" into the panels. Same treatment was used in a smaller Penn Fruit on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia. Likely Food Fair's last exterior package, and an impressive one!