Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jersey Shore Acme, Beach Haven NJ

Beach Haven pictures courtesy of Rob Ascough

The first stop on the Jersey Shore Tour is the Beach Haven Acme located at 9700 Long Beach Boulevard. One of the oldest Acmes still in operation. The original building is still intact with only minor exterior upgrades. The front sidewalk is used for additional floor space in the summer months when the sales volume here goes through the roof! Tent's are also set up outside to house additional merchandise. During the winter... the place is a ghost town.

The original entrance and exit are still located on the left side of the building. These doors and vestibule were added in during one of the remodels.

Easy to imagine the script logo running across the awning. This store has not lost it's original soul. The "SuperSaver" no where to be found.

The original entrance and exit located along the Dairy wall. Let's take a step inside...

The Produce alcove resides in a section that appears to have been added on to the building.

Aisles must be very short. Aisle 1: Ketchup. Aisle 2: Peanut Butter. The Albertson's Marketplace decor is pretty deluxe here for such a small store. Some huge Acme's don't have it this nice.

This store looks to have had a significant interior upgrade. The lights are now recessed. The floors were redone for the Marketplace decor. But the original air vents... an old Acme staple... are still in place.

Front end with the original huge windows along the front. You can tell it's wintertime here. If this picture was taken today this place would be mobbed.

UPDATE 7.12.10: Dropped the ball here... I've had a link to share about this store for a few years now. As a commenter pointed out, this location was to be torn down and replaced with a larger Acme. Exterior plans for the new store can be seen online. Thing is, the construction company refers to the store as the "Long Beach" Acme. It wasn't until this weekend that I made the connection that Beach Haven and Long Beach are the same thing.

So... plans were drawn up in 2007 for the old 20,000 square foot store to be torn down and replaced with a new 32,000 square foot store. The plans were put on the fast track so work could begin just after Labor Day 2007 in order to have the new store open in time for 2008 summer season. Never happened. A commenter has told us that the landlord was not happy with the plans and put the kibosh on the new store.... for now. Very glad to have the classic store photographed before it met with a wrecking ball! This 1958 is a classic!

Click here to see the illustration. Scroll down to the second entry.

Other interesting facts mentioned by another commenter... there are pencil marks on the wall to show how high the water was during a storm. And that sandbags are kept on hand in case of a storm!

Acme is right in the middle of Long Beach Island.

One of the only Acmes within easy walking distance the beach!

No huge Acme sign out at the street but you can always follow the Beach Haven water tower to the store.

You can see here how there are lots of trailers in back to hold merchandise. This aerial shot was probably taken during the summer when sales volume is quite high.

The section on the right side which is currently the Produce Department looks to be an addition but as you will see below, this section appears to have been with the building from the start. Perhaps it was a drug store at one point although it seems quite small even for the 50's/60's.

Here's a look at the store all the way back in 1963 from The next available year on Historic Aerials in 1956. The Acme had yet to be built.

A Google Maps shot from the street. Not a great image but I do love how you really get the 50's/60's feel of the store from this view.

UPDATE 9.23.10: Some new pictures of Beach Haven courtesy of Michael Lisicky...

The old school street signs still up after all these years. Updated signage of course.

The old cursive logo still on the door handles! Looks as though the logo was originally painted blue.

Old trailer in the back used for storage.

The Meat Department back door.


  1. Very good pictures of the Beach Haven Acme. The addition to the right of the store that is now the produce section was a liquor store for many years. I think the addition was done sometime in the late 80's. Last year this Acme was to be torn down and built on the spot where the movie theater is located and the movie moved to the left of the Acme. Plans did not go well with the landlord, so all plans were scratched. (for now)
    This store is very much like the old Wildwood Acme in that the original entrance was located in the same corner, like most Acme's from the 50's with the flat roof. Depending on street elevation, some simalar stores have a receiving dock and some do not. This store has a grocery dock that is not used any longer. There is an old storage trailer from DC 5 (Forty Fort, Pa) dropped at the dock.
    I can't wait to see your write-up and photo's of the Sea Isle City Acme, I think this is THE smallest Acme in operation to date. Keep up the good work.

  2. Very good looking store...they did a good job updating it while keeping old elements. Someone on a forum I go to has a beach house in Beach Haven and said that this store does well in the summer, which is understandable.

  3. Hi, I spent a week in this store many years a go. I was amazed by two things! The high watemark in pencil on the wall that showed how high flood waters got one year. The other thing
    was thesand bags that were kept in the fenced in area adjacent to the store just in case ofa storm!

  4. The Chestertown, Maryland pitched-roof store now has the same decor, but is missing the classic "tiles" and sign. Still in my opinion a must-see store. The lighting appears to be original. There also was a circa 1965 Pizza Hut in the same center, now a Mexican restaurant. Also in town is a former centennial A&P, now a Dollar General, which appears to have never been repainted.

  5. It's always weird dropping by these Jersey shore stores in the dead of winter when there are small piles of snow on the ground. As someone who always vacations down the shore in the summer months, I'm used to the small grocery stores being absolutely packed.

    It took me a while to see that this store started its life very similar to the now-gone Wildwood store (which was similar to stores like Newton and Sparta). The doors and vestibule on the right side of the building that seems to be used as the main entrance had me blinded at the time. Funny... I don't remember the store looking like that when I used to vacation on LBI with friends in the mid-90's. Is it possible the current look was added in the last decade?

  6. Hi I worked in this AcmeinChestertown asadepartmentmanager at thetimeof its renovation. Ifyou visit go to Rock Hall and see theBay Market a 1950 era Acme that cklosed when the store in Chestertown opened. Then turn around and head to Millington tothe Millington market a 1039 Acme that closed when the Acmein Chestertown Closed still a full Service supermarket.

  7. Acme Style, that part about the air vents nailed it. I love the mix of new and old in this Acme But did pitched-roof stores have side vents? All I know is the original Williamstown, NJ store had them, as shown on this blog. So does the current Sharon Hill, PA store. And I suppose the "EHC" Acme did.

    But I noticed a dollar store in Pottstown, PA had them. This shopping center had a pitched-roof Acme from 1964 to about 1984. It was replaced by a Redner's Warehouse Market.

    It is strange how the side of this Beach Haven store faces the road. The Cheltenham, PA (right outside of Philadelphia) store was like this too. It was a "Dollarland" dollar store but is now empty.

    You should check out the Super Fresh in Ocean City, which I think gets most business from tourists. This store from 2000 replaced an A&P/Super Fresh from 1965 (demolished). The new store reminds me of an Albertsons in Texas.

  8. I worked at the Beach Haven Acme from May to September for a few years in the early 90s. The addition was put on in 1992 or 1993.

    The area out in front of the store that you can see clearly in the first photo is separate from the rest of the store, and sold beach chairs and beach balls and towels and other general merchandise. The area was called "The Cage" and it was a coveted register to work during the summer months. You could wear shorts, and there was a chair out there so you could sit down if no one was shopping in the cage. There were also usually lots of shoppers in bikinis.

    To say the store was busy in the summer months would be an understatement -- and the locals hated it. Once, I was working as head CSR and and I watched a man walk out with an overfull cart of unpaid for, un-bagged groceries. I ran after him in the parking lot. I said, "Sir, you have to pay for those." And he said, "I LIVE here. I'm not waiting in those lines." He left the cart there, got in his car and drove away. Another time, when the season wound down in September and the Acme was almost back to its sleepy self, I was working at the register. A woman came through my line and as she was paying, said, "My god. Aren't you glad they're all gone?," referring to the tourists, not knowing I actually was one, kind of.

    The Beach Haven store also had lots of regulars. There was a man in his late 70s who came in every day. His name was Louis. He was mostly quiet, would wander up and down the aisles with his arms clasped behind his back, smiling and quietly saying hello to everyone. I thought he worked there, or was maybe a retired district manager. One day he sat with me on the bench outside, a popular place for people to take their breaks. I noticed that his button-down short-sleeve shirt was actually very dirty. And that his tie had Christmas trees on it -- in June. I asked him, "So, are you retired?" He looked at me sweetly and said, "Oh no, dear. I'm retarded."

  9. This store does well because it's the only larger supermarket on LBI, although there are quite a few other small, independently-owned ones. LBI is almost entirely built up now, so other supermarkets are hindered from being built. Otherwise you need to stop in Manahawkin on your way onto LBI. The other reason it does well is because people generally rent beach-houses on LBI with kitchens, and the restaurants tend to be crowded and overpriced. In many ways, it's just easier to shop at this Acme and cook in your kitchen at the beach-house. People come with their kids, and they tend to be too restless to sit down to a nice dinner at a restaurant.