Saturday, August 21, 2010

Former Jersey Shore Acme, Absecon NJ

The Abescon Acme closed on February 21, 2008. Not quite a crash and burn situation... but close. It lasted a little over 8 years. The location began as a Super Fresh which had an even shorter run... opening around 1995 and closing in early 1999. Why did these stores struggle at this location? You guessed it... ShopRite.

This post unfortunately relies completely on satellite images. It's not my favorite way to present an Acme on the blog and it is done only as a last resort. What makes this one even more painful is that a valued Acme Style contributor took pictures of the abandoned store, as well as some interior shots, and sent them in many months ago. I lost the pictures. Apparently did not file them and have no email records since I downloaded the photos from a link. The person who sent them does not have backups... so we're outta luck. The satellite images do the store justice and the story here is too interesting to let go unreported.

The Absecon Acme opened in the fall off 1999 and was the very first new store to open after the merger of American Stores and Albertsons. This location was billed as a "Superstore" although it clocked in at only 45,000 square feet. A much smaller size than Acme built throughout the 90's. It did offer a Sushi department, Coffee bar and... a reading center! At the time of this store's opening, Acme was 165 stores strong. As of today, 42 of those stores are no longer.

Acme left the Super Fresh facade intact, which would be easier to see if that tree wasn't blocking the view. This was the clearest shot I could get from Google Maps. I believe it's been established on the blog that the Marlboro store was built as an A&P but Acme wound up opening at the location. If you click here you can see how the two facades are virtually identical.

"Marketplace of Absecon". Acme's sign covered in red.

This just in...
Pictures of the Acme in it's final days...

"Sav-on" and "Drug" signage already removed.

In it's final days the Acme had become the "CME". The red cover for the letter A... gone.

The Acme has recently been subdivided into 3 separate stores including a liquor store and Dollar Tree. As of November 2009, the third space had not been leased.

The StopRite literally next door. As you can see here, this store appears to be have been made up of a hodgepodge of buildings over the years. The historic aerials shots of this property have me pretty confused. Very early images show what appears to be some kind of store. Was it a grocery store? Was it always a ShopRite? I can't tell for sure. We'll look take a look at the old aerial shots below.

You can see above how close the the two stores were to each other.

We'll start in 1957 and work toward the present. This image seems to show the original "ShopRite" building on the property. No indication of what it could be.

1963 and the building has more than doubled in size. Definitely looking like a store at this point. Was it a ShopRite way back then?

Very busy store back in 1970.

Looks as though the Super Fresh has just been built. The strip mall is still under construction. If you click the link you can also check out the state of the ShopRite. Still the same size as the 1970 image, yet not a car in the parking lot. Perhaps ShopRite has yet to move in.

The back lot has been cleared and the ShopRite has been expanded yet again. The Acme has a fraction of the cars in it's parking lot as the ShopRite.

Absecon is located down near Atlantic City. It's not quite a shore town but definitely on the way to the shore!

Here you can see Absecon's relation to Atlantic City. Brigantine, which is north of Atlantic city, is home to an Acme which we're not going to get to on this tour of the shore. It's one of the newer stores in the chain but like Absecon, Acme took over after another chain left.


  1. Well, once again Shoprite gets the blame for Acme's poor sales. Stooges (sorry Moe, Larry, and curly) have been at the Acme helm for many years ripping at Acme one store at a time and fail to recognize that Shoprite and other food chains are not going to roll over like the dead Food Fair and other companies of the past. Acme's new saying is and I quote, "Game on, The New Acme" They would be MUCH better just saying "The Old Acme Is Back !" with our great old prices.
    Good luck old friend.

  2. Is this the Acme and Shoprite that you drive past on the way to Atlantic City? I reckon that Shoprite looked so familar.

    as for Anon. 1 I must concur. Acme seems backed into a corner. but its been over a yeat since I started visiting this site and have seen this chain shrink and rumours abound. Supervalu is keeping prices high while cannibalizing the Acmes by opening Save A lots and letting customers like Redners open stores near Acmes. it's like Supervalu has been trying to purposely kill off Acme. at least when Skaggs/American was running Acme it was still competitive. now Shoprite (price competetive) and Giant (not as price competitive as they once were, but still a cheaper alternative than Acme) get bigger and even to an extent A&P (though they've been slowly dying thanks to the "Reverse Midas Touch of Christian Haub's Mismanagament") is more competetive than Acme.

    Dateline 2011:
    Shoprite overtakes Acme as the top Grocer in Greater Philadelphia and takes over a dozen Acmes to boot. Sad to say. but this is where it;s going!

  3. I remember when this store was a Super Fresh and then became and Acme. I'm not certain, but I don't recall Acme having made serious changes to the interior of the store. It doesn't surprise me that it didn't survive in the shadow of the adjacent Shoprite- that place is always a madhouse.

  4. I started shopping at this Acme (near my place of work) after the Egg Harbor City Acme closed. But then this one closed too! I was quite upset, to put it nicely.
    My mother loves ShopRite for their low prices, but I would much rather shop at an Acme. And I always hated the Absecon ShopRite, which was practically next door to this Acme. That ShopRite is always a madhouse.

  5. You need to check out the 1970 and 1995 Absecon Shoprite photos again... the is a huge addition in the rear... so the store has a total of 3 additions. I first shopped there in 1989... and the store's organic growth resulted in a bizarre layout. To my knowledge, it was always a Shoprite. You used to enter at the old section fronting US30. The cashiers were here (way too few) and either the bakery or meat dept was immediately behind it. You would walk to the right, where there were some smaller aisles... then towards the rear, where the aisles were at an 75 degree angle to the rest of the store. You can still see the original area of the store in the back left (now that the "front" has rotated to the east side). The fire exit is hiding the original entrance.

    As for the Absecon Acme, its downfall was price. It was outrageous... just as Mays Landing's prices have been... and Absecon Shoprite is one of the more competitive Shoprites, pricewise... so there is just no way a pricewise shopper could regularly shop Acme in this location. I couldn't.

    One of the other interesting bits in this neighborhood (since you like repurposed stores) is the ex-Dairy Queen on Mill Rd. just to the east of Shoprite. Dairy Queen relocated to its present location on US30 near US9 before 1989... but in 1989, the old Dairy Queen was a Security bank. It was so small, the offices were upstairs... so I had to exit the bank and go up a set of stairs to work with a manager to sign up for an account. You could also see where the custard machines used to be behind the banking counter. Security bank is history... and the location has stayed various banks over the years and renovations, but I have not been inside in years, so I'm not sure it is the same deal.