Thursday, September 9, 2010

A&P – Maplewood NJ

On August 13, A&P announced the closing of 25 stores. Among them, the oldest, and probably one of the smallest, A&P... located here in Maplewood New Jersey. This store has been operating for 68 years now and sadly has just about a month left to go.

Most of the announced closings are due to A&P and Pathmark overlapping each other in the same area. A&P purchased the ailing Pathmark chain back in 2007 and has been suffering huge losses ever since. The old Maplewood A&P is right next door to the South Orange Pathmark. They even share a parking lot! You'll believe it when you see it.

Here is the complete set of stores set to close on October 13:

  • E. Brunswick, NJ
  • Lodi, NJ
  • Maplewood, NJ
  • Woodbridge, NJ
  • Yorktown Heights, NY
  • Berlin, CT
  • Belleville, NJ
  • Fort Lee, NJ
  • N. Bergen, NJ
  • N. Brunswick, NJ
  • S. Plainfield, NJ
  • W. Paterson (aka Little Falls), NJ
  • Marlboro, NJ
  • Millville, NJ
  • Union, NJ
  • Garden Park City, NY
  • Monsey, NY
  • Bristol, PA
  • Broomall, PA
Super Fresh
  • Lansdale, PA
  • Willow Grove, PA
  • Towson, MD (Dulaney Valley Rd.)
  • Wheaton, MD (Aspen Hill Rd.)
  • Centereach, NY
  • Levittown, NY
And the news bad news keeps coming... the company is now exploring options to sell off it's Food Emporium division to raise cash and announced yesterday that it is selling 7 of it's Connecticut stores to Big Y Foods, Inc. as it retreats to it's core market area.

Is this the last street-front A&P? I would imagine it is. The building was originally half this size which will see down below.

"Liquor" has probably played a large role in this outdated store lasting this long. That and it's pure convenience. Easy in. Easy out.

You just don't see these signs around much anymore. Still in great shape.

Let's take a step inside...

The entrance is in the center of the store. When you walk in, the checkout stands are to the right and Customer Service is tucked away on the left. You can see the small counter there next to the DVD racks. It was hard to spot. No signage and it's virtually buried behind displays.

The front corner of the store is where the liquor is located. Produce is in the back half of the left side...

It looks as though this store was remodeled in the 80's. I believe this may have been a decor package for the Sav-A-Center concept. I remember alot of A&P's becoming Sav-A-Centers while others remained A&P's but traded the old orange theme for a green theme. This may also be an early Super Fresh decor package.

Big colorful pictures of food are used in this decor package throughout the store. For as old as this decor is, it doesn't look too terribly dated all these years later. This store is also quite clean for it's age although it could certainly use some freshing up.

I gotta say... it was fun exploring this store. The perimeter of the store has the most random selections of merchandise. Great effort has been put into filling every available inch of the store. Regular shoppers probably have it down pat but new shoppers must have a time finding things.

Dairy lines the back of the store.

The Meat Department runs along the right wall. Aisle 10. Once extra wide with cases on both sides. Shelving has been put down the center of the aisle splitting the aisle in two.

Check out the old school meat cases! One tier just waist high with mirrors lining the back wall! Wow, did that take me back a few decades.

The Deli is here in the front corner. Like Customer Service it's nearly buried from view. You just have to follow the olive loaf to get there. Feels like the Deli was an after-thought. The cases are out in the open siting in front of that enclosed back room. There's no awning, drop ceiling or special lighting to signify this as a service department. If you didn't know there was a Deli here you would easily miss it.

Time to check out and head back outside... (I racked up some nice savings here. A&P seems to get such a bad wrap for just about everything... personally it's among my favorite stores. I live near two A&P "Fresh" stores which are among the nicest grocery stores around today. And I have absolutely no complaints about the pricing.)

This half is the original building.

And the new half. This addition was done sometime between 1969 and 1979.

Come on down the hill and you turn left for A&P or turn right for Pathmark...

You can roll an A&P cart right to Pathmark's front door.

The Pathmark has an odd parking lot situation but the store itself is quite nice. Not huge but freshly remodeled. It's one of the few to get the "Go Fresh, Go Local" decor package which unfortunately bit the dust when A&P took over and plastered every inch of every Pathmark with the word "save".

You can check out more pictures of Pathmark's "Go Fresh, Go Local" decor by clicking here.

Now for some aerials views of the situation...

Yep, they don't make 'em like this anymore.

The Pathmark looks massive compared to the little A&P, yet for a Pathmark it's somewhat small.

Things were pretty much the same in 1987 as they are today.

As of 1979, the A&P had doubled in size and the Pathmark had arrived practically next door.

The original A&P with a PACKED parking lot! No Pathmark.

So Pathmark wins here at this location and sadly we must say goodbye to Maplewood A&P!

UPDATE: 9.24.10: Store closing signs are up as of today.


  1. The A&P and Pathmark are located right next to each other? Strange.

    I actually like the decor of this soon to be gone store. There are still some SF's that have this look: Marlton, Mt. Holly and Cape May Courthouse NJ. However in the Marlton store, sometime years ago, the food pictures on the walls were painted white and now all that's left is the department signage. Are there any other stores that still have this decor package?

  2. Too bad the old store is going to close, but I'm actually surprised the company kept two stores operating in the same exact area for so long. As is the situation in Little Falls/West Paterson (or whatever they're calling themselves today... possibly Woodland Park?), it doesn't make sense to operate two locations when one would probably be sufficient. I'm wondering if the liquor license will be transferred to the Pathmark since those things are so valuable here in the Garden State? I would imagine it being pretty easy- there is no change in ownership, and it could probably be argued there is no change in location either.

    Somewhat-related to this... the soon-to-be-closed A&P in Lodi is likely the old Acme, unless there are two A&P locations in Lodi? If it is the Acme, I'm kicking myself for having lost my late-90's photos of that store. It was built around 1980, immediately after the Morris Plains and Rockaway stores. Therefore it was very similiar to those two locations.

  3. From their website, there is only one A&P listed as Lodi (4 Memorial Drive) so I assume that's the one closing (unless they have it listed under another town, like the Berlin CT was listed as Kensington).

    Also, thank you for finding the last 2 stores that were missing from the closing list (Willow Grove and Landsdale PA SuperFreshes).

  4. Yep, the Lodi A&P is the former Acme. There are still some signs of the Acme from the outside but no clues on the inside. Looks like the store was gutted and redone when A&P moved in. They even built a second story in the front of the store for the manager's office. The store will be a future post here on Acme Style.

  5. The interior of the pathMark reminds me of an Acme interior.

    The A&P package looks like the superfresh package. My Superfresh where I went to college had this decor. This was a converted colonial A&P

  6. At least one CT store was a Grand Union (W Hartford) and probably about 50 years old. The one in Berlin was Food Mart's first Hartford store and also about 50. Food Mart was the Springfield-based chain that Waldbaum's bought to become established in CT.

  7. Thanks for posting the SuperFresh closings...two are closing up near me.

    Lansdale, PA had two SuperFresh stores. (SF acquired them when Clemens Family Markets sold out around 2006, and did nothing to them other than some exterior changes. The other Lansdale stores only lasted a year or two. Ironically, SF also had another Landsdale store that lasted maybe three years, opened around 1999 or so. Hurricane Floyd flooded it out a few years later and it never reopened. Now an international grocery store).

    Willow Grove, PA isn't a was in a very busy shopping center, but hasn't been remodeled since the earlier 90's. Walmart opened up a supercenter up the road in 2007?, Giant opened a "Super Giant" a little while later, and on the higher end, a smaller chain called "The Fresh Market" also opened up in Willow Grove.

  8. Lansdale and Willow Grove still don't have any signage up saying they're closing, it might be kind of an open secret until they're ready to officially start the closing sales.

  9. No closing signs at Maplewood or the North Brunswick Pathmark. Both stores are still fully stocked. The 30 day countdown begins tomorrow so maybe signs will start going up this week.

  10. Did the a&p - pathmark merger ever make any sense?

  11. A couple items:

    - The original story mentions this as perhaps the last street-front A&P - I stumbled over another NJ store already closed that is similar - off Exit 135 of the GSP (Clark Exit) then left onto the County Route (I think it was 613) right in the main street (I think still part of Clark) - it looked like it could have been a recent closure (or else closed as A&P and was used by someone else, but it still had A&P info on the windows, which is how I confirmed what it had been).

    - Woodbridge and E. Brunswick A&P's make some sense as closures - the E. Brunswick is actually connected by parking lot to the Pathmark and sits much further back from Route 18 than the Pathmark. While the Woodbridge store is a ways from the Pathmark, it too is in a kind of hidden spot, being on Route 35 not far off the main route (Route 1) but totally hideden behind a ShopRite plaza when you are on Route 1 - this store replaced an older store a number of years back that was a couple miles further South but faced right out onto Route 1 - no idea why they though this spot was better at the time?

    - The West Hartford CT store appears to have been expanded (maybe taken over other storefronts?) at some point in time, since when you enter it, the first couple aisles are lower than the rest of the store, and you have sloping ramps to get back and forth?

    - I happened to have been to the Willow Grove Superfresh this year on vacation (we were staying in Horsham officially, but the store was only a couple miles away even though in a "different" town).
    Guess I should stop visiting stores while travelling - a couple years ago we were visiting relatives in Maryland and shortly after returning I saw (through the then active DC Grocery group) that two of the stores there I had been to (a Weis and a Mars) were closing, now several of these (the Willow Grove, W. Hartford, and the above mentioned NJ ones).

  12. Are you certain that the MArlboro A&P is closing?

    I have not heard that one anywhere.

  13. Looks like it's the Marlboro Pathmark that's closing, not the A&P. It's been taken off the list. Now I'm down to 24. Can't seem to figure out the 25th. It's not helping that some stores go by two different names... Little Falls is the same as West Patterson. Marple is the same as Broomall. I'll keep checking the web to get this list complete!

  14. I remember this decor package, when I used to live in Atlanta. There was a red & white equivalent as well. A former A&P in Roswell, Georgia (now Publix) had the red & white decor package.

  15. On Wikipedia they say that the Pathmark in Garden City Park NY is also closing.

    Does anyone know if there will be any re-branding to follow this?

  16. I believe that's the missing store from my list! There hasn't been any word of rebranding, just straight up closings. Some rumors floating around that alot of Pathmarks may get converted to Food Basics.

  17. I think that A&P might even have trouble converting those Pathmarks to the Food Basics format. Food Lion is bringing the Bottom Dollar format to PA and NJ you Have Aldi and Save A Lot and you also have at least in Philly a poor track record with the Food Basics stores there performing poorly. A&P is really lost outside of the NY-NJ market and now it's contemplating putting another crown jewel, the Food Emporium gourmet stores up for sale. I did not like the A&P Pathmark merger from the beginning. and I think all principals have lost from the deal. Pathmark could have come back on its own. and A&P could've done better by upgrading the Food Basics stores and converting nonperforming older fresh formats to FB and growing them from there. sadly A&P went for mass and ended up with its current mess.

  18. Looks like Lansdale is losing another store....Genuardi's is closing down in October, after 20 years. Safeway did not want to renew the lease. I have a feeling Safeway is slowly ditching Genuardi's everywhere as leases come up..I guess time will tell.

    Lansdale is still chock full of grocery stores though. Giant, Acme, Redner's, an independent Foodtown, Aldi and a seemingly out-of-place Weis still exist in Lansdale. Hennings and Landis, local stores that are part of Thriftway/Shop 'n Bag, are also nearby. I'm not sure how they were able to support all these chains plus the two closed/closing Clemens/SuperFresh stores.

  19. Thanks so much for this very interesting post on the classic Maplewood NJ A&P location. It is certainly a gem.
    Hope it can be converted to an A&P liquor. That would make the most sense. They could still retain the deli and do a remodel.
    I live practically next door to the Aspen Hill Rd. Wheaton MD SuperFresh. There had been an A&P/SF at that particular shopping center for more than 50 years. Michaels currently occupies a centennial across the parking lot from the soon to close SF. I can't bring myself to look at the store closing signs put up by the liquidator. Happily another Super Fresh is five miles away.

  20. Re: Rob's question about there being 2 A&P's in Lodi...there were. The original one, I believe, was on Essex Street somewhere and had been there for quite awhile. It didn't close all that long ago if I remember correctly- they still kept both stores open (that and the old Acme) for a couple of years after A&P moved into the old Acme. Only difference was that the old Acme was a Super A&P and the other, which I believe was bigger, wasn't.

  21. Apparently, the dollar store that went into the old A&P didn't last very long. They recently got to work demolishing the whole structure, and CVS is building a store on the site.

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  23. Just found out that the A&P building was demolished. A CVS now sits on the property.