Friday, March 25, 2011

Rare Decor — Acme, Hamiliton Square NJ



Location: 953 Route 33, Hamilton Square/Trenton NJ

A classic 90's Acme from the outside with a rare decor on the inside. Don't let the white signage fool you... this store has not received the Premium Fresh and Healthy remodel. I'd love to know the thinking that goes into which 90's stores get white lettering and which keep the red. The Woodbury store, who's exterior is identical to this store, still has the red lettering on the outside but has the PF&H remodel on the inside. This store may have received recent upgrades that would put it in the PF&H class of stores but the decor, which has yet to be featured on the blog, has not changed since the early 2000's.

Pictures of the Hamilton Square were provided by Mike S. He has confirmed that this store started with the 90's red/white/blue package. It's current decor is one I have seen it in a few pictures but haven't been able to get to one of these stores myself. It must only made it into a handful of Acmes before another interior package was rolled out. Let's take a look inside...

One of the first things you'll notice... the lack of department signage on the walls. Instead, the department names are mounted or pictured on structures that hang from the ceiling. We'll be seeing some examples below. Notice here too that the windows in Produce are still oped to the outside. Many 90's stores now have them covered over with mirrors. Some extensively remodeled 90's stores have had the Deli department relocated to this area with Produce running along the first aisle. 

The picture above and below show the department signage with illustrated images. Others include the department name. The sign below also appears to have had the decorative ribbons removed from the front side... you can see the left over glue spots. We'll be touring another store at the end of this post which has the same type of signage but does have the department names mounted to each side. 

A unique aspects of this decor are the blue and green awnings above the service departments throughout the store...

Some of you may have seen the comment left by Matt following the Centreville store post where he mentions this decor package. (He also provided a link to additional pictures which you'll see below). Matt calls this package the "Awnings Decor", which I'll gladly go with.

Something not often seen... the 90's floor has been replaced. Unlike the bold 80's checkerboard floor, the 90's stores received a more neutral pattern that remains in most stores which have since been remodeled. For an example of the 90's floor, click here for a look at the dairy aisle at the now closed Cinnaminson store.  

"Quality Meats" making it's triumphant return! 

We'll be reviewing evidence that this decor package originated with Alberstons. Perhaps it was rolled out prior to the Industrial Circus package which did make it's way into large number of stores. Based on the pictures I have seen, I am fully prepared to call the "Awnings" decor package a winner. 

"Florist" is one of the clearly labeled departments in the store.

Small "Savon" sign haning from the ceiling. I particularly like the quilted pattern and crown molding around the entire permitter.  

Back out and above...

The strip mall to the left was a later addition to this shopping center. The Acme originally stood alone here. 

I almost feel like there should be a moat and a wooden drawbridge, right? This 90's model looks like a castle. All the brick... the arches... the huge ominous towers. A far leap from the quaint, colonial cottage model of the late 60's. 

Pharmacy drive-up window added sometime after 2002. 



Through the years...

2006

2002
Drive up Pharmacy has yet to arrive. 

1995

1979



Located about 1 mile west on Route 33 is the former Mercerville Acme which opened in 1956. I'm not sure which building was the Acme. At first glance, the building all the way to the left looks the most Acme-like from the front but not from the back. The building all the way to the right currently houses the "Hamilton Farm" farmer's market which, according to information online, is located in a former grocery store. The building has clearly been expanded over the years. The older portion would be about the size of a 50's Acme. I'll stop wondering about it all now as someone will certainly post an answer for us in the comments section.

Update 3.25.11: Well that didn't take long... first comment in has informed us that the Acme was the building on the left while SuperFresh occupied the building on the right. Here's a look of the shopping center over the past 50 years...

2002

1995

1979

1970

1963

1957

1953

More "Awnings" Decor Pictures...

After sold to Khourys
The following pictures are from StoreWest's collection on Photobucket and are being posted here thanks to the many photo sharing options offered by the website. And thanks to Matt for providing the link to the collection in his comments following last Friday's Centreville post. Matt also informed us that this decor is used in the Pennypack store in Philadelphia which is located on Roosevelt Boulevard. I passed by that store when I visited the former Adams Ave Acme. Kicking myself now for not stopping but as I said before, it was late and Roosevelt Blvd is a nightmare. Had to call an end to that road trip and head home.

After sold to Khourys
StoreWest's collection indicates that this is a former Albertsons store which was taken over by Khoury's which opted to keep the decor.

After sold to Khourys
This store was most certainly built with this decor package and is a bit more deluxe than Hamilton Square particularly with the style of the crown molding.

After sold to Khourys

After sold to Khourys

After sold to Khourys

After sold to Khourys

After sold to Khourys

After sold to Khourys

After sold to Khourys
StoreWest has a very extensive collection on Photobucket that is well worth checking out. Lots of interior shots of classic supermarkets.

19 comments:

  1. The old Mercerville Acme was indeed located to the left of that shopping center. Believe it or not, the Farmer's Market at the other end was a Super Fresh up until the mid 90's. For a time Acme and Super Fresh both were present in the same strip! How they both co-existed baffles me.

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  2. I think that this store opened ~1993

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  3. The original Acme was built in 1956, but A&P (later Super Fresh) was added on in 1959. A&P closed in 1982, but was reopened as Super Fresh (same company) in 1984, and that closed in 1995. Here is the status of it now: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/4526845911/

    This store was identical to the Willingboro store which closed the same time, part of which is Family Dollar now. Both were built as some of the first "Centennial" A&Ps in 1959 (Centennial is to A&P as pitched-roof is to Acme), and the Centennial roof was actually enlarged with store expansions upon the Super Fresh opening.

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  4. In my estimation the Hamilton Square Acme is a nice store that never seems to be busy. There's a Shop Rite close by that is small and shabby but it is always busy. And an expansion of the Shop Rite is now under construction. When that's finished, I fear the worst for the good old Acme.
    Regarding Acme and A&P (Super Fresh) coexisting in the same shopping center, the nearby Princeton Shopping Center also had Acme and Super Fresh for many years, but neither remains today.

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  5. Would you look at that! In the 1963 photo, Acme and A&P were separate! They "filled the gap"!

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  6. Here is a pic of the old Acme in current form. http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/4652053304/in/faves-ryanrules/

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  7. and another long gone Hamilton Acme...http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/4652053302/in/faves-ryanrules/

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  8. I was never a fan of that Acme exterior look- way too imposing, not at all warm and friendly. Acme buildings became increasingly generic and uninteresting in the late 70s and by the late 90s, seemed to emulate what everyone else was doing.

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  9. The Acme in Willingboro, NJ has the same exterior design as this store as well. I don't know what ithe interior liiks like

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  10. Willingboro still has the 90's Red/White/Blue decor.

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  11. when they did the spit shine as i call them a few years ago to the ph & h aisle and category markers, they should have added some color to the store. I like the department signs and the awnings though!

    Side note- I have never seen it in person, but i believe Middletown, Delaware has a different type of decor too. Can anyone confirm this?

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  12. Middletown does have a decor package that is different them most stores but has some elements that are seen in other locations.

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  13. Middletown post! Middletown post!

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  14. Acme and A&P in the same shopping center!? Wow!

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  15. Correct, the Middletown, Delaware location does have a decor package that is different than any other Acme store I've been in. We need some pictures of the old Middletown, Delaware 1963 Acme. Being from Middletown, I used to love that old store. It was very weird yet awesome inside. I almost cried the day I went by there and saw the pile of rubble.

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  16. Chris, can you get us some pics of the Middletown store?

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  17. Hey it's Chris again. I found one picture from Middletown's fire company's website that has a slight partial view of the old Acme. I've sent it to you, you can crop out whatever you need to, but you can really only make out a slight bit of the roof line and of course the old sign with the fish type logo. The credit for the picture is www.vhc27.com and the original photographer. I've contacted Acme about trying to gather more photos of the old building, which they said they would contact their division office and would follow through with me within 24 hours.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Nope. Was just there today. Still has the same decor.

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