Tuesday, May 31, 2011

News Break:

SuperValu bids on Superfresh store

A&P has announced that they have sold 12 of the 25 Superfresh stores that were up for sale in the Maryland and Washington DC areas. The company will close the remaining 13 stores for which buyers could not be found. The news was reported on yahoo's finance site. Closings are scheduled for July and 1,500 people will be losing their jobs. There's a very interesting twist at the end of the article... SuperValu has placed a bid in the Superfresh store in Elliot City, MD...

Location: 3301 North Ridge Road, Elliot City MD

Walmart in the upper left-hand corner. What would SuperValu want with this location? A Sav a Lot would barely take up a third of the building leaving a costly reconfiguration of the property and the need for additional tenants to justify purchasing the building. The only other SuperValu banner in this region is Acme and they wouldn't putting one of those right next to a Walmart. Hmmmm. Any ideas why they're bidding on this buidling? You can jump to the article on yahoo by clicking here

Update 6.1.11: If the purchase goes through, the Elliot Superfresh will become a Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. I stand corrected! Shoppers Food is SuperValu's banner in that area. Additional details can be found at ElliotCityPatch.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

Former Acme – Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

Classic images courtesy of trex354

Location: 63 North Union Avenue, Lansdowne PA

An Acme Style first... a pitched-roof store with the red-oval logo. I've never seen one in person and this is the only one I've ever seen in pictures. The red oval logo doesn't always guarantee that the 80's remodel happened on the inside but if I had to guess I would say this store did get the remodel. This store opened in December 1966 and lasted until 2005. Judging from the parking lot in the aeiral shots over the decades, the place had a pretty good run. Even outlasted a larger more modern competitor just steps. (We'll get to that later) The Lansdowne Acme also outlived the 33M model about 2 miles south in the Yeadon Plaza.

The classic pictures seen here were sent in by trex354 quite a long time ago. I try to keep some treasures in the vault as long as I can to keep things interesting around here. Truth be told... I kinda lost track of this place and was pretty excited to discover the pictures again. The Lansdowne store is a rare sight. As I've mentioned in the past, I never saw a pitched-roof store with the 80's remodel. I did see one in the early 90's with the Checkerboard Arch decor (the former Smyrna, Delaware store) but I'm about 99.9% sure it had a drop ceiling at the time. 

Some pitched-roof stores had the blue windows seen above. Were these stores built this way or was the blue added later? From the outside, the windows looks rather opaque possibly blocking all view and most of the exterior light. 

And today the store is...

But this is not a case of SuperValue killing an Acme to bring in Save a Lot. The Acme closed prior to SuperValu purchasing Albertsons/Acme in June 2006. 

Save a lot takes up about 3/4 of the building. The left side of the store, which would have been the Acme's frozen food and dairy departments, appears to be empty. 

Notice the single door to the right side. Surprisingly, it was like that back in the Acme days...

Only one produce receiving door with an unusually narrow back room at this side of the store (assuming the layout here was similar to the standard pitched-roof model). Nearly all stores that had a door here had two doors. You can compare the set up here with that of the Clayton store by clicking here.

Pretty decent conversion of the exteriror. Let's have a look inside...

Entrance and exit doors with very small produce case along the right wall. Fresh offerings are extremely limited at Sav a lot.

This was my first visit to a Sav a Lot. Can't say I would go back anytime soon. 

Products are stacked in the cases they came in. Saves labor hours for stocking shelves to help keep prices low. 

Up for some aerial views of the situation... 

Interesting delivery dock situation here. No room along the back of the store so they had to stick it out of the side. Below is an image from trex354 showing the Acme trailers backed up for unloading...

In the upper right hand corner, you'll see the abandoned Super Fresh store. Bigger, more modern than the Acme but in this case the Acme proved to be the stronger of the two. 

Former Super Fresh image courtesy of JoshAustin

The image above is from JoshAustin610's flickr collection. He reports that the store started out as an A&P and was eventually converted to a Super Fresh which closed in 2001. Acme wins this round! But look who's coming to town next...

Giant arrived in 2004. Acme managed to hang on until 2005, making it one of the longest surviving, pitched-roof stores in the chain. Nearly untouched from it's first day just like the Clayton store

A slightly smaller store compared to the average size store that Giant is building these days.

Looks like the Acme was still getting a healthy crowd back in 2002.

Super Fresh had called it quits the year before. Hard to believe they couldn't beat out Acme with a bigger store and roomier parking lot. Maybe there's more to the story here. 

In the last satellite photo available with the Acme still in business, Giant had yet to arrive. 

Jumping back 2 decades here... Acme looks like it was the place to be! One of our first looks at pitched-roof store that could have used a bigger parking



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Welcome to your NEW Browns Mills Acme!

Well not really. This video, posted by steve5122 on youtube, claims to give you a "quick look around" the remodeled Browns Mills Acme, but the store never makes an appearance. Stranger yet, there are two different decor packages shown in the video leaving the viewer unsure of how their newly remodeled Acme actually looks. Clearly the video package is used for all remodeled stores with the voiceover intro changed to mention a specific store which has just been remodeled. Customers must have received the DVD in the mail or in store as they can return it to Customer Service for a $10 off coupon. This particular video's offer expired January 19, 2007.

Are Toys R Us and Office Depot still partners with Acme/Alberstons in the toy and office supply departments? The video mentions that they are but I don't recall seeing signage in any Acme in recent years that would indicate these partnerships are still ongoing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Acmes of Willingboro, New Jersey

Former Acme #1
Location: 498 Beverly Rancocas Road, Willingboro NJ

Although it's hard to tell from the front view, this former Acme is a pitched-roof model. The staggered awning does offer a clue while the rest of the facade has had it's pitched-roof features disguised. Not sure if the windows were covered over while that Acme was still here or if that was done when the 99¢ Depot moved in. I would tend to think the Acme was responsible for covering over the windows during a remodel. These discount stores rarely do much work on buildings before moving in. Satellite images down below reveal the awning was white after the Acme closed.  

Located in the Southern edge of town, this Acme opened in June 1969 and likely closed when the current Willingboro Acme opened in the center of town in the early 90's.

It is unusual to see a pitched-roof store with so many alterations but not having had an addition put onto the building. 

Some sort of activity appeared to be going on inside. I would have investigated further if this whole area wasn't so creepy.

Massive parking lot here which is pretty common with these pitched-roof stores. Plenty of room to expand out of the right side. Generally pitched-roof stores were either left mostly untouched throughout their lifetime (see Brown Mills and Parkesburg) or received complete transformations into more modern looking stores (see Princeton Junction and Wilkes-Barre). This one kinda fell into the middle. 




Former Acme #2...


Location: 4340 Burlington Pike, Willingboro NJ

Village Mall
The 2 photos above appear on Acme Style by way of flickr's new sharing options. (I believe they're new... haven't noticed them before). The photos are from Tom Asher's Photostream which you can view by clicking here. Tom has a retail and restaurant photo collection worth checking out. A couple of former Acmes included that are not yet covered on Acme Style. You can also click on the photos above to be taken to Tom's collection.

In the photos is the old Village Mall in Willingboro located on Burlington Pike near Levitt Parkway. The mall was anchored on the right end by Woolco which then became a Caldor and an Acme on the left end. I don't know the whole story here but I believe the enclosed portion of the Village Mall struggled pretty much from day one. The Acme closed in 1993 when the replacement store opened. Caldor closed when the chain went under in 1999. The mall was than transformed into the Grand Marketplace which you can see below in the satellite images...

Acme all the way to the left. I didn't visit this mall on my trip to Willingboro nearly a year ago. At the time I had suspected that there was a former Acme at this location but hadn't yet confirmed that. With a long lists of stops on that road trip, this stop was one that got cut from the list but the satellite photos will do the trick...

The mall through the years...





Current Willingboro Acme...

Location: 2091 Route 130 (at Levitt Parkway), Willingboro NJ

The current Willingboro Acme opened in December 1993. Like so many Acmes out there, it is suffering from competition of other chains like good ol' ShopRite. I believe there are two ShopRites close to this Acme as well as a Pathmark just across the street. 

The 90's Red/White/Blue decor presented on Acme Style like never before. The only other location that I know of to still have this look is Morrisville NJ. I believe all other 90's stores have been remodeled.

Produce windows are still windows!

This first time I saw this decor package was back in the early 90's at the King of Prussia store. I had been out of the Acme loop for a few years and wasn't even aware that the company was building massive new stores. When I stumbled across the King of Prussia Acme (which happened by accident as I was headed to the shopping center for it's Tower Records), I went inside the Acme and was stunned by how huge and how different it was from every Acme I had seen until that point. Much busier too than any Acme I have ever been too. (King of Prussia currently has the "Industrial Circus" decor similar to the package at Bryn Mawr. It's headed for some challenging times as a Wegmans is being built down the road.)

Most stores have done away with all this additional signage that was rolled out in the early 2000's. It was designed to be paired up wit the the "Albertsons Marketplace" interiors but was put into Acmes of all shapes and sizes. 

You'll recognize these aisle markers from smaller stores that get stuck with them when these big ones are remodeled. See Sharon Hill.

The hood lights are left over from the "Max Pac" department which featured warehouse style deals. Acme put these in when stores like Costco and BJ's started to take off. Rockaway even had one of it's aisles removed to make a giant double wide Max Pac section. It didn't last very long. The 90's stores generally had this section located back by Dairy.

Neon backlights out in Dairy.

The arch concept carried over from the 80's and early 90's remodels. 

I still love this old look. Probably because Acme was still American Stores at the time.  

Willingboro is a massive store with some very nice landscaping. Too bad business here isn't what it used to be.  

In 2002, the mall behind the Acme underwent a huge transformation. In fact, I don't believe it's a mall anymore. I was tempted to include pictures but kinda have my hands full with grocery stores. As much as I love malls, I have to be careful to not keeping branching out to new topics on the blog. I would love to hear a little bit about the mall's history if someone would like to give the scoop in the comment section.


Pathmark is Acme's closet competitor. There are rumors that a Bottom Dollar will be opening soon close to the Acme. Does the Pathmark fill that entire building? Looks like Pathmark originated in the smaller section to the left and then expanded into the larger section to the right.