Friday, May 13, 2011

Former Acme/A&P, Lodi NJ

Location: 4 Memorial Drive, Lodi NJ

The Super A&P Food Market in Lodi New Jersey closed in October 2010 along with 24 other A&P and Pathmark stores. Many of these closings were due to A&P and Pathmark stores overlapping in the same areas which became an issue back in 2007 when A&P purchased the troubled Pathmark chain. While this store was indeed located near a Pathmark, it's closure was due more to a brand new ShopRite opening just blocks away.  

Prior to being an A&P, this grocery store began it's life as a newly constructed Acme opening back in 1980. It joined Rockaway, which also opened that same year, as being the newest Acmes in North Jersey. Lodi's relatively short life came to an end in May of 1998, the very same day they pulled the plug on the beloved Succasunna store. The next brand new North Jersey Acme would arrive in 2002 in Randolph. That store was a planned Grand Union which Acme snapped up when GU went under. Acme could have acquired more Grand Unions, helping it to reestablish itself in North Jersey but that didn't happen. Instead, Acme has chosen to continue to wind down it's operations in this region. Both A&P and Acme have been unable to successfully compete with ShopRite. 

As an Acme, this store would have looked nearly identical to the Berlin location. Both Lodi and Berlin were paired up with Kmart. You can click here to see a picture. The layout of the store and shopping center is flipped in Berlin. 

The windows here were most likely added by A&P. Acmes generally didn't have windows in this section. Floral would have been behind the wall with Produce lining the right wall. 

Some scars left from Acme's entrance and exit. You can even see the outline of the old magic carpets. Again, this entrance and exit would have been set up similarly to the Berlin store

Kmart down yonder.

New exit added by A&P.

The emergency exit might be in the same exact spot as the Acme's, although it would appear that some of these windows were added after Acme left. See the Berlin store for a comparison. 

Scars left from Acme's cart corral gates. You can see what they looked like at the old Clementon store. Standard issue for many Acmes in the 70's.

The Acme ended right along with the awning. The addition clearly visible with it's lighter color...

Good thing they don't seal over the windows of abandoned Acmes! I was able to get a peak inside. All I could see was the A&P back and white tiled floor. No chance of getting any interior shots here. The windows are sealed tight!

The old Acme parking lot sign still standing switched out with the A&P sign...

Around to the back. The newer section seen here. 

The unloading bays remain from the Acme days...

This section received an addition to the rear along with the expansion of the store. 

The Kmart with it's updated signage. The interior remains mostly unchanged from it's Big Kmart days. 

Surprisingly closed for the Easter holiday. Isn't Kmart open on Thanksgiving and Christmas?

A few pictures of the A&P when it was still in business...

Peeps o' plenty! These interior shots were taken just before Easter back in 2010. Ironically, all of the abandoned photos above were taken on Easter Sunday of this year. 

The interior here was A&P's look in the early to mid 90's. Had some similarities to Acme with it's white walls and checkerboard patterns. I've always been a big fan of these service department signs. Well, they were cool looking back in the 90's anyway. The A&P gutted the Acme interior and started from scratch. There were no Acme clues left inside. A&P even built a second floor managers office in the front of the store. Hey, why didn't the Acme add on and remodel? 

The Bakery was located back in the far left corner. Assortment limited at this point as business declined. A portion of the Bakery now displaying bottled water. 

Odd department sign structure. From a graphic design standpoint, it's a font nightmare. Hurts my eyes just looking at that thing. Kinda small too considering the dairy aisle runs the whole side of the store. 

Image courtesy of Mike W

Some employees got a little creative with a Halloween decoration and the empty Deli case. Things winding down here last October. (Getting a lot of holidays covered in this post)

And now for the aerials...

"Big Kmart" signs still up in this image.

Hold on to your P's and Q's... it's coming!

I didn't go in. Might be nice. Who knows. ShopRite is the most uninteresting grocery store chain around. I'll never understand their appeal. I rarely leave one satisfied with my shopping experience. 

I will say this store has a very attractive exterior. Especially along the street...

Too bad the new Bryn Mawr Acme isn't going to look a bit more like this store.

A&P bracing for impact. The new ShopRite still under construction. 

The image above shows the nearby Pathmark and Stop & Shop along Route 17. The two stores back up to each other with the Pathmark facing Route 17 and clearly visible from Route 80. The Stop & Shop is a former Grand Union and has been expanded and significantly renovated over the years. The Pathmark was remodeled a few years ago with the exceptionally nice (for Pathmark standards) "Go Fresh. Go Local." interior. You can have a look here at the Edgewater store. (Scroll down below the closed Randolph Pathmark)

The addition to the left side clearly visible from the air. Still a decent amount of cars in the parking log considering that the ShopRite had opened by this time.


Does anyone know why the Acme's days were numbered at this point? A&P clearly saw the location as a viable opportunity. 

The good ol' days. Lodi was remodeled in the 80's and most likely closed with it's 80's interior. 

Another Acme Coming Soon!

A lot of buildings cleared out of the way to make from new shopping in Lodi.

Jane Parker has left the building. Maybe Acme should move back in! Oh forget it. If there are two chains who can't figure out how to compete with ShopRite... it's Acme and A&P. 


  1. That suggestion of Acme moving back in that building I think is actually a great idea. Today, for a lot of people it seems to be that bigger is better. Well that's not always the case. I'm sure Shop Rite has a good thing going with the low prices and the giant store's. Honestly though, I'm not too fond of these huge 65,000 plus square foot stores. I'm tired by the time I get to the checkout counter, and I'm a young man in my 30's. The massive stores offer more product,s but no convenience. I have a 60,000 plus square foot Shop Rite about a mile from me. Last time I went there I bought $20 worth of stuff. The whole trip took me an HOUR !!!! and the place is a mile from me. That's not convenient. I think Acme would do well in that building again. One thing Acme has always been better than the competition at is the convenience factor. They should work with that.

  2. Hi, The world sure has changed,. Back when this store was opened A&P had a store on route17 and Essex Street next to Models and was high volume.
    The PathMark was just opened and my Uncle Joe was its first Manager. It replaced and original Shop Rite located on Essex Street. Finast Had a store also on Essex Street. When the Acme opened
    it created much excitement and for a few years was a major player. When you consider at the time the only other stores that Acme still ran in Bergen county were relecs Teaneck on Cedar Lane and Lodi both had tin celings. I believe that Secacus is in Hudson County and Habrouk Heigths was already closed. Amazingly Lodiy and Teaneck out lived this store.

  3. I had photographed the exterior of this store in 1998, probably not long before it closed. It was on a roll of film that also included Succasunna, Teaneck and Leonia, and was probably destined to have shore stores such as Fair Haven, Belmar, Manasquan, Oakhurst and Point Pleasant as well (never got around to them, though.) I'm pretty sure I threw that undeveloped roll out a few years back, figuring I was the only weirdo that would want to see photos of old Acme locations. Go figure.

    While it was built around the same time as Rockaway, I'm pretty certain this was more or less a twin to Morris Plains, as Rockaway was a bit larger. At least it was in the beginning- while Morris Plains got the checkerboard arch decor in the early 90's, I want to say Lodi was stuck with the 80's remodel right on through to the end.

    Acme and A&P seemed to swap locations a lot, didn't they? Wasn't there a store in Washington Township that became an A&P around 1995? Likewise, the former Absecon Acme was a Super Fresh (A&P), and I think either Marlboro or one of the Freehold stores started as an unopened A&P or Super Fresh? I wonder if there are remnants of the Super Saver awning behind the A&P facade- take a close look at aerial photos and it appears the facade is in exactly the same spot, not re-centered on the expanded building. I had no idea the building still had some leftover Acme remnants, I should probably check it out next time I'm in the area.

  4. This facade looks very similar to Marlboro.

    As far as Freehold being a former A&P, The south Freehold store was built on a location that was originally a centennial A&P, but the A&P was demolished before the Acme was built.

  5. The Washington Acme is still vacant, it's on 57 North after you pass the Washington Theatre. The A&P Food Market is now an A&P Fresh, it has a pharmacy dept., and it has this really cool glass front. It lets a LOT of light into the store, so outside of that, it's pretty dark. The store is pretty isolated (it's down on R.31 after you pass the new ShopRite, and the A&P has a McDonald's in the parking lot). Oddly, when I went there once, I sighted a green basket with the first, oval-shaped SuperFresh logo. I don't know if this was sent from another store or if this was a SuperFresh originally. There's also an A&P Fresh in Belvidere, a former Super A&P in Mansfield (it's currently a Kohl's, it may have closed from both a ShopRite and a Weis down the road)and a Super A&P in Mount Olive (possibly the only location to have an "Eight O'Clock Coffee Cafe, some SuperFreshs did have them).

  6. The Lodi Acme is almost a twin to the Mantua, NJ Acme shopping center with their K-Mart to the right side of the shopping center.
    The only real difference is the receiving docks in the Lodi Acme were enclosed and the Mantua receiving area is open.

  7. FTR, AcmeStyle...the Kmart wouldn't be open on any Sunday holiday or on any Sunday for that matter. Blue laws.

  8. "The windows here were most likely added by A&P. Acmes generally didn't have windows in this section. Floral would have been behind the wall with Produce lining the right wall. "

    Right inside the doors was a small lobby area that held a few rows of carts and vending machines/coinstar. Beyond that (and a second set of doors) your description is exactly how it was. Floral and produce.

    I worked at this store while I was in HS from 2001-ish to early 05.

    Shoprite was a major factor in the stores decline. I recall being set to close one other time while I was working there. Every item in the store was pretty much gone,shelving semi taken down, most employees transferred to other stores and we just kind of hung around and waited for the last day to come. The store was slated to become a food basics (which probably would of done great in the lodi area)and at the last minute something changed and we got a call from the district manager saying that we were staying open. I dont remember if after bringing all the merchandise back in we updated the store at that time, but we did have a grand re-opening etc.

    It was a fun time in HS, went through all the wacky promos and uniforms. The "Beef beyond belief" promo was the funniest since we all had to wear cowboy hats that promoted the new black angus beef line. Sometime after that is when we got the new shirts, the cheesy plaid button up shirts in either red or green to finish off our "fresh cowboy" look. I was definitely a bigger fan of the older black/white shirts.

    As for kmart it was closed that sunday as it is every sunday. Bergen county still has blue laws so most of the items in the store cant be sold. If it was open, like some similar stores are most of it would be roped off and could not be purchased. That store has been in a state of decline for some time now as well. TWO walmarts flanked on either side, one a super walmart do not help its odds.

  9. I was by this location on Sunday and it looks like Aldi has taken over the space

  10. The ShopRite isn't anything spectacular. The decor feels like a cheap knockoff of the 2nd Industrial Circus package, but with an uglier font for the signs. It's definitely one of the uglier ShopRites, especially when compared to Bayonne or Wallington.

  11. Just to update:
    - The Pathmark on Route 17 closed in November and didn't find a bidder, and I believe it still has not
    - Although not listed in the January 2016 press releases nor reported by the local media, the Lodi K Mart is closing by April 2016. Very sad to me personally as it was one of three or so stores I recall my parents bringing me to buy toys. I shopped there weekly before and during the holidays but I guess my meager spending wasn't enough to keep it afloat.

  12. To reiterate another commenter, there was actually a different A&P in Lodi on Essex Street at the end of Maywood Avenue. I knew it better as a 24-hour CVS Pharmacy until it closed around 2002. Interestingly, there was still an A&P Liquors next door. I would love it if someone has photos of that one.

    That was a great CVS, as it was located five minutes from our house. I don't think it had much business, though (Essex Street was quite derelict at the time), but I definitely remember the interior being huge. What was more interesting was that a Duane Reade opened across the street. That place recently closed as well.

    You're not going to find the old A&P structure, though. They demolished the building in 2007 and completely rezoned the surrounding area as a new exit pattern for the adjacent Route 17, whose former interchange at Essex was highly accident-prone at the time. (I say it's for the better. A strip mall stands there now.)

    Just giving a tip. A coworker told me about working in the old Lodi location. Thanks!