Friday, June 3, 2011

Classic Acme! Philadelphia PA

Location: 8600 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia PA

Fresh exterior but the 50/60's layout is still intact inside. One of the few remaining stores to still have the classic layout. The store opened in February 1962 and is pretty large compared to other stores of that era. 11 aisles here while most stores of those days were setting up shop with 8 to 9. Some pitched-roof stores of the 60's had only 7. The interior here has not been expanded but the rear of the store has seen several back room additions.

The new facade here looks to have been added on back in the early 2000's along with an interior remodel. Pretty sure it's the only yellow Acme in the whole chain. Have to say too... it's one of the best looking exteriors even though it could use a fresh coat of paint. Surprising to see such a small old store get such a deluxe upgrade. 

Classic layout here... turn to the right once through the doors and follow along the back of the registers to the Produce Department in the far right corner...

I'm betting the drop ceiling with its curved corners would have been added during a remodel in 70's. These ceiling areas were common in the 33M stores of the 70's and 80's. Located over the Produce aisle and Bakery. 

You'll see below that the store has the basic "Industrial Circus" decor package. Perimeter tiles were replaced during the remodel but the aisles still have their 80's checkerboard flooring. Looks like a case or shelving left a scar in the lower portion of the picture. Produce appears to have been shifted to the front corner while aisle one is mostly groceries. Too many employees in the aisle to snap a picture. The drop ceiling extends all the way back to the Deli with black track lighting above. The lights were all off. 

Aisle 2 with a look at the 80's flooring. Produce there in the front. This store has the 33M feel but still has the entrance at the opposite corner as Produce. 

Grab your "ACME Coat & Bake" before it's gone! The ACME brand is the latest casualty of SuperValu. (Sure SuperValu is going to save tons of money having one store brand for all it's banners but it will do Acme no favors whatsoever. Just ask the folks over at Genuardi's about that). Produce sign mounted to the drop ceiling section. It was tough getting pictures in this store with the extremely high shelving. 

This store was one of my stops on the day the 120 Years Anniversary was being celebrated. Completely coincidental. This store has a huge spread of free cake and soda at the front of the store. 

Notice in the basic version of the Industrial Circus package, the department signs are not angled off of the wall, the corrugated steel is fake and there are no lights hanging down to light up the sign. Click here for an example of the deluxe version.

This decor package gets a lot of grief. I think it's cool despite looking a little dated.  

A look at the curved drop ceiling over the Bakery Department. Nice Bakery here for being a smaller store. Customer Service bumped to the left to make room for this department during a remodel. Most likely the 80's remodel.

Gotta say... this was one impressively clean and well stocked store. Shows little sign of aging since it's last remodel. Despite it's small size, the store was surprisingly clear of usual Acme clutter. The 80's floor still looking great in the aisles. 

The Andorra Shopping Center. You'll see the evolution of this complex in the historical images down below. Interesting to see an Acme right in the middle of things.

Only option for expansion was out the back...

Looks like 2 separate additions were done over the years. 

And now through the years...


Tough to see things in the 1971 shot. Gets better for '67...


Same shot as the previous image with a closer look at the Acme.

Odd start to the shopping center. Perhaps it started out as an office complex. 


Always great to see a classic Acme still going strong. The closest competitor is a Superfresh about a mile south in the Ivyridge Shopping Center. Hopefully this immaculate little Acme will be around for years to come!


  1. Have you ever seen an Acme of this shape from the same era that was later given the 70's so-called "Super Saver" facade? I think the Media PA (Delaware County) store was one of these. But not long after I first briefly saw it, the store was torn down and rebuilt. Several other Acmes built before the Super Saver era had a similar building shape as those of that era. For example:

    1. Clifton, NJ (built 1959, replaced, now Big Lots, featured on this blog earlier)

    2. Milford, DE (built 1964, Save-A-Lot now)

    3. Berwyn, PA (built 1966, now CVS, not really the same as the other ones, but it was an oddity for the A Frame era. Perhaps the "Main Line" zoning codes were unfriendly to the A Frames? They did allow Centennial A&Ps however.)

    4. Hazleton, PA (This one is a true oddball. The store seemed HUGE for an Acme of its time. I figure it just had to have started as another grocery chain when the center opened in 1967. Now the place is a Foodtown independent.)

    And I also wonder if the Acme in Pike Creek, Wilmington, Delaware could have started just like the Andorra one. The store now has a repainted 70's front with the current logo, and oddly enough a 90's style ceiling, but no pharmacy. I think they have room for a pharmacy but Rite Aid (was Eckerd) must have a non-compete clause. This center is probably owned by the same developer as Andorra. Both have a row of shops in the front of their lot, with the back to the road. The freestanding 70's-looking Acme (with a pharmacy) in Northwest Philly further down Ridge Avenue also may have been one of these models.

    Notice the large store to the right in the 2002 photo. That was a Clover (owned by Strawbridge & Clothier) big-box department store, added at some point between 1971 and 1974. The very first Clover was in Cherry Hill/Camden County, NJ but was on the border with Marlton/Burlington County. This store had a grocery section called "Clovermarket" which was later Acme, then Sears Hardware. Acme moved here closing the A Frame in Marlton which became a "Mr. Living Room" furniture store. The owner of that store committed arson of it in 1977. Just like the Pompton Lakes Acme fire 20 years later, it destroyed the whole center. Ironically this Clover never became Kohl's but the other one in Cherry Hill (across from Cherry Hill Mall) did. Kohl's instead bought the ex-Two Guys/Jefferson Ward/Bradlees in Marlton which was one of the last Two Guys to open, and first Bradlees to close. This Two Guys had a grocery section which is a ShopRite now.

  2. And I have noticed the A&P Centennial/early Super Fresh in New Castle, DE seemed to have also been given a new front and minor remodel in its later A&P days, probably less than 10 years before it closed and the Super Fresh deal. The Genuardi's in Glen Mills, PA opened in the year 1990 and I think got freshened up only on the outside (but with copper stables!) around 2000. I guess the remodel didn't help business much, since the store closed less than a year ago. But the only ever updates inside were late 90's Safeway decor and a pharmacy added by Safeway. Maybe even the original newer Acme nearby (rare!) built in 2006 did it in.

  3. Hi, It looks identical to the former Acme in Woodlyn PA, Check Amelia!s grocery outlets web and there is a phot of the store.

  4. But that was an A Frame. I am looking for stores built in the late 50's/early 60's that were neither A Frames nor the Sharon Hill type. The footprint of the Andorra store seems just like Pike Creek but just a little smaller. Funny, the two were built 18 years apart...

  5. And by the way, the Woodlyn store was last remodeled when Amelia's moved in four years ago. The peaked roof was already disguised by Save-A-Lot and Dollarland (they split the space in half!) But Amelia's does have a lot of similarity to the Acme shown here.

  6. A previous poster mentioned Hazleton's Acme. Actually, there were two. Churchill Mall, north of town on PA 309, and the one in the Broad Street Center, on PA 93. Both functioned as Super Savers until the Penn Traffic massacre. Churchikk is now Thomas' Family Market, and Broad St. is a Sav-A-Lot.

  7. Thanks for the info! I meant the one in Church Hill Mall but I know the other one. But Church Hill Mall was built in 1967 and Super Saver never started until 1969. However, it was connected to the mall. Expansion?

    And did the other Acme in town have a State Store/Wine & Spirits next to it WHEN IT WAS Acme? Because this is it today:

    One more thing, would this one have had the old Save-A-Lot logo for a while? Or was it something else in between? I heard the Super Fresh (a Centennial A&P with the roof expanded) in Willingboro, NJ also closed in 1995. The Family Dollar there now looks new, but I hear the building is in bad shape.

  8. The reason why Acme was never able to expand to the left side was becaue it was next to the William Goldman's/Budco/AMC Andorra 8 Theatre, which closed in 2002, and was demolished and replaced by LA Fitness

    1. There is a Kohl's department store at the south end of the shopping center that was a Clover that opened in early 70's and closed in the mid 90's when their parent company, Strawbridge & Clothier was taken over by May Department Stores. When Clover closed, Acme attempted to get into that space, which is much larger than the existing Acme store, but Kohl's outbid Acme for the store.

  9. Hi, I believe the Acme in Pike Creek stated out just like the Acme in Elkton, or Stephensville, Harve De-grace, North East, Cambridge or Easton Md. The store has been added on expanded renovated, touched up and tweaked so many times , that the original features have long ago disappeared. Having worked at this location, knowing older people who were there when this marvelous store opened. I can tell you tha the above is true

  10. As a side to the above perhaps Andorra store has the high overheads perhaps it was the same model as the stores mentioned above. Milford was much certainly one of them. Fairfax was not nor was the original acme on Elkton Road in Newark now a Right Aide or the other former Acme on main Street in the Newark Shopping Center now and Unfinished Furniture Store, nor was the current Ogletown Store

  11. Perhaps the Pike Creek store was remodeled in the early 90's due to the potential threat of Genuardi's creeping into Delaware? (Acme and Genuardi's used the same light fixtures at the time I might add, along with Pathmark, and Giant PA, and Aston Shop 'n Bag, and Wal-Mart, and Rite Aid...)

  12. this is not the only yellow Acme....the one in Lawrenceville, NJ has the same yellow vinyl-siding look as this one.

  13. You're right! Forgot about that one. The yellow here seems so intense that it feels like it's an official Acme color but no other stores are painted with it. I think the facade here, including the columns, is one of Acme's best. Too bad they didn't carry this look to other stores.

  14. I've passed by this store a couple of times but never had time to stop and take a look. Thanks to the Acme Style Blog for showing me what I've been missing.

    Nice to see an older store in such nice shape. The Industrial Circus decor certainly seems to had gone through many iterations. I've never seen the cheaper one on display at this store- I always thought the Morris Plains store where I worked had the cheapest version! Seems a lot of busy south Jersey stores got much more deluxe versions, and then you have the Bryn Mawr store with its modified version. I wonder what the criteria was when determining which version a location received?

    I'm going to guess the exterior treatment was not paid for by Acme. I think that sort of thing is usually paid for by the landlord when a store is part of a strip mall? When the Rockaway Acme got remodeled around 1999 or 2000, the landlord caved and made very minor modifications to the exterior of the building, then a few years later (once the Wharton Shoprite had opened and started killing the Acme), the whole strip mall got a new look and the exterior of the Acme finally got its much-needed upgrade. Does anyone know if this store got an exterior upgrade when the store got remodeled, or if it was just one of those things that happened along the way, as seems to be the case with Sharon Hill (new exterior, old interior)?

  15. I would sometimes go into this acme when I would visit my uncle and aunt, I do believe it did indeed get its current facade when the shopping center's facade got renovated.

  16. The first portion of Andorra shopping center to be built in the mid 1950's was the building with the curved end where Salad Works and PFCU are now located along with the old movie theater building which has since been torn down to make way for LA Fitness. The curved building was originally built as the Acme. The current Acme was built later, sometime in the late 1960's or early 1970's.

  17. Love all this history , thanks!

    This Acme is up the street from me and inside, the Andorra Acme is a time machine. It's like the 80's in there. We call it the musume Acme...with affection! Remarkable

    Now that the chain has been sold, your noting of its history gains even more import. Thank you again

  18. I use to go to this acme when I was at school. We use to go to the Andorra shopping center every week.