Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene...

The Jersey Shore has been evacuated. Acmes are shutting down for the storm. The anticipation of Irene's arrival is unnerving. My area along the Hudson River is expected to be hit hard but I'm fortunately on high ground so flooding is not a concern. Hoping the shore, and our favorite grocery store chain, is spared of any sever damage. Wishing you all a safe weekend!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jersey Shore Acme, Mays Landing NJ

Location: 4454 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing NJ

Right off the bat we see something interesting here at the Mays Landing store. The red-oval logo sign outline still makes it's presence known just above the the block letter signage. The store started out with a unique treatment when it first opened. The oval shape was built into the facade with letters mounted on to it. In the 90's the oval was painted white with the current logo's red letters mounted to it. You can see an image of that era here. That signage was eventually removed with the whole front section being painted white. A larger version of the block letter logo along with the Sav-on sign was mounted to the facade . That treatment can be seen below. Recently, the store front was given the Premium Fresh and Healthy exterior upgrade. The white section having been recovered, further disguising the oval shape. You can see that the oval now bulges through the surface rather than being an outline on the facade. This area was painted beige with the red letters switched out for white. The Sav-on sign was surprisingly downsized and bumped over to the right awning area. The red delicious apple window covers were also added making for the store's best look yet!

Pigeons on top of the letters of the Acme sign 1
The above photo is from iirraa's Photostream on flickr 

Mays Landing is very similar to the Cape May North location. Both stores were probably built around the same time. The format here was new to Acme. The late 80's/early 90's stores saw a huge increase in square footage from it's early 80's models and saw the debut of a new layout as well. Acme would go on to build larger stores in the 90's but maintained this new layout throughout the decade. (Graphics of the layouts throughout the decades are coming soon to Acme Style.) Mays Landing undoubtedly started with the 80's decor. That decor may have remained in place until it was swapped out for the "Industrial Circus" decor package....

First shot's a blurry one but the rest are all good. 

Can you spot the mistake here? Someone wasn't reading the directions when they installed the department signage here. The panel with the fruit graphics was tilted too far! It's should only have a slight tilt. Check out this photo for the proper, more commonly seen angle. Now you might say "who cares?" Well the other departments around the store care cause that bottom orange square wound up taking a beating from passing hand trucks. 

The older version of he "Wild Harvest" signage still hanging. Funny too see a huge Tastykake display right under a "Natural Foods" sign. The first aisle looks to have been removed at some point to open up this area of the store. Shelving may have been removed during the "Industrial Circus" remodel to help create this "grand aisle" which gives shoppers entering the store a better look at the fresh offerings and service departments to the rear of the store. The last aisle also appears to have been removed creating a very wide Dairy department which allows for ample displays to be set up. 

The Alberstons quality logo hanging from the awnings. I know this is not a favorite decor package among Acme fans. Often hear it being described as just plain "ugly". I still love it. The more Acmes I get to, the more I realize that Albertsons kicked off a huge remodeling program when they purchased the company. American Stores had debuted the "Chalkboard Market" remodel a few years before the company was sold. That package didn't spread very far throughout the chain. This remodel certainly did. Guess Albertsons did invest quite a bit in improving the stores. 

Square panels installed correctly in the service departments. 

The Meat and Seafood sign could use a little light. The cases are set up beautifully here.  

Orange square hacked off. Probably damaged at some point. The one in Dairy is still intact but is damaged.  The ceiling here is slightly lower here than in other 90's era Acmes. 

Premium Fresh and Health aisle markers in place. 

And now for a quick look at the debut of the "Essential Everyday" brand which is replacing Acme branded products. Cereal and pasta products are the first categories to be changed out. 

The new packaging is quite nice but, in my opinion, it's a little too inspired by Publix's store branded products. You can see a little more discussion on that by clicking here.

Could have sworn I took a picture of the side with the damaged square... but I apparently didn't. 

Pharmacy is in it's usual spot here with greeting cards just behind me in the front corner. Floral is an odd location at this store. It's a free standing department over at the Produce side entrance. First thing you see when you walk into the store. 

Up to the aerials...

Mays Landing looks to be doing well these days despite the competition in the area. Walmart is located very close by as is a Target. Both stores are sized in the smaller range compared to other stores in their respective chains. And guess what? There's a ShopRite less than 2 1/2 miles east on Black Horse Pike! Although that too looks to be smaller than most other stores in the chain. Acme's proximity to the mall must certainly be a help. Navigating through this area on a summer Saturday is not the easiest of tasks. Black Horse Pike was bumper to bumper leading to the Atlantic City Expressway and the Garden State Parkway. Some serious shore traffic coming through these parts. 

Only a few historical aerial views...  





Mays Landing is not quite a shore town but the Acme most certainly picks up some serious business from shore goers passing by. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Former Acmes of Atlantic City NJ

Location: 330 N. Albany Ave, Atlantic City NJ

Since we visited the Acme of Brigatine this past Friday, I figured we could take a quick look at the former Acmes of Atlantic City which is just south of Brigatine. Literally a stone's throw away. In fact, I was beginning to doubt my GPS when it looked like I was headed straight into the heart of Atlantic City. (It gets me lost more often the gets me where I am trying to go!) Turns out you get off on the very last exit before entering the downtown area and head North to Brigatine. I didn't stop by either of the the Atlantic City locations due to the buildings being completely unrecognizable as Acmes so this post will be relying solely on satellite imagery. Our first former store is on Albany Avenue just across the street from the Atlantic City Airport runway. The building is currently the Kerbeck car dealership. The Acme opened here in June 1956. Closing date unknown. 

The historic aerials image appear to show the dealership having taken over the building by 1995 with the Acme still in business in 1970 and, of course, in 1957...




We'll head North (right) to the next location...

Location: 544 Atlantic Ave, Atlantic City NJ

This Acme opened in January 1955, a year and a half earlier than the Albany Ave store. This building is even more unrecognizable as an Acme than the car dealership. These types of locations are not ones that I make a priority to show on the blog. There just isn't much to see. I also prefer to stick to the stores that fall into the true "supermarket" format which emerged in the 50's which you can see if you dial back all the way to the very first post on Acme Style. 

Now let's head back through time for a very interesting look at this area. As we've come to see in most of our historic aerial adventures, the areas surrounding an Acme location become more populated and built up over time which is to be expected. For this area, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I was reviewing this location over the years... the exact opposite happens here... 

I'm using the fish-eye logo to point out the locations of these stores but have no idea if either one sported this signage or not. There's a good chance the Albany Ave location did get the fish-eye in the 70's; lesser of a chance that this location did. Regardless, the fish-eye logo just looks really good on these aerial images and just so happens to be the greatest grocery store logo of all time. 





Friday, August 19, 2011

Jersey Shore Acme, Brigantine NJ

Location: 4236 Harbor Beach Blvd, Brigantine NJ

Brigatine, New Jersey. For years that meant one thing to me... Brigantine Castle... "In the darkest reaches of the mind... there has never been anything like Brigntine!" As a kid I was obsessed with haunted houses and would go crazy with excitement when those commercials would play on TV back in the late 70's. I begged my parents to take me to it but they never did. Our shore destinations were always on LBI with one or two visits to Wildwood. My dad did take me to a bunch of cool haunted houses along the Jersey Shore. I still remember one of the quite vividly. One of the best I've ever been too. Can't remember if it was in Seaside Heights or down in Wildwood. Sadly, the tragic fire at Great Adventure's haunted house back in 1984 pretty much put an end to the haunted house industry at the time. For those who remember Brigantine Castle, whether you actually got to go to it or just remember the awesome commercials on TV, you'll want to go back in time and visit Brigatine Castle Online. To view some of the old commercials, click here or see below...

And speaking of Great Adventure, if you'd like to tour that amusement park's history, click here. I've spent way too much time on that site!

Back to the Acme! Kinda looks like a castle itself, doesn't it? A plain one anyway. We've talked about the 90's Acmes looking a bit castle-like. Thing is... Acme didn't build this store. It started out as something else. May have changed a few times over the years. I can't find any information about it's past other than an old listing for a "Shop and Bag" in Brigatine at this same address. The satellite images of this store continue to show it as something else. The sign is too small to read. 

So my best guess is that Acme took over this location in the mid-2000's. Judging from my visit, it was a very smart move. I was here early on a Saturday morning this summer. Have never seen a busier Acme. The place was packed. It's a relatively small store with no pharmacy. This castle-like facade is not the center of the store as you would undoubtedly assume. The left wall of the interior of the store extends back from the left tower. There is no entrance or exit on that side. You can see "ENTRANCE" spelled out in the top photo, directing customers to that side as it's the only entrance and exit to the store. A Family Dollar occupies the other portion of the building. The building itself looks to have been designed entirely for a supermarket with the Family Dollar space being sub-divided at a later date. Certainly previous to the Acme moving in.  

No entrance on this side. Customer Service is in the corner with the counter facing towards the entrance. Tough getting good pictures that day with the sun glare. My interior shots are among the worst I have ever taken. It was the first stop of the day which usually finds me rushing through the store to get moving onto the next location. The place was full of shoppers and employees which doesn't make for easy picture taking. Especially with a cell phone that has to be held dead still for several seconds to get a clear image. 

I've been seeing Acme employees sporting these new colorful t-shirts for the past few months now. They come in a variety of colors and don't appear to be department specific. The "Your Store..." brings back a lot of memories of Acme's tagline "Your Store for Low Prices" which was used for years. Acme seems to have taken a cue from Apple, as have other retailers, in dressing their sales associates in bold colored t-shirts. Makes for spotting employees much easier and gives a fun, team-like quality to the staff. I think it's a great move on Acme's part. Is this a change made just for the summer or are these permanent new uniforms? 

Scaled down version of the original Premium Fresh and Heathy decor package. Cases around the store may have been left from the former grocery store here. They're not as contemporary as Acme has been using in the 2000's. Produce lines the left wall. 

Bakery is across from the Produce wall. You can see employees here in blue t-shirts. Huge selection of baked goods here.

The Deli is next to the Bakery. There Deli was mobbed with customers.  

Ala Cart is across from the Deli in the back corner of the store. Most extensive selection I've seen of prepared foods to go in an Acme. The higher-end elements of the Premium Fresh and Healthy decor are missing here... most notably the focused lighting over the fresh offerings. The low ceiling over this part of the store may have prevented the track lighting from being installed. 

Back in the Meat Department we see some of the nicer elements of the PF&H decor package... the curved overhangs with the recessed lights and backlit department signs. This store was nicely organized and very well stocked all around.   

An empty aisle was a rare sight on this visit. Notice the the cascading ceiling. 

The ceiling comes back down to a low level in Dairy. This is aisle 11. Frozen Food is in the front corner (just behind where I'm standing). They run parallel to the front of the store. 

A good shot of the interesting ceiling. This wall is the front of the store with the registers to the right of this department. 

Only 5 full-service registers. Enough for the winter season but it's makes for rough summer shopping. By the time I left, all registers where open with long lines. 

On to the aerials...

Family Dollar is there on the left side but who knows what the grocery store was. May have been an entrance and exit at the left tower at this time. 

Perhaps a major supermarket chain built this store but then left. It doesn't look like it was origianlly designed to house separate tenants. 

Historical aerials...


Store was subdivided at this point. You can see the air conditioning units over the left portion which are still there today. 

Next available image is 1970 leaving 25 years of development undocumented for us.

Acme is the only major supermarket on the island. 

Atlantic City, home of some former Acmes, is just due South of Brigantine. Absecon, which is just a few miles inland, is home to a former Acme which you can visit by clicking here. The building has since been subdivided into smaller stores. A current photo of the building can be seen by clicking here