Location: 36 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands NJ
I have been preparing to present this store as a former Acme for a few weeks now. Several emails have come in reminding me to check it out for the Jersey Shore Tour. From the images I had seen I was about 90% certain the store had started out as an Acme. A few weeks ago, I paid the store a visit and came away from it pretty sure it wasn't. To add even more doubt, this address does not appear on any of the lists that I have of old Acme locations. Not a one. Course other stores have been missing from those lists as well. Regardless... this should be an interesting post. There's an extra bonus included down below of another old-school store I found in this town.
Update: Word has just come in... even before this post went up... this store was NOT an Acme! Started out as a Finast. So we are Acme-free this Friday. Too late to get a real Acme up on the blog for today so we'll just have a round of Bonus Shore Stores instead.
Foodtown is a chain that I am not very familiar with. I've only ever been in a handful of locations and they've never proven to be very memorable... with the exception of the Foodtown of Whippany NJ. That was an incredible store. Huge fresh food bars lined the last aisle of the store back when food bars were not commonly found in grocery stores. The Produce department wa very high-end for it's time. I would stop by the store when I was taking management training classes at the Acme offices in Whippany. (For the record: I haven't worked for Acme in over 20 years now). Not sure when the Whippany Foodtown went under. Pathmark took the place over and promptly removed everything that was cool about it. I believe they are outta there now having shut down during the last round of A&P's closures.
This Super Foodtown is paired with "Circus Fresh Foods". Not sure what that means exactly but the logo is absolutely dreadful. Click here for a look. The fresh food services here take up a little more than half of the pitched-roof building. The store has expanded at the opposite end of the store. What struck me about this place was the unbelievable number of employees on the clock on a week day afternoon. There must have been 6 to 8 people behind the deli and fresh food service counters. 3 employees in produce. Another 3 working the meat cases. Nearly every register open with cashiers waiting to lead customers to their lanes. Impressive service all around. The store is very clean and well stocked and appears to do big business.
Some noticeable differences here from an Acme styled pitched-roof store. The pitch is not as high and the roof extends further out the front of the building. While most pitched-roof Acme's follow a pretty specific design, we have seen a couple that do not. Hallstead and Silver Creek are some examples. There are other unique former pitched-roof Acmes on flickr, none of which I have been able to located today. I will add them to the post when I track them down.
There is a second floor above these rear departments exactly like an Acme would have had. Windows up on the second floor looking out onto the sales floor make for an interting feature...
This area here may be been moved back from where the original wall extended across the back of the store. Impossible to know for sure how this store started out but it is clear that many alterations have been done over the years.
Let's take a look at some aerial images...
Expansion to the right of the store into what were probably some smaller stores with additions added to the back as well.
Just a few blocks to the water...
Guess what other store is in town? An old-school A&P! We'll go there now....
Almost gets me as excited as seeing an old Acme!
The Foodtown clearly draws more shoppers than the A&P. It also has a better location in the center of town. Not many shoppers here and a fraction of the employees as the Foodtown. Comparing the two, this place felt completely deserted.
I good ol' A&P sign. Love seeing it in it's former glory and not all junked up with "Super", "Food Market", "Foodmart","Fresh Market", "Fresh" etc etc. A&P hacked off the orange and yellow crescents for an updated look a few years ago. I personally thought it was a bad idea, leaving the logo looking like a mistake after we've been so used to seeing this version for decades. TV and prints ads now show the logo as a circle which is a big improvement. Not sure if that version is going to be the official logo for the chain. It has yet to appear on the website or in the circulars.
Super Fresh decor here. Exactly the same package that we saw in the old Maplewood store last September. This was probably a late 80's remodel which has remained ever since.
Dairy runs along aisle one.
Remember when these frozen food cases were the cool new thing?
Very small Deli and Bakery considering the size of the store.
Through the years...
Built sometime in the 70's...