Friday, December 16, 2011

Classic Acme! Dresher, PA

Location: 524 Twining Road, Dresher PA

Time now for yet another of Acme's oldest stores still in operation. In fact, nearly all of the oldest (pre-1960) remaining stores stores now appear on the blog. Two exceptions that I am aware of are the Westmont and West Chester stores. Those two store, however, look nothing like they did originally due to expansions and renovations. There may also be a store or two in Philly which date back to the 50's but they too no longer resemble their original form. 

The Dresher Acme opened in May 1958. At first this location threw a bit of a wrench into the timeline I have come up with for the various models of stores over the decades. The Dresher Acme is clearly the "Colonial Cottage" model which I have pegged at debuting near the end of the pitched-roof era. The Dresher store predates that era by a decade. It looks as though this store was remodeled and upgraded to the Colonial Cottage look sometime in the 60's. It's front end switched from the 50's layout to the 33M format.  Customers enter straight into Produce with Customer Service just to the left of the entrance. Changes to the store's original layout and exterior design may have happened around 1966 when a small addition was added to the right side of the store. The expansion, while extending along the whole right side of the store, allowed only for a Produce alcove in the front corner. The rest of the addition is back room space.  

The layout of the doors and window here is very similar to the former Port Reading store. 

I'm not sure what these doors were originally used for. Double doors such as these are most often found on the Produce side of the store. An in-store Bakery is currently in this corner. These could very well have been the original entrance and exit. The former bread room, which was often a companion to the Customer Service office, is also on this side of the store. 

Notice the added detailing on and around the doors, common to the Colonial Cottage model.

Colonial light fixture still above the former bread delivery door. 

Looks to be a sign scar just above the entrance. 

Stepping inside for the interior tour...

Wow, nearly missed this! Had to do a double take. Wasn't sure if I was imagining it or not. We'll se it again upon exiting the building. 

Industrial Circus decor here. This store was probably remodeled a good ten years ago and has aged extraordinarily well. The Dresher Acme has been meticulously maintained since it's last remodel. Floors, walls and most cases all looking virtually brand new. I have to say, I think Albertsons did a pretty good job updating these smaller stores. They're never going to be able to compete with supermarkets of today but Albertsons did make them they best they could be. Too bad they didn't give this sort of treatment to some of our favorite old stores that were allowed to die off. Interesting to compare this store with a similar model in Manasquan NJ, which to this day is still all American Stores inside and out. 

Produce is small but sharply organized and well stocked. This store is surprisingly short on clutter despite it's small size. 

Decent Floral department to the left here. Produce would have run along this wall prior to the added alcove. 

The original Deli recessed spot lights still intact. 

This place is seriously clean and well maintained. 

One of the few signs in the store that hasn't completely survived. It's lost it's meat illustration square which would have been mooted to the left side. (See Deli above.)

The store tops out at 10 aisles. 

Decent Bakery here considering the size of the store. 

Customer Service to the left of the entrance. Shoppers exit on the other side...

With one last look at this classic door panel. 

The loading bay section added on sometime after 1971. 

Looking at this shopping center I can't help but to think an A&P should be here rather than an Acme. Looks more like an A&P set-up. Acmes of this ear so often stood alone. 

The angled wall at the right corner is the addition added in the mid 60's. 

And now to the rather interesting historical aerials... 



Dresher must have done some serious business back in the day. Expansions weren't all that common in the 50's and 60's, especially considering this stores relatively large size to begin with!


Even from the air all the way back in 1958, this store looks more like a Colonial Cottage model than a standard 50's model. 



  1. I didn't know where to post this, so... a couple of weeks ago I found Acme brand rigatoni, spaghetti, and rotini and Shaw's brand ziti at a Memphis Big Lots. I guess this is where the remnants are going...

  2. I found Albertsons brand (with the same look as Acme brand and now Supervalu Richfood) products at an "Amelia's" store (like Save-A-Lot) in Chester PA, which ironically is a former Acme from 1962. The Fresh Grocer, an independent grocer near me supplied by Supervalu, also sells Richfood products with the new look... and this store started life as Acme! Both stores closed as Acme in 1979...

    Anyway is the cleaners part of Acme?

  3. By the way I meant to say the Woodlyn store was also a Save-A-Lot at one time... and the Big Lots in Norristown PA was a 70's Acme that closed in 2002, and was next to a Kmart that closed two years ago.

  4. The Cleaners is next to the Acme, not part of the building. Guess it's tucked so tightly in it's corner there was no room above it for it's sign.

  5. That's a nice-looking store. I don't know of many that were upgraded to the Colonial Cottage look so it must have been pretty successful.

    The Industrial Circus remodels seemed to do the job at the time. It usually consisted of removing an aisle or two to create a grand aisle for produce, bakery, deli and seafood and gave a unique look to stores that were becoming a little worn and dated. The remodel in Morris Plains didn't lead to any additional sales but it probably kept the store competitive as a new Stop & Shop and older but busy Shoprite on the other side of town made things interesting. And while I hated the look at the time, I now see it as upbeat and definitely unlike anything that any other area grocer was doing at the time. When most were moving towards muted, earthy tones with a subdued look, there was Acme with bright colors and vibrant wall graphics and gigantic text! Too bad those wall signs were known for dropping certain elements to the ground before long...

  6. I forgot to mention in my earlier comment that everything was 90 cents each. Pretty good price for food that would expire in 2 years.

  7. the fish-eye doorhandle is backwards! the "eye" is normally on the othe side of the "fish"! the layout of this store reminds me of the Phoenixville location.

  8. P.S. Redners warehouse markets sells supervalu richfood brand.

  9. Hi, Lets not forget the Prices Corner Acme that opened in 1958 and has been renovated and expanded many many times. Including this past year. I also believe Ogletown was also a late 1950!s store opening. Gerry

  10. Hi Again, The Big white door was mand entrance. This style store as in Media old main street store had two entrances. The door would slide back and forth to let customers enter or leave. Gerry

  11. We have the Acme/Shaw's pastas in Big Lots up here in the Albany (NY) area also - not sure which "shapes" were which brand, though.

    Thought that was kind of interesting that it wound up being a mix of the two, given that Albany is "between" the two trade areas (Shaws to the east in MA/VT/ME etc. and Acme to the south in PA/NJ etc.)

  12. Yeah... what I want to know is how it got all the way down to TN!

  13. Hey, I saw Pathmark paper towels at a Big Lots (which was an early Wal-Mart/Walmart by the way) in Texas...

  14. Just a quick update now that this is my new local Acme, and my first time popping in. This store looks amazing, even with the Industrial Circus decor still in place, and I believe the walls may have been painted too (although the aisle markers have been changed to the ones with the 'leaf'). It has such a great selection for a small store, without it being too cluttered. Other things that looked different were the dairy cases seemed to have been replaced with ones with doors on them, and floral is now the first thing when you walk in, in the produce area. Although it was quiet on my visit, I imagine this store isn't going anywhere anytime soon given the massive building spree of housing in the area, as well as office buildings in the vicinity. This store looks so much better than the next nearest (and much newer and larger) store in Horsham, PA.