Location: 323 Old York Road, Jenkintown, PA
Today we will be taking a look at one of the most unique Acmes in existence. It also happens to be the location that kicked off the final, albeit short-lived, era of American Stores. We did take a quick look at the former Acme in Jenkintown back in March 2009. The gloriously preserved pitched-roof building is now home to a Whole Foods. The current location seen here was shown in satellite photos but did not receive full coverage until now.
The interesting exterior here is due to the building's origins as a Lord and Taylor department store. You can see a picture of the building, from the opposite side, circa 1962 by clicking here. I'm a little sketchy on the details here but at some point Lord and Taylor was replaced by Bloomingdales. Once the Willow Grove Mall was built, about 4 miles north of Jenkintown, Bloomingdales left this location to join the mall in 1982. It remains at the mall to this day. Fast forward to 1997, Acme made the move from its pitched-roof location to this building. In the original post, Bill Haines, one of out resident Acme experts, commented that a farmer's market had occupied a portion of the building just prior to the Acme moving in. Bill explained that American Stores developed a brand-new decor package specifically for this store with the goal of acheiving a similar ambiance to the former tenant. That decor package became known on the blog as the "Chalkboard Market Decor". Not the best name, but I couldn't seem to come up with anything else back when I was doing the decor directory. When I read Bill's comment it seemed like no-brainer to call it the "Farmers Market Decor". Oh well. The Chalkboard Market name stuck so I stayed with it. Here's his comment from the original post...
Acme took the concept developed here and quickly swept it to other stores. The 90's Red/White/Blue decor and layout was retired in favor of the Chalkboard Market decor and "grand aisle" layout. Once Albertsons took over, the Chalkboard Market Decor was put to pasture in place of their already established Industrial Circus Decor package.
This looks to have been a main entrance to Lord and Taylor. For the Acme, it is the pharmacy side of the store.
The doors lead right into the store. There isn't any kind of foyer that leads to other retailers in the building.
The second floor is occupied by Burlington Coat Factory.
The less spectacular entrance to the Acme is the main entrance leading into Produce and the fresh service departments.
Looking towards the front corner. The entrance is to the right of this photo. The store has been remodeled with the Premium Fresh and Healthy decor. Some elements of the Chalkboard Market decor remain including the grids hanging from the ceiling in the grand aisle. This store also has several deluxe touches not found in other stores. Clearly a premier location for the chain.
Looking towards the back of the store just inside the entrance. Bakery and Deli lining the left side. As Bill mentioned, this was Acme's first store to have this type of layout. Registers and grocery aisles over to the left. The Bakery here has one of the most extensive selections I've seen in an Acme.
Fully operating salad bar on a Saturday which is unusual.
Floral just beyond the Salad Bar and right before the Butcher Block.
Cool metal swirl holding the track lights.
The Deli directly across from Floral.
Butcher Block in the back corner.
Aisle 1 of grocery. The lattice panels left over rom the Chalkboard Market decor.
"Wild Harvest" natural foods department. Interesting structure suspended from the ceiling. Smaller version seen at the Feasterville store. The Wild Harvest department here appeared bigger than in most other stores.
Looking towards the back of the store.
Along the back looking down towards the Butcher Block. Not sure if the grids seen in the grand aisle here extended around the store like at other Chalkboard Market stores.
Pharmacy in the front corner. This store is quite large despite topping out at only 12 aisles. I believe the Dairy aisle is number 13 but does not have a marker.
Without a doubt, the most deluxe front-end I've seen in an Acme. Very unique lights above the registers.
Self checkouts over by the Produce entrance.
I'm missing shots of the front side and left sides. Have to rely on satellites to fill in the blanks.
There is no access to the Acme from this side of the building.
Not sure what the curved building is. Too busy checking out the Acme to notice.
Now we'll head north on Old York Road and make a right onto The Fairway. Arriving at the former pitched-roof Acme in just minutes.
Location: 1575 The Fairway, Jenkintown, PA
Acme opened here in the early 60's. I don't have an exact date but it was prior to 1965 as we'll see in the satellite images. Also seen in the 1965 image is unusual additions made to the building.
While Whole Foods has made significant upgrades to the building, they have left the original structure intact. One of the best repurposing of a pithed-roof store ever!
Pretty spectacular inside. Not much of a surprise for a Whole Foods. Confused though as to why aisle 1 is labeled aisle 8 as this side has the only entrance to the store.
Acme's produce aisle would have been on this side as well.
Center aisle through the store.
Cut out windows up on the "mezzanine". This photo doesn't quite capture how cool they looked. At first I thought they were light boxes with glowing orange lights. Further inspection revealed they were windows to the second floor offices.
Looks as though Whole Foods added the extension on the left.
Heading back in time...
Expansion out the fight and rear sides happened back in the Acme days. Parking lot looks to have been repaved and reconfigured around this time.
This is odd to me... additions made to the store as of 1965. Not something we've seen often, if at all. The Jenkintown Acme must have been a big hit from day 1!
Both the current Acme and the former pitched-roof location are must see for the serious Acme fan!