Friday, February 21, 2014

Acme — Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

Location: 101 Byers Drive, Glen Mills, PA

Now that we've made the rounds to the two stores that closed this week, let's switch gears and move onto a successful, stunningly beautiful Acme. The Glen Mills store is one of the newest stores in the whole chain, opening on April 25, 2008. At the time, Acme touted it as the Philadelphia area's most environmentally friendly store. Former President Judy Spires will tell you all about it in an article over at While several new stores of the 2000's failed to catch on, Glen Mills appears to be doing pretty good business... for now. Wegmans is nearing final approval to build a store close by.

This location was among four new "Premium Fresh and Healthy" stores opened during the SuperValu years. They include Avondale (if you jump over, scroll down below the Kennet Square pictures), Bordentown (the new store coming to the blog soon) and the doomed Limerick store (long closed and abandoned). All four locations received the original Premium Fresh and Healthy decor package, with Glen Mills getting a much needed injection of color. This decor package was rolled out to existing stores as well. Locations like Feasterville, Burlington and Wilmington/Naamans Rd received the original floor to ceiling package, which was relatively short lived, I'm guessing due to the cost. A simplified version, using colors similar to what is seen in Glen Mills, wound up being rolled out for most of the remodels. This newer package ditched the gigantic Albertsons leaves in favor of much smaller ones and took the elegant backlit department letters and stuck them to the walls. We'll take a closer look at one of these remodels in a future post.

The only other store to open since the four mentioned above is the one in Bryn Mawr. That store was destined for success as it replaced a well established older model. Acme refers to Bryn Mawr as their "flagship"store. I think their flagship store is right here.

Even the exterior here is among Acme's best! As I mentioned in the Westtown post, I was pretty shocked to see how busy this store was. Ceratinly one of the busiest Acmes I've been to.

Let's head inside…

This Acme goes by 2 names, which is not uncommon. While the address here is officially Glen Mills, the shopping center is called Concordville Town Centre.

Absolutely beautiful inside! Nice attention given to the lighting in this area of the store. While it does have the same exposed ceilings as the the Albertsons Marketplace model, it doesn't have that awful, cavernous warehouse feel to it.

Turning around here and looking back towards the entrance… we have an a la carte case with a "cafe" in the front corner… which is nothing more than a seating area with some self-service coffee urns.

A closer look at the cafe. As I've mentioned in other posts, I'm a huge fan of the drum pendant lights seen often in Premium Fresh and Healthy stores. Only problem is… they're difficult to keep clean. This store is doing an impressive job maintaining them.

Cheese shop is in the front corner to the right of the entrance.

Deli comes next followed by the Bakery...

If you follow this blog regularly you know I do my best to keep interior shots as people-free as possible. These two shoppers were winding up in every shot I was taking around the Bakery. Finally gave up trying to lose them.

Cool curved ceiling over the produce cases. Limerick had an identical setup which you can see a better view by clicking here. This drop ceiling extends over to the Wild Harvest Department.

We're in for a surprise on the other side of the "fruits & vegetables" wall. (Did you notice that Limerick didn't have the f&v sign on their back wall?)

Looking towards to front. Notice the gold and brown color scheme. A nice change from the cream color of the original PF&H decor package. You can take a look at some examples by clicking here and here. The wall colors here give this store very nice ambiance.

Bright lighting here throughout which is can't be said for either Avondale and Bordentown. I found both of those stores to be quite dark and gloomy.

Meat Department located in the back corner.

Love the backlit letters which are no longer being used in remodels.

So here we are on the other side of the produce wall. Not a great shot of the area but what you see just ahead there is a full-service pizza station! That area is normally used for the "Shop the World" shelving. I was stunned to see pizza here. Do any other Acmes have a pizza station? I haven't seen any. As cool as this is, I did find it odd that it's located all the way at the back of the store. Wouldn't it make more sense for pizza to be right out front? Catch those customers when they first walk in? Closer to the "cafe"?? Oh well. Still a nice feature. Whole Foods often has their pizza stations in the back too.

One short coming of this store are all the random displays. You can see plenty here along the back of the store. The last aisle is jam packed with them too. I was here SuperBowl weekend which might be the reason for all the soda and chip displays.

Quick jump to the front-end. Serivce is located just past the seating area. More displays.

Look across the front-end. Every register was open.

First aisle with Wild Harvest in the front and Shop the World in the back. The frozen food cases on the right back up to the produce cases. Nice lighting in this area as well, although no drum pendant lights which are often found in this area of the PF&H stores.

Polished concrete floors throughout. A neutral floor like this makes for easy remodels in the future.

The aisles are quite long here. No center aisle except for a few around the Wild Harvest area.

Refrigerated cream located IN the coffee aisle!

Frozen Food makes it return to the center of the store! Avondale, Bordentown and Limerick all have their Frozen Food Department in the back corner running behind the Health and Beauty Aid Department.

This store is 54,540 square feet and tops out at 16 aisles. Bordentown has 18 and Limeriick, at 58,800, had 20.

Another look across the front-end. Aisle directories are located at the front and back of the store.

Random stacks of soda to navigate your cart around.

Limited Aerial Views...

3D views are not yet available for this location so we'll just have to settle for looking at the roof.

Carrying over the map from the Westtown post which showa all the competitors in the area. I've since added The Fresh Market and Costco which are both across the street from the Acme. Costco is so new it's not showing up in any satellite views. Wegmans has yet to be built but approval is expected any day now.

A view of the packed parking lot as we head out of the Concordville Town Centre. We'll be back in Jersey for the next big store post which will go up on Friday, March 7.


  1. Hi , Claymont hasn!t had and Acme since the laste 90!s. The 1930!s store is a Fish Store, The 70!s A Frame is a Sweeneys Seed Store and the one on Namans Roar is a Liqour Store. The one closest buy is on Namans Road across from the Safeway and is in North Wilmington . If you really want to see busy and nice go to Pike Creek or Hockessin Acmes. Or take a ride to the old A Frame in Chestertown that is doing twice the business that it was built for , since the Super Fresh? Greens store closed in 20,000 Square feet and is abou to expand to ov er 40,0000. This with the original front end in tact and no loading dock the loads are broken down behind the store ,placed on U boats are run in the grocery room doors to small for pallets. Gerry

    1. Sorry, force of habit started long ago. The Claymont store that I was referring to is actually Wilmington. There's a ton of debate over in that post about what to call that store.

      I'm completely lost by everything you said after "since the Super Fresh? Greens…" What's expanding to 40,000 square feet?

  2. This store is one of my favorite stores, both the decor package and the exterior is very nice looking. I remember when they first opened, they were not exactly setting the world on fire, business must have picked up since. Every time I drive past, the parking lot is full. As far as I know, this store is the only one with the pizza shop. Very interesting concept. As for Limerick (7738) they tried something completely off the wall and different. They had an in house chef (Chef Jonathan I believe his name was) who would cook and do demonstrations and hand out recipes. Even a year after opening, they were still doing this. When they began to scale back displays in the store, that idea got scrapped. At the top of produce by the entrance, Limerick also had an ala carte cafe with the coffee and seating. That also was taken out. They also had a part of the deli/ cheese shop where you could have fresh hoagies made. I am not a huge fan of the concrete floors. I know it was not well received at Limerick, and the company even looked into adding tile to the store. The price tag was too great for the business they did. To tile all 60k of sales floor space was around 500k if i remember correctly for floor prep, labor and tile. Their first week they did over 600k and a month later was under 200k. Six months in, there were weeks where they only did 120k. The highest it ever got back to was 250k, then got crushed by several factors, including construction closing one of the roads. Sorry to make most of my post about Limerick.

  3. A chain called Fresh and Green's operated out of some of the shuttered Super Fresh locations in Maryland (including Chestertown). Unsurprisingly, they closed them all. They were terrible locations to try and run a natural/organic store in, and I also read they were dogs for SF as well.

    Haven't been to Chestertown in a long time... Surprised the old Acme is still chugging along. But the closest chain stores are the Food Lions in Millington and Centreville, and the Acme in Centreville. The Acme is about 9-10 years old now, and if I remember correctly, it has a gas station out front.

    There are a few smaller grocers in those communities as well. A google search revealed a groceteria thread that Gerry posted on about the stores.

  4. Hi The Acme in Chestertown is doing as much as Glen Mills, due to the closing of the Fresh & Greens location. It is being expanded to 40,000 square feet. It has always made a profit, due to cheap rent. Now its the only show around. It will have all new departments shelving etc. Pike creek an d Hockessin are in the top three stores in the company for volume Gerry

    1. Curious as to why they wouldn't just go with an entirely new build, but maybe the rent they have locked in is just too good to give up. It will be interesting to see how the store turns out and what kind of decor package it gets.

      Looks like this expansion/remodel has been very slow to get off the ground, no doubt due to the changes in ownership. Here is a 2012 article mentioning it.

    2. I, The town council will not approve a new bu9ilding D ue to their long legal battle to keep Walmart out of Chestertown. Acme was told no ten years ago , prior to the last renovation. That is why they are doing the expansion in existing stores by taking down the walls of most of the stores in the strip mall.. It should look a lot like Pike Creek, where Acme did the same thing 15 yearsw ago. Gerry

  5. Glen Mills and Concordville are both unincorporated parts of Pennsylvania. Glen Mills is the larger of the two, having land in both Middletown Township and Concord Township. That area has a common zip code.

    Concordville is mainly derived from the area at the 1/322 intersection (which is where the Concordville Inn is located). So there is obviously some overlapping - or perhaps Concordville exists entirely inside of Glen Mills, or partly in Glen Mills and partly in Concord Township.

    That's about all I can find from Googling around. I don't know the area well enough to specifically state what is where.

    The layout of Concord Township actually includes the Whole Foods. I had always assumed that area was considered Chadds Ford, but Chadds Ford is just to the north - there is an east-west road (Ridge Road/Spring Hill Road) that intersects with 202 and is the dividing line between the two. So the Whole Foods is in Concord, the Outback just north is in Chadds Ford. Then again, Chadds Ford is known a lot better for Painter's Crossing (1 & 202, insanely busy intersection) and the Brandywine battlefield.

    Depending on where they build the Wegmans on the Applied Card property, it could possibly fall into either Concord Township, or Chadds Ford Township, or even on parts of each one.

    Pennsylvania land naming conventions are odd (same with New Jersey). Thankfully things here in Delaware are a lot simpler, though we do have some large communities in New Castle County that are not incorporated (Hockessin, Pike Creek, Bear, Glasgow) that end up getting lumped under Newark or Wilmington. So some people who don't even live in the city proper of Wilmington get socked with the city wage tax (had it happen to a coworker) by employers who don't know the difference. New Castle County police patrol these areas, with state assistance on the major roads (and probably as backup when things get bad). Sheriffs in Delaware have no police authority (they just do tax auctions) and only have a few deputies that serve summonses.

    Sorry for derailing the conversation.

  6. They're currently building something inside the store, can't see what it is because tarps hang from ceiling to floor. It's at the front of the store, near the south entrance, where the self-checkouts were. It might even take space away from the cafe. Wish I knew what was going in, but I hope they find a place for self check-outs.