Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Former Acme – Swarthmore, PA

Location: 725 S. Chester Road, Swarthmore, PA 

I first discovered this former Acme on JoshAustin610's flickr collection five years ago. At the time Josh was wondering if this was, in fact, a former Acme. I chimed in saying "absolutely". The awning confirmed it without a doubt. This particular model has since been referred to as the Colonial Cottage here on the blog. Years ago I thought this style was developed as the pitched-roof model was being phased out. Turns out the Colonial Cottages were built throughout the 60's, although very sparingly compared to the pitched-roof stores. The Swarthmore location opened on December 13, 1961. These stores would grow larger in size as the decade wore on. They would eventually ditch their 50's layout in favor of an early "33M" layout. Illustrations of the various layouts Acme had will be coming to the blog in the near future.

While I was preparing the photos for this post, I realized I didn't have much information on the store. I jumped over to Josh's photo and found updated information that proved very fascinating. Turns out the Acme caught on fire on January 7, 1989. While the building was not completely destroyed, Acme chose not to reopen. The building remained damaged and abandoned for 6 1/2 years according to an article on Thrift Drug opened here in the early 90's, eventually becoming an Eckerd which closed in 2001. The former Acme is now divided between Dollar Magic and Goodwill.

The inside of the stores have no evidence of an Acme ever being here.

Above is a picture of the Port Reading store which gives you an idea of how the Swarthmore Acme looked. Port Reading was larger and had a similar layout to what would be used in the 33M stores.

No former Acme parking lot signage remains at this location.

Around back...

Second floor windows have been bricked over.

Former compressor door and air vent openings have also been covered over as well.


CVS is now located at the right side of the strip. It looks like they tore down what we there and built a new store.


By 2008, the building next to the former Acme had been expanded forward. You can see its original size below...


The building on the left side arrived after the Acme was gone.

About 3 years after Acme left. According to the article on, the former Acme was a "burned out hulk" which were not really seeing from this vantage point. Seems strange that the roof would have survived such a fire.


The Swarthmore Acme stood alone in 1965.


Acme currently operates a very deluxe store nearby in Folsom. That store has been photographed and will be posted on the blog soon.

Thanks to Josh for his help with this post!


  1. Roofs are not often a good indicator, especially since the image is such low res, as on better images you can see burned spots. It was probably completely trashed on the inside.

  2. Bravo!! Great Post!

  3. Really glad to see this store make it to the blog! Until fairly recently (since 2010), Goodwill only was in the right third of this store, with Dollar Magic in the left two thirds. Since then, as you can see, Dollar Magic was reduced to the left third of the store, and Goodwill now has the right two thirds.

    This part of Delaware County has several current and former Acme stores in a small radius. On each side, this former Acme is surrounded by the one in Folsom mentioned above (a very well-maintained 90's Acme), and the eastern Acme in Media, which is very small but larger than the 1965 store it replaced around 2005.

    Former Acme stores very nearby include one in Upland (about three miles southwest of the one in Swarthmore) which later was an ALDI but now is an IGA, one in Woodlyn which now is an Amelia's Grocery Outlet (but once was a Dollarland), the one in Woodlyn which replaced the latter (a former Penn Fruit/Dale's which after Acme was later a Bally Total Fitness, then very briefly an LA Fitness but now is empty), and one in Folsom that now is a CVS. The current Acme in Folsom is halfway between the former Folsom store and the later one in Woodlyn, and replaced both of those. Also, the former store in Folsom was a late 50's Acme that surprisingly stayed open over 30 years after the Acme Super Saver at MacDade Mall in Holmes, only about half a mile away, opened. That store was doubled in size in the early 90's but is still quite small. It really looks good with the early 2000s Albertsons decor it currently has though, and has a low ceiling that marks it as an older store updated in the 90's as opposed to a new-build 90's store.

    One other point I must make about this Swarthmore store: it isn't really in Swarthmore at all, and actually is over a mile outside Swarthmore (a very tiny borough). The store legally is in Springfield Township, but is separated from the rest of Springfield (which never had an Acme) by both Swarthmore and Wallingford. So logically it has a Swarthmore zip code/mailing address.

  4. I wonder when the last of these stores was built.

  5. The reason you see a lot of natural and specialty items in the aisles is they used to be located on wooden shelves over the meat and dairy aisles. An older feature in acmes that are nearly long gone and only reserved for the smallest of stores.