Thursday, June 25, 2015

The 300,000th Visitor Surprise Post!

STEP INSIDE
THE POINT PLEASANT ACME...


Photos courtesy of Lew

Location: 1513 Richmond Ave, Point Pleasant, NJ 


You never know what's going to show up in Acme Style's inbox! Up until this point, the only representation we had of the Point Pleasant Acme were some aerial images of the abandoned building. While plenty of details were left in the comments section under the original post, it's just not the same until you see a store with your own eyes. Today, as we welcome our 300,000th visitor to the blog, we get to step inside this classic former Acme for a full tour! Thanks to Lew for tracking down the photos he had taken of this store in its final days.


First up is a quick recap of the store's history. The Point Pleasant Acme was originally located at 500 Richmond Ave. Not sure when that location opened but the building dates back to at least 1933, according to the historic aerials. Acme relocated to this larger site in the early 70's, taking over a building that already existed here. Acme expanded the building and in the process switched the storefront, which originally faced Route 88, over to the left side. This made for a strange layout of the parking lot as another building was located just a short distance from the front of the new Acme. Despite moving to a larger location, the Point Pleasant store was never terribly successful aside from a few months in the Summer.

Check out the unique and rather plain sign on the front of the store. I've never seen anything like it and have no idea why the fish-eye wasn't used in this spot. It was used on the side of the building, as we will see down below.


Lew reports the store had a remodel in the late 70's which brought the Colonial Decor to the store and a reconfiguration of the entrance and exit. Among the added features in the 70's remodel was the exciting Plant Department, just inside the entrance.


Entering through the vestibule. A little blown out with the light streaming in.  Lew took these photos on the evening of September 8, 2003 which was 2 days before it closed for good. And thank goodness he did! Even got yelled at by a manager and was told to leave the store.


Here we go... a lot of interesting things to see in here starting with the Produce floor which reached to the front door. The plant department would have been were the greeting cards are located. The lattice above was standard issue for the department in most stores. No signage was used as far as I know. The wood shingle awning was another standard feature for the 70's Colonial Decor package, most often seen in the Deli and Dairy. It continues to live on in the Dairy Department in the Westmont store. Click here for a look.


The view across the front end. Customer Service is just around the displays on the right. From what I can tell in the pictures, the addition to the original building has the ceiling lights running from front to back. Perhaps they didn't bother reconfiguring the lights in the existing portion, which we see in the foreground.


Lots of classic stuff to be seen here! The Colonial Decor signage remains but all other elements from the walls have been removed or painted over in white. The Produce letters have been painted blue to follow along a red, white and blue theme which was kinda used here. The Deli was updated with the 80's Remodel sign which was probably taken out of a store that was remodeled in the 90's. The aisle markers from the 70's lasted until the end. It's odd that the first aisle wasn't originally made wider which was often the case. In this store, the Dairy aisle is the one wider than the rest. The first aisle was also shortened to open up the Proudce Department. Salad dressing and mayonnaise was moved to the left wall.


Point Pleasant had the cases from the 80's remodel but they're certainly all hand-me-downs from stores that were remodeled yet again.


Insane close-up of the Produce flooring. Not as shiny as it is in Manasquan these days!


The store is pretty well stocked with only 2 days to go until closing. There doesn't appear to be any closing sale going on. Perhaps Acme was planning to move all unsold merchandise to other locations.


80's Deli sign mounted to the awning. Seems so out of place here.


The cases appear to be from the Seafood department of an 80's Remodels.


The white panels you see along the Meat Department wall were most likely painted over, having originally been orange.


Lancaster Brand Meat sign now in red. Probably started out white against a colored background on the wall.


The spot lights along the drop ceiling would have lit up the single tier meat cases prior to the arrival of the multi-tiered cases. Looks like new flooring was put in along the back when the cases were swapped out.


Lew explained to me that the aisles did not come back further so that pallets could be pulled out of the back room and wheeled across the back of the store to the appropriate aisle. The Acme I worked in had only a single door by the Deli. All pallets had to be broken down in the back room. For years we used to unload the truck piece by piece never even taking a full pallet off the trailer.


Voortman cookies still going strong in 2003! These were a big hit at my Acme although we didn't have a Bakery either.


The Dairy sign strangely painted in white. More 80's cases seen here.


You can catch a glimpse of the Bakery flooring there in the front. Our first look at it ever! Of course, no in-store Bakery here. Just bread which was moved to aisle 8. Soda now seen in the former Bakery corner. Did this store have the brown and gold wallpaper in the front corner? I have no idea. It's about the last decor element I am hoping to get a picture of for the blog. Hope is fading as the years march on.


Frozen Foods were usually located in aisle 7 in these classic 8 aisle stores. You can see a few doors worth on the left side of the photo but the cases don't make up the whole aisle. I guess aisle 6 was Frozen for this store.


Still plenty of cans on the shelves with only 2 days until closing.


Some interesting details from Lew about the checkouts...

Another item was that this Acme had the original steel conveyor belt cabinets up until scanners were adopted in the late 1980s. These were rubber conveyor belted with stainless tops but the lower cabinets had been repainted many times. Some of the actual conveyor belts were shiny due to the years of use and cleaning. These actually had lower front signage positions which were revealed from being behind a later display during one of the store cleaning/repaints in the 1980s. They had signs like "We like your pet but please don't bring him in with you." and "Please deposit cigarette butts in the receptacles provided." etc.


The Acme clock made it until the end!




A look at Customer Service and all of its signs. Not sure what that "Apply for a Job" kiosk is all about.


A look along the side of the building...


Notice the room the is sticking out of the left side. This was a mystery to me in the original post. Turns out it used to stick out of the back of the original building but became the side when Acme moved in. Lew reports the compressors and bathrooms were located in the space.

BONUS PHOTO >>>


A side-view of the store which was not part of Lew's collection. It gives us a great look at the panels that were posted along the side, which each held a letter spelling A C M E. And the fish-eye sign is here too! Why this wasn't on the front of the store is a mystery indeed. 

AERIAL VIEWS


These are screen grabs of the new aerials taken for this updated post. All these years later, Bing maps still hasn't fully updated the satellite images from this area. We still see the abandoned Acme.




As we rotate the view to the rear of the Acme, we get an updated view of the Walgreens, which has made it's home in the former Acme. According to a comment in the original post, Drug Fair had been set to open here but the company went under shortly before the store was ready to open, which explains the un-Walgreens styled building. Notice how a large portion of the parking lot has been returned to nature.


One more turn and we're back to the abandoned Acme. Even from here you can see the scars left by the signs along the side.

HISTORIC AERIALS


2013
Looks like Drug Fair did a lot of work on this building, including reconfiguring the room on the left side. Walgreens opened here in 2009.


2007
The building sat abandoned for about six years.


2002
Still open in 2002 with very few cars parked in the huge parking lot.


1986
A little more life back in 1986.


1979


1972


1970
The original building on the property, not very clearly seen in 1970.


1963
Much better view in 1963. Looks brand new here! May have very well been a supermarket the first time around.


1957

Thanks to Lew for sharing his pictures of the Point Pleasant Acme!

30 comments:

  1. Fantastic post! I was really looking forward to it, and it didn't disappoint.

    I actually like the front signage with the ''ACME'' lettering by itself in the old font!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats on 300,000 visitors! And as long as your posts continue to be so great, I have no doubt you'll get 300,000 more...

    ReplyDelete
  3. You mention about the cases and I seem to remember that either point or belmar got the cases when sea view closed.

    Great post. I worked in this store as a fill in and this really brings back memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It still kills me that I never saw Belmar when it was open. Passed by it on Main Street a bunch of times but when I finally saw it sitting back in the shopping center, it was already closed.

      Delete
  4. Congrats on this achievement! Really shows the love of the history of Acme Markets.
    That sign out front is really unique. It's like an early version of the block letter signage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It sure does. Never thought this thing would still be going after all these years.

      Delete
  5. I think Walgreens basically bought out (most of) the Drug Fair chain, which probably explains how they wound up with this spot (since it was already "in progress").

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. What was left over was divided up. The Clifton-Lakeview DF and the never-opened Saddle Brook DF went to Dollar General. The East Rutherford store became either Aldi or Dollar Tree (I believe it was the latter, because there was a Rag Shop next to it that was vacant too.)

      I never knew how badly run Drug Fair really was until the sudden bankruptcy. They sure seemed to be doing okay for themselves.

      Delete
    2. The only DF I know that wasn't converted into a Walgreens was the Kearny store. That became a Dollar General.

      Delete
    3. Neither Clifton store was converted, which surprised me. The one on Route 46, which was one of the ones that were immediately shut down after bankruptcy, went from a Halloween store to a small grocery that shut within a year.

      Delete
  6. Happy 300,000 AcmeStyle! Here's to many more.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is possibly my absolute favorite of any post you've ever put on the blog. Awesome Acme and great photos. Nice touches left behind from several different decades. I love the Hill refrigerated cases from the 80s, 70s wood paneling/shingles etc.. This store kept a lot of the things that were generally removed over the years as these stores were stripped of much of their character.
    Congrats on the 300K!

    ReplyDelete
  8. The job kiosk you pointed out was in all stores for a time. That was how the application process was done and it graded the applicant on how they answered the questions. Many applicants were disqualified by this machine and it was eventually removed. Not sure about the dating period for this process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't sure if it was for Acme jobs or for all sorts of jobs in the area. With only 2 days to go until closing, I can't imagine anyone would want to apply here!

      Delete
    2. How did it decide who to reject?

      Delete
    3. Usually the questionnaires ask the same type of question multiple times but phrased differently; if the questions are answered two different ways it makes it apparent who is just answering what they think they're supposed to say, instead of giving honest answers.

      Most chains still use these questionnaires today, it's just all done at home online now; in 2003 there were still so many people without high speed internet at home that the kiosks were necessary.

      Delete
  9. Interesting there's a Voortman cookie hut as seen in one of the photos...that was featured on the set of the Canadian version of Supermarket Sweep.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations on the 300,000 visitors! Thank you for your posting of my "ancient" photos from Point Pleasant. Even at the time in 2003, I kind of understood that a part of retail history was leaving with the closure of the store plus having worked there. was a little sentimental about it too.

    Store signage:
    I mentioned before that the Rt35S side shadow boxes had not had the A-C-M-E in them in the late 1980s but had large weekly store advertisements behind plexiglass doors.
    In the Bonus picture, seeing the Acme Fisheye logo sign on that side of the building. I am not sure if I remember that sign there. I remember the Fish Eye logo sign over the front where the bland Acme ended up in the white space by the 2003 closing.


    You'e pointed out the probable reuse of deli cases, produce cases, etc from other stores. I know that the Point Pleasant store even utilized previously used Acme and Skaggs Alpha Beta shopping carts to reduce costs.

    Going out on a limb, something like this may have happened: At some point Acme corporate required the store to have a new front sign logo. Then the former front of store Acme Fish Eye sign was moved by an astute and penny pinching manager to the Rt35 side of the building to give more signage to an otherwise bland building for just the cost of mounting it and a little electrical wiring to the lights. Same goes for painting the A-C-M-E into the shadow boxes. ( I know there was the standard smaller Acme retangular on pole parking lot sign at the north east corner of the property..) The store side Fish Eye Logo in the bonus has the full black frame around it while the store front logo letters are mounted on a flat panel which may or may not have had lights behind it or just the letters had lights.
    Just one idea.

    Thanks and congrats on 300,000 visitors and documenting the history of grocery retail spaces.
    Lew

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lew! Your photos are a huge hit like I knew they would be!!

      Delete
    2. Skaggs Alpha Beta carts? How'd they get them from coast to coast?

      Delete
    3. Timothy Mischka,
      I imagine that the used AlphaBeta carts got trucked in from wherever they were stored. Problem was is that the store ended up with roughly three main sizes of carts- the original Acme carts, a smaller that the original size Acme cart, and then the Skaggs Alpha Beta which were larger than the original Acme carts. (There was one mini alpha beta cart but we eventually squashed it with the fork lift. )
      Every couple of years there was a guy who came in a van with a welder and air compressor who fixed the shopping cart wheels and broken welds plus fixed up the in-store service grocery dolleys and price changing carts. When I started in 1985 they were still unloading trailers single cases down a roller track onto dolleys then into the store. Soon after the store got an electric forklift and trailers were unloaded by forking the end two pallets, pulling the next two with a chain to the edge to fork off , then putting a pallet jack up into the trailer and pulling out, turning around, then pushing pallets to the edge of the trailer. We still used the grocery dolleys for overstock items, and high volume items that needed periodic restocking during the day.
      Lew

      Delete
  11. I wonder if that signage was from a logo transitioning period... I think I have seen some carts with that logo on it, along with inside the Quakertown store. I wonder if when Quakertown was open, it had that sign on the outside, too.

    ReplyDelete

  12. ... TRULY awesome
    That's 2 words. Doesn't matter. Happy 300000 visitors! I got obsessed by Acmes by you! Gosh darn you, and thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. We had one of those "apply for a job" stations in my store up until about 2010. People would sit there for hours completing the lengthy application process.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I worked at this store in Point Pleasant for many years. I started out at register and stocking shelves but being an Acme store I worked ALL departments ending up in Receiving. The story behind the store facing the way it was is (I won't swear to this) the original plan for Rt. 35 had the highway curving directly in front of the store. The store originally had TWO sets of customer doors, Air Doors I think they were called. At some point in the late '70s they changed it to the way you see it in the pictures. The inside paint job was by the manager who hired me and a few of the employees, the manager paid for most of it himself. If I remember right, and I was VERY young, that lot originally had a Safeway market on it. I enjoyed working there and still run into people I worked with.

    ReplyDelete