Friday, March 24, 2017

Acme – Allendale, New Jersey

Location: 45 De Mercurio Dr, Allendale, NJ

The Allendale Acme began it's like as a standart 70's A&P which was converted to the chain's very first ground-breaking Futurestore in the 80's. The interior and exterior were completely overhauled again for the "fresh" remodel in the 2000's. The Allendale A&P must have been very successful over the years to have been completely transformed three times over, although the Futurestore incarnation lasted far beyond it's prime. From what I observed and read online, Acme isn't having quite the same success. While the parking lot looks crowed, there were very few people in the Acme on what should have been a very busy Saturday afternoon. 

Former Centennial A&P located to the right. This shopping center is quite beautiful and you'd never guess it's been here for as many decades as it has. I would imagine the landlord renovated the whole place when the A&P was remodeled. It's a shopping center worthy of being smack-dab in the middle of town.

AP Futurestore Exterior
Futurestore photos courtesy of John's flickr collection

A photo from A&P's 1985 annual report showing the newly remodeled Allendale Futurestore. 

The exterior of this store still looks brand-new! How about those parking lot lights? Impressive.

Absolutely beautiful interior! This had been a very well maintained A&P and Acme is doing an outstanding job keeping looking great. That's one thing Acme has been very successful with in these converted stores. They're super clean and well-stocked. Maybe Acme could shift some labor hours from maintenance over to the cashiers. As much as I love a clean store, I don't want to stand in line for 15 minutes for a few items.


A&P Futurestore Interior from 1984 Annual

AP Futurestore Interior
Hard to believe this is the same store! Non too happy with myself that I had never once been in one of these Futurestores. We didn't have any in the area of New Jersey where I grew up and I think they were getting fazed out elsewhere by the time I got my license and stared driving everywhere to check out grocery stores.

Great looking Starbucks. Looks like a more recent model. Does anyone know if it's been remodeled lately?

This totally threw me... Floral being in the spot that's used for the café. A little weird seeing flowers right next to the pizza oven.

As you know, I usually try to take people-free photos. That wasn't a problem in this store. Here IU was actually tring to get a couple WITH people so the place didn't look so sad.

Former liquor and wine now home to a sprawling health food department...

This place literally has a full-sized health food store in the back corner. Still, doesn't seem to interest the residents of Allendale all that much.

Not a soul. I had just come from the Waldwick Stop and Shop which, I swear, had more shoppers in it than the Acme and their shelves were only half-stocked!

Crickets in Seafood at a quarter after noon on a Saturday.

I believe the Bakery may have originally been in the back corner but is now 3/4 of the way down the back wall due to an expansion out of the far side of the store.

This store is stocked with fresh-foods like it does high-volume sales. Maybe the lack of customer was just a fluke during my visit.

If A&P got one thing right it was the second round of the "fresh" remodels. The décor, floors, colors and styling were about as good as you can get in a traditional supermarket.

Acme is installing ceiling fans in the frozen food aisles in many of the converted stores.

What is up with this place? A gorgouse store like this should be drawing much bigger crowds! I'm not really familiar with the area so I don't know what competition is nearby. I did see mentioned somewhere that a ShopRite is about 5 minutes away.

No Quality Built checkout lights to replace A&P's re-numbered lights.

Couldn't even spring for an Acme sign to hang here.


The parking lot certainly doesn't help things here. It was a good 3/4 full when I was here and still no one in the Acme. There is a large section on the other side of the entrance driveway, off the right side of this photo.


The more recent historic aerials are terrible making it difficult to pin down the year of the "fresh" remodel.



Now this is a great shot! We can clearly see the 70's awning with the A&P sign front and center!


  1. This is my local Acme and been shopping at this location going back to the A&P Futurestore days. I remember being a kid and thinking how cool the store looked. The store was updated in the mid 2000’s and expanded into A&P Liquors next door (where the frozen foods and Pharmacy are located now). Many were upset when they moved the liquor to the back corner of the store as it was much smaller but it still continued to do well. There’s only a small liquor store in town and the Rite Aid across Allendale Ave has a liquor department but the prices are crazy expensive (also the only Rite Aid I know of that sells Alcohol!)

    This location took a big hit in sales when it was no longer allowed to sell liquor and it hasn’t really recovered as it lost the one stop shopping convenience. There are days this store does well but unfortunately it’s mostly on the quiet side. The closing of the Waldwick Stop & Shop may help as most people who shopped S&S just shopped for a few items as it was so small and didn’t want to travel to the larger area stores. The Starbucks does very well and always busy with people throughout the day. The Starbucks may have been updated during A&P but it has not been changed/updated since the store became Acme.

    Most people in this area do their full shopping as either the Ramsey ShopRite (just up Franklin Turnpike) or the Wyckoff Stop & Shop. In November, Uncle Giuseppe’s opened its first NJ store in the Old Pathmark on Route 17 in Ramsey and since its opening, seems to be insanely busy at all hours of the day (I heard the Ramsey ShopRite took a hit from Uncle G’s). The Wyckoff ShopRite (which is being built on the old Futurestore site) is also expected to open within the next year and will likely hurt this Acme as well.

    The other issue with this store is its parking lot. When the entire shopping center was redone and expanded a few years ago, they revamped the whole parking lot and made it very hard to maneuver (the shopping center was updated several years after the A&P was updated). I have heard people actually say that they won’t shop there because of the parking lot issues. And while on the subject of the parking lot, the lanterns match the ones that line the streets of Allendale throughout the center of town. The aerial views shows what the old parking lot and shopping center looked like before it was changed (you can see the old street lights and blue awnings in those views). The roof line at the left side of the A&P/Acme was where the liquor store was along with another store that A&P took over to expand. Back in the early to mid-90’s that was home to Allendale Pharmacy which later moved across the street and became Thrift Drug (now Rite Aid). They sold liquor too which is why Rite Aid continues to sell alcohol today.

    A few other notes about this store. Even though the décor wasn’t updated, the store did go through a aisle reset in early 2016. The ceiling fans were added to frozen foods sometime in the fall. I also want to add that the people who work at this store are very nice and it’s sad to see that this store is not doing well. I am really hoping that Acme can somehow make a turn around and survive in North Jersey. They need to get the prices down and get more help at the front end.

    1. Thanks for all the information! Your comment is a great read. You answered every single question... and then some... I had about the store and the surrounding competition.

  2. I spent a lot of time in this store in the late 90's. Not enough to give you a more thorough history GSP163 did, but I do have a few comments.

    The store manager back then was pretty eccentric. He kept two trailers at the docks and had them filled to the gills with buyins. He also had shelving suspended from the ceiling in the back room and stored more stuff there. There was a small army of people who kept the whole process going. The word was that the DM never bothered him because the store made so much money that it was basically its own district. He would even sell store supplies off the shelf. When Coca-Cola would offer deep pricing on cans, he would buy in a whole trailer at once and build a gigantic display near the front of the store. Let it sell down and buy in again when pricing dropped. He also broke the 12 packs open and sold individual cans, instead of selling 20 ounce like other stores. He was known for throwing out vendors if he didn't like what they were doing. He really liked me so I never had any problems. When he was transferred to I believe Woodcliff Lake, the process of undoing all that began. Eventually the soda deliveries came on smaller trucks as they didn't sell that much. I think business dropped when he left. The liquor store was down a ramp and at a lower level (I am assuming they have kept that same height difference.

    The store looks amazingly different than it did as I remember it.

    The A&P and ShopRite in Ramsey were both strong as they attracted a lot of NY shoppers. Especially those looking to avoid NY's soda deposit law. The ShopRite is run by a hardnose family who is known for being difficult with vendors. I doubt that has changed much.

    If you read the Yelp reviews on the Acme, most people give it one star. Overpriced, deals aren't really deals, etc.

    I think the lack of a liquor license really hurts them. The liquor area was pretty big and they had a nice selection which attracted more shoppers. The shopping center was busy despite the parking lot and they held their own against the bigger stores up the road. Shame to see that has all changed. You can't really get into a price war with ShopRite, but you can step up your service game and run a good ad and people will shop at your store.

  3. Had to look up who owned the store in I suspected, Inserra.

  4. Was this the first East Coast Futurestore? I thought I read somewhere that the first Futurestore was in a former Kroger in the New Orleans division, but I'm not sure when they pulled out (1985 out of Baton Rouge), and at the time, the Greenhouse stores were pretty small (recently I got a chance to experience a first-generation Greenhouse that had been converted to a Big Lots though it retained a lot of features), so I'm really sure.