Monday, August 28, 2017

Welcome to Jersey City's...



A&P had FOUR "Express Yourself" self-checouts available morning, noon and night. Acme has two express registers and flat out REFUSES to operate either register. There were only two regular registers operating with lines of visibly frustrated shoppers. NO ONE in Customer Service. This is the same exact scene I experienced about a month ago. In fact, there are NEVER any express registers open when I am in this store.

As I've mentioned before, I have shopped regularly at this location since the early 2000's. In all the years that it was a drab former Waldbaums/A&P then beautifully remodeled to an A&P Fresh, never once was it so poorly managed as it consistently by Acme.

Not wanting to put down the two items I had and walk out, as I often do when I encounter these front-end-disasters, I tracked down a long-time employee to ask some questions about the chronic issues at this store. The employee was very nice and offered several times to go up front and ring me up. I wouldn't take her offer as she was busy doing other things and is not normally a cashier. I specifically brought up the self-checktouts and how A&P always had four available and Acme only ever has two to three registers open. She said Acme is exploring the possibility of bringing the self-checkouts back! Corporate has already been to this location to review the situation and the store is waiting to hear what changes will be made. So that's something. I just can't wrap my head around the fact that Acme spent a fortune acquiring A&P and they refuse to spend any money on cashiers.

When I finally got checked out by someone in Customer Service, I asked yet again, why there are never any express registers open here. I was basically told their labor hours were cut so no more cashiers. Well that's gotta be good for business. The employee then said "Everyone shops at ShopRite anyway" to which I said "yeah, 'cause no one can get checked out at Acme".

Just in case you think I overreact a bit to the horrendous customer service I experience at far too many Acmes, let's have a look at some of the yelp reviews for this very location to see how others feel about it...

Vincent B: "Place was packed and only 2 lanes had cashiers. No self checkout anymore. Just awful."

Ariel J: "How do they not have an express check out?! I came in for 1 item and waited on line for a good 15 minutes before my turn was up. Ugh."

Hank C. : "No self-checkout? Guess they want to be slower?"

Willima C. : "At what point do you say it's time to have more cashiers working when lines are as long as Six Flags? I don't think I've ever seen more than 3 lanes open ever at this place. Only come here if you absolutely need to."

Christy W: "...and only two cashiers which create long lines."

Paul K: "There are never carts available, they have very few cashiers working (long lines to check out), and they're crowding the aisles with crap making it hard to maneuver around the store when it's busy"

Liz T: "Prices are fine, produce seems ok, meat is ok, but why on earth would there only be three registers open at 5:30pm on Sunday? Have the owners never been to a grocery store before?"

Arielle B: "Waiting on the check out line for an hour+ is unacceptable and telling a customer "no one wants to worry so uh sorry..." is not appreciated. I will not be back."

Cody S: "Sometimes only ONE check out line is open & there are 6 carts in line before somebody complains & they finally open up something."

Dan P: "The lines are horrific especially for a Sunday only had 3 lines open! I loved the a and p that was here. Looks like I'm back to shop rite which is the lesser of three evils. Never coming back here again!"

Moinca R: "The return of self-checkout lanes would do a lot to change my review to 3 stars." (Up from two stars)

Same here, Monica! It's pretty sad to see Acme completely blowing their comeback, which did not come with a cheap price tag. I keep shopping at their stores simply because I love Acme but I'm sure other shoppers are going elsewhere since the service is so terrible. Earlier in the week I popped in the Weehawken store to buy PowerBall tickets. I was going to grab a few items... until I saw the lines. Five registers were open but that still was not enough to handle the amount of shoppers waiting to check out. To make it worse, the evening manager was standing at Customer Service without a care in the world. I got my ticket and left. Funny thing... as I was walking out, I passed two customers who had entered the store. One looked across the front-end and said to the other "Oh my God, look at the lines". I turned and said "There's always a long line at Acme!"

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What the heck?

Saw this on an Acme shopping cart this past weekend. Just found one but I only had a few seconds to look around. I'm assuming the store received the sign(s) by accident and it never should have made its way to a cart. "it's just better" in blue is used in Alberstons stores while a red version of the signage is used by Safeway

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Former Acme – Paulsboro, New Jersey

Photos courtesy of Erica R

Location: 545 W Broad St, Paulsboro, NJ


This former Acme has been stuck in a time warp since opening in October 1968. Acme didn't change a thing all the decades that it operated the store and absolutely nothing has been done to the property since it closed down in the mid 90's. The store has finally been reborn as a Sav a lot. The long awaited opening day was July 26. Erica will be taking us on a tour of the interior so we can see all of the changes that have been made to the building...

The pitched-roof is still fully intact!




For additional coverage of the former Paulsboro Acme, please click here.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Update on Front and Snyder!

Location: Front and Snyder, Philadelphia, PA

The sign is up! Wonder if there will be another one along the front. It would be cool if the letters  were free-standing along the awning like they were on some 50's and 60's stores. That red rectangle is a bit of a mystery. Looks like something is being covered over. Perhaps a Pharmacy sign. According to a comment left on the precious post for this store, employees who have been training at 10th and Reed report this location today! 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Acme – Ortley Beach, New Jersey


Location: 5 Ortley Plaza, Seaside Heights, NJ


Acme/Former A&P Ortley Beach, NJ

Officially the most extensively upgraded store acquired from A&P. We have seen a few stores who received a more deluxe remodel to the inside but no store has received such an extensive facade and front-end make-over.

Entrance and exit on this side of the store not used often. Very few cars parked on this end of the parking lot. Shoppers prefer to cram themselves into the other half of the parking lot.

The new facade is beautiful, even more so in person The Acme looks alive and vibrant.

This happens to be one of the best reviewed Acmes on yelp and Google! I couldn't find a single complaint about long lines and lack of available registers. 4 and a half stars on Google.

The original A&P is now Spirits Unlimited. The Acme sits on the same spot it did back in the 50's!

Entrance to right which leads into Produce. Exit is through the doors to the left.

Quality Built has arrived in Ortley Beach! Wasn't sure if this was in the plans. The facade and front-end were completed with no change to the décor but maybe Acme could only do so much at once.


The A&P was still looking great when Acme took over. The store was remodeled after Sandy hit back in 2012.

You'll also notice in the tour that the store is currently congested with tons of displays. Acme is clearly maximizing inventory during the busy summer months. The photos showing A&P's décor were taken off season when the store wasn't busting at the seems with inventory.

Oops... looks like they mounted the produce sign a little too high on the wall. It's kinda levitating above the cases.

The new lower prices are working out pretty well for this Acme shopper! After I complained about the ridiculous price of Rao's tomato sauce, Acme put it on sale and has kept it on sale for the past few weeks. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

Quick look across the front-end. I was here early on a weekday morning and the store was extremely busy.

Someone came up with the idea to put kids beach toys on top of the light boxes. I get it... they look cool lit up but they kinda make the store look messy. And toys really need to be where kids can reach so they can get their hands on them and beg their parents to buy them.

Acme's Signature/Love Local signs are still up here. This store could use a major reduction in hanging signs.

Health department in aisle 2. At first I thought Acme put in the gray shelving. Turns out it's left over from A&P. Looks great and is still in good shape throughout the store. And there's the Rao's! Low low price for at least two weeks now.

Acme replaced the cases here. Not sure why. A&P's cases are actually the style that Acme has used in remodels in other stores.


Acme also replaced the cases in the bakery. Seems strange since the ones left over from A&P seemed perfectly fine...


Don't get me started on Acme's lack of "artisan" and "specialty" fresh baked breads despite the signs. When Stop & Shop has you beat by a mile in this department, it's time to head back to the drawing board. If Safeway can't come up with better options then Acme should bring back the Culinary Circle fresh baked breads and stick them in Signature Select bags!

The all new front-end. A&P's future store slanted windows are gone.

I should have taken a closer look at the tiling to find the line between A&P's front-end and Acme new front-end.

I thought Acme had put the darker tile in when the front-end was redone but it's been here since the A&P days.


Former self-checkout area currently home to some of the short express registers. None of them were open on this particular morning. Some of the full registers are also express and were open.

The sign structure has a fresh coat of white paint. Still can't get over the fact that Acme reclaimed this sign and the location after being gone from the property for decades!


The aerial portion of this post has been brought over from previous coverage of the store. We start of with a view of the Super A&P Food Market. The signage was not updated after the fresh remodel. 

Acme's original sign capped off with "A&P".

A look at the store's proximity to the shore.... 




Acme looks closed and abandoned as of 1986 while the A&P has a decent crowd.  The two stores were nearly identical in size but the same cannot be said for the parking lots. Acme rules in that department, as expected. It's a mystery why Acme didn't expand since they had the space. A larger, more modern store could have knocked A&P right out of business. Check out the giant shadow of the street sign in the lower left corner.

Both stores open in 1972. 

Acme was irst on the site, opening June 17, 1959 . Even on a busy day the parking lot was barely a quarter full.