Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Acme's Trying To Get Better...

AGAIN.

On March 12th, a comment came in to the latest discussions post about a memo that was addressed to the employees of each and every store. Changes were underway to improve Acme... yet again. It  seems Acme went drastically off course toward the end of 2016, at least that's what this Acme shopper observed. Out of control prices and deteriorating service. In recent weeks, I had left some comments on the blog which mentioned the troubling trends I was seeing. An Acme employee wrote in to share some behind-the-scenes information in to let me know drastic improvements were coming soon. Turns out that Jim Perkins, former chief or operations for the Easter Division, had returned after being transferred to the Texas division. last year The person who had replaced him was from Safeway and decided to run Acme as a Safeway clone which lead to higher prices and declining service. Fortunately, that person no longer is involved with Acme and Mr. Perkins is fast-tracking some huge improvements to get Acme back on track!

PRICES ARE ON THEIR WAY
BACK DOWN! 

And not a moment too soon! The memo that was sent to stores listed several initiatives that Acme is undertaking to drive sales including the lowering of hundreds of "super sensitive items" around the store. These prices went into effect on March 3rd. I haven't necessarily seen any regular prices go down but I have noticed a HUGE increase sale items. In fact, on my last shopping trip to Acme, every single grocery and household item I purchased was on sale. Some of the items have very rarely been on sale in the past. It's doesn't' seem Acme intends to launch another price-lowering campaign but they are adding "Xtra Savings" shelf-tags around the store to call out the new savings. You can see some examples below.







The "Something More for Less" shelf-tags, that used to number in the hundreds up and down every aisle, are thankfully gone. I tend to think that campaign ran it's course a while ago. The "Xtra" tags are bright, bold and more to the point. Walk up and down any aisle and you see there's no denying that Acme has just slashed prices.

ACME'S FRONT-END DISASTER! 

While I do think all of this is a step in the right direction, Acme has one very serious problem on it's hands that does not seem to be getting addressed. It all began with the removal of the self-checkouts. Oh sure, they want the customers to have interactions with the employees. Sounds great on paper but what happens when their aren't nearly enough cashiers on duty to handle the customers? Everybody gets pissed off. Plain and simple. In most North Jersey stores I'm in, I find the FOUR self-checkouts that have been removed have been replaced by only two to three manned registers. A few weeks ago, I visited a bunch of converted stores for the blog on a Saturday afternoon... prime grocery shopping time. Every single store I was in, with the exception of one location, had only THREE registers open and most of those stores had long lines. In Elmwood Park, the lines were so bad at the three open registers, I gave up trying to buy a bottle of water and protein bar and just walked out. A few weeks ago I was in New Providence. TWO registers open with long lines and neither register was express. The Fort Lee store NEVER has an express register open when I'm in there.

Hey, don't take my word for it. Type in any North Jersey or New York Acme into Yelp and read the reviews. You will see endless complaints about the removal of the self-checkouts and the ridiculously long lines at store after store after store. You'll even find people leaving comments on Acme's very own Fresh Press Blog about the long lines and lack of open registers under posts that have nothing to do with service. There seems to be an overall lack of front-end management in these stores. Edgewater is the only Acme I know of that has a front-end manager on duty monitoring the lines. In other stores I'm in regularly, I have watched managers walk along the front-end completely unfazed by the insane lines at the 2 to 3 open registers. Wow, what a change from the days that I worked at Acme. Long lines = getting every employee who had the slightest clue about running a register ON a register. These days customers stand in frustratingly long lines with plenty of time think twice about ever coming back to Acme. My advice to Acme, which they'd never take but here goes... BRING BACK THE SELF CHECKOUTS!!!!

Scheduling Notice...

Leaving word that posts will be few and far between for the next few weeks. I'm on a mind-draining, massive project at work and won't have much free computer time to generate posts. There will be a store post this Friday and one for some point next week. I expect to be cranking out posts on a regular basis again by mid-April.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Stop and Shop – Waldwick, New Jersey




Location: 19 Wyckoff Ave, Waldwick, NJ 


The Waldwick Stop&Shop... clocking in at a mere 22.000 square feet... closed on March 2nd.  According to reports, the company decided to close this location after a review of the store's performance. I suspect the age and size of the store were big factors in the decision. I have seen some comments online accusing the landlord for being at fault for the closing. I will say I was totally surprised at how busy the store was when I stopped by despite the low inventory levels and complete lack of a going-out-of-business sale.

This location was a former Grand Union that Stop and Shop acquired in 2001. Grand Union's late 90's remodel remains intact as does the wood paneling from the revolutionary 80's remodel.


All indications are the store was expanded into this section for the 80's remodel. Produce and the Bakery got crammed into the additional space.




Decent Bakery for such a small store. Still chock full of goods in the stores final days. The flooring and décor are from the late 90's remodel which was done at a fast and furious pace helping to sink Grand Union into debt it was never able to get out of. Still kicking myself for never photographing the interior of the Clifton Grand Union. The results were absolutely stunning right down to the old-fashioned styled register lights. You can check out a 90's remodeled Grand Union in East Rutherford by clicking here. Stop&Shop has since remodeled the store sending GU's beautiful murals and props straight to the trash.




Chef something or other is along the back of the section GU expanded in to.


Stop&Shop left this store pretty much as-is when it acquired it. New aisle signs and registers is about all this store got.


Bad attempt to zoom into the décor above the former prepared foods. I didn't get as many shots along the back as I would have liked. This place was crawling with employees with at least two looking at me with a "what's that guy up to" look on their faces.




Some aisles were more empty than others. Guess the remaining merchandise was going to be moved to other stores. There were a few end caps with discounted merchandise but that was it. I couldn't believe how many shoppers were strolling up and down the aisles like everything was normal here.




Another extreme close-up. Kept waiting for that manager to get off his phone and disappear. He never did.


Category signs by Stop and Shop.


Wood paneling from the 80's remodel still on most of the walls around the store.








Frozen was one of the most wiped-out departments in the store.


Looks as though Stop and Shop walled in this area here. It's missing GU's wood paneling and they added a S&S clock just around the corner...




Old school cart coral!

AERIAL IMAGES





HISTORIC VIEWS


2002


1995


1987
Looks as though the store hadn't expanded by this point. I believe Grand Union's remodels kicked in high-gear around 1988.


1979


1970


1966


1953


Map above shows the Stop&Shop in relation to the Allendale Acme, which will be coming to the blog soon.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Progress In Paulsboro!


Photos Courtesy of @

Location: West Broad Street, Paulsboro NJ


The place finally looks ready but still no signs of Sav-a-lot opening soon. According to an update from the Mayor last year, Sav-a-lot was planning to open in July but eight months later there's still nothing here. Nice to see pitched-roof ceiling remained intact! Now stripped of it's tiles which makes it look more Acme-like than when this place WAS an Acme.

To see renditions of how the shopping center will look once completed, click here. For additional Acme Style coverage of this location, please click here.

Thanks to @ for the photos!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Quality Built Remodel In Paoli!



Location: 39 Leopard Road, Paoli, PA



The Paoli Acme held its Grand Reopening on Friday, February 24! The store now includes a Starbucks and Frosted Mug. Paoli is one of Acme's top performing stores and one of their most deluxe locations, even prior to the recent remodel.


Most photos you will be seeing are from and anonymous source. A few others were sent in by @ in early December. Those photos show the Quality Built décor swap complete so I'm not exactly sure why the Grand Reopening was delayed until February. Could have possibly been due to the completion of the Frosted Mug and/or Starbucks.






Had a Starbucks been here previously? The store opened in 1999 with the Chalkboard Market décor. It's interesting that the remodels of smaller stores of that era had Starbucks added in but the newly built stores did not, as far as I know.




New lighting has been installed in many areas of the store.



BEFORE >>>


Premium Fresh and Healthy version 1 was here previous to the Quality Built remodel.


Photo above courtesy of @








Like in other remodels we've seen lately, the Salad Bar has been relocated from the side wall to a free-standing case. Not sure what is now in the spot of the original Salad Bar.







BEFORE >>>


Looks like some new cases were installed in the service area of the Meat Department.


Former Bistro seating is now the Frosted Mug's beer-on-tap bar.

BEFORE >>>


All drum-pendant lighting in the store has been removed.


The former home of Wild Harvest department is now beer and wine.


New flooring in this section.




Photo above courtesy of @

BEFORE >>>


Health Food has been bumped to aisle 2.




BEFORE >>>




Bright lights in Frozen!
BEFORE >>>


Not sure if new cases were installed or not. I believe these photos are from two different aisles.


Photo above courtesy of @

And not sure of the fate of the front corner here. When I visited the store, the front wall was pretty much dead space filled with chip displays. I'm sure the space has been better utilized now that the Frosted Mug ate up a full aisle of grocery.




Photo above courtesy of @

Holiday signage seen in the photos @ sent in.




BEFORE >>>


All new lighting across the front-end.




Thanks to our contributors for the photos of the remodeled Paoli Acme!
For additional coverage of the current and former Paoli Acmes, please click here.