Friday, May 22, 2009

Classic Acme! Somers Point, NJ

The following pictures have been kindly provided to Acme Style by Michael Lisicky of Baltimore Maryland. They are absolutely incredible and I am very grateful for his contribution. A classic pitched-roof store with minimal changes from it's very first day of business. These pictures are the only ones I have seen that show off the 60's/70's colonial style decor. If you look closely you can see store signage with the "Check it out Acme Style!" tagline... the inspiration for this blog! Michael's most excellent story of this store follows the pictures below....

(Images above courtesy of Michael Lisicky)

I spent my earliest years growing up in the Somers Point, NJ Acme. For years it was the only game in town. Somers Point is located across the bay from Ocean City, NJ, home of its own 2 Acmes. However Ocean City had its famous blue laws and even to this day is one of NJ's famous dry towns. During the height of summer, Ocean City retail would shut down on Sunday and hundreds of people would flood Somers Point for groceries at the Acme. I'll always remember that for years the Acme was open Sundays from 9am until 2pm. By 1:50pm, people would be literally running to the doors of the store hoping the manager was not there to turn them away. (Why wouldn't they stay open longer?, I used to think.) This style of Acme, my personal favorite, didn't have regular doors. In fact, it only used its doors when the store would close for the day. Even in the height of winter, Acme's doors were always open. And then you would enter that famous wind tunnel where all of the sudden temperatures returned to normal.

I could go on for days about my love for that particular store. In the mid 70s, Starn's Shop-Rite opened across the street and took Acme's business right out from under it. However, Starn's also did not open on Sundays. So it seemed that the Acme stayed in business just because it made enough money on Sunday to cover its sales goals for the whole week. Soon the store stayed open later until 3pm, then 5pm and soon it was 9pm. Eventually Ocean City relaxed its blue laws and Starn's opened their doors on Sunday. And for some reason, the Acme, which seemed quite small by the 1990s, somehow stayed open. My mother always preferred the Acme to Starn's. It was just easier to shop there. Not many cars. Not many people. It was a large scale version of a convenience store. And oh that smell. Not an unpleasant smell but definitely a grocery store smell. Some older Acmes still have it.

By the 1990s, Acme decided that it wanted to stay in Somers Point but not at that location. So it built a mega-Acme across the parking lot. It would finally hope to truly compete with Starn's but they too would build a newer and bigger store 10 years later. Starn's, now just Shop-Rite, still gets more of the business. Its prices are probably a little better but its parking lot is still just awful. Even the new Acme is easier, and quieter.

The new Acme opened just after Thanksgiving 1994. While I was visiting my father that year I dropped by the old Acme to say 'good-bye'. I spoke to the manager and he gave me carte blanche to take whatever pictures I needed. I'm so glad he did. It brings back fond memories. Memories of another era, whether it be style or just simplicity. I hope you enjoy my farewell pictures of the Somers Point, NJ Acme.

Michael Lisicky
Baltimore, MD


  1. Many thanks to Michael for sharing his great story about the history of this Acme and to the cool pictures he took. I do remember the old colonial look that some Acme's had and never thought I would see any old pictures of the look again until now.

  2. Thanks for your comment! Up until about 1987, I think about 99% of Acme's had the "colonial" look. It evolved a bit from the decor you see in this Acme which is a rather basic version. Produce departments at other stores had railroad ties on the walls and deluxe colonial style light fixtures (that did not light up). I hope a picture turns up someday of these light fixtures. Would love to see the crazy brown and gold wall paper from the Bakery aisle too!

  3. So that abstact interior decor above the soda looks to read ACME...
    Anyone else notice this?

  4. Growing up in Somers Point had many memoral times, as kids we would hang out at the ACME a 5 cent hogie roll and 25 cent coke was the highlight of the day, thanks for the memeory!

  5. I don't like the new ACME, or any ACME. I go to the ShopRite, which is no longer "Starns" but just ShopRite. That enormous parking lot was finally developed, and there are stores and restaurants around the ShopRite. I'm not thrilled with the way the ShopRite is laid out, but I still prefer it to ACME.

  6. It seems that Mr. Lisicky wrote a book:

    I'm in the middle of reading it, it is outstanding.