Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Abandoned Acme! West Chester PA

Back in January of 2009, Acme announced the closing of 4 stores... Newton, Ambler, Collegeville and West Chester. Acme has been closing down stores for years now but the news of these 4 stores seemed to be everywhere.... the web, newspapers, and local newscasts. 3 of the 4 stores have already been featured here on Acme Style. This West Chester location is finally making it's appearance. The delay is partially due to the lack of information I had on this store. I was hesitant to make the drive without knowing if another retailer had moved in or if the store had been split up into smaller stores which happens quite often. When I finally arrived at this location I was very surprised find it virtually in it's original condition. The store completely intact with only the merchandise removed.

Acme opened here in 2004 and was part of a large number of new stores that were built in the the early to mid 2000's. Many of these stores have since closed due mostly to being built in poorly selected locations. This West Chester store faced strong competition from 2 nearby Giants. The closer Giant is in a larger shopping center and is much larger than the former Acme. Giant also has a better reputation for low prices than Acme. They also have a fireplace in their cafe. How could Acme compete with that?

The cart corral still displays the Acme logo. I was not able to find any labelscars on the building.

The main entrance and single door exit. There is also an entrance and exit at the far right side of the building.

Farmstand Produce, Fresh Bakery and Seafood & Meats line the left side of the store.

The "Wild Harvest" health food section can be seen through the doors.

Storage signage still in place. This style of signage was used throughout the 2000's but has now been retired from most stores.

The green wall was most likely part of the in-store Citizens Bank.

The Fresh Bakery along the left side of the store.

Seafood and Meats in the back corner. Looks as though Produce lined aisle 1. The Deli department was probably located in the front corner of the store just inside the entrance.

Unusual to see the aisle markers still in place in a store that has been closed for nearly a year now.

The shelving still looks brand new. Surprising it has not been relocated to older locations in need of upgrading.

Acme is one of the few, if not only, grocery store chain on the East coast to use split aisles. This is more commonly done in West coast chains. American Stores began doing this in Acme superstores of the early to mid 90's.

Some of the registers remain turned on. You can see the screen saver here.

Acme's checkout stands have a unique revolving platform on the rear section. Merchandise moves towards the bagging area when placed on the platform. This style of checkout stand is more commonly seen in West Coast stores.

Not exactly sure what "New Age Drinks" are.

The aisles in the Frozen Food department are uncommonly wide.

The decor package in this store was used in both Albertson's and Acme's in the early 2000's. It has been done away with now in favor of the "Premium Fresh and Healthy" format. Pictures to come in a separate post showing the newer decor.

Looks like the clean up didn't quite get finished. Acme continues to hold a long-term lease on this location. There were no signs on the property advertising that the space is available.

Customer Service was located over to the left. Guessing that the Pharmacy was along the left wall there. The signage was probably taken down prior to the store closing. In-store Pharmacies usually wrap up their business before the store closed for good.

Self-service check outs. I would imagine that the shopping baskets could come in handy at another Acme.

The skylights did a great job lighting up the store for these pictures.

The second entrance leading into Floral, Greeting Cards and Health & Beauty. The Pharmacy was along the right wall. Customer Service there to the right.

The second exit door further up the sidewalk. Leads out of the self-check out area.

Route 322 runs along the left side of the store.

Entrances to the shopping center are at the top of this hill and another down at the bottom.

The "Acme" portion of the sign is covered over. You can see here how the building was built into the hill and faces down the hill as opposed to out towards the street.

To the right is a small strip mall which faces away from the Acme.

The limited view of the store from the street.

Much of this shopping center is abandoned. There is a CVS behind the Acme which is still open. Only a few stores remain in the strip mall down the hill from the front of the Acme.

UPDATE 9.8.10: Acme has finally left the building! Click here to see the place boarded up.


  1. Hi, That store had a lot going against it. The two Giants already mentioned and a high volume Acme unit 5 minutes way in the Westown Plazza. The store was difficult to exit if you tried to make a left hand turn on 322. There also is a high volume Acme in Exton and a huge upscale oh heck the name escapes me from Rochester that is a terrific store off of 322 in exton.

  2. This was a very nice looking store, reminds me of the one in Freehold. Well, at least the other Acme in West Chester is still open.

    Thank God there are no Giants in New Jersey. I guess this is why Acme now has more locations in NJ than Pennsylvania.

  3. Wegmans?

    This is a very nice looking location, I'm sure they put quite a bit of money into it, and are paying a lot out with the lease.

  4. i can shed some light onto this store, as during the time it was open, it was my main shopping location. The store had a rough opening, getting off to a slow start. Where the Giant behind them was a small locally owned grocery store. Business started to pick up and then the local owned grocery store went out of business. Acme gained a decent chunk of this business and had a good amount of time where they were busy. The owner of the local store blamed acme for putting him out of business. So he sold the land to Giant, and they built a brand new store from the ground up. When the giant opened, the business at acme DIED. According to people I know in the industry, acme's business went down almost 60% and never recovered much of that business. This was a very poor location as it is on the outskirts of town, and if you do not know where the store is you can easily drive past it. Also, coming out of the town of west chester you come to the huge shopping center where the giant is first. About another block or two up is the former acme location. As for a label scar, it would be tough to see as the sign (which was unusually small) was on the brick below the round window on the first picture. There also was a sign which does have a label scar on the side of the building along with the citzens bank sign label scar. Very nice store which I miss. Funny part is, before the Acme closed the Giant was not setting the world on fire either, which proves this was a bad spot.

  5. Surprising they left all the checkout equipment there

  6. "New Age Drinks" = Snapple, Vitamin Water, and the like.

  7. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/celebrity-chef-help-acme-celebrate-174100426.html