Friday, October 1, 2010

Classic Acme! Mapleshade NJ

Welcome to the Mapleshade Acme! Located at 41 West Main Street right in the center of town. One of the smallest and oldest Acmes still in operation today. Also one of the only street-front stores still in existence. It's a must-see for the serious Acme fan.

Bill Haines, who has been leaving some extremely informative comments here on the blog, sent in some interesting facts about the Mapleshade store:
  • Opening day - October 7, 1953
  • It was a replacement for the old 1940's Acme just down the street. (We will get a better look at the former store down below)
  • The tower seen here was part of the original 1953 building but has been shortened over the years. It looked similar to the one at the Wildwood store which can be seen here.
  • A small addition was added sometime in the late 50's to mid 60's. The newer section is just beyond the tower to the corner. We'll see clearer evidence of the expansion inside.

The newer section of the building now serves as the front-end of the store. Aisles run parallel to Main Street. Entrance and exits are along Main Street and back by the rear parking lot. All these years later, the exterior still has the 1950's feel to it. One of most unaltered exteriors of any Acme still around today.

Did someone put that plant up by the tower or did something just start growing there?

The Good Spirits Liquor store used to be the good ol' Acme! The old Acme sign structure is still intact on top of the store. Interesting to see how the "tower" sign evolved from the old store to the new store. This image is from Google Maps. 

UPDATE 10.16.10: This is NOT the old Acme!  Details to come.

Acme's parking lot is to the rear of the building. A one-way alley runs along side/front of the store. 

Cars seen here are actually parked at the gas station next door. 

The rear entrance and exit sends you down a ramp inside...

Produce cases line the wall on the right.

And here we are inside! A very attractive and well maintained store. The Industrial Circus Decor looking very nice here. I believe someone wrote in and said this store previously had the Checkerboard Arch decor. The last remodel looks to have been quite significant with all new cases, flooring and registers. This store does not have a Bakery despite the ample selection of baked goods here in the front.

The entrance ramp shown earlier is behind the produce cases.

The small Meat Department runs along the wall of aisle 1. This store may not have a fully functioning meat room. 

This truly is the Corner Deli. The first few aisles are shorter to make room for the Deli. The store has 11 aisles although all are relatively short. 

Dairy runs along the back wall.

Aisle 11! Main Street just outside the windows. Frozen Food is in aisle 10.

The old bread delivery room... straight ahead there... now serving as hi-tech computer storage. I find these bread rooms absolutely fascinating. Some 50's and 60's Acmes didn't have them... bread went right into the Produce delivery room... while others had dedicated highly secured brick rooms just for the daily deliveries of bread. You can see the divide between old and new up on the ceiling.

Customer Service is mostly blocked in with display cases.

Now looking across the store from Customer Service over to Produce and Cheese. The separation of the old and the new section is marked by the support columns.

The new section has drop ceiling tiles with the old does not. The "new" section is not all the new. According to the historical aerial images down below, it was added on sometime between 1956 and 1967.

If I remember correctly, this store has 4 registers. It wasn't very busy the couple of times I have been here although that's certainly not a true indication of the amount of business it does. It must have been doing pretty well as of the early 2000's to get such a significant remodel. Most other Acmes of this size were put out of their misery around that time after years of neglect by American Stores.

The bread drop off door to the right of the entrance and exit. (Apologies for all the ugly power lines. I haven't had time to photoshop them out of the pictures.) And now around to the back...

Interesting paint job to give the back of the store some life. Break room and bathrooms up on the second floor there. If you look closely at the door above the dumpsters, you can see the beam that sticks out of the roof for lifting compressors to the second floor.  

The street sign for the entrance along Lippincott Ave.

The parking lot along the back of all of the stores was redone recently. Acme shoppers tend to use the lot on the right. The parking spots were angled back in the day which you can see in the old aerial shots below.

Probably around the time the Industrial Circus remodel happened.

The new section to the left has been added on as of 1967.

The original building. Parking was available along the side of the store before the addition was put on, turing the side into the front.

Go see this Acme. Who knows how much longer it will be around. I wouldn't be surprised if CVS has already expressed interest in the building.


  1. This seems to be one of those stores built at a time when the company was transitioning from building smaller "Main Street" stores to larger supermarkets. There's the sidewalk location with towering neon ACME sign but also second floor in back for compressors, breakroom and employee restrooms (although I can't tell if that was part of the original construction). According to records I've seen, Acme stopped building these Main Street stores a few years later and almost exclusively built supermarkets, often as part of strip malls- a new concept at the time.

    The store looks to be in great shape and hopefully it survives. The exterior treatment is a bit unfortunate- all of those little ACME signs with the block-style letters could easily be replaced by installing some new neon on that still-surviving tower, although I doubt the company or the town has a desire to go that route.

  2. There actually used to be a CVS in Maple Shade; I'm not sure exactly where it was, but it was a late 70s store (one of their first in south NJ) that would have closed in the late 90s. Maybe someone has more info; I wonder if they would even go back into a town that they previously left?

  3. There used to be a CVS in Maple Shade that was next to the *other* Acme in town, in Kingsway Plaza at the corner of Lenola Road and Kings Highway, right where Maple Shade meets Moorestown. This CVS was an in-line location next to the Acme, and maybe 10 years ago the Acme expanded into the space of the old CVS. At the same time, CVS opened a new store close by on Main St. in Moorestown.

  4. It's unusual that this store opened during the Korean War. There was a shortage of building materials during that period and you generally saw retail construction come to a halt in '51 and not really pick-up until '54 (and more so, '55).

    As for being a "main street" store, the same basic plain brick design and dimensions would have been placed in the middle of a parking lot or a strip mall "plaza" throughout the 50s. Similarly, these stores often were rotated 90 degrees so that people could enter easily from the sidewalk (often from a bus stop) as well as park in front. The design is essentially similar to the plain brick boxes constructed by First National, National Tea and any number of other large chains in the 50s. Even later designs like the Safeway marinas and A&P centennials turned up on a sidewalk. Although stores in the middle of a parking lot or strip mall, became the norm, it wasn't until the late 1960s, that chains really abandoned new builds that could front directly on a main street in a small town or fit into an urban neighborhood. That probably reflected the introduction of larger superstores whose proportions precluded most main street or urban sites and the effect of 1960s civil disobedience (and broken windows) and better lighting, which led to greatly reduced use of glass in storefronts for supers.

  5. Hi, I believe thatn this store has a fully functionintg meat room. Meat rooms in a lot of smaller Acmes have been reduced in size and that space has become sales floor or Butcher Block space. The company does not cut as much meat as they did in thje 50!s and does not need
    as much space for cutters or wrapers or for massive Meat Boxs.

  6. I think you'll need to go back and enter the store through the entrance on Main Street... you'll kick yourself that you missed the fish-eye logo on the second door in the vestibule.

  7. Thanks for the tip! I will swing by and get a picture on one of my road trips. I've missed these door handles on other stores too.

  8. They are actually building a cvs right now in maple shade. On route 73 there is an apartment complex, fox meadow. They have a small lot in front of it that used to have a few stores in it. They are now building a CVS there similar to the one they just built in Cherry Hill on Brace road and route 70

  9. I just went shopping at this Acme a few weeks ago and enjoyed the experience. The store is very clean. The employees are friendly and helpful. Despite being a small store, they had everything I needed, and if I lived a bit closer to Maple Shade, I would shop there every week.

  10. Wow, cannot believe someone said this store is clean. I have shopped at many Acme's over the years and this is one of the worst. Employees seem to decide what they will put out in the meat section and only do it very late in the day, probably when folks are coming home from work. There is a large senior citizen apt complex right in back of the store but I do not see these folks shopping in the store often. The fruit and veggie section is very poor. There has to be a reason the store is still open but I am not sure what it is. Yes, it is on a bus route.

  11. A trip to the Maple Shade Acme is definitely worth it. Yesterday I went there on the way back from Philadelphia, and I was really captivated by the charm of the 50’s era grocery store. I needed to see that Acme tower and also that fisheye logo etched into the doors with my own eyes.

    One piece of advice: there are in fact two Acme locations in Maple Shade. GPS took me to the other one, which is nice but not as historic. Make sure you just put the address into your GPS or smart phone of 41 West Main Street, Maple Shade, NJ, and you’ll be fine.

  12. Who is Bill Haines and how do I get in touch with him. Gary L Haines @ or facebook me

  13. I used to stop there quite regularly on my way home from Pennsauken (enjoyed taking 537 vs. Rt. 38), I love the store, (hate big grocery stores) & I agree w/a previous commentator, employees are very friendly, the store is clean, but remember it's an older store. Will stop back in when I take a trip to Costco