Friday, December 3, 2010

Classic Acme (and MORE)! Mantua NJ

Location: 222 Bridgeton Pike, Mantua NJ

CLOSED February 28, 2013

A sharp looking classic Acme from the outside thanks to the updated color scheme that spread from the neighboring Kmart. The new block letter logo was also added recently. Mantua may have been the last location to still have the red oval logo. In an unusual set-up, the old sign was was not built into the awning. The square box housing the sign was instead mounted to the awning. You can seen the mounting devices which remain in place around the new block letter logo.

This store still has the classic "33M" layout... although it may not quite as large as 33,000 square feet. The interior has the the "Convenience Store" decor which is well over 10 years old now. Prior to that, the store had "80's Remodel". Many elements from the 80's can still be found. From the checkerboard floor, to the Deli and Meat cases which remain in place since the 80's. Produce and Dairy have since had their cases upgraded. And the store still has the dreaded CSR stand! Haven't seen one of those in person in years. Although it's kinda blocked in and not utilized for Customer Service.

Heading inside...

Customer Service restored! The CSR stand is around the right-hand corner. 

The 70's and 80's Floral Department now is the "10 for $10" alcove. You can see the checkerboard floor here. Green(ish) for Produce. 

Still says it on the wall but there isn't much of a Floral Department these days. Mantua is one of the only I've been in that still has this decor. I'm usually photographing this look through the windows at abandoned locations. 

If you look closely at the Deli service case, you can see it remains from the 80's Remodel. The green stripe along the bottom of the case windows is the clue. You can see better if you click the picture to enlarge it. 

Not much to see here on aisle 6? Quite to the contrary. First of all... the aisle markers may have been hanging here since day 1!  This store opened sometime in the early 70's. The aisle markers were one of the very few elements in the stores that were not changed out during the 80's remodels. Seemed like a strange decision as they were looking a little dated even at that point. It's hard to believe that they haven't been replaced with aisle markers from stores that have closed which happens often at these older locations. 

Secondly... check out that "Price Accuracy Guarantee" sign! The ink has completely faded away. Just a shadow of it's former self.  Could that sign still be there from the days the scanners arrived at the checkout stands in the 80's?

Thirdly... no checker board floor here. The tiles in the aisles have either been replaced since the 80's or... never did get the checkerboard treatment as these tiles look quite old. It's more common for the permitter of the store to get a new tile treatment during light remodels and leaving the checkerboard pattern up and down the aisles. 

And last observation... which is hard to see in the pictures... the shelving here is still at least as old as the 80's Remodel. If not older. Being in this store was certainly like stepping through many different eras of Acme. It's a must-see for the serious Acme fan. Considering it's age and lack of upgrades, the store appears to be very well managed and staffed with friendly employees.

Currently has 12 ailes. Probably had 13 back in the day before aisle 1 was killed to expand Produce. 

Not much of a Bakery. The department is now filled mostly with sale items and displays. I would guess that the Bakery was added in during the 80's and was not part of the original store.

Back outside for exterior views...

Bad sun glare here. This store is very similar to the Jersey City location. I love the huge front windows that let you see the entire interior from outside. 

Some remaining Acme trucks are still kicking around. The logos are being removed as the warehouse house has changed from Acme to SuperValu. Trucks will no longer be branded with store logos. 

Still a far superior logo to the block letter logo of today...

Aerial shots show the Acme with the old sign on front. 

Still a "Big Kmart" from this angle as well.

Switch the view and the stores instantly update! New signage on both Acme and Kmart...

I took a couple of interior shots of this remodeled Kmart. Looks pretty good on the inside. This is not the deluxe remodel that other stores have received but it does have new bolder colors instead of just sticking with the orange and brown remodel theme.

As much as these remodels help spruce up these old stores, Kmart still seems stuck in the past. 

Outside of the Kmart looking down towards the Acme.

Not much of an evolution to be seen from 1995 to 2000 historical views.

The view below shows this shopping center arrived after 1970.

And now for the bonus content of this post...

Location: 631 Bridgeton Pike, Woodbury NJ
(Approximately 3 miles / 9 minutes from the Mantua Acme)

The Woodbury Acme, just a stone's throw from the Mantua store. There's not a whole lot to see here at this location. A standard 90's replacement store. Replacement for what? Well... turns out there was a very old Acme in this very spot. I had no idea until I just happened to drive by and see the huge Acme sign that still remains out at the road. We'll take a look at that down below. 

Woodbury recently received the scaled back "Premium Fresh and Healthy" look. Floor tile evidence throughout the store showa that the store had the deluxe Industrial Circus Decor prior to the recent remodel. You can read the press release for the remodel by clicking here.

Windows remain in Produce. They're often sealed over and covered with mirrors.

Not the most exciting department signage. The original PF&H decor had the signage backlit for a pretty cool effect. You can see an example here.

The Albertsons leaf. To me it's nothing more than a reminder that Acme is no longer American Stores. The good news... the leaf is gone from the latest round of remodels!

I can't help but wonder if this area used to look liked more like this before the remodel. I know, I know... gotta tone down the decor to direct all focus to the merchandise. It's all just looking a little too generic... and brown... for my taste. 

Still seeing read here while alot of the front signage of Premium Fresh and Healthy remodels have gone white. The windows of the foyers have been covered with pictures of apples.

Would you look at that parking lot! In all my years of researching Acme aerial shots, I can honestly say I've never seen an Acme parking lot this jam packed. And Acme is the only store here. No one is shopping at Mandee or picking up their dry cleaning. All Acme. Pretty impressive.

And now to the signage still left over from the old 50's store but now with the updated logo...

First time I have ever seen this giant old sign still standing in front of a modern day Acme. Are there more of these out there still servicing Acme stores?

Check out the aerial shot of the sign. It used to be a 3D treatment with Acme and Savon next to each other at the top. Red lettering on a white background.

Brand-new as of 1995.

The Acme is to the northern side. The other building arrived years after the Acme did.

The Acme all alone in 1967. I'm endlessly fascinated with how far from the road they used to build these stores and how huge the parking lots were. 

Crystal clear view from 1963. By the way, the road out the back is called Acme Way.

The Mantua Acme at the bottom, Woodbuy at the top with a relatively small ShopRite in between.


  1. Kmart remodels just puzzle me.
    My closest store got an outside paint job (brown, and red instead of orange), added a mini-snack bar (pretty much just coffee and an Icee machine) in front of the registers, and new shopping carts. No sign changes inside or out, or painting of the bland white walls. It wouldn't have killed them to replace the ceiling tiles in the store you pictured.

    Cool Acme though...didn't think there were too many stores like that left.

  2. This was not the only Acme in Woodbury. There was one at Red Bank & N. Broad (NJ 45). It's now a (surprise!) CVS.

  3. Hello Acme Style and followers. This is a hot off the presses. (Well, over two months old)
    Acme Style mentioned that the oval and block Acme letters were being fazed out from use on their trailers, and that was so until about two months ago when a very powerful executive from the Malvern
    Office called the Lancaster DC shop facility and informed them to cease and desist in the removal of the
    ACME name from their trailer as it would affect their taxes and advertising advantages. Now there are many trailers running around that are missing that great old logo, but what is left will remain. For now.
    And word has it that SuperValu has ordered 50 new dry trailers that are 53’ X 102” and sad to say, they will not sport the FAMOUS Acme logo. What a shame. Also Acme’s new pricing seems to be working well and they are starting to bring their old customers back into their stores.


  4. The K-Mart store looks like it was originally planned to be a K-Mart Foods or originally was one. K-Mart started looking for new partners, rather than "K-Mart Foods" operators in the early 70s. Some, but not all of these stores kept a K-Mart motif in their exteriors. K-Mart Foods operations generally went out of business around 1980. Those parameters would give you some idea when Acme first occupied the store.

  5. During the 1970's it was a big deal when K-mart opened! In several cases, Acme was the grocery anchor at one end and K-mart at the other. I'm not sure when Mantua opened but agree it must be from the early 1970's. What I don't understand is why keep the store open and not upgrade it or enlarge it, but spend money on a new sign that adds absolutely nothing. I was in the Mantua store 2 1/2 weeks ago and it is depressing.

    The new store in Woodbury, less than 4 miles away, opened June 28, 1994. According to "The Trumpeter", "The original store site was completely torn down and replaced with an Acme twice the size (approx. 60,000 sq. ft.). This was an amazing feat of engineering and operational skill due to the fact the location never closed during any of the construction!"
    The aerial views look like the new store was built in two parts, and I believe that is how it was done. In 1994, the decor was red, white, and blue. The new Fresh & Healthy decor package uses some strange colors. Sav-on Pharmacy looks to be neon orange-red.

    The original store on the site was a flat roof signature Acme that opened in 1957 (July 31). It was obviously enlarged if it was 30,000 sq ft when it was demolished, because in 1957 12,000 sq ft would be about right.

    And yes, Woodbury had a second Acme at 25 E Red Bank Avenue facing Rt 45. It opened in 1962 (Jan 10th). Not an A-frame, it was a flat roof and had the black mansard canopy with white Acme Markets signature across the front. It closed when the new Woodbury store opened in 1994, and is now a CVS.

  6. This place is just full of Acme info...The current Woodbury Acme was a Super Saver in it's former life and at the other end was a clothing material type store, I can't recall their name just now. Woodbury was one of the first if not the first Acme's that more than doubled their size and closed one or more stores nearby in order to "pull" the closed store's customers to the new location. In the case of the Woodbury store, they closed the Paulsboro Acme, #1047 in the center of Paulsboro on Rt. 44, and also closed the Redbank Ave. Acme just north of their current location.


  7. Matt said... " It wouldn't have killed them to replace the ceiling tiles in the store you pictured."
    Probably would have cost alot to do that but would make a huge difference. I have seen Kmarts that have received all new lighting which certainly helps them shake the 1970's feel. At the very least, they could paint the ceiling tiles. That's becoming common practice for grocery store remodels these day.

    Trex... Glad to hear some old trailers will be sticking around for a while. I won't have to try so hard to chase them down on the highway to snap a pic! Encouraging news there about Acme's new pricing. The circular looks to have been spruced up. Big improvement. But no more 10 for $10? (Too many stores do that anyway it's becoming kind of pointless.)

    Bill... I'm sure the sign changed was encouraged or even requested by the landlord since Kmart fixed itself up. Sharon Hill had the red logo until the landlord came in and put a new facade on the place. The only other red oval logo still around that I knew of was at the Fallston MD store. It too was recently changed out for the new with no other work being done to the store, even though it could use it. I would think with Kmart on one side and a new Kohls and Home Depot on the other... Mantua would do quite well if were fixed up. On to Woodbury... can't believe they rebuilt the place and kept it open the whole time! Those department letters look even more bizarre in person. They all have a weird neon colored outline around them. My camera didn't quite pick that up but it looks really odd.

    Trex again... the abandoned Paulsboro store will be coming to Acme Style in 2011. (Crazy interior shots included!) Do you know what was next door? Kmart? Jamesway?

  8. The Acme in Mantua does look like it was at one time a K-Mart foods (or was planned to become one). Just look at its exterior. It looks more like a K-mart front than a Acme Super-Saver front.

    Plus I think the reason why the Mantua K-Mart does so well is that there is no Wal-Mart or Target in the Area. The nearest of those two stores are both located in Deptford which is quite a hike from Mantua. There is a Kohl's next door but it's not really the same type of store that K-Mart is.

    Just to add on, the Shop Rite up the road on Mantua Pike (Route 45) is located next to a former Bradlees. The Bradlees has been sub-divded with a Joe Canal's liquor store taking the left and a Staples taking the right. However, in the middle, the Bradlees store front (a former Jefferson Ward) is still intact.

  9. How is the Mantua store doing business wise?

  10. Also on the trailer front, it looks like they've reversed course and actually made some new full-trailer decal designs - one of the trucks I just saw has a huge (and very nice) ad for Lancaster Brand meats. I've never seen anything like it on an Acme truck before - maybe they're being put onto those newly unbranded trailers?

  11. Mantua store looks like it TRYING to do a make over.... NEEDS A LOT OF WORK... It could still make it

  12. i worked at burlington k-mart briefly before it closed...what a DUMP! they never re-modeled except for a paint job. the sewerage was always backed up, the docking area flooded non-stop it had to get pumped all the time...2nd floor conveyer belt for the upstairs storage. it was a very old store of course but overpriced and i guess succumbed to like many businesses walmart being right across the street. now i fear for burlington, willingboro and maybe even mount holly (though i would expect not AS bad) acmes. if the shoprite rumor is true. i hear they want to build a shoprite where the kmart stood. that would definately be bad news for those acmes. friends of mine that work at shoprites tell me it is true, but i can't say officially it's definate. i am sure it would take a while though, but it could have potential to be turned into a grocery store if the money is invested. good news for mount holly is the superfresh on route 38 is closing although i feel for their employees. there is not a lot of competition really besides the mega walmart on route 38 further north on route 38. the food town never lasted...i believe it was also an edwards, maybe a giant at some point? and maybe 2 or 3 other names, but last time i seen it is a sports store, kind of like a dicks. mount holly also has a cheaper tax rate, i notice they are slightly cheaper on stuff than other acmes i would presume the tax break. i think enough is enough with all of these grocery stores being built. we do not need a billion within a 10 mile radius! i only go to walmart for stupid stuff like gm --- everything i ever got from their falls apart or breaks. maybe if it wasn't produced by over-worked 20 hour shift foreigners (no offense to anyone who is) but i mean it in a good way, but by americans who need jobs it would be better quality.

  13. I guess the Superfresh on route 38 closing is good for Acme. I must admit though, I live less than a mile from that store (Super Fresh Rt. 38) and it was convenient. Up the other end of my condo complex is the old Foodtown, Edwards, Super G. That was a Steve and Barrys till approx. 2009, but is now a Gregory's furniture that is going out of business and will be closed by September. Thats now 2 grocery stores in Lumberton/Mt. Holly closed up because of Walmart, and ShopRite. I hope that doesn't happen to the Mt. Holly Acme, though there weren't many customers there the last time I went there. I'm an Acme fan, but would love to see those stores occupied rather than vacant. They are both ancor stores and being empty is both bad for the plaza's, as well as the town. I'd also like to see something done with the former K-mart in Burlington. I believe that's been empty since 2009. That K-mart was built in 1974 and is 96,000 sqft.

  14. 1: The ACME got Kmarts exterior look
    2: The Exton PA Kmart looks a lot like that
    3: The newer ACME replaced 3 old stores, 1 being the abandoned Paulsboro one.