Friday, December 30, 2011

Grand Finale 2011...
The Abandoned Acme of Paulsboro, NJ!

Location: W. Broad Street, Paulsboro NJ

For 2011's Grand Finale... and the 100th post of the year... we'll be visiting the abandoned pitched-roof store in Paulsboro, New Jersey. Closed in the early to mid-90's, this store remains virtually unchanged since it's grand opening day back in October 1968. A steady stream of requests for coverage of this store have been coming in since the blog began. The pictures you see here were taken all the way back in February of 2010. I try to keep a couple of goodies in the Acme Style vault so I don't run out of surprises. Despite the pictures being nearly 2 years old, the abandoned store remains to this day in the very condition you see here. joshaustin610 posted a recent picture of the in his Acme collection on flickr which you can see here. We can also hit the rewind button back to 2006 to see the store in better shape in trex354's collection by clicking here. Josh reports that the store closed around '93-94. I have no other information pinpointing the exact date. Judging from the interior, the store has remained unoccupied since the Acme closed.

Store #1047 had an unusual layout compared to the standard issue pitched-roof model. The entrance, down at the right corner of the building, leads directly into the Produce side of the store. Customer Service and the bread delivery room are on left side of the store, opposite the entrance side. Another unusual aspect is the lack of Produce delivery doors at the front or side of the building. It appears that all back room space is to the rear. This breaks from the more common layout which lead customers along the back of the registers to the Produce Department. This store also lacks the produce back room area which ran along the side of the store just behind the Produce aisle. I have been in a couple other pitched-roof stores that had this same type of layout... the former Reading store at Greenwhich and North 6th street and the former Williamsport PA store on East 3rd Street next to the Kmart. I believe the Phillipsburg store also had this layout.

Many pitched-roof stores stared out with this turquoise color scheme. The tiles were often painted red in later years. You can see the red paint wearing off at the Parkesburg store to reveal their original turquoise colors. The fish-eye logo sign long gone here. The Parkesburg store helps remind us of what this store looked like back in the day...

My chance to say it once again... this is the BEST grocery store sign EVER! Now back to Paulsboro...

The additional tiles stacked up on the far left windows cover the store office area in the corner.

No support columns for the the awning over the entrance. Earlier, more deluxe pitched-roof models had an awning extending across the entire front of the store as seen at the Clayton location. Strangely the pitched-roof model shrank in size and became less deluxe as newer stores were built. 

No magic carpets! Notice too how the doors are not designated as entrance and exit. As in other pitched-roof models, the doors would have remained opened for the entire day until the store closed at night. There was no second set of doors inside. A powerful blast of air greeted customers upon enterting which would keep the outside air out and the inside air in.

Now for a fascinating look inside...

You can see here that there was not a second set of doors.

The department signage on this side of the store is a bit puzzling. This is the first time I've seen cursive lettering for an Acme of this particular era. I would venture to say that the original Produce lettering was switched out at some point. The Deli sign in the back looks to be an after thought rather than the more commonly seen "Corner Deli" lettering. 

Notice the drop ceiling tiles at this location. Nearly all pitched-roof stores have exposed ceilings. Some ceiling tiles looks to have been replace after the Acme closed. Can't image they would be looking so white after all these years.

Pretty incredible produce graphics in the front corner...

Looks like the second bowl lost it's fruit. Can't tell what the box to the left is. Notice the banana standing all the way to the right.

Odd to see no Meat Department signage in the back of the store. Perhaps it was removed. The sign all the way to the left read "Satisfaction Guaranteed".

As best as I can count, the store had seven aisles. About the going rate for pitched-roof stores of this size. 

The lettering on this sign as well as the Delicatessen sign appear to be more contemporary than the other signage in the store. Doubtful that these signs are original.

Far more interesting signage at this side of the store. Essentially an early version of the 70's Colonial Decor package.

"Smoked Meat" department back in the corner leaving a very limited space for Dairy. The shapes used for the Smoked Meat sign were common in the decor of the 60's through early 80's stores. You can see them at the former Somers Point store by clicking here. A colonial light fixture may have hung from the bracket there on the right up at the ceiling line.

Some scars left by removed signs or graphics on either side of the Dairy Department.

And now for a look at the Virginia Lee Bakery!

Virginia Lee was busy back in the 60's. Baking bread and cranking out the stockings...

Photos courtesy of Dave W

I'm not familiar to the extent of the Virginia Lee branding throughout the store. Seems to be Acme's answer to A&P's "Jane Parker" private label brand.

Ahhhh... the good ol' days!

Customer Service office. The bread delivery room is behind the brick wall. Customers look to have been served from this side of the office. The "front" which faces down the Dairy aisle may have been covered over to allow for shelving to be added to that side.

The office here is eerily similar to the one I spent many a year in counting out tills.

Notice at this store how the pitched-roof extends to to the Dairy wall. In most models there's a drop ceiling added over the Dairy aisle. This was done in stores who's pitch was much higher than the one here. You can see an example of this at Parkesburg...

The small room just beyond the shelf and cabinets is were cashiers would come to pick up and drop of their register drawers.

Cabinet added when register and computer systems were upgraded.

And one final look of the store through the eyes of the Head Cashier.

Now for a brief look around the store...

These shots were taken back when I was a little less adventurous with taking pictures, hence the lack of closeups. Can't even spot any second floor windows here.

Aeriel views...

Information on this store comes to us from joshaustin610: Began as a Grant City when the center openend in the 60's. Then became a King's in the late 70's until that chain folded. Ames later took over the space. Josh isn't sure if the store remained open until the chain when under in 2002. 

Historical aerials... 





Acme drawing a decent crowd back in 1970.


As the sun sets on the former Paulsboro store, Acme Style signs off for the year 2011.