Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blast from the past! Secaucus, New Jersey

Classic Acme photos courtesy of smiley1999

Location: 1300 Paterson Plank Road, Secaucus NJ

The picture above dates back to the late 50's/early 60's. The photo was sent in by smiley1999 along with some other classic photos which will be featured in future posts. The Secaucus store was covered on the blog back in October 2009 in an extensive 3 part series chronically it's demise. A recap of the Secaucus saga can be found at the bottom of this post. Directly below is a picture from the original post which was taken in the store's final days in 2004. 

Although the store appears to have been enlarged over the years (looks wider in the 2004 shot than in the old black and white shot), I am quite certain it was not. The awning that was added since it's early days gives the illusion that the store had been expanded. The Acme building and it's relation to neighboring stores can be seen more clearly in the satellite images below.

The image above are the stores to the right of the Acme. You can see a portion of the strip in the photo below as well circa 2004. 

The Secaucus Acme is currently a CVS as shown above. A very nice farner's market has moved into the store to the left satisfying some of the grocery services that left this part of town when the Acme closed.

Now for a quick recap of the Secaucus Acme's demise... this was one of those rare occasions where the Acme wasn't interested in giving up. In fact, in the early 2000's Acme wanted to expanded and extensively remodel the Secaucus location which had been virtually untouched since it's 80's remodel. At that time it's only competition was a Stop and Shop (formally Edwards) across Route 3. The Walmart and Sam's Club had yet to come to town. 

Acme submitted plans to the landlord which included an expansion into the neighboring stores. The landlord balked at Acme's plans and their intention of evicting other tenants. Acme followed up by submitting new plans which called for the renovations of their current building only. The landlord refused to consider the new plans and informed Acme that their lease would not be renewed.

Quite an unfortunate end to what could have been the beginning of a very successful chapter in the story of the Secaucus Acme. In the years since the Acme left, many other tenants have left as well, at some points leaving nearly half the center unoccupied. A reshuffling of tenants to make room for the Acme expansion would not have been impossible. It also would have been an opportunity for the landlord to fix up the shopping center which to this day is still in sad shape. The Stop and Shop has since closed as well, apparently unwilling to compete with Walmart. The Acme would have been the one supermarket that the town of Secaucus could access without going out on to Route 3.


  1. Awesome photo of the store in its early days. I agree that the extension of the awning/canopy beyond the original facade makes it appear the building was enlarged when that's likely not the case.

    I'm amazed this location was able to do much business considering the size of the parking lot. Most Acme stores at that time were being built with parking lots that were three times larger than they needed to be, while this one- thanks to the strip mall- had one three times too small. As nice as it would have been to see this store expanded, I don't know what Acme was thinking because I doubt there would have been sufficient parking. The only solution I could see would have been adding a second entrance to the back of the building and running the aisles in the other direction (like Fair Haven) as there seems to be additional parking to the back of the strip mall. Then again, I'm not sure Acme would have wanted customers parking near the busy loading dock area, and it's likely that back lot was used for employee parking.

    Definitely one of the more interesting stories concerning Acme's plans for the northern NJ market in the last decade.

  2. Seacaucus opened in 1957 (Jan 15), so it had been open 47 years when it closed in 2004. By 1957, stores in the Philadelphia region were using a newer signature logo with the letters covered in plastic, but Seacaucus had an older look, indicating that local division management stayed with the tried and true. Size wise, I can't imagine that it was over 16,000 sq feet...pretty large for 1957. I remember the old blue and ivory metal sign in the back facing Route 3. It too was original from 1957.

  3. though the farmers market serves a purpose its a shame that there isnt a fullservice grocery in Secaucus. People that dont like the Walmart madness have to drive to the next town to go to something similar ( a Shoprite, of course) Too bad Acme didnt hang on a while longer. It could have got the Stop & Shop store

  4. Man, now I wish Acme had stayed in Secaucus longer. They could have snagged that Stop & Shop and put a new store there!

  5. This Acme holds a special place for a lot of people in my family, including myself, who lived in Secaucus. Though I no longer live in Secaucus (just work there now), I remember being baffled, like most, about how such a large but isolated town could be left without a supermarket. Stop and Shop (nee Edward's (nee FoodTown)) was always considered secondary because unless you lived east of Radio Av. and could walk there, you needed to get on Route 3 and by 2004 it was obvious that Mill Creek Mall was dying.
    The funny thing is exactly one year after the Secaucus store closed I went off to college in the Philadelphia suburbs, where I was blown away by Acme's market saturation down there!
    Most of the old-timers I know go to the North Bergen Shop Rite now, like Roy Mustang said, although I know some newer residents who shop at Wal-Mart. The same strip mall also had a Blimpie's for many years (it is now across the street), and until it moved sported a very vintage Blimpie's fish-eye/blimp logo painted on the building's rear exterior. Two vintage fish-eyes in one strip mall!

  6. I worked for acme from 1960's to the 80's on & off,then about ten years later moved to the sunshine state.It was a great company to work for and i know the people of Secaucus miss that supermarket dearly

  7. At eSecaucus, we have launched a petition to try and bring a supermarket back to town. Many people still have fond memories of the Acme.

    We have linked to your posts about the Secaucus Acme to bring our readers to your site to check em out.

    Carl Dispoto
    Managing Editor

    1. Thanks Carl! I'd sign your petition if I lived in Secaucus. I have very fond memories of the Acme too. Hope you guys can have another option besides the Walmart soon!