Friday, January 21, 2011

Soon-to-be former Acme, Fallston MD

Photo above courtesy of Michael Lisicky of Baltimore

Location: 2315 Bell Air Road, Fallston, Maryland

ABC2 News broke the story to Fallston residents
in it's January 4 newscast. 

The following exterior photos courtesy of Drew in Baltimore

The Fallston Acme comes to us through photos from several Acme Style contributors. I had hoped to eventually get to this store to experience it for myself but my hopes were dashed when the recent store closings were announced. Fortunately our contributors did an outstanding job capturing the store.

A classic "33M" format which appears to be in rather excellent condition. The red paint job is certainly an unusual treatment for an Acme. It is a huge improvement over the light green color that was used during the 90's. Interesting to note the shingles as opposed to the standard corrugated metal.

The Fallston Acme is closing largely due to the anticipation of future competition. Walmart is building a huge new store just up the street and the Acme is getting out of town before it opens. Plans have been underway since 2007 but have been delayed due to Walmart acquiring permits to build the store and to make necessary road improvements. The store was initially designed to be 147,000 square feet with room for an a possible expansion of 57,000. I can't find confirmation online as to what the final size will be. Either way... the store will be stocked full of low-priced groceries. Wegmans was also shopping for a site in Fallston but has decided to go with a site 15 minutes away in Abingdon. Construction is well underway there with a planned opening this spring.

The block letter logo sign is a very recent addition to the store. More details on that down below. 

A great exterior shot which gives us a clear look into the store. Can you name that decor? Let's head in and take a closer look...  

Produce shote courtesy of Gary of Delaware

Judging from the interior photos taken by two of our contributors, I would have to say this store is in exceptional shape. The 80's decor has been traded out for the late 90's "We gotta sell this supermarket chain" Convenience Store decor. Doesn't look too bad here. The 80's checkerboard floor is still in and place and is looking as good as I've ever seen it so many years later. 

The shot above is an excellent perspective of the Produce department of the "33M" store formats. During the 70's and 80's, these stores had an additional aisle running just under the edge of the drop ceiling. Produces cases lined the wall mirroring the cases on the left wall forming a narrow Produce aisle. Grocery shelving ran along the other side creating a true aisle 1. This aisle was removed throughout the 90's, sometimes during a remodel and sometimes not, in order to expand Produce. I would be interested to see the tile work here along the area where the aisle once stood. Did they try to recreate the checkerboard pattern where the shelving once was or just put down all white tiles? (Yep, these are the kinds of questions I need answers to.) The removal of these aisles certainly helped open up the Produce area which was often very cave-like in 70's and 80's stores. 

Interior shots courtesy of Michael Lisicky of Baltimore

You can clearly see here how well this store is maintained. Fully stocked shelves with merchandise neatly organized. And... stop the presses... no burned out lights!

Check out those aisle markers. Deluxe versions of the 90's Red/White/Blue aisle markers which I have only ever seen in Convenience Store remodels.

This is the only "Convenince Store" remodel I've seen with "Lancaster" branded Meat Department.

This store did not get the blue stripes and red blocks along the lower portions of the walls.

The Bakery Department in the front corner. Checkout stands straght ahead. (We're not following this guy... the guy you may have seen at the checkouts has a blue shirt and white shorts.)

Serious old-school clock here. These went into every Acme back in the early 80's. The old fish-eye logo still on the clock. The other section was used for advertisements that would be switched out every couple of months. I would imagine that the company who handled this no longer exists which is why the generic "Thank you for shopping with us" panel is now in the display. Oh, do I remember staring at one of these clocks just waiting for my shift to be done.

Exterior shots courtesy of Gary of Delaware

The red oval sign still on front as of October 2009, making it the last store in the chain to be upgraded to the block letter logo. The Newton and Princeton Junction stores in New Jersey both made it to 2009 with the red oval sign but closed that same year.

Other signs around the store had been changed out with the newer logo. Notice the interesting wordwork which runs throughout the shopping center.

Gary gives us a nice tour around the store...

And now back to Drew's more recent pictures where we sign the other signs having been upgraded as well. The letters have become more bold over the years.

Soon to be alot more space available in this shopping center.

Now for the aerial perspective...

The CVS is right next to the Acme. Somewhat of an odd layout for a shopping center. The stores or offices next to the CVS are tucked away from view from the parking lot.

The shopping center itself is tucked away from the main roads through the area.

Google Maps shows the Walmart under construction.

HistoricAerials doesn't offer much to see for this area. The shopping center had yet to arrive as of 1971.

The next available image is 2005.

The bottom half of this sign could now be replaced by "Shop at Walmart". Sad but true. Acme isn't the only chain being killed by Walmart. Won't be the last either. I've worked for two companies that have nearly been destroyed by the ruthless chain. Two reasons, among many, you'll never find me shopping in one.

Thanks to Gary, Drew and Michael for bringing us the Fallston store!

Update 1.26.11: Some additional photos have been sent in by Will which show the store winding down it's business. Closing signs are up in the windows and shelves are emptying out. We get a look at some additional departments in the store that weren't seen in earlier interior shots...


  1. The signs hanging over the aisles are from the 90's Red/White/Blue decor.

  2. Oh wait...just noticed you had already written that in the article! Heh. Disregard that then.

    Anyway, does this leave Mantua as the only store left with the Convenience Store decor??

  3. That's a good question. Tons of stores had it but they're all closed now.I think Mantua may be the last one with that decor.

  4. Did any store with the convenience store decor ever get upgraded to one of the later decors?

  5. Not as far as I know. The Convenience Store look was put into all the locations that American Stores had pretty much written off in the late 90's but needed to freshen up so they wouldn't look too neglected to potential buyers. Once Albertsons bought Acme they immediately began closing those dated stores. Newton (NJ), Fallston and Mantua were the longest to survive.

  6. Watching that ABC 2 video, it's nice to see how much customers valued this location. Seems like this Acme connected well with the community.

    Too bad Fallston will now forced to shop at Wal-Mart.

  7. I have to wonder if the Oxford, PA store has it. That store always intrigues me- it was a 33M replacement for a 50's store and it is reportedly in a lousy area, so I'm wondering if it got attention at one point before being left for dead?

  8. Great post. Are there any Delaware County posts coming soon?

  9. I am truly sorry to see that our "Fallston" Acme store is closing. Does anyone know which "Private" Grocery store is planning to move into this location? I've been told by the employees there someone is taking over...a "private store". Anyone out there who the private is?

  10. Rob - Oxford PA has been updated. The front of the store looks nearly identical to the old Bordentown store. Oxford even has the 3D block-letter logo.

    To the Anons - Not sure about Delaware County but stores from Delaware and Maryland are coming soon. Two contributors have already visited and photographed a bunch of stores.

    I haven't heard about Fallston being taken over by a private grocer but if it is... I would bet the farm that SuperValu is the supplier. Same thing happened at the Jersey City store.

  11. Hi, I don!t think that Super Valu is servicing the former Acme in Jersey City. The new owner is a Fine Fair Banner which is owned and supplied by General Trading of Carlstadt New Jersey.
    The Oxford Acme is only about 15 or 20 miles north on Route 1. The store is only about three minutes from the route 1 and ten exit. It replaced a 50@!s unit that was on the same parking lot as current store and was nocked down about ten years ago,
    The Phoenixville Acme haalso was a replacement for a 50!s Acme in the same lot also.

  12. Who asked about Delaware County? Are you looking for any locations in particular? Yeadon, Lansdowne, Woodlyn, Chester, Aston, to name a few?

  13. The interior of this ACME is almost IDENTICAL to the Acme post from Berlin, NJ. (The closed down decrepit one lol)

  14. Is there any company that could make replicas of the Acme fisheye logo clocks? I'd like to purchase one to go along with my Dark Side of the Moon and Dixie Square Mall clocks in my house :)

    -- Rebecca (