Friday, February 11, 2011

"Trolley Square" Acme, Wilmington DE

Photos courtesy of Ben from Delaware

Location: 1401 North Dupont Street, Wilmimgton DE

This Friday is a 3 for 1 deal at Acme Style all in an effort to get some much delayed Delaware stores up on the blog. Ben, our Delaware contributor, has been sending in pictures for the past few months now saving me the trip down there. His collections will be making their way to the blog throughout the year and will include a wide range of current and former Acmes. My knowledge of these stores is slim to none so hopefully we'll be getting lots of informative comments.

We're starting off with the Trolley Square store in Wilmington which opened back in 1961. The store is going up a bit prematurely... only have a few pictures of how the store appears today with additional pictures from Google Street views. Ben might be getting more for us in the future and I will do updates to this if he does. Requests come in pretty frequently for this store so I decided to go with what I had for now. 

The picture above shows the current state of the store after a recent update to the Premium Fresh and Healthy decor. Probably the nicest upgrade of the old "SuperSaver" facade... ever.  And guess what you're NOT seeing in this picture? The pitched-roof! One of the last remaining in the whole chain. While no significant additions have been made to the store, most of it's original characteristics have been disguised. The front windows now covered over with the roof line completely hidden. And... what's worse... a drop ceiling has been added inside.  

The Google Street view image above with this Acme looking to have had a similar treatment as the Jersey City store with the dark green paint job. Judging from some of the current interior decor, this location looks to have had the Neighborhood Market decor previous to the recent remodel.

The black and white photos on the wall would have been left over from the last decor package. These local historic photos were also used in many of the Chalkboard Market decor stores. Notice the drop ceiling in the interior shots.

That's it for the inside. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of the interior in the future. For now, let's head back outside...

You'll notice a few additions that have been added to the building. All appear to be additional back room space. No word on whether or not the sales floor has been expanded. The press release from the 1999 remodel lists a lot of expanded services which would seem difficult to cram into this store's 23,000 square feet. Among others... salad bar, coffee bar and full-service Seafood. The press release is one of the most colorful I've ever read. Gets depressing towards the end when it's revealed that the the Trolley Square store is among 165 Acmes that were open in 1999. The chain is now down to 123 with 6 more closing by month's end.  

Update 3.2.11: Ben has sent in some additional pictures of the Trolley Square store...

Old logo still making an appearance on the outside.

Unlike the original pitched-roof set up, the Produce aisle is right through the entrance here. 

The apple windows seen on the front awning are repeated along the side of the building.

Pitched-roof stores usually had 9 aisles. This store may have lost one from an expanded produce aisle and market area. 

The location of the store right in the center of town is certainly a huge reason for it's continued success. Reviews of the store on websites such as yelp are less than kind. Two remodels done in within 10 years certianly proves that this location is quite successful despite it's age and size.


  1. Interesting how the Super Saver facade almost appears to have been designed to disguise the front of an A-frame/pitched-roof Acme. Too bad about the drop ceiling but it's nice to see the store in such nice shape- the new decor package must mean the store does decent business and is worth keeping fresh... no pun intended.

  2. When I drove into the parking lot in mid-December I was shocked with joy at the new facade treatment! Premium Fresh & Healthy green paint accenting the architectural features as well as the upper "windows" filled with apples on the mansard roof, and then burgundy awnings over the "fake windows." It was pure camp!

    The inside is bright any cheerful with the current deeper browntone colors. The wall decor signage is more substantial than the plastic used at Narberth. With 23,000 sq ft, the selection is slightly limited, but the merchandising was excellent! No clutter!

    I was last in this store in 1999, right after the Neighborhood Market remodel. The historic pictures, especially the old trolley cars were fun, but the decor package was pretty dreadful!
    But at the courtesy counter was a historic photo of the original A-frame store taken in 1961. I looked for that photo, but it's not there today.

    Significantly, the 1999 press release states that Craig Herkert is President of Acme Markets. During the six-month Albertson's merger transition, folks left Salt Lake City in droves. In the fall of 1998, Herkert came to Acme as Senior Vice President of Marketing, having started with Jewel in 1976. Today this same person is President of SuperValu, so he certainly is familiar with Acme. Obviously, like so many others, he did not remain very long as President, which clearly has been one of it's major problems over the last 30 years.

  3. Has anybody heard if Acme will be remodeling stores like manasquan and middlesex?

    1. No, But Acme Style Probably Knows. Hey Acme Style! Someone Here Wants To Know If Stores Like Manasquan And Middlesex.

    2. Middlesex was painted inside. No remodel.

      I haven't head anything about Manasquan getting remodeled.

  4. Haven't heard anything, but what do I know? All I know is those are two of the very few stores left with the checkerboard arch decor.

  5. Great post. I was actually planning to e-mail you about this store last week, believe it or not.

    I eagerly await more posts regarding Delaware and Maryland stores!

  6. I used to shop this store prior to the 1999 renovation. It's right in the middle of what was Wilmington's youngest & hippest neighborhood. It was always very tight and citylike, parking lot was great for fenderbenders. Great old bar across the street called the Logan House!