The 80's Remodel Lives On, Part 2
Location: 501 Adams Avenue, Philadelphia PA
You would be in for quite a surprise if you were to shop at the "Farmer's Best Supermarket." Two surprises actually. The first being the selection of groceries inside. The store is stocked almost entirely with Asian products. It's former name, "Hong Kong Supermarket", gave prospective shoppers more of a clue as to what was inside.
The second surprise... it's still an Acme on the inside! The 80's Remodel was never removed and is still in really good shape. Now, I didn't stumble across this by accident. An email came in back in September tipping me off to the decor in this store. That was even before I had confirmation that Sharon Hill still had the 80's look, so at the time I thought this may be the last living location with the 80's decor. I visited this store on the same day I went to Sharon Hill. 80's overload! Brought back a lot of memories of those exciting days in Acme's history. Never before had the company launched such a massive and extensive remodeling program. Remodels during the 60's and 70's focused largely on sprucing up the look of stores while keeping fixture replacement to a minimum. The 80's remodel was a floor to ceiling makeover essentially reinventing every aspect of the Acme shopping experience. There was one holdover from the 70's however... the aisle markers. They were not switched out for a more attractive design. You can see the old aisle markers in this picture from the Mantua store.
The entrance to Farmer's Best is Acme's old emergency exit on the right side of the storefront. The original Acme exit on the left side of the building and is still in use while the old Acme entrance is blocked off. So let's head inside...
The front corner of the store is now occupied by a small restaurant which is over to the right in the image above. The blue checkerboard area would have been the concourse between the grocery ailses and the checkouts. The interior entrance, which is shown, here lines up exactly where the Acme's grocery aisles would have started. You can see the transition from blue to tan tiles along this interior wall. Gold Bakery tiles are off to the right of the photo but didn't make it into the picutre. If you look all the way back to the rear wall you'll see "Quality Meats". Again... this is deceiving as the majority of this area is now the produce department. Acme's Dairy aisle would have been over to the right but has been walled in creating back room space.
Here we have entered Farmer's Best and turned to the left where we see Acme's old office and CSR stand area. The "Customer Service" lettering is from the Checkerboard Arch decor and was added when this store saw it's CSR stand eliminated in favor of a more traditional service desk. Back in the CSR stand days, there was no signage on the wall indicating where customer service was located.
It appears that the walls were repainted at some point. They seem to be in far too good of condition to have remained untouched since the 80's. There was most likely a blue stripe/window where "Customer Service" is now. Something similar to this. The original entrance would have been to the right of Customer Service.
You can see how the store was flipped when Farmer's Best moved in. The Floral/Produce department is now frozen foods. There is no Floral department today. Acme's entrance would have been back along the where the cardboard boxes are stacked.
It is interesting how the department names managed to survive on the walls. Generally when Acme closes a location all department names are removed. Decor items sometimes remain while other times everything except the paint is stripped from the walls. You can see at the old Woodstown location how everything was removed, while the old Newtown store had just the lettering removed.
It's really hard to believe how good the walls and graphics still look here. It's like the Acme never left. I don't have a date of when this Acme first opened but the building is a classic late 70's/early 80's building. Acme's old lights remain in the ceiling throughout the store. These hood lights were standard in early 80's Acmes. Farmer's Best added the flourescent tube lighting in recent years. I found a review online that mentioned the new lighting as a great addition to the store which had been previously quite dark.
"Fresh Seafood" along with the ship steering wheels would indicate that this was a remodel that happened in the late 80's. Earlier remodels had less flourishes here and looked more like the Seafood department at the Sharon Hill store. There is a small "Deli" sign on the orange stripe and a larger Deli sign on the upper wall. Didn't get a picture of those.
Check out the arrows taped on the wall directing shoppers to the Seafood department which is now located next door. Farmer's Best has expanded into the neighboring store space which is several steps up. There is also an entrance to this expanded area in the "Floral" department. Farmer's Best retiled the new space with a similar checkerboard pattern to match the rest of the store. Not sure whey they didn't just do away with all this decor. Certainly could not have cost much to strip the wall elements away and repaint the joint.
The deli cases have been pushed back from their original location. The darker tiled area would have been the employee zone at the Acme. Grocery aisles have been extended further back as well. As great as the walls still look, the rest of the store is in some serious need of help.
It was tough getting pictures of the back wall since the aisles extend all the way to the lowered ceiling section along the read wall. Security seemed to be keeping an eye on me as well.
Heading back outside...
Acme's entrance is now painted over.
Farmer's Best has expanded into this store which is probably a former drug store.
These images have been added recently. Formally the store had the letters H and K here which you'll see in the satellite images below.
This is the only historic aerial view available. Appears to have been a manufacturing facility.
This Acme is about 4 miles east of the Farmer's Best store. (Check out that packed parking lot!) The building to the right looks like it could have been a 50's Acme. It is missing many clues that would indicate it being a former Acme from what I can see in the aerial images. I passed by this store as I was leaving Philly but didn't stop. Farmer's Best was my last planned destination of a very long day and Roosevelt Boulevard is absolute murder. Traffic and a sea of stop lights makes going a mile or two last an eternity. I had my fill of Acmes for the day and needed to get back to Jersey! There's always next time.
Well... mission accomplished! The 80's remodel lives on in stores and here at Acme Style.