Friday, March 18, 2011

Unusual-decor-Acme, Centreville MD

Photos courtesy of Ben from Delaware

Location: 611 Railroad Avenue, Centreville, MD

Got another 3 for 1 deal for everybody today thanks to Ben and his continuing coverage of the Delaware and Maryland stores. Today we'll be checking out 2 stores and 1 former store in Maryland. The first...  the relatively new store in Centreville which opened in March 2003. Doesn't look like much at all from the outside. The dreary weather isn't helping things either. What's even more surprising is the interior... a decor package not yet seen on the blog and certainly one I have never come across. This may be a one-of-a-kind. One would hope anyway. 

The party continues!

Here we go...

Looks like we time warped back to the 70's. Could make someone wonder if the store was built by another chain which bailed at the last minute. That isn't the case... the store was in fact built as an Acme. It's odd to see such low-end decor at a time when Alberstons was taking Acme in a higher-end direction.

Reminds me of Pathmark's department signage of the early 80's... but less modern. 

Rare to see baking supplies get their own signage like this. 

Full service meat and fish is to the left of the cases.

Something very interesting that Ben noted... the service departments are not tucked under drop ceilings. They're fully exposed to the store creating more of a warehouse type environment. Strange though that the ceiling is tiled with old-school fluorescent tube lighting... creating a very unlike warehouse feel.

Very little variation of the floor tiles throughout the store. 

This looks more like "the uglier the better" style of ShopRite.

The wood paneled signs are pretty cool but seem more appropriate for a discount store environment. 

This store was built in the "Albertson Marketplace" and "Acme Theme Park" days. Can't imagine why it didn't get one of those standard packages. Has anyone seen this decor at any other locations?

Google Map view on a more pleasant afternoon.

Acme gas station! 

Aerial shots are very limited for this location. Bing Maps does not have close-up views.

The former Centreville Acme was located at 211 East Water Street, which turns into Railroad Avenue. The new Acme is a 1/2 mile from the old. The High School is located just beyond the Acme.

I believe this tiny store, with it's 4 aisles and 3 registers, made it well into the 90's. Did it remain open until the new store was built? I seem to think it closed years before the replacement store opened.

This photo is from Gary's collection over at DC Grocery. There used to be several pictures of this store on the web years ago. This is the only one I was able to find now. Google Maps gives us some nice views of how the building looks today...

Very nice repurposing of an old Acme. Check out the Acme sign post still standing over to the left.

I'm hoping to be adding some updates to todays posts as information comes in from those familiar with the Acme scene in Maryland.

Update: 3.21.11: Since this post went up, emails have come in and comments have been posted with additional details of the history of the store. I've compiled some of the info to add here to help complete the story of the Centreville store. 
  • The Centreville store, along with it's twin in Smyrna, were the last two stores built by Acme before Albertsons fully took over the planning and construction of new stores.
  • Centreville's gas station brings in a quarter of the store's weekly business. The Acme in Smyrna and the Philly store on Red Lion Road have gas stations as well.
  • The cases from the Centreville store came from the closed location in Millsboro, which had been expanded and remodeled back in 2001. The former pitched-roof store received a $5 million but lost $1 million in it's first year due to road construction along Route 113. There were also union issues which hastened this store's closing as well. You can check out the Millsboro store by clicking here.
  • The new Centreville store sat as an empty shell for months as union issues in the district were resolved. 
  • The old store, which had opened in 1952, remained in business until the replacement store opened. 


  1. What an ugly, uninspired mess. Inside and out, it looks more like a BJ's/Costco. The entrance area on the outside looks like an afterthought and the decor package is dreadful. The only part I like are the wooden signs- too bad that idea wasn't built upon. You're absolutely right that it looks like another store that was taken over by Acme at the last minute. Maybe it was supposed to be a new look that ultimately proved unsuccessful, and for good reason?

    I'm pretty sure I remember pictures of the old store still open as the new one was being constructed, so this was likely a direct replacement for the Water Street location.

  2. If I had to take a guess, it might have been Albertsons trying several different design packages and concepts before ultimately going with one standard design. I'm trying to picture where the PFH stuff came from, though. I've seen recent-ish remodels, primarily to bare-bones Marketplace variants, that use PFH markers regardless of decor. I can't imagine that this was remodeled recently, however (and if it was they'd probably just go entirely to PFH)

    There's a store constructed around this time - Pennypack - that used a decor that I haven't seen in any other Acme so far. Unlike this one (which I agree doesn't look that great), I've been able to find pics online:

    That one I like to call the "awning" decor, but I've heard that it was actually officially called the "Marketplace" decor internally. (The Marketplace decor as described and pictured here is usually referred to as "the Jewel interior" but I don't know if that's the official name. "Acme Theme Park" is officially named "Grocery Palace".)

  3. On Dec 28th I visited the Centerville Acme, and was equally shocked by the wooden packing crate decor as well as the clutter throughout. Obviously Dan Sander's decluttering program hasn't reached Centerville! The PFH aisle signage clearly do not go with the packing crate decor, which simply looks cheap. It's time to finish the PFH upgrade. The old store at 211 E. Water Street opened in 1952, and remained open for 51 years! Unbelievable is all I can say.

  4. was the design team on the pipe when they did this store? lmao sorry i mean it just looks like they where trying to create frankenstein. but at least the acme's there and people got jobs on the brighter side.

  5. I really don't think that the interior looks that bad at all. I have never been in in but judging from the pictures I really don't think it looks that bad. The exterior is very plain in my opinion and is way worse than the interior. I was also shocked to see an Acme gas station at the store. That is the first time I had ever seen one. I am from the Philadelphia suburbs (Northern Montco) and I know Giant has a several gas stations at their stores but I never knew Acme had their own stand alone stores. All of their gas rewards points where I am from are redeemable at the local Sunoco. i think it would be great if they made a good attempt to expand their gas business. Hell, they should give Wawa a run for their money and start opening gas/connivence stores with Lancaster meat hoagies and bucks country coffee, i know I would shop there in a second!!

  6. There are gas stations at two other locations,Smyrne,Del and in Philly at Red Lion and Bustleton. As for the decor, it was their crate theme for the farm area location. All the equipment for this store came from the remodeled/closed store in Millsboro,Del.

  7. Matt... the pictures on Photobucket seem to be some other store. I'm confused by the captions that all say "After sold to Khourys". This is an Acme decor... the one difference is where the signs in the Photobucket pictures say "Fresh", the signs in Acme say "ACME". I passed the Pennypack store on my last road trip. Wish I had stopped in.

    I found out much later that the decor referred to on the blog as "Alberstons Marketplace" actually came from Jewel. Albertsons adopted it after purchasing the company. I've also been told that the "Acme Theme Park" is officially known as "Grocery Palace". I need to update the decor posts to include the official names although I won't be renaming the decor packages on the blog cause it will get too confusing since the names I gave them really stuck.

  8. Wow. That's some interesting decor. I don't think I've ever seen it before.

  9. Stopped by this store tonight and it no longer has the Crates and Stripes has Quality Built. Looks so much more nicer. I'll stop to get some photos for the site.

  10. That looks like what I'd call the worst of what Pathmark and A&P could ever come up with. Good god.

  11. Actually there is an Albertsons in Bakersfield, CA that has a similar interior.
    It still has the interior.
    1520 Brundage Ln, Bakersfield, CA 93304