Friday, May 6, 2011

Bye Bye Bryn Mawr...

Sunny day photos provided by Greg Prichard

Location: 601 West LancasterAve, Bryn Mawr PA

The Bryn Mawr Acme opened August 11, 1956 and is scheduled to close on May 12 with demolition to begin shortly thereafter. Unlike many store closing on this blog, this one has a happy ending! A brand new "flagship" Acme will rise from the rubble of the old store. Construction is to occur over a 10 month period with the opening date set for next March... barring any delays. (And there have been numerous delays in recent years as all the details for the new store were worked out between all the various parties involved.) 

The overcast photos were taken during my visit this past February. Thanks to Greg's pictures we have a few images of the of the store on a much nicer day. Greg is a contributing member of the Radnor Historical Society. You can check out his "History of Acme Markets In Wayne" by clicking here

The tower seen here will not be spared. It will come down with the rest of the store. The one bit of disappointing news is that the exterior of the new store will be as generic as they come and will have little architectural interest. It's unfortunate that a more unique design was not created to fit in with the other buildings in town. The "flagship" description that Acme has attached to the project must refer to the interior only. Even with the new store increasing in size by 10,000 square feet, the Bryn Mawr Acme will remain among the smallest stores in the chain. 

Heading around the corner to the "front" of the store...

Customer Service is now located in this brick section that extends out to the sidewalk. Most likely an addition that was done with the 90's remodel. Front windows and entrance just beyond this section...

Another one of Greg's photos above. Put's the winter sky in my photos to shame! The pyramid added over the entrance during the early 90's. A small addition was also done to the right side which now houses the Deli and Bakery prep areas.

Acme is ready for it's close up! The Bryn Mawr store had a quick cameo in the movie The Sixth Sense. This scene takes place at approximately the one hour mark. Mom and haunted son leave the Acme looking very weighed down by the odd goings on in their lives. Mom decides to lighten the mood and starts pushing the cart faster and faster. They arrive at the their car all smiles with their tension broken for just a few seconds. And scene.  

In we go to see an alternative version of the Industrial Circus decor...

The Industrial Circus decor was revamped with a slightly classier look at some point. The bold, block letters replaced with cursive. Corrugated steal on department signs and aisle markers replaced with copper. Yellow checkerboard pattern on the walls above service departments replaced with all green tiles. You see other minor differences throughout the store. A similar version of this decor can also be found in the King of Prussia store. 

Can you spot the missing decor items above?

Strange signage here. The "Meat &" is virtually lost hanging so far above "Seafood".

The red columns have a wood-grain finish here. (Hard to see in this blurry photo). Notice too that slatted wood in place of corrugated steel in the previous version of this decor package. 

A kinder and gentler approach to the department signage from the old version of this decor package.

Above is an example of the more commonly seen department sign style for this decor package.

Dairy is the 7th aisle. I can't remember how many aisles there were exactly. All depends on whether they consider the first grocery aisle as aisle 1 or 2. 

Floorplan above is far from 100% accurate but it does give you an idea of how the store is laid out. The Deli and Bakery are located in a small addition to the store. The counters line up along the original exterior wall. Customer Service is also located in a small addition made to the front of the store. 

Dairy runs along this wall. The new building will extend past this alley and out to the street.

Looks as though this side alley will remain intact with the new building ending at about the same spot as the old. This may be the only side that will not be extended beyond it's current location. 

The Jaguar dealership next door. Acme will not be expanding the foot print of the store onto this property, rather a portion of the land will be utilized for delivery trucks to turn and back into the delivery bays on the new store. Remaining space will be used for additional customer parking. 

Acme has been eyeing an expansion onto to the Jaguar property since 1985. I'm not sure how long ago it closed but I believe it has been several years.

Update 5.14.11: The Acme has closed and the Jaguar has been flattened. For additional information and pictures of the leveled car dealership over at BrynMawr-Galwyne Patch, please click here

Up for some aerials...

The Deli and Bakery addition clearly seen here.






Out with the old and in with the new...
Check out renderings of the new Acme here.
(Click on the aerial rendering to switch to the exterior rendering) 

To anyone who lives near this store, if there is any chance you can snap some photos as the old store comes down and the new one goes up I would greatly appreciate it! I will post any photos that come in to keep us all in the loop as the new "flagship" Acme takes shape. See you at the Grand Opening!


  1. That store must do very well if it's getting replaced before other locations much more in need of an update. It looks to be in fantastic shape, although there's probably no telling if the infrastructre is sound or is in desperate need of replacement. I like the modified Industrial Circus decor- looks less goofy, but not to the point where it lost its character.

    I wonder why the new building isn't being built towards the back of the property? I can't help but think it would be more noticable from the street of the building sat along the back edge with the parking lot separating it from the street? Maybe the neighbors don't want a building in the backyard but I think I'd rather that than a busy parking lot with headlights all over the place at night, not to mention a glowing ACME sign.

  2. A lot of zoning boards are big on buildings being up against the road, so that it's pedestrian friendly and doesn't interrupt the flow of the streetscape. When the Shops at LaSalle in Germantown was built a few years ago, people were throwing a fit about the Fresh Grocer being so far away from the road; they considered it a slap in the face to all the people who walk, not to mention completely out of place in the neighborhood. Considering there's not a single drive-thru pharmacy on the Main Line, not even as far out as Paoli, I'm sure they probably have rules governing the placement of the buiding as well.

  3. Great post, Acme Style, and I'm glad I could contribute some photos. The Bryn Mawr store is a relic, one that is unique and fascinating to visit (from an historical perspective), as it seems to be relatively unchanged in form and layout since the '50s, and it is unlike the other enamel-clad stores from that era. However, in the end it is just too cramped and has too poor a selection. I have relatives nearby who won't shop there because of these inadequacies. The renderings of the new store are plain and boring, adopting the kind of pink and tan facade colors that are found in the Devon (Strafford) store, for example. It's a shame, but it is nice to know that Acme is remaining committed to Bryn Mawr by expanding and updating their presence there.


  4. What I find so ironic is how several intact smaller and older Acme/A&P (Super Fresh) stores are found in richer areas such as the Main Line. Small parts of Wilmington DE are the same way. For example the Trolley Square Acme is less than a mile from the Delaware Art Museum. Stores like Acme in Sharon Hill and A&P/Super Fresh in New Castle DE are exceptions to the rule. Poorer areas around Philly are a goldmine if you like a scavenger hunt for abandoned/repurposed grocery stores of all shapes and sizes. I guess Acme these days has to balance competing with Save-A-Lot in some places, Whole Foods/Wegmans/Trader Joe's in other places, Giant/ShopRite in yet other places, and income/crime/shoplifting trends. Even then their stores can die when they are cannibalized by their own expansion plans. That happened in Secaucus.

  5. Credits:
    1. Sharon Hill PA Acme
    2. Bryn Mawr PA Acme
    3. Penn Valley/Narberth PA Acme
    4. Wynnewood PA Super Fresh
    5. Gladwyne PA Super Fresh
    6. New Castle/Collins Park DE A&P/Super Fresh
    7. Marlton NJ A&P/Super Fresh
    8. Pluckemin NJ A&P
    9. Silverside (Wilmington DE) A&P/Super Fresh
    10. Dresher PA Acme
    11. Maple Shade NJ Acme
    12. Audubon NJ Acme (was Penn Fruit)
    13. Haddonfield NJ Acme
    14. Westmont NJ Acme (was Super Saver)
    15. Newark DE A&P/Super Fresh
    16. Stevensville MD Acme
    17. Sea Isle City NJ Acme
    18. Beach Haven NJ Acme
    19. Clayton NJ Acme
    20. Cape May NJ Acme
    21. Chestertown MD Acme
    22. Trolley Square DE Acme
    23. Oxford PA Acme
    24. Pike Creek (Wilmington DE) Acme
    25. Germantown (Philadelphia PA) Acme
    26. Andorra (Philadelphia PA) Acme
    27. Fairfax (Wilmington DE) Acme
    28. Manasquan NJ Acme

  6. And I'm sorry, I meant to include these:

    1. Center City (Philadelphia PA) A&P/Super Fresh
    2. Arbutus MD A&P/Super Fresh (being sold)
    3. Dover DE Super Fresh "Futurestore" (being sold)
    4. Milford DE Super Fresh (former Safeway, being sold)
    5. Mantua NJ Acme (cancelled Safeway)
    6. Willingboro NJ Acme (still has 1990-1995 decor)
    7. Trooper (Norristown) PA Acme (was Super G)

  7. i think it's a very nice looking acme considering its age, but hopefully the new one will do as well, if not better. 10 months is a while if people are dependent on that current location.

  8. The old store is quite nice considering it's age. The pictures don't capture how impossibly cramped the store is. The grocery aisles are very narrow. Pushing a cart around the store is a challenge. That said, the store has been very well maintained since it's last remodel.

    Rob: I would guess that moving the store to the back of the parking lot would have added a lot of additional cost. It's probably easier to build right were the old store already existed. Would have been nice though if they made the street facing sides of the building more inviting.

    Greg: Thanks! And thank you for your photos (which are much better than mine)!

    Anon: The Secaucus Acme closer was due to the store losing it's lease. Acme had expansion plans but the landlord rejected them. There lease was not renewed. It's a shame because that store would be doing very well now. The Stop and Shop across Route 3 closed and the Walmart SuperCenter there is a nightmare to get to.

  9. As of last sunday, the jaguar was halfway torn down, and the acme was having the shelves, freezers, decorations and spotlights removed. Down the road there was a CVS which looked just like an acme it was towards villanova.

    1. Good call! That indeed was the Rosemount Acme

  10. A link to an article with pictures of the crushed Jaguar dealership has been added as an update. (Under the last Jaguar pic above)

  11. It is having asbestos removal done now

  12. you can Kind of see the outline of the fish-eye logo on the tower, so I assume that it never had the red oval logo. I wonder if I can get a brick from it...

  13. IT'S FLAT NOW!!!!!!!

  14. Take a picture and send it in!

  15. Here's a short video of the tower coming down:


  16. when they knocked it down, I got a brick out of the rubble. It was the only whole brick I could find. I might eventually build it into part of my house.

  17. I hope to be working there next week. Maybe this is turning point for Acme. I hope everyone's excited for Acmes return to Bryn Mawr!

  18. Really enjoyed this post. I used the Brwn Mawr Acme for nearly 40 years. Great store...but indeed small inside by the end and really the guts of the building greatly needed replacement... the restrooms were in the basement, that's how I know! Plus it would have a garbage smell at times...due to that area being in the end, inadequate as well most likely.

    I haven't been to the new one, just driven by. It looks great. I approve of how they made the front towards the homes , rather than the RC church. ( our lady of good counsel)

    Before the front opened on to a small ally of the parking lot and now it opens to the whole lot. I dare say they had to put it right up against Lancaster Pike as a nod to the homes on San Martino Ave. ( which the new front faces) that is, lessen the impact of operations as much as possible to its residential neighbors.

    and imo it's a better use of again what was a small ally between the store and Lancaster.

    The Jaguar dealership was empty for many years indeed...another car dealership was beyond that...and that was, for a few years, a food specialty shop of Clemmons stores called "Food Source"

    Very nice store,and seemed popular, but in the end too small

    I remember the day it opened. Bryn Mawr Pizza is across the way on the other side of Lancaster. the old guy behind the counter was depressed and kept looking at the new place. Food Source had lots of take out etc.

    I told the guy, "You'll be here when they are gone. " He brightened and indeed such was the case. BM Pizza is still cranking out great pies and FS is a fading memory.

    Thanks again for your great posts!

    1. You're very welcome Anne! Thanks for all the great comments!