Friday, June 10, 2011

Acme and Former Acme – Smyrna, DE

Photos courtesy of Ben from Delaware

Location: 236 East Glenwood Ave, Smyrna DE

Thanks to Ben, we headed back to Delaware! This store may look familiar as it's a virtual twin to the Centreville store in Maryland. The layout is flipped here and this store appears to be smaller. The interior, thankfully, is not a match to the Centreville store. Smyrna has the deluxe Premium Fresh and Healthy remodel which is a little surprising considering how new the store is. Not sure what decor package it started out with. 

This store was a replacement to a pitched-roof model just across the street. Prior to starting this blog, it was one of only three pitched-roof stores I experienced while still an Acme. We'll get a look at the former store down below.

Let's take a look inside the current Smyrna Acme...

This must have been an early PF&H remodel as the bones of the former decor package appear to have been completely removed. The interior here, with the exception of the color scheme, more closely resembles a newly built PF&H store, such as Limerick, rather than a remodeled store like the Seaville NJ location.

Look closely above the ala carte station and you can see the warehouse styled ceiling. This store most likely had the Alberston's Marketplace decor prior to the remodel. 

Done with the new. Let's visit the old...

Location: 115 Glenwood Ave, Smyrna DE

Opened in March 1962. I stumbled on this location back in the early 90's, spotting the rear of the store from Route 13. Wasn't even sure if it was an Acme but had to stop to see. The only thing I remember for sure is that the interior had the Checkerboard Arch decor. I'm almost 100% sure that the store had a drop ceiling a the time. The front may have also looked as it does today. I don't recall seeing many of the pitched-roof store features I was hoping to see when I pulled of off Route 13 for a visit. 

The Power City looks to be closed with the building abandoned at the time of Ben's photos. 

Some seriously old-school parking lot lights. 

And of course the old Acme windows up on the second floor where the break room and bathrooms would have been located. 

An addition to the left side added after the Acme moved across the street. In fact, according to the aerial shots, this expansion occurred after 2006.

Love the parking lot here. Oddly the the store was built to face away from busy Route 13.

The old and the new...

Smyrna, like many other Delaware locations, seems to be going strong these days.

The old store looking abandoned here and having yet to receive the addition to the left side.

Shinny and new back in 2002.

The next available historical aerial view shows an Acme-less Smyrna. 


  1. cinnaminson was the only other store i seen with an ala carte station, is there any more that had one?

  2. Any idea what The Power City was? Reminds me of the 80's band "The Power Station" which covered "Get it On" by T Rex/Marc Bolan.

    The front of the long building to the right was a Centennial A&P which in 1975 moved to the building at the left of the parking lot. I believe the dates on the aerial view are inaccurate. Acme never built their current store until 2004 or 2005, not 2002. They may have bribed the landlord to force out Super Fresh just a few months before the new Acme opened. And not sure but I think the original A&P was later a "Roses" five and dime store before they moved to the later A&P/Super Fresh. You can still see an oval-shaped labelscar on the original A&P which could easily be mistaken for the Acme oval. Not sure but I think the original A&P was a Woolworth before Roses. Now the store is split into AutoZone, Family Dollar, and Movie Gallery (which just closed). H&R Block and a couple other businesses can be found around back. I visited the current Acme in summer 2007 and it surprises me they updated to the latest Sav-on signage. And funny how Acme waited to implement "warehouse" ceilings in their stores until after Albertsons took over. Wal-Mart/Walmart made the same transition in 1996, along with Genuardi's (before Safeway took over). In a way Safeway copied them on that. Michaels and AC Moore did the same thing in the late 90's/early 2000s.

  3. And I meant to say Wal-Mart/Walmart, Acme, Pathmark, Genuardi's, Dominick's (Safeway Chicago), Giant/Martin's, Thriftway, and Rite Aid all used the same style fluorescent lighting during the 80's and 90's. Kind of ironic is that long after they all phased it out, Walgreens and even Eckerd at some stores adopted it. I mean the main lighting used in circa 1993 red/white/blue Acmes. Not sure if this is trademarked by any company but I think either Sylvania or Philips might have created it. This stuff is sometimes the only way to tell these days if an Acme or Genuardi's is from the early 90's. Albertsons and Safeway have given each of these chains at least two rounds of new decor. I loved the remodels and new stores Albertsons gave Acme, but I hate the Supervalu looks with a passion. Safeway has done a lot to improve Genuardi's as far as tidying up stores. Starbucks is one example. But a number of stores were passed over, lost business and eventually closed last year as a result. As much as I miss their old look, nothing lasts forever (even though these stores seemed new yesterday!)

  4. Hey Anon, thanks for your comments! After reading you comments about the store's opening date, I did some more research to see what I could track down. I have not been able to find the exact opening date, but I can confirm that the store was up and running as of November 2002.

  5. The Mount Freedom NJ store has an ala carte station as well.

  6. The current Smyrna Acme formerly featured the "Industrial Circus" decor (which it was built with) until it was remodeled and expanded in mid-2008. The following link leads to an article that appeared in the local paper when the expansion was about to take place.
    Concerning the former Smyrna Acme, the pitched roof was in fact exposed until the very end although the current front did exist covering the original windows. "The Power House" is a church, which is why it looked abandoned on the evening that I decided to take the pictures, but it is still in operation and occupies the building. The church was also the one to add the expansion to the side of the building.
    All of the satellite photos show the new store before the expansion took place, which may explain the smaller size of the store. It was interesting to go inside while the store was being remodeled, because the addition was opened before the remodel took place in the original part of the store, so for the couple days or so before work started on the original part, the store actually featured both the original and new decors. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the store during that time.

  7. Sorry Acme Style about the dates. I was confused but now I really think Acme and Super Fresh coexisted! Why the new store needed an expansion I may never understand. When I first came upon the new store, I wrongly assumed the original A&P had been a Food Fair/Pantry Pride and maybe Acme Super Saver based on its design and labelscar. The Power City (not sure where "Power HOUSE" came from) in my opinion anyway looked like it had not been an Acme in a LONG time. Because remember in the Philly inner ring (to replace mainly pitched-roof stores) Acme bought several ex-Food Fair/Pantry Pride/Penn Fruit stores when they closed in 1979. Few of these buildings are even recognizable as former Acmes anymore, and Acme disguised the original tenants well in the case of Food Fair/Pantry Pride. Same with the ex-Pathmark in Clementon, which looked no different than a standard later 70's Acme. For that matter, even Acme starting back then seemed to be ashamed of the pitched-roof stores. And yet they never remodeled the front of ex-Penn Fruits like the one in Woodlyn PA (now Bally Fitness, "moved" to a new Albertsons type Acme) which replaced a pitched-roof model. Even the Marlton NJ pitched-roof Acme closed in 1973 when Acme bought the old Clovermarket in Cherry Hill (part of the first Clover/Strawbridge's store).

    Which brings me to the question: does anyone know if pitched-roof stores expanded/remodeled in the 70's had flat ceilings to cover the inside? A couple Acmes (both now long gone) that come to mind are the South Philadelphia store along with the one in Berwick (Bloomsburg area) PA.

    And sorry I am anonymous, that is just because my comments submit no other way.

  8. The lower-case department lettering looks similar if not identical to what Giant-PA is using in some of their new stores

  9. Lower-case letters are all the rage right now. Is Giant-PA adopting Giant-MD/Stop and Shop decor?

    You can see an example here: