Tuesday, June 28, 2011

America Stores Annual Report 1978

(Click on images to view extra-large, readable versions)

And now for some extreme close-ups of the Acme store images...

Finally! A good look at the "deluxe" 70's Colonial Decor that I've mentioned but haven't had any pictures to show until now. (We have seen the basic decor at the Somers Point store.) One of the more deluxe elements of this package were the colonial styled lights up on the walls, which weren't working lights. Interesting to see them used along the Meat Department wall. They were more commonly used in Produce and Bakery. Interesting too that the Deli here is not the standard issue "Corner Deli". Perhaps that name got nixed as this Deli doesn't appear to be the corner of the store. If you look along the back of the meat cases (all the way to the right), you can see the brown and orange paneling that was used in the 70's decor. The panels are visible in the in the abandoned Bordentown and Rockaway stores where they were covered over during subsequent remodels.  

Check out the slate tile floor in the bottom left-hand corner. Standard issue in the 70's and early 80's Acmes. You can see a good close-up shot here. The Manasquan store still has the flooring in Produce. Probably the last store to have it. Nice wall treatment here too with the fake stone and wood planks behind the Produce sign.

The caption to these pictures indicates that this is a brand-new store but we can see from the signage that it's apparently a Grand Reopening. (Wow, do I love those banners!) Either way, this place got the deluxe treatment!

The signs above the front of the aisles were a mainstay until the mid 80's. I remember having to change them out a couple times a year. Not a fun project. The aisle markers here appear to have been designed to go along with the decor. You can see the more commonly used markers still hanging in the Mantua store. These were more of a generic marker that could be were to generate advertising income and remained in stores even through the 80's remodels. 

Very odd left side of the store. If you look closely you can see there are at least 12 aisles. Strange support structures below the dropped ceiling section. Looks as though this building may have been a former Penn Fruit store which Acme took over. The supports seem to indicate an arched ceiling which may be disguised by the drop ceiling over the center of the store. Not a standard 33M which was a popular back in the late 70's to early 80's. As great as these pictures are, we are still missing a view of Dairy and Bakery. The one thing I continue to be on the hunt for is a picture of the crazy gold and brown wallpaper used in the Bakery Departments. 

For all the Acme truck fans out there. Pretty cool seeing inside an old warehouse. 


  1. Funny, I thought Rea & Derick was done building new stores when the Acme Super Saver era started in 1969. They were sold to Peoples Drug eventually, which was merged into CVS in 1991. And that Alpha-Beta I was assuming was an Acme pitched-roof.

  2. Actually, Rea & Derick really kicked into high gear with expanding during the years they were owned by American Stores (1964 to 1984). This also led to a lot of smaller closed Acmes becoming Rea & Dericks, especially after Acme left central PA by 1982 (Columbia and Elizabethtown are some examples).

  3. http://www.philly.com/philly/business/124693283.html

    Acme's #2. I guess you could say that's also how Supervalu runs it - like #2.

  4. Also sad to see...

    ACME stores in 1978: 455
    Today: 117

  5. It would not shock me at all if Acme is in third place by next year. Giant is only .1 billion behind Acme and growing. They will be opening their first store in the Philadelphia city limits within the next few months and seem to be building around 3-4 stores a year. There have also been a lot of rumors that they will buy a more Genuardi's. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  6. I'VE ALWAYS DISAGREED with the methods used by this "annual survey" published by Food Trade News. For starters, they define the Philly "region" as the 5 core PA counties, plus 3 NJ Counties (Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester). Who decided that this was the definition of the Philly region? Why are we leaving out New Castle Co, DE? Berks Co, and the Lehigh Valley? Salem/Cumberland Co, NJ?

    Secondly, Wawa's revenue should NOT be included in this survey! If I go to Wawa to get a cheesesteak and a soda, that is not a grocery purchase. It's a restaurant purchase. Sure, they sell milk, bread, and eggs...but they are not a grocery store.

    I also disagree with counting ShopRite's sales as one "company" but I respect that a lot of other people think it's acceptable.

  7. Also interesting how it seems to depict checkout scanners as just a novelty ("well ya know if we get around to it")

  8. If I remember correctly... my store didn't get scanners until 10 years later! Sometime around 1988.

    I'm one of the people who thinks ShopRite sales should all be counted as one company. ShopRite appears to be a unified, corporate run chain to the average shopper. They're stores all follow the same general model and have consistent store-wide branding. And let's face it... Acmes die a quick death when a ShopRite opens nearby and it doesn't matter much who owns and runs that particular store.

  9. Hi, It is strange that New Castle County is not part of the Philadelphia Market. Acmes best stores are in this area. Shop Rites or no Shop Rites. Location Location Location is what makes Acme in this county. The Union considers all above the Canal as in the Philadelphia Market South of it and in the State Of Maryland as the Baltimore Market.

  10. Those aisle markers pictured here were also used in Alpha Beta markets on the West Coast. It appears from the picture they had "Acme" on toip in Acmes, while you can see in the following photo they had "Alpha Beta" on top in that chain's stores.


  11. The last historic photo is probably one of the two original Acme Markets that opened in Paterson, NJ in 1937. I don't know the locations, but it shouldn't be to hard to find!
    The self-service concept was so popular, that the company began opening these stores rapidly! Note the "Acme" script on the windows. When I started with Acme in 1959, the Tuckerton, NJ store still had the script on the windows! It was a metal front store that opened in 1947, ten years after the original Paterson store. We also stacked 46oz cans of juice in the window, just like they did in 1937!

  12. The Manalapan Acme got its 80s remodel in 1987 without scanners. I remember thinking that it was odd that they replaced the registers and the checkstands, but did not add scanners. The scanners came in about a yeaar later.