Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pick of the Day!

Acme/ Shop-Rite - Philly Southwest - Island Ave
Image above courtesy of Josh Austin

Location: 2946 Island Ave, Philadelphia PA

For our second "Former Acme Pick of the Day", we'll be taking a look at this ShopRite located in Penrose Plaza. The store began as an Acme sometime back in the 70's. Views from the Historical Aerials website offer no clues as to the evolution of the store. Grassing fields in 1971 with the next available view in 2002 where the building looks much like it does today. The shopping center underwent a major expansion back in 1986 which included the addition of a Clover Department store which has since become a Kmart. The Acme was most likely remodeled around that time but there is no information available of it being expanded along with the rest of the center. My personal knowledge of this store is absolutely zero.

Now let's get to the very odd developments here. First off, the Acme received a significant remodel, both inside and out, sometime in the early 2000's. The Acme at 8200 Roosevelt Blvd, which you can see here, has a nearly identical facade. Secondly... just a few short years after investing heavily in this store, Acme bailed and sold to their most dreaded competitor ShopRite! As we have seen many times over, Acme takes every measure possible to prevent another supermarket from occupying one of it's former stores... most especially ShopRite! From the satellite views, I'm not seeing any nearby competition that could have prompted Acme to leave the location. The third odd development here requires a look inside...

Thanks to otterphoto for the pictures posted on flickr! Can you believe Acme left behind all of it's decor for ShopRite? And that ShopRite just left it all in place? Clearly some sort of agreement was worked out here between the bitter rivals. Why else would Acme just leave everything behind? At the very least, they would have pulled down the department signs around the store. Hopefully someone can add more to the story here in the commenting section...


  1. Two words. White flight. Acme always pulls out of areas once they become majority-black neighborhoods. Shoprite seems to be doing well in those areas, so I don't know why Acme couldn't have.

  2. Before this former Acme remodled and expanded, it was a classic 33M size store with the Super Saver front and it had the 80's decor.

  3. I guess Acme ran out of stores that needed hand-me-down department signage?

  4. Although I know many people don't care for that style of decor', nice to see that Shop Rite didn't really make it seem that out of place.

  5. This was ACME 1520. It opened in 1979 and replaced a pitched roof store at 58th and Lindbergh. It's located in Korman built Penrose Plaza in an area once known as "The Meadows" in Southwest Philadelphia

    The store had a major remodel in 1987 when business was good. A&P/Super Fresh was across the street and Pantry Pride and later Shop n Bag were a couple of miles away. Not much competition. Yeadon Acme was a few miles away.

    The store originally featured the brown Super Saver front with the fish eye logo. The red oval logo was present until the 1999/2000 remodel.

    The area declined in the 1990's but the store remained popular because of the lack of competition and the popularity of the shopping center and Acme's lottery machine. Minor remodels took place during the 90's and the dairy department was expanded to fill the entire length of the store.

    In June 1997, a customer entered the store and critically shot the lottery clerk and shot the head CSR in the shoulder. He went through the store and killed a customer and killed himself at the store's exit.

    Kmart replace Clover as the other anchor and Acme expanded in 2000 by building an addition in an empty lot that had been reserved for the store since it opened. The area had become high crime and dangerous at night. Acme seemed to like the location even adding a Starbuck's to a store that had a high volume of food stamps and become known for shoplifting.

    After building an almost new store and after all the competition closed, they turned the store over to Shop Rite in 2003.

    Shop Rite continues to do well with the building of the Philadelphia main post office across the street and expanded into the former Rite Aid next door. Rite Aid and Staples took over the Super Fresh across the street.

  6. It's possible that the lease was simply up, and they turned over the entire store with fixtures and all to Shop-Rite, but if that was the case I would have think they would have used some of the newer fixtures (like aisle markers) for older stores.

    The other theory is that Acme's still trying to protect their stores in Montgomery County with not giving up Collegeville; even though LImerick's closed there's still stores in Phoenixville and west Norristown that aren't far away, and could easily take some damage from ShopRite (not to mention Wegmans and Giant already in the area). In the case of Island Ave Acme's long since moved out of that area; the closest store is Sharon Hill, which really isn't even relatively that close.

  7. In the same photostream you can view the 58th and Lindbergh store:


    The plan was to build a strip mall around the store. It never happened.

    It became a Thriftway. Crime in that area was too high for Thriftway. The store was firebombed once.

  8. Vintage Acme ad announcing the Grand Opening of this store from May 1979:


    Philadelphia Inquirer, - Friday, June 20, 1997

    An elderly man brandishing a handgun walked into a supermarket in Southwest Philadelphia yesterday and went on a shooting spree, killing a customer, injuring two employees - one critically - and then killing himself with a bullet to the head.

    Police said Drue Cade, 69, a retired shopkeeper, entered the Acme market at Penrose Plaza shortly after 1 p.m. and began firing a .32-caliber Charter Arms revolver.

    The motive for the rampage was unclear, although he left behind a note that read in part: ``I don't like the way people are try to hurt me. I would like to kill a lot.''

    Detectives also said they were investigating, but had not confirmed, reports from witnesses that Cade was angry because someone in the store had called him a homosexual.

    Residents in the West Philadelphia neighborhood where Cade lived described him as cantankerous and combative and recounted a string of run-ins over parking, graffiti and other matters. Some said he had threatened them with violence in the past.

    Yesterday afternoon, Cade parked his gray Buick LeSabre haphazardly in the grocery-loading area outside the Acme , with the engine running and the radio on, said Inspector Jerrold Kane of the Homicide Division.

    Cade muttered ``I can't take it anymore'' as he walked into the market, employees said.

    Once inside, police said, he asked a male worker: ``You think I'm a homosexual?'' The worker's quick reply: ``I don't think anybody's a homosexual.'' It may have saved his life, police said.

    Turning to his right, Cade confronted Geneva Smith, 40, a veteran employee from Southwest Philadelphia who was behind the customer-service counter.

    ``He said something to her and then shot her in the chest,'' said Kane.

    Other officers said Cade mumbled: ``You didn't treat me good.''

    As employees and customers dove for cover or huddled in aisles, Cade headed for the checkout counters. There, he shot another longtime Acme employee, Angela Testa, 40, of Southwest Philadelphia, in the right arm. The mother of a city homicide detective was shopping in the market and rushed to help Testa, shepherding her to a Rite Aid next door.

  10. Cade, meantime, walked to the rear of the store. There, he found Steven B. Jeffery, 30, of Southwest Philadelphia, pushing a shopping cart.

    Cade shot Jeffery in the chest, killing him, police said. He then started for the front of the store, police said, where he turned his revolver on himself, firing a shot into his right temple.

    James Peterson, who was making a delivery, was in the same aisle as Jeffery and saw him die.

    ``This guy walked up to him . . . and he shot him in the chest, and then he used another shot on him. And then after that, I turned away and I heard another shot, and they said he shot himself,'' said Peterson.

    Police found the revolver near Cade's body and a five-page letter underneath him. One investigator, Sgt. Al Strong, said the letter did not state that Cade intended to commit suicide, but did indicate that he planned to do harm ``to bad people.''

    Another homicide investigator said the letter read: ``People is no good. I would like to kill a lot of people. Tell my wife and kid I love them. I don't like the way people are try to hurt me. I would like to kill a lot.''

    Police said they could find no evidence that anyone in the store had taunted Cade. No one in the store knew him, investigators said, and it was unknown whether he had been in the Acme earlier in the day.

    Smith and Testa, the two employees, were rushed to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Smith was in serious condition last night; Testa was treated and released.

    Jeffery, the slain customer, lived with his mother, a postal worker, on South 46th Street near Woodland Avenue. There was no answer yesterday at the brick rowhouse, fringed with purple petunias.

    ``He's just a nice kid,'' a neighbor said of Jeffery. ``He sits out on the porch.''

    The shootings at Penrose Plaza, at 2910 Island Ave. in the city's Eastwick section, shattered a quiet spring afternoon and terrorized employees, shoppers and passersby.

  11. Angela Thomas, 26, went to the Acme yesterday to cash a check and walked into mayhem.

    ``The manager pushed me out and screamed, `Don't go in there! There's a man in there with a gun!' '' Thomas said. ``I jumped in my car and backed up to Taco Bell and I asked for the manager and asked him to call the police.''

    John McAllister, an Acme employee who was in a freezer area of the store in the rear when the shooting began, said his first thought was that the market was being robbed.

    ``Customers were panicking,'' he said. ``They came in the back room. We opened the back door and let them out.''

    Afterward, a score of stunned Acme workers huddled in small groups behind yellow crime-scene tape on the sidewalk in front of the store. One woman's mascara was streaked from crying. Some employees called loved ones on a pay phone to assure them they were unharmed.

    Cade and his wife, Alma, lived above a now-closed corner store where he sold soda and candy before retiring about 10 years ago, neighbors said.

    No one answered the door yesterday at the green-brick building in the 900 block of South 59th Street. A faded sign read: ``Fountain, Coca Cola, Candies.'' Residents said the Cades had lived in the neighborhood for about 30 years.

    ``He had a very peculiar attitude,'' said Lewis Fisher, 90. ``[He said] everybody was wrong. Everybody was doing something to him.''

    Residents said Cade would purposely block their cars with his and sometimes would threaten them.

    ``He was going to throw lye in my face, and he said he was going to kill my daughter,'' said Ellen Alston, 87, who lives two doors down from the shuttered store.

    Alston said Cade made the threat several years ago after Cade accused Alston's daughter, who is 67, of scrawling graffiti on the side of his store.

    ``He was hot about the graffiti on the wall. I don't know what set him off,'' said the daughter, Fannie Oates. ``I told him it was something kids did, and I didn't have anything to do with it.''

    Oates and Alston said Cade had been friendly during the days when he operated the store. But others said he had never really blended in on the close-knit street, where many have lived for decades.

    ``I don't think he was very sociable here in the neighborhood,'' Fisher said.

    Testa lives with her husband in a stone rowhouse in the 6400 block of Dicks Avenue. There was no answer yesterday.

    Smith, her neighbors said, is a favorite on her block, the 2200 block of South 67th Street. When she has barbecues, she invites neighbors. Wednesday night, she piled a bunch of neighborhood kids into her car and took them out for water ice. Smith's grown daughter and two grandchildren live with her in a brick rowhouse with rose bushes in the front yard.
    Smith was injured minutes before her normal quitting time, said neighbor Barbara Sullivan.
    ``She's usually home every day by 2 o'clock.''

  12. We'll be seeing much the same thing when ShopRite reopens two former Maryland SuperFresh lcoations later this summer.

    I will report back on the White Oak MD location. It's a beautiful store already, so really doesn't need much.


  14. Whoever mentioned how difficult it is to get inside "Penrose Plaza" isn't lying. It took about a dozen times before I got the hang of it, yet still there are times when if I'm not paying attention, I'll end up on Bartram Ave lol. If you're on Island ave going either way, you cannot make any turns at that intersection. Lindbergh blvd allows turns to either direction onto Island. To get into the Plaza from Island Ave, you'll have to make use of the side 'slips' which allow local access, but they can be easy to miss if you don't read the signs.

  15. Um, Acme Style, The Pictures Don't Work, When I Click On One It Says:
    "Page Not Found

    Oops! Looks like you followed a bad link.

    If you think this is a problem with Flickr, please tell us.

    Here is a link to the home page.


    So The Person Who Put It On Probably Is No Longer Part Of Flickr

    (PS: Jerry Needleman, Its Kinda True That ACME RULES!!!!!!!!!!)

  16. Just stopped by this store on my way back from someplace, and by the looks of it, a major remodel is about to commence. A Brown's Beer Garden will open as well as expanded departments. Work has started in the Dairy section with parts of the floor dug up. Also they have demolished a few of the stores to the left of Shoprite, leaving the strip cut in two at this point. Maybe Shoprite will build an expansion in this area?

  17. Ok, just saw that the demolished section will be replaced by Rent A Center: