Friday, August 12, 2011

Jersey Shore Acme, Shrewsbury NJ

Shrewsbury pictures circa 1999 have arrived!
Courtesy of Rob Ascough.

Shrewsbury was one of the few stores in the Northern half of New Jersey to get the the block letter logo on the outside and the Checkerboard Arch decor inside. Back in those days they removed the red oval logo panel and replaced it with multiple white panels with the new lettering. We've seen with the current photos that the sign and has since been updated. 

The window cover panels to the right side still in their original beige and brown color scheme. 

Zoom into the windows... here we see the blue light boxes about the checkouts. The register signs appear to be plain light-up boxes rather than the current ones that have advertisements on the sides. 

Now to the original post...

Location: 1080 Broad Street, Shrewsbury NJ

Winter exterior photos courtesy of Rob Ascough

Unusual front to the Shersbury Acme. Roof design is similar to the "Colonial Cottage" but this store more closely resembles a 33M model. Windows in the right side of the photo were covered over many years ago. This was done often in the 70's to Acmes that had windows extending across a majority of the front wall. Shelving and/or service departments were added along this interior wall. You can see how this was done at many smaller stores like Sparta, Newton and Dunmore. In the late 90's, Shrewsbury received the extensive "Chalkboard Market" remodel. Rockaway and Bordentown received similar treatments which entailed drastic changes such as the relocation of Bakery and Deli departments to aisle 1, Health and Beauty to the old Bakery location and moving Customer Service next to the former Bakery at the far end of the registers.

The entrance and exits were also reconfigured in the remodel leaving just one doorway for all incoming and outgoing shoppers. 

Close-up of the former windows now covered over. That bench has probably been kicking around for  decades now. 

A door was bricked over here. Another door is still intact and can be seen down below...

Not sure why there are two doors here. This would be commonly found in smaller stores such as the "Colonial Cottage" models and the pitched-roof stores where Produce lined this far wall. This door is currently an emergency exit. Perhaps the exit was moved during one of the remodels. 

Scars from the magic carpets of the original entrance and exit. The Bakery is now just through those windows. In the 80's and 90's, the Floral department would have been in this front corner. 

In we go! Photos are a mix of Rob's and Acme Style's...

Rob visited this store back in March 2010. Produce was quite bountiful back then. Selection has since been significantly reduced. 

The "Chalkboard Market" saw a huge reduction in grocery shelf space. The relocation of the Produce cases in this remodel essentially killed all of aisle 2.

Not much happening in Bakery. Selection was disappointing to say the least. I was hoping for some fresh baked whole wheat bread but there was none to be had in the early afternoon. 

This front corner may have been a Starbucks when the "Chalkboard Marker" remodel was done. I believe the last time I was in this store, this corner was being used for the 10 for $10 department. It's now just looking really empty.

Chalkboards have faded. You'll notice too as we move around the store that the original hood lamps from the remodel have been replaced with florescent tube lights. This was done in Rockaway as well. Not sure what went wrong with the other lights. They were still in place when Rob visited the store. You can see them in his Produce shot (very first interior image above).

Fisherman's Net has been shut down for years. Always the first department to go in a store with declining sales. Salad Bar is usually next on the list but it's still open here at Shrewsbury. Just to the right of the soup pots. 

Health and Beauty now in the former Bakery Department. "Caution" sign for leaking frozen food cases. These signs have been out every time I have ever been in this store. 

Another of Rob's shot above. Nice look across the front end. Hood lamps still hanging throughout the store. The "P" and "Photo" is gone. Looks like "h" is on it's way out.  

Slow day at Shrewsbury when I was there. Looks as though competition in the area is really starting to take it's toll. 

And now to the aerials...

The former store in Red Bank is just 2 miles North on Broad Street. (North is to the right)

The shopping center's roof recently painted white to deflect the sun. 

Yet to be painted white when this satellite image was taken. Notice that the rear second floor is not raised up slightly from the rest of the store. 

Nearby competition...

The Shrewsbury Acme took a big hit a few months back when Trader Joe's opened just across the street.  A few years ago it was gigantic Wegmans that arrived just 5 miles south. In the mid to late 90's, A&P opened in the shopping center next door. The A&P became a "fresh" store during the first round of fresh remodels. It's a relatively small A&P as you can see. This model is usually much larger. 

Shrewsbury is further inland than most of the shore stores on our tour. It's shore business was probably much stronger in the days before Foodtown, Stop and Shop and Wegmans began opening up in the surrounding areas. 

Not much at the Shrewsbury Acme has changed over the years...

Interesting that more back room space and more modern delivery docks were not built on to the back of the store. 


Very new if not brand new in 1979.



  1. Acme Style, I'm surprised this store is now 'floundering' because it's just as big in square footage as the A&P nearby and much bigger than the Foodtown up the road in Red Bank & a better parking situation than FT. Stop & Shop had opened up (1st as an Edward's) just down the road from the Foodtown a few years back and I believe it's address was newman springs rd. in Shrewsbury, and that store closed and foodtown opened up in that space for a short period of time as a dual location... I'm sure they were trying to prevent another competitor from coming in... now that store is empty; kind of surprising the Acme doesn't fare better in this area.

  2. It resembles a 33M but the exterior makes it look like a mutated Colonial Cottage. Aerial photography doesn't help- is it possible it was built in the early 70's (did the Colonial Cottage era last that long?)

    When I worked for Acme starting in the mid 90's, this was supposedly a good store. I think it averaged between $200k and $250k week (but don't quote me on that.) Last I heard, it was doing way below that. Strange, because it's not as if Acme doesn't have a following in the area. Both the nearby Lincroft and Fair Haven stores do well. Do those stores have less competition than this one? Or was it the typical Acme snowball effect where sales start to slip so employee hours are slashed, departments are shuttered, sales slip some more, the store is no longer maintained and starts to look like a discount store, sales slip even more and finally it's closed?

  3. I was in the Shrewsbury Acme 10 days ago, and was shocked at the difference between now and last August! Some things were changing last summer, and a lot of spackeling had happened. I thought the store was getting a new decor. Boy, I was wrong... Indoor signage was being removed! The Photo department is gone, but they didn't bother to sand the spackel, just paint over it. As AcmeStyle said, bakery was virtually non-existent, produce looked pretty bad, and seafood gone! So were the customers.

    When Wegman's opens their hugh stores, it sucks the air out of a five mile radius. They killed the Moorestown Acme, and Exton, PA is another zombie wounded by Wegman's. Wegman's even puts a damper on ShopRite if they're close. So is the ShopRite in West Long Branch being hurt as well?

  4. When I worked for Acme in the early 90s, the 2 busiest stores in the area were Elberon and Shrewsbury. Elberon was more peeks and valleys with the summer crowd and Shrewsbury was steady year round. The Shrewsbury store had the checkerboard arch decor back then.

    I had heard in the past that the Red Bank Foodtown was super busy. I used to work for a Foodtown in the late 90s that did 800k/week, but I think that Red Bank was doing more than that.

    You mention that the salad bar usually closes when business tapers off, but when Seaview closed the salad bar lasted almost until the end.

  5. GUman: There's just too much competition in the area now and Acme is not maintaining this store very well. A&P is about the same size with similar pricing but is so much nicer having been remodeled about 5 years ago. The last two times I've been in Shrewsbury, the frozen food cases were leaking all over the place. Trader Joes just across the street is much cheaper than the Acme and much cooler too. Certainly impacts Acme's business. The Foodtown in Red Bank is probably about the same size as the Acme and does killer business. I thought that Stop and Shop had become a Foodtown but wasn't sure. I tried to get some pics of it but the driveway was chained off and signs said the property is monitored by cameras.

    Bill: I have been in Shrewsbury many times over the last few years. I was shocked when I was in there a few weeks ago. Completely dead. When I was outside taking pictures someone pulled up to me and said "Where's the Trader Joe's?"!

    Andrew: I've seen many Acmes and A&P's call it quits soon after the salad bar gets yanked. Not a proven rule but it is a very reliable clue that things aren't going well at a store.

  6. Regarding the salad bars, for a while Acme was putting in a salad bar in every store that it remodeled. The stores that are not in an area where people go for lunch would later close.

  7. Well, I have to say it, but all this negative talk about what goes first before a store closes is not very good to read when visitors to AcmeStyle are just trying to look at the vintage photos and history of the store of their childhood days. Please try to be more respectfull of current employees and their futures. Maybe some of the "past" employees have a bad taste in their mouth for whatever reason.
    Thank you.

  8. Sorry, but I fail to see how stating when a salad bar closed in a store is disrespectful or bitter.

  9. Agreed Andrew, right on target! Nothing wrong w/ commenting on a blog as we're doing... perhaps the bigshots of Acme who control the budgets, spending. etc... should be more responsible and more respectful of their employees and make some moves that would preserve them for the future!
    Vintage photos are great, but I'm sure Acme as a company doesn't want to be just 'history'... I'm sure they'd like to be operating in the 21st century and I believe the narrative of the Acme style blogger does an excellent job of presenting accurate explanations of what is going on here!
    Great job Acme Style and keep on posting 'the FACTS'...

  10. I am just amazed that this blog exists - it's great! I was in the Shrewsbury Acme yesterday to "fill in" my shopping trip to Trader Joe's, and the feeling you get as you walk is as that they could close any minute. I didn't ask any of the current employees - my curiosity would be insensitive to their situation, but I'm sure they are aware that the store is not thriving.

    It seems to me especially sad when a supermarket goes downhill and eventually out of business. Maybe it's because supermarkets are representative of our daily lives. As our lives/lifestyles change, so do our shopping preferences. Acme has a special place in my heart, though - it seems it has always been the stubborn second- or third-place finisher.

    The Acme of my childhood was in East Brunswick, in the Mid-State Mall. We only went there when the Shop Rite was completely blown out. And they gave Green Stamps, which my Mom collected. My impressions were that Acme was a much more refined market; always quieter, cleaner and somehow more sophisticated. At least in comparison to the "fleeing a volcano" vibe in Shop Rite.

    Well, it's good to know that there are other Acme fans out there - I'll be back to visit.

  11. Thanks! I'm kinda amazed this blog exists too!

  12. It should be noted that there is no other Trader Joe's or Wegman's due south of Shrewsbury within the state of New Jersey. There are others north and west but not south. I live in Ocean County, and I can tell you that a lot of people will travel north to Shrewsbury from here to go to either Wegman's or Trader Joe's.

    There is also an upscale outdoor shopping mall in the immediate area called the Grove. People come from relatively far away for that to the area. Red Bank has also gotten more built up as a restaurant destination, so people technically don't need to buy groceries as much when they will eat out there.

    All these reasons have obviously taken their toll on Acme in Shrewsbury.