Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Former Jersey Shore Acme – Brick, NJ

Location: 1890 Route 88, Brick NJ

The sign may say JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts but the building still screams Acme inside and out! I ventured out to this store on one of my road trips not expecting to find much of anything. I had this location originally penciled in for a a quick Tuesday post. Didn't even bother doing much research on it before I arrived. Once I got here, I realized I found the Grand Finalé for this year's Jersey Shore Tour! Now I know some of you may not agree that this store is finalé worthy and that's totally understandable. For me personally, my absolute favorite locations to visit are former Acmes that remain ghosts of Acmes past! I find them incredibly fascinating and it's the main reason why I wanted to start a blog on Acme in the first place. The former Brick Acme us among the coolest I've discovered.  

I knew I was in for a good time when I was getting ready to turn into the entrance and my GPS said "Turn right on Acme Way"! Thought I was hearing things. Looked at the GPS and sure enough the road said "Acme Way". I tried to find a street sign to photograph but there was none. Acme Way is technically the driveway into the parking lot but it does extend past the front of the building and then back out to the left side entrance. You can see this all spelled out clearly in the aerial shots down below. 

Just so happened too that the Acme Gods were smiling down on me this day. The JoAnn store was in the midst of a remodel on this particular day. There was no signage on the walls or hanging from the ceiling which made the place feel even more like an Acme. The entire interior structure is still intact sans the Meat and Deli wall which has been removed opening up back room space to the sales floor. Acme lighting remains throughout the store. We'll get a good look inside down below. 

This store is a virtual twin to the abandoned store in Woodstown NJ. Compare to the pic below and it looks like a "before and after". Brick had a much larger bread delivery room out the left side but everything else is eerily similar. More similarities to come. 

Huge bread room here at Brick. Compare to a similar shot of the Newton store by clicking here. Looked like JoAnn uses this room for classes. Stripes around the building are clearly a post-Acme addition.

Back of the store is still all Acme. Another comparison with the Woodstown store below...

Notice the roof is raised slightly above the compressor room only. Break room and bathrooms are not raised due to the fact the the height of the roof for the entire store is incredibly high. Beams for lifting the compressors still in place at both locations. 

The back doors don't quite match up between the two stores. You can still see the scares of the awnings on the Brick store. 

A close-up of the second floor. 

Pretty extensive remodel going on inside. Must be all the old shelving and signage in these huge dumpsters. Didn't appear to be any structural changes going on inside despite all the construction workers roaming around. 

Forgot to head in closer for Produce door scars although they would have been mostly covered up by the stripped refacing around the store. Dumpsters probably blocking some of them too. 

The entrance has been moved to the center of the store sans a vestibule. Let's head inside...

Front-end view of the store from the far wall where Produce used to be. Acme's entrance and exit would have been where those green signs are straight ahead. 

Acme air vents.. check! Produce spot lights... check!

Former door to Produce back room. 

Notice the lack of JoAnn signage hanging from the ceilings and mounted to the walls. 

Looking down aisle one to the Deli. Produce cases would have lined this wall. 

Here they are again! Those strange boxes mounted to the wall above Deli and at the other end of the Meat Department. Woodstown has similar boxes on the wall. Click here for a view. I speculated on the Woodstown post that these boxes may have been related to the original decor. Upon a closer look here, they appear to disguise large vents on the wall. Perhaps the intake vents. You can see an example of the vents really getting in the way at the former Newton store. 

Now we're back in the Deli looking up towards the front.

Stepping back to the service area of the Deli. You can see the Deli spot lights still in place...

In the Deli facing the Produce side of the store. I believe the back wall would have been right where the ceiling raises up to the left. 

Looking down towards to the Meat Department. 

Here I've stepped back in the Deli to the former back room space. 

Meat Department spot lights still intact with bulbs and all!

Looking down towards the Deli...

The Dairy wall with the purple stripe. 

We have spot lights along the Dairy aisle which I don't recall seeing very often in these old stores. You can see a couple above the Bakery section at the Woodstown store. 

The air vent box... or something...  above the Meat Department down by the Dairy aisle. 

Full shot of the Dairy and Bakery aisle.

The corner would have been Customer Service with the bread delivery room beyond the wall with the maroon colored ceiling. JoAnn employees roaming around these parts. Couldn't get any better shots. 

One more stop at the front end and we're outta here... 

Walmart next door. Arrived in the mid 90's, Walgreens built a store in the Acme parking lot. Crazy how our drug stores are about the same size of the "Supermarkets" of the 50's. Notice "Acme Way". Shown here as a nonexistent street which isn't the case. Google Maps has it more accurately labeled as the driveway to the store and then back out behind the Walgreens.  

Kmart and Pathmark, seen in the lower half of the image, arrived by the 80's. Probably did the Acme in. 

Gotta give props to Kmart for hanging in there with Walmart about 60 seconds away. The Pathmark looks to be doing decent business.

Historical Aerials starting off with 2001 since nothing has changed here in the last 10 years... 


The Acme looks to be closed and abandoned by this point. Certainly couldn't have survived with all the Marts and Pathmark nearby. 

Check this out! A ghost of a drive-in movie theater where the Walmart now stands. It's long been closed down here this shot. We'll get a look at it open down below. We'll also zoom into the Acme.

Serious competition has arrived by 1986. Both Kmart and Pathmark are jammed with shoppers. The Acme? Not so much...

Acme's days have got to be numbered here.

And as these classic Acmes go, there's parking for about 200 when the store is lucky to have 20. This store could have doubled it's size and still had enough parking! 

Not sure of the opening date here. Probably around the same time as Woodstown in 1959. 

Drive-in open in 1963! The screen and projection booth are missing from the 1986 image above. 


Brick Township is not quite a beach town but certainly a quick drive to the shore. The Point Pleasant store, which lasted into the 90's, was just due east of the Brick Acme. 

And that my friends marks the end of the 2011 Jersey Shore Tour!


  1. Acme style,
    I agree with your observation about the parking lot sizes for some of these Acme's that were sold or abandoned... they could have expanded into the lots to compete with the incoming retailers but it seems in many cases, they just raised the 'white flag' with regard to New Jersey. I know of many instances where an A&P or Grand Union would have expanded if a ShopRite or Pathmark was coming into the area...
    ps Great job with this years Jersey Shore tour!

  2. I had the good fortune to work as a checker in the Brick store for one Thanksgiving weekend during my college years. My guess is that it was in 1963. The Brick store was operated by the Philadelphia division, while Point Pleasant was operated by the Newark division. Prices and sale items were completely different which created lots of confusion, to say the least!

  3. This store was certainly closed by 1990. I remember that there were rumors in ~1995 that acme wanted to build a new store in Brick on Burnt Tavern rd. Not sure why it fell through.

  4. Scratch that about closing before 1990. I did not realize that it was a 1000 store. It could have been open and I might not have realized it.

    Also, I think that the Walmart in Brick was the first in the area.

  5. Hi The third sister to this store is located on Maryland avenue in Wilmington de. It currently is used by a stone mason. The super large Acme lots of this era, does bring up and interesting point in Oxford Pa and in Phoenixvile Pa this same model store existed. Acme simply built new larger stores in the parking lots. They did not knock down the existing stores but used them for storage for about twenty years after. They id knock them down in the late 80!s and you can see the cement outline of the original store in Oxfors to the left of the store. Why Acme didn!t just expand or incorporate these structures I haven!t a clue , But I believ a school of thought at the time was new construction was cheaper then renovation . Gerry

  6. Opening date was June 1960, 6 months after Woodstown's opening date of December 1959, which accounts for the very similar architectural details. The address of the store was Laurelton, NJ because it was close to Laurelton Circle on Route 88. It could have been the last "classic" store in New Jersey, because within a year most new stores were A-frames.

  7. I had an apartment not far from there in 1991-92 and I am pretty sure the Acme was closed at that point. I did my shopping at Pathmark in part because it was open 24/7 -- which you can bet contributed to the demise of the Acme.

  8. If you notice in one of the pictures here, the building has the older Jo-Ann Fabrics logo, so Acme would have closed in the early 90's at the latest.

  9. This would absolutely not have been Acme by about 1982. At that point, this store was open as Cloth World, the predecessor to Jo-Ann's Fabrics. Within a 5 mile radius of that store, by 1980 you would have had 2 Grand Unions, one Pathmark, 2 or 3 Shoprites, 2 Foodtowns, and one A&P. Not surprising this small Acme went under.

  10. As Mike wrote, it was closed as an acme by 1982 and was a Cloth world as I remember buying fabric there for projects during high school 1984-1987.
    I lived in Pt. Pleasant and worked at that Acme - the next closest Acme was Manasquan to the north in Monmouth County.

    The drive in theater was also closed before 1987 as we used to go to the property to hang out and drink illegally procured beverages (at least for those under 21!) It had great woopty-dos between the former parking rows.