Friday, October 28, 2011

Former Acme revisited, Wilkes-Barre PA

Classic pictures of
Wilkes-Barre stores now included!

Location: 372 South Main Street, Wilkes Barre PA

Present day photos courtesy of Ross K.

Acme opened here in the Penn Plaza back in September 1966. Although not obvious from the front, this store began it's life as a pitched-roof model which was expanded and updated most likely in the 70's. This location made it's debut on the blog as part of the "Wyoming Valley Tour" which was done back in the early days of the blog. Last week, we recently visited the demolition of the Plains Acme which was part of the tour as well. 

We've headed back to this particualr location thanks to Ross K, who is a new contributor to the blog. He visited the store this past summer and photographed it more extensively for the blog. His coverage includes photos of the interior which are extremely fascinating. Despite the fact that this location has been 3 different retailers since the Acme vacated the space, the interior is has changed only slightly with much of Acme's decor items left behind. This Wilkes Barre location, along with 44 other Acmes in Northern Pennsylvania and New York, was sold to Penn Traffic back in 1995. Many of the stores, including this one, were converted to Bi-Lo. 

Classic photo of the Acme still open! Thanks to Mike for sending them in! The red oval logo looking great here as a separate sign mounted to the facade as opposed to the more commonly seen panel inserted into the old fish-eye sign frame. 

Update 10.29.11: As we see here, this Acme was converted to an Insalaco's, not a Bi-Lo as reported above. Both banners were part of the Penn Traffic company which bought these locations. Many NEPA Acme's were converted to Bi-Lo's. 

Update 10.31.11: Turns out this former Acme sported both the Insalaco's and Bi-Lo banners. Ross K provided a link in the comments section of the store as a Bi-Lo. Click here to have a look. 

Back to the original post... 

This side of the store was the original Produce aisle. Delivery doors were most likely here on the front of the store, although we have seen them along the side as well. Check out this pictures of Parkesburg for an example. 

The store's original windows remain intact. As noted in many previous posts, the window covers seen here were installed often during remodels to increase sales floor space.  

This store received a small addition to the left side. We'll have a better look at it in the aerial iamges. The exit area here would have been the store's original entrance and exit as they both shared the same vestibule in the 50's and 60's stores. As Acme moved into the 70's the entrance and exits were spilt to two different areas. The entrance here, to the left, would have lead right into Produce. Walking along the entire front of the store to get to Produce was now a thing of the past.

Awning still 100% intact! You can see the middle section there as it dips down. This awning would have been identical to the one at the Clayton store. 

Magic carpets in the vestibule. The triangle section seen often in Acmes where carts need to make a turn. In we go...

Remnants of the Checkerboard Arch decor! The Produce aisle would have been located to the right under the lower section of the ceiling. Customer Service all the way to the front right before the windows start. Pitched-roof disguised by a drop ceiling. 

Seafood and the Deli would have been located to the right side of this picture, which is the rear corner of the store. This angled corner so common in the 33M styled stores. Check out this shot of a former Acme in Philly which will give you a good idea of how this area looked in the 80's. 

Deli here along the left wall with the Meat Department extending across the back of the store.

The checkboard arch trim all painted white along with the wall. You can check out both the Middlesex store and Manasquan store for the Checkerboard Arch decor. The last two stores still open to have it as far as I know. Always on the hunt for others but I regretably believe they are the last. 

Wow! Blue light boxes remain over what would have been the Frozen Food department. They would have been located over the check outs as well but have been removed. Produce would have had green light boxes but they are clearly gone as well. 

Gotta say, they still look sharp here. The front corner was home to the Bakery.

The in-store Bakery Departments didn't get the arch treatment or the checkerboard print. You can take a look at the Bakery in Middlesex to see the decor that would have been here. 

Heading over to the front end...

Thank you for shopping ACME... but ACME is gone. You can see a similar treatment at the Manasquan store. Interesting that the the 3 former retailers in this location kept those words on the wall.  

And now to the back of the store.... staircase added at some point. Possibly due to fire regulations. Notice the beam above the compressor door is missing. You can see it still in place at the Princeton Junction store. 

We see the rear of the addition here, taller than the left side of the original building. 

The other side of the store appears to have had a small addition affecting only back room space. 

Side shot.

The original Acme parking lot sign has been through a lot of changes of the years but is still standing.

This shopping center is in the planning stages of a full make over. Property owners have been looking for a grocery store to move into the center and the have finally found one... Sav-a-lot! It will not be moving into Acme's old space. The Salvation Army is staying put. The discount grocer will occupy other space in the center. You can read more about it at by clicking here. 

Up for some aerials of the store. Historic aerials are not available for this area which is often the case for for the Acmes of Pennsylvania. 

Aerial images appear to have been taken before post furniture store and pre-Salvation Army. You can see a small addition was  added to the left side of the store allowing a switch from the original 50's/60's layout to the 33M layout seen in the interior picures. While there wasn't enough room to double the size of the store, which was commonly done to expanded pitched-rood stores, it does seem there was enough space for a larger addition that was done here.

Hard to know for sure if any additional space was added to the right side. Looks as though the delivery bays may have been added.  

Now over to Wilkes-Bare other former pitched-roof Acme which is less than 2 miles away. This location was expanded to nearly double it's original size much like the Princeton Junction store. 

Location: 950 Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd (Route 309
Wilkes Barre, PA

Update 10.29.11: Beautiful classic photo of the Route 309 store! As mentioned in the comments section, this store had the 80's remodel until it's final days. The sign here is the panel style that was most likely installed in the former fish-eye sign frame. Judging from the signage, it appears that this store received it's addition and new facade sometime in the 70's or early 80's, while the Penn Plaza store was expanded during the 80's remodel. Interesting that the smaller store of the two stores received a remodel in the 90's. 

Image courtesy of Wyoming Valley Blog

A quick check on Google Maps and I discover the old Acme beginning it's transformation into new retail spaces. 

Much better shots sent in by Mike of the Route 309 store being deconstructed. A fascinating look at how these pitched-roof stores were expanded and disguised. 

Image courtesy of Wyoming Valley Blog

This image was included in the original post and shows what the former Acme has become. 

Back in the day there was only a 5 minute travel time between these 2 Acmes. Now Wilkes Barre has none.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Step inside the Beach Haven Acme...

I have no idea what the point of this video is, apparently some sort of inside joke that's lost on me. All that aside, the video gives us a nice look inside the Acme in Beach Haven, New Jersey. Particularly the script logo on the door handles as the camera exits the store. I would suggest letting the video load and then jumping to the 2:50 when the camera finally heads indoors... unless of course you enjoy watching traffic lights change from green to red. Hitting the mute button wouldn't hurt either. Thanks to Barry Caselli for sending it in!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Abandoned Acme! Pennsauken NJ

Photos courtesy of Cpt. Cranky

Location: 4675 River Road, Pennausken NJ

The abandoned Pennsauken Acme. Closing date unknown. Exact opening date unknown but we'll see the store under construction as of 1970 in the historical aerial shots. Pennsauken had an Acme at 4900 Westfield Ave store which closed in March of 1968. That Acme is unrecognizable today. Even has a barrel roof which may indicate that Acme took over the location from another company. The former Acme seen here is the "Colonial Cottage" model which was built in the late 60's and early 70's. A relatively short lived model of Acme as it appeared towards the end of the pitched-roof era and just prior to the 33M models of the 70's and early 80's. Other examples of this model include the former Acme in Belmar and the "World's Most Classic Acme" in Manasquan

Built in the very edge of town (in the upper left-hand corner). Very similar in style and location to the Port Reading store. 

Yet again, Acme prepared for massive crowds at this store. Parking for 320 cars! (It's true, I counted.) 

Historical aerials... 


The Pennsauken Acme appears to have been open in 1995.

Under construction as of 1970.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Demolition: Former Acme, Plains PA

Location: 16 South Main Street, Plains PA

The former Plains PA Acme, which was featured on the blog way back in the day as part of the Wyoming Valley Tour, is being torn down. These pictures were sent in back in late August while the demolition was in progress. This location had become and Eckerd Drug Store but had been abandoned in recent years according to Google Maps street view. A Turkey Hill convenience store and gas station will be built in it's place. 

Photo courtesy of Wyoming Valley Blog

The home owners here in the lower right corner must not have been happy when Acme built their store. The Acme had no doors or driveway along the back of the store. Looks as though the only delivery bay was on the left side of the building...