Location: 23-29 Basset Highway, Dover NJ
A few weeks ago I mentioned my plan of doing a double post for November 18th. The plan was to pair the new store in Randolph with this former store in Dover. Turned out I went a little to crazy taking pictures that day and couldn't get everything up in time. So today we're returning to this area of New Jersey to check out the former Acme of Dover, which only recently was it confirmed to me that this was in fact an Acme. I had passed this building a million times back in the 80's and 90's. I suspected it might have been an Acme but the blue tile threw me off. I had gone inside a couple of times to explore and did see the classic Acme air vents along the ceiling. Still, I wasn't convinced. At the time I knew of the former Rockaway Acme over on West Main Street and had never heard a mention a former store in Dover. When the Rockaway stores went up on the blog, PennFruitFan mentioned this location in the comments section. I have been trying to get back here ever since. Finally made it while I was en route to the Randolph store.
The Acme anchored the Dover Shopping Center, which extends to the left of they store. We'll be getting a look at that area below. Now for a look at PennFruitFan's informative contribution over on the Rockaway post...
"This Acme -- easily recognized from the blue panels and window-wall -- was one anchor of the Dover Shopping Center, a major downtown strip center built in the late 1950s. The center also included FW Woolworth, JC Penney, WT Grant, and (at the opposite end from Acme) one of the more architecturally-unique Food Fairs I have seen, in addition to smaller stores and a (now-gone) parking deck.
The entire DSC met its demise when the nearby Rockaway Town Center was built. The Acme was briefly an A&P when a nearby location of the latter burned; today it is a Goodwill-type store. The Food Fair exists today as a State of New Jersey Unemployment office -- with the original terrazzo floors! Most of the other buildings still stand, but the stores have been converted to agency and office space -- don't know if the second-floor bowling alley is still in business. The site is worth a visit if you are in the area."
We'll head down the strip in a bit to see the other buildings PFF is referring to. For now, a ton of pictures of this former Acme (maybe a bit overkill here but I love seeing these virtually frozen-in-time former stores)...
The original recessed lights still intact. Bread delivery door next to the entrance. The store also had an entrance at the rear.
Looking in the windows to the left of the entrance. Notice the air vents along the top of the left hand wall. I would guess that the checkouts were along this side of the store. The Meat Department was along the far back wall there.
Looking over towards the entrance and second set of windows along the right hand wall.
Here we've gone around the corner...
Guessing again... the aisles of the Acme ran the same direction as these clothing racks.
Meat Department is still intact...
The rear entrance. The rear parking lot is through the gate. Lots of activity going on at the back of the store. Appeared to be some clean up and repainting of the parking space lines. Didn't head in to take pictures of the back doors.
Back around to the other side...
Looks as though the Acme had windows along this wall.
And now for the aerial portion of the post...
Interesting angle to the front of the store.
And for a look down the street...
I believe this store was the JCPenney.
The former Food Fair. There are also some interesting stores to see across the street. The sun glare was making pictures taking a little difficult.
A full look at the shopping center as is today.
There was a drive-in movie theater to the rear of the stores. You can see the screen all the way to the left of the lot. A clearer shot of it below...
1957The Acme was the last to arrive on the strip.
The image above shows the proximity of the former Dover Acme to the now-closed Rockaway Acme. I imagine Dover remained in business until the new Rockaway store. The old Rockaway store in just south if this satellite image.
The Rockaway Acme still sitting empty. The snow is leftover from the October 30 storm. Can't figure out why Whole Foods doesn't jump on this. Rockaway has all the low-end food retailers covered... from ShopRite to Costco, Walmart to Target. Whole Foods would do booming business here with the crowds that the Rockaway mall draws from all the surrounding areas. Clearly I'm not all that familiar with Whole Foods criteria for locations to open but it just seems to make sense. The closest Whole Foods to this area is half an hour away in Madison township.