Friday, March 2, 2012

The Acmes of Morrisville, PA

Location: 545 West Trenton Avenue, Morrisville, PA

Opening in 1995, this store replaced two other Morrisville Acmes, which we'll take a look at down below. The style of the building falls into the 90's "fortress" look, a most appropriate description given to us by Acme Style contributor Rob Ascough. The design here is a bit different than seen on other models and may even be one-of-a-kind. At this store, windows do not extend up the front of the towers  and there is no covered walkway between the towers. You can compare this facade with the more commonly seen fortress design at the store in Willingboro and Woodbury

I've visited this store a couple of times over the past few years. Some interior shots from my first visit back in 2009 were used for the decor directory. I returned last December to do full coverage. The parking lot has been about this full... or this empty... each time I've been here. Giant is a stone's throw away. It arrived sometime after the Acme. Comments left on the blog indicate that Acme competed strongly against the Acme for a few years but Giant eventually won out. One interesting difference between the two stores... Acme has a pharmacy and Giant does not.  

Check that out... square windows in Produce! No arches, which is unusual. A banner has been added to this side of the store as it faces Route 13. 

Around to the other side...

Fake windows over here. Notice that this side is much shorter. The back side of the store is angled due to the property configuration. We'll get a better look at that from the satellite images. 

We'll enter here and head straight over to Produce...

The 90's Red/White/Blue package in all of its glory. I believe this to be one of only two stores to still have it. The other other being Willingboro, NJ

I still love this decor package. Takes me back to the final decade of American Stores. 

This store is huge. I would guess its over 60,000 square feet. You're looking down the center aisle which extends from Bakery to the Dairy wall. I don't think this location has a Wild Harvest section. I could be wrong but I do not recall seeing one. 

Sad "Lancaster" sign. At least it got better treatment here than in the 80's remodel. See Sharon Hill

The red lettered department signs were originally back lit with red neon lights. You can see the Deli sign lit up in the Willingboro store

Left over lighting from the "Max Pac" (I think I have that name right) section of the store. Acme rolled out these warehouse-style departments back when Costco and BJ's were making a big splash in the 90's. Super-sized versions of all sorts of merchandise. 

Center aisle looking towards the Bakery side of the store.

Last aisle is shorter than the rest with the Dairy wall angled towards the back of the store.

Not much happening here at 9:30 on a Saturday morning. Giant was a ghost town too. Guess the folks of Morrisville sleep in pretty late. 

The lights are working behind the Acme sign!

A shot from a previous visit when there were leaves on the trees.

Interesting shape to the store.

Checking out the neighbors....

Acme to the right, Giant to the left. Sears Hardware and a strip mall in between. 

Not sure of the exact arrival of this store May have been a year or two after Acme opened. From the satellite images, it appears this Giant was built in place of an existing, smaller store. 

This store lacks the black glass tiles often seen on the fronts of 90's styled Giants. 

Looks to have been remodeled since it first opened. Giants had a red and white theme in the early to mid 90's. The cream and green color scheme here came towards the end of the 90's and may have been brought over from the Edwards chain. I was never a fan of the tiles in Giant's Produce departments. Rough ride for the shopping cart.

This Giant had a strange vibe to it. I was here just a few weeks before Christmas and was surprised to see scaled back selections in most of the service departments. Some cases even blocked by random displays or filled with random merchandise. 

Here's an example... the Butcher Shoppe didn't have much to offer at 10:00 on a Saturday morning. 

Interesting how extensive the selection is in Giant's Bakeries. Stop and Shop, another chain in the Ahold family, doesn't come close which I'll never understand. Speaking of which...

The fruit bowl logo-ed products have arrived at Giant! Similar situation to Acme where the private label no longer has any ties to the name of the store. What's even more confusing here is that the fruit bowl logo has no name and no association with the Giant/Carlisle store branding. At least Acme's new private label has a name on the box!  

Slow start to the day here too.

Now we'll take a look at the other Acmes of Morrisville...

Click on the map above for a larger view.
The fish-eye signs are numbered to show
the locations of the stores below.

Former Acme #1: 
Located at 1 East Trenton Ave, was featured on the blog back in July 2009. A pitched-roof model which is currently a Garden Farm Market. For the original post, please click here

Interior Acme sign still intact! It's a beautiful thing.

This pitched-roof model opened in August of 1967. It was a replacement to a flat-roof store in the very same spot. The original store opened in 1953 and burned down in 1966. 

Former Acme #2:
Located at 860 Lincoln Highway... 

Acme - Morrisville (2)

The Acme to the left; a former Clover store on the right. Now a giant self storage facility. Acme moved from the #3 spot on the map to this location taking over the space previously occupied by Clover's grocery store. I accidentally whizzed by this place without stopping to take pictures. Relying mostly on aerial shots for this location. Wish I stopped to get a closer look at the back.

Former Acme #3:
Located at 676 Lincoln Highway, Fairless Hills... 

This former Acme was featured on the blog back in December. Click here for the original post. Opened in August 1960 and closed in the 70's to relocate next to the Clover.

Now leaving Morrisville Pennsylvania...


  1. The Sears Hardware was originally a Shop 'N Bag, which closed soon after the Giant opened. The Giant was built on the site of a former centennial A&P, which was knocked down to build the Giant.

    1. On that note, did anyone notice upon entering the Sears lot the old shop and bag sign with the arrow pointing to the direction of store? It looks faded and folded up but you can clearly see the Shop and Bag name.

  2. When you go 1, 2, 3 on the map, do you start in the northeast or the southwest?

  3. #1 is in the North East. If you click on the map to enlarge it, you'll see numbers in the red dots of the fish-eye logo. I know it's a little hard to see.

  4. I made some changes to the post which should help improve the map views and the locations of each store.

  5. I don't mean to spread rumors, but perhaps this store (and the one in Willingboro) is closing? Several of the Genuardi's that closed before the recent breakup of the chain were neglected for a long time. They kept their circa 1995 decor long after Safeway made almost all the stores in the company a much more "upscale" look. Also, here is what I would do with Morrisville retail if it were up to me: make the portion of the storage facility which was Clovermarket/Acme a farmer's market (replacing the one where the first Acme in town was), then move the Dollar Tree in town to the Acme/farmer's market space, then move the Wine & Spirits in town (which was a Rite Aid) to the old Dollar Tree.

    Also, speaking of Giant, I'm amazed they didn't buy the Genuardi's in Audubon PA near Norristown. It opened around the same time as the current Giant nearby (which looks just like the Morrisville one) but the Genuardi's is in much better condition. Also it has a Wine & Spirits next to it. But it does still have 90's decor and I'm surprised it didn't close a long time ago.

    1. Hi, Just in case any one missed it. Acme only closes stores in January and February. This chain made money this past year, thus no store closings. How ever Super Valu being reduced in value by Moody!s. Has made it much more expensive to borrow money, thus the exit of 800 non store level folks by the parent company. You will not see to many upgrades this year Gerry

  6. I love this blog, you're taking me through so many, so many, so many memories, and it hurts so much because the memories are from nearly 20 years ago

    Here is a link to more than a dozen recent photos of the piece-by-piece demolition of Acme-Clementon-NJ, the framework looking eerier than ever:

  7. I'm assuming no signs of Giant relocating elsewhere? Despite it being remodeled somewhat inside that store definitely looks outdated for them.

  8. I meant to say before that Extra Space Storage could trade places with the Kohl's in town. Right now, Kohl's is remodeling their area stores, most of which started as Clover and became Kohl's in the early 90's. Strangely Kohl's rejected this Clover when it closed. Also, Kohl's took the ex-Bradlees in Marlton NJ which closed in 1996 (most Bradlees closed in 2000) but there was a Clover right nearby in Cherry Hill, which became an Oskar Huber furniture store. In summer 2008, the Oskar Huber chain went out of business. The Wal-Mart/Walmart in Marlton wants to move their aging store, so perhaps Kohl's could move to the Clover/Oskar Huber, and Wal-Mart/Walmart would take the Kohl's (because a lot of Bradlees became Wal-Mart/Walmart). And yes, the Kohl's building started in 1973 as one of the last Two Guys to open, then was Jefferson Ward before Bradlees. Ironically, Bradlees entered NJ in 1973 with stores in Egg Harbor and Vineland, but waited until their takeover of Jefferson Ward 13 years later to enter PA.

  9. The Giant's only from 1997, which I guess is old by their standards; I could see them expanding if Rite Aid ever moved (especially now that Blockbuster is gone; they could just take the entire building).

  10. The Giant in Morrisville, as well as the Giant in Fairless Hills, opened with the black glass tiles. The front of both locations was redone to match the current style Giant locations.

  11. I think the store brand for giant is nameless, so it can still be referred to as giant brand, or say stop & shop brand, and such in the stores. At least thats my theory!

  12. Anonymous is correct about the Giant store brand. Officially, it does appear to be nameless. When you buy a store brand item at Giant/Landover, it rings up as "SB Milk", "SB Oatmeal", etc. with the SB standing for "Store Brand".

    At least in Stop & Shop and Giant/Landover, the packaging matches up with the store's logo. The Giant/Carlisle logo is different so there's no real association with the packaging and the store.

  13. This store will be closed as of November 1, 2012. However I believe the bank will remain open at this location until at least January.

  14. News broke last week of a new major project coming to the former Acme property. WaWa wants to purchase some of the land and make it into a super WaWa. It is also said that they wish to knock down the building, and also turn it into a
    Rite Aide pharmacy and a small restaurant as well.

  15. The Pathmark to the left of Acme #3 is closing, no word on what's replacing it, if anything.