Friday, March 1, 2013

Former Acme — Norristown, PA

Location: 2644 Dekalb Pike, Norristown, PA

Opened in the late 70's and managed to survive until 2001 despite competition from larger, more modern stores in the immediate area. I was in this store back in 1994. At the time it had the 80's remodel but was in pretty bad shape. A brand new Super G (Giant/Landover) had opened just across Germantown Pike in the same center where a former 50's Acme once stood. Giant went with Super G during their push into the Philadelphia area to avoid confusion with the Giant of Carlisle. Funny to think now how they're nearly one in the same under the ownership of Ahold. Sad too see Giant/Carlisle is slowly being turned into Giant/Landover. Should have been the other way around.

Having never heard of Super G before, I was sure to check it out. A huge store for the time but a rather awkward layout. The store lasted only a few years before closing. SuperValu's Shop 'n Save gave the location a run for a few years with ShopRite taking over the space in 2001. Not sure why Acme didn't snap up the Super G the two times it became available. In 2003, Acme did wind up taking over the other former Super G in Norristown. Located at the other end of town on West Main Street. I photographed that store several years... and several cell phones... ago. The pictures were terrible. I'll eventually return for a reshoot. It still has Super G's odd layout with Acme's Industrial Circus decor.

Very little has changed here since Big Lots took over...

The doors and vestibules have all been reconfigured. I'm pretty sure the sidewalk was redone as well, erasing all signs of the magic carpets and evidence of the old entrance and exit.

The interior here is very similar to that of the Mantua store. Both stores lacking the lower ceilings over the Produce aisle and Bakery department.

Along the back wall looking down to where the Dairy aisle would have been.

The air vents. Standard issue in Acmes from the 50's to the 70's.

Front corner where the Bakery would have been. Not sure if there was one added here in the 80's. You can see how it would have looked in this picture from the Mantua store. The same vent system ran along the front end at Mantua. You can see a bit of it in this shot of the Dairy aisle meeting the Bakery.

Emergency exit. Looks like it's the same door from the Acme days.

Aerial Views...

Kmart there on the left. Closed in the late 2000's and later became a Sears Outlet.



Here's a look at the 50's Acme that stood on the property where the ShopRite is today. 


Historic Aerials jump from 1971 to 2002 with nothing in between. This image shows the Super G/ShopRite as it looks toady, having been built directly behind the old Acme.

Here's a look at some of the competition in the area. Of course the Acme is long gone now. What's such a surprise to me is Weis' decision to enter this very ccompetitive landscape. According to articles online, Weis opened last June. The "Grand Opening" banners and balloons were still going strong as of my visit last September.

Aerial views with Genuardis still in business.

Location: 25 West Germantown Pike, Norristown, PA

Can't understand the red signage on red brick. They should have gone with white letters, especially considering their print logo is white letters in a red box. 

The balloons were very eye catching from blocks away. I actually would have missed this store had they not been here. There were no plans on this road trip to check out a Weis converted Genuardis.

While the balloons did catch my attention, they didn't seem to be drawing many others to the store. This place was eerily dead on Saturday afternoon.

Apologies for the first shot being horribly blurry. It does give a good overall look at the produce department. Safeway's Lifestyle format is still alive and well here. Weis has done virtually nothing to customize the look of the store.

Laying it on a bit thick in floral.

Backlit letters... biggest trend of the 2000's in supermarket decor. Safeway, owner of Genuardis since 2000, launched the "Lifestyle" format and decor package back in 2005. The company remodeled stores at a breakneck pace. Supermarket News has a very detailed article about Safeway's plans dating back to May 2005.

One thing that Weis has going for it... and they're letting everyone know right here... they are not owned by some huge, faceless company based far away from their stores. There are not many supermarket chains these days that can say the same thing. 

We'll be returning to Norristown in the future to visit the current Acme store and two addtional former stores!


  1. The SuperG in Warminster, PA, which also opened in 1998, also became a Shop 'n Save, and then a ShopRite operated by the Brown family. It too had a really awkward layout and a lot of wasted space. Dairy was on one side of the store, frozen on the other, with produce sort of in the middle, and a random floral section jammed around some grocery isles. Pharmacy was along the back wall right next to meat and seafood. It kept this layout until around 2011, when another ShopRite operator totally gutted it and made it much better.

    As for Weis, I hope they do well. From what I have seen, many of the Genuardi's stores that are now Giant, don't really seem to be doing any better/any busier than they were before. I wonder why Giant wasted so much money with remodeling stores that didn't really need it (although some like Maple Glen definitely did). Weis just moved right on in, and can worry about fixing up stuff later as they go along.

    Weis had/has plans of opening a "flagship" store in Huntington Valley, PA (a former SuperFresh/Pathmark), complete with prepared foods and beer, and it was supposed to open around this time but I haven't heard a thing, or been by the area in a while.

  2. Seems like all the major supermarket chains are becoming carbon copies of each other with regards to interior design.