Friday, May 16, 2014

Acme – Hockessin, Delaware

Photos courtesy of Ben from Delaware

Location: 128 Lantana Drive, Hockessin, Delaware

First time we're seeing this style of Acme on the blog! Several of these stores were built in Delaware in the very late 80's and early 90's. The red-oval logo was mounted on the plank that extends between the brick towers. The greenhouse styled vestibule was one of the coolest things I had ever seen at an Acme. It was nice to see the chain make a big leap forward with their store design. One of the locations was used in commercials back in the early 90's...

Unfortunately the 100th Anniversary logo covers the actual sign in the commercial.

What about the sign on the store now? As you saw, it was missing in the first photo. That was due to the remodel that was in progress when Ben took the picture. Previously, both "ACME" and "Sav-on" had been located on the plank. "Sav-on" has since been relocated, allowing "ACME" to once again be centered above the glass vestibule. Below are some updated photos of the new signage...

The blue "Pharmacy" and wave have been added to some stores that received the latest version of the Premium Fresh and Healthy remodel. It has made it to some unremodeled stores like Aududon.

Now we're going to take a brief tour inside while the remodel was underway...

The greenhouse section of the vestibule has been walled in and used to expand the front-end. Customer Service may be located is that area. You can see in the first photo that the windows are now covered over.

The decor here had been the basic Alberstons Marketplace package. Glad to see that one finally leaving stores. A significant layout change was also made here during the remodel. Produce was moved out of the alcove and now runs along aisle 1, facing the Bakery. Bucks County Coffee and Preparred Foods moved to the alcove. I believe the Deli is there too but we don't have confirmation of that in the pictures below. A similar change was made to the King of Prussia store years ago. The Newtown store also had this layout change for its remodel last year.

Since I haven't actually been to this store to see it for myself, I'll have to let the pictures do most of the talking. That said, I'm not exactly sure what we're looking at here.

Yep, there's that 80's checkerboard floor! I believe all of the stores built with the greenhouse vestibule had the 80's remodel decor. The checkerboard doesn't extend into the grocery aisles here.

Take note of the tile on the back wall of the Deli. It will survive the remodel, as we'll see down below.

The remodel sneaking into the picture above with the new aisle markers in place and the front wall getting painted.

And now for a tour after the grand reopening in January 2013...

Former Produce alcove with all new departments...

Photo courtesy of Mike from PA

Some additional photos were sent in by Mike. Each of his are credited separately. Now here's my question… is Deli over here with Prepared Foods? Can't quite tell in these photos although it is clear that the department is no longer along the back of the store. 

Produce out in the open! I love this change and wish it would be made at all 90's formatted stores. It's too bad Acme doesn't have Giant's budget for remodeling. You know… the ol' remodel all the stores virtually at the same time and give them all the same look. I think Giant is the only chain in the country that manages to pull that off. Notice here… the bagged lettuce cases under the farmstand sign have doors!

Not sure exactly where the bake shop is located now. The corner on the very right side of this photo has me confused as to where the department has been moved to. 

Photo courtesy of Mike from PA

More cases with doors in the deli panty. Dairy received all new cases just like this too.

Photo courtesy of Mike from PA

The store looks great in this shot! Check out the old "Butcher Block" sign is still hanging there.

You can see the old tile from the Deli remains on the back wall.

Looks like there's a mix of new and old frozen food cases.

Would have been nice if they painted the ceiling tiles. A&P and Pathmark have been doing that in their remodels. Makes a HUGE difference!

No categoy markers up and down the grocery aisles.

The checkerboard floor is gone from the perimeter. The grocery aisles look to have the same tiles as they had before the remodel. You can see that evidence of that in the next picture...

The aisle markers get a little shorter when the ceiling dips down in this section.

The Dairy Deparemtne looks pretty fantastic!

Category markers here in Health and Beauty Aids.

Photo courtesy of Mike from PA

All new cases with doors in Dairy.

It's the end of the line for this decor package. Acme has rolled out a whole new look which will be coming to the blog very soon!

Aerial Views...

Interesting shopping center here. Not many others in the area. One of this Acme's closest competitors is… ANOTHER Acme!

Historic Aerials ...

Not much to see in the historic aerials...



Below are the four other stores that are the same exterior style as Hockessin...

146 Fox Hunt Drive, Bear, Delaware

1001 North Dupont Highway, Dover,  Delaware

1 University Plaza, Newark, Delaware

This store appears to have started as a 33M model and was expanded and renovated to its current format.

Former Acme: 3501 Black Horse Pike, Turnersville, NJ

And finally… the one and only non-Delaware store in New Jersey. It has closed and is now divided between a Ross and Marshalls. The greenhouse vestibule was once located right there in the center.

Thanks to Ben and Mike for the pictures of the Hockessin store!


  1. Publix is almost as crazy as Giant when it comes to remodeling all of their stores at once to the same look. There are a few Publix stores that were remodeled around 2009-ish that are already getting full remodels to their new look!

    1. Publix takes so much pride in their stores it's pretty much unprecedented. Even their relatively outdated models are in pristine condition. Interesting what happens when a company makes their employees feel like an asset rather than a liability.

  2. It's remarkable how the Acme in the Pike Creek section of Wilmington DE (very close to Hockessin) has stayed Acme for four decades at this point, yet the big-box anchor space at the other end of the shopping center was filled by four different chains in the first 15 years of its existence! When the center opened in 1974, Grant City was the anchor, but that chain went out of business less than two years later. Then Woolco opened at the site, but the whole chain (except in Canada and the UK) was gone by the end of 1982. Bradlees then opened at the Pike Creek site, but the chain exited Delaware in 1988. Finally Kmart opened at the site in 1989. It also is notable that this store was renamed a Big Kmart in the late 90's, and was given a minor remodel soon after Kmart merged with Sears.

    The Pike Creek Acme is quite unique due to being a 33M store (not sure whether or not it ever was expanded) that has kept its original exterior minus the original logo after all these years, but was given a major remodel inside about 20 years ago, halfway into its life. I must say the store has aged badly since its last updates, making me wonder if Cerberus will eventually move the store to the larger Kmart site. Sears/Kmart has been willing to close certain stores at the request of a retailer who badly wants or needs the site. I can't see this Kmart hanging on much longer anyway though because of how relatively small and out of date it is. Despite having four tenants and three incarnations of Kmart all in one, the building has never seen a major remodel in its life! If the Kmart does indeed close and become the new Acme, I could see the current Acme at Pike Creek becoming a Total Wine & More store to replace a small one down the street. The only other Total Wine & More in Delaware is in Claymont (next to Wilmington) right on the state line with PA, and is a former Acme Super Saver. So it would seem the size of this former Acme is the same as the Acme at Pike Creek.

    Also, I suspect the Big Lots in Dover (across from the Acme) is a former Acme 33M or Super Saver store that was given a new facade at some point. If so it most likely replaced the 60's Acme pitched-roof store in downtown Dover which is or was a daycare center for a long time. Not sure but I would assume this Acme closed long before the current one in Dover opened. I found out recently that the Big Lots (which has been that tenant for quite a long time, since the mid-late 80's) in Moosic PA is a former Acme Super Saver, but have never been to that store as either Acme or Big Lots. It would be really interesting to see if any Acme elements remain today at that store. Two specific questions I have about it: why would Acme have closed this store when they did? It seems to have closed around 1985 despite being no more than about 15 years old at the time, and would have been bigger and more modern than most Acme stores in that part of PA, most of which closed around 1995 when Insalaco's (Penn Traffic) bought the leases. Also why would Big Lots have stripped this store of its Acme facade? Usually it seems Big Lots is notable for not remodeling the former stores they move into at all. In fact the former Acme in Norristown PA didn't close until after Albertsons bought the chain, yet Big Lots is there now and did little or no remodeling. It's irritating though that they replaced the automatic doors with two sets of non-automatic swinging doors, making the entrance get jammed at busy times.

    1. The Big Lots store in Dover was never an Acme it was a Fresh Pride..Acme had a store down town and at the Blue Hen Mall which closed after the current one opened.

  3. Too bad the Dover greenhouse windows are covered with these awful blown up photos of fruits and vegetables.

    No greenhouse, but here is a look at the Acme in nearby Elkton MD. Last renovated in 2006.

    It was a pretty half-hearted remodel. The major work was done in meat, frozen and dairy.

    It is surprising that considering how close Pike Creek and Hockessin are to one another that both of them are in the top ranks of the chain. Pike Creek is painfully small when compared to Hockessin, I agree with the suggestion to move it to the current Kmart. I don't even know how that store stays open. Completely wrong customer base. And I think Total Wine would thrive if it moved from Milltown to Pike Creek and expanded its' space. But Hockessin does have a local place.. I believe it's called Tim's? They knocked down their tiny store a few years back and rebuilt on the same property.

    If anyone is curious about any of the Delaware stores, that is where I live and I could probably get around to taking some pics - though flickr users seem to be doing a really good job.

    1. I'd have to disagree. Most flckr users take "drive-by" photos and include no interior shots.