Friday, September 12, 2014

Acme – West Chester, Pennsylvania

Location: 907 Paoli Pike, West Chester, PA

A wintery return to West Chester! This time around we're visiting the Acme in the West Goshen Shopping Center. We had a sneak peak of the last remodel here back in June 2010 when the Premium Fresh & Healthy 3.0 remodel was in progress. I believe this location was among the very first stores to get the new look. I hadn't even seen it until Michael of PA sent pictures in. The store had its grand reopening on
July 9, 2010.

Previous to the remodel, the store had the Industrial Circus decor. Pictures of which were used in the first round of the Decor Directory. Back in those days I was only photographing closed, abandoned and former Acme's. I stopped in here when I visited the abandoned Acme off of Downington Pike in early 2010 and snapped a few pictures for the directory. I'll included the one shot I still have that I know for sure was from this store once we head inside.

Above is a screen grab from google maps. You can compare this shot to the photos I took to see the changes made during the remodel. The Savon sign was replaced with a new "Savon" and a blue "Pharmacy" with a wave underneath. This new signage was rolled out a few years ago. West Goshen was probably among the first to get it. We saw it being used as recently as the 10th and Reed remodel. Judging from the even more recent remodel at Devon, the Savon brand is on it's way out.

You can also see the 90's "FOOD • DRUG" and "PHARMACY" signage above the entrances. Those signs were removed during the remodel and replaced with fruit. The usual red delicious apples have been mixed oranges here.

This store opened in August 20, 1958. The earliest available historic image is from 1968 where the store appears to have been expanded sometime in it's first decade of operation. The original building is to the right side while the addition is to the left. We'll have a closer look at the clear division between old and new in the aerial photos. I am quite sure the major expansion happened in the 80's. Back when I did the "Sneak Preview" post someone was selling a floor plan of the store on ebay which showed the store the same size as it is today. Starting bid was nearly $40 which I thought was a little steep so I did not go after it.

 The facade here is very typical of Acmes that were expanded during the 90's and for Acmes that took over existing buildings like former Jamesways. This store would have had a minor expansion in the front when the new facade was added on.

We're heading in this side but we'll take a quick look at the vestibule on the other side first...

I always seem to get these areas photographed as I'm leaving which is why the vestibule photos rarely match up to the side we're entering on. I tend to take these shots as I'm leaving since it's harder to be discreet with what I am doing!

Looking across the front-end from the Produce side of the store.

Produce shots are a little blurry...

This store is a little cramped so it was challenging getting the interior shots. While it does top out at 19 aisles the length from front to back is still about what it was in 1958.

Bakery is directly across from Produce.

Salad Bar with the Easy Meals & Snack department at the end of the Produce cases.

It's looking like they just painted the tiles on the back wall. (A similar thing was done during the recent Willingboro remodel.) Hard to tell from here but the dark tiles above the big gold one do appear to be left over from the Industrial Circus decor. We'll see more evidence of this down below. The floor tile is absolutely left over from the previous remodel.

Below is a shot of this are with the former decor package...

If you look closely, you can see the dark tiles along the back wall that remain until today. This store was looking really good when I was here in 2010. Surprised they remodeled it again so soon. Of course I'm a bigger fan of the Industrial Circus decor than most people are.

Aisle 2 lines the back of the Bakery.

This the first and only time I've seen the "promotional" department spelled out as such. The "10 for $10" signs are left over from the SuperValu days. Alberstons has brought back Acme's original signage which you can see at the bottom left of the photo.

I just wish Acme would paint the ceilings during these remodels. As I've mentioned before, A&P and Pathmark have been painting their ceilings during remodels and it makes a huge difference.

The frozen food cases have been hanging around for a while. When I got to this part of the store I realized not every department here got upgraded. I'm not even sure if the lights work in these older cases.

They certainly do in the new ones! All the support columns in this area may indicate that aisle 11 is point where the addition meets the old store. I didn't think to look for more concrete evidence while I was there.

Industrial Circus tile left in Health and Beauty Aids.

The front-end looking over toward Produce. The store directory was not added to the more recently remodeled stores in Devon and Philadelphia.

Floral to the left of the Pharmacy side entrance.

"West Goshen" gets a funky font!

Aerial Views...

You can see the distinct line where the addition to the left side begins. Back room space and delivery bays were also added to the rear of the original store.

A view of the shopping center. Kmart is located at the opposite end.

I believe this Kmart is still open but who knows. They're shutting them down so fast these days it's hard to keep track.

The West Goshen Acme seems to do well despite being very close to a ShopRite.

A view of West Chester that includes the Acme that was built across town in 2004. The new store did fairly well until Giant opened nearby. Acme wound up pulling on this new store in early 2009. An anonymous commenter left a very interesting story about this store when it was covered on the blog...

i can shed some light onto this store, as during the time it was open, it was my main shopping location. The store had a rough opening, getting off to a slow start. Where the Giant behind them was a small locally owned grocery store. Business started to pick up and then the local owned grocery store went out of business. Acme gained a decent chunk of this business and had a good amount of time where they were busy. The owner of the local store blamed acme for putting him out of business. So he sold the land to Giant, and they built a brand new store from the ground up. When the giant opened, the business at acme DIED. According to people I know in the industry, acme's business went down almost 60% and never recovered much of that business. This was a very poor location as it is on the outskirts of town, and if you do not know where the store is you can easily drive past it. Also, coming out of the town of west chester you come to the huge shopping center where the giant is first. About another block or two up is the former acme location. As for a label scar, it would be tough to see as the sign (which was unusually small) was on the brick below the round window on the first picture. There also was a sign which does have a label scar on the side of the building along with the citzens bank sign label scar. Very nice store which I miss. Funny part is, before the Acme closed the Giant was not setting the world on fire either, which proves this was a bad spot.

Pretty sure this place is still sitting empty today. For a closer look please visit this former Acme's post by clicking here.

The big fancy Giant that stole all of Acme's customers.

Historic Images..



Big jump back to 1968 where we see the original store. It is very possible this store was expanded during the 60's. You can see the awning only extends across 3/4 of the store which is unusual for a 50's store. The section without the awning might be an addition which would explain why this place is clearly bigger than the standard 50's model. Unfortunately this is the last available historic image so it's impossible to see how the store looked in its very early years.


This is not the last of the wintery stores I still need to get posted before the snow starts falling again!


  1. Wow, a store that opened in 1958...and it looks like new in 2014! Even though that other West Chester store that opened in 2004 closed in 2009 after they opened that Giant-Carlisle, it's really a decent store for its times.

  2. Some facts about the store:
    Prior to Industrial Circus, the store had Red/White/Blue, which you can still see remnants of.
    Last time I was at the store, it still had some of the '80s recessed hood lights left up. This was over where the Max-Pac section would have been, so they probably left them up rather than spend the money and replace them with their usual dangling hood lights
    The Kmart was still open as of last I saw, on Tuesday.
    The shopping center next to the Kmart was recently demolished to make room for a new LA Fitness center
    and, unrelated, they have begun to remove the shelves from the now-closed Exton store (only took them 7 months, during which they held the lease and could have been doing business, as they were not yet losing money)

  3. In case anyone's wondering about that odd Kmart facade, it was a Grandway store in its previous life (pre-1979). Not sure if that's what it started out as.

  4. Kmart is still open and matter of fact seems like they remodeled since I was there last (some departments have been moved around).

    And I'll second (third?) that comment about that now-closed Acme being in a HORRIBLE location. Definitely wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't been looking for it.