Friday, November 14, 2014

Acme – 19th and Oregon Ave, Philadelphia

Location: 1901 Johnston St, Philadelphia, PA

The first big store post in quite a while has us at this Albertsons built store in South Philly. This location opened in the early 2000's and has been very successful despite being blocks away from an established ShopRite. Acme had a presence in this part of the city until the late 90's. After taking a break for a few years, the chain returned bigger and better than ever.

19th and Oregon is a virtual twin to the store in Clifton, New Jersey. Aside from the styling of the exterior, the building itself and interior layout is nearly identical. I was even getting a little freaked when I was inside. Thought I may have been teleported to Clifton when I walked through the front doors!

One significant difference between the two stores was the location of Customer Service. In Clifton, the service counter is on the opposite side of the front-end near the Pharmacy. As you will see down below, Customer Service is just left of the entrance but that is not the case anymore. These photos were taken back in May before the arrival of the Frosted Mug Café! 19th and Oregon now has a beer department. It was added right where Customer Service once stood, bumping that department over to the Pharmacy side. Work had just begun on the transition when I here but at the time, I had no idea what was going on.

As you may know, these beer cafés are going into several Acmes including Devon, Granite Run, Glen Mills and Bala Cynwyd. Flourtown was the very first Acme to have the beer café. For a look at the newly added department at this Acme, click here.

A quick look at the delivery bays on the right side of the store. Like Clifton, this is the only area of the store for receiving. Notice the scar on the trailer from the red-oval logo. Thanks SuperValu.

"ACME" was moved up to make way for Sav-on. 

Can I get a P? It's there. Didn't realize it wasn't in the shot until I was preparing the photos for posting.

The original location of Customer Service just to the left of the entrance. The Frosted Mug Café is now located here.

The Photo department had been removed from this store and replaced with lottery ticket dispensers. The mural on the wall painted over in brown. You can see what it used to look like the photo below...

This shot is from the failed Alberstons built store in Moorestown, New Jersey.

I've said it before and I'm going to say it again, Acme has a great selection of breads in their bakeries. They've got ShopRite and Pathmark/A&P/SuperFresh all beat by a mile. I'm fascinated that with all of ShopRite's success and market dominance, they can continue to run the absolute worst in-store bakeries. Even when things look good, they don't taste good.

The Deli is in the very front of the store just to the right of the entrance.

A major flaw with this decor package are the leaning department signs. A little too top heavy.

Looking toward the front of the store.

Meat and Seafood all the way in the back.

No Wild Harvest in the first aisle. I believe that trend was started with the SuperValu stores and remodels. I didn't see a dedicated natural foods section in this store.

Aisle 5 and 6 form a double-wide for seasonal.

I was pleasantly surprised how clean and organized it was here for being a city store. Having opened around the same time as Clifton, this store has held up a bit better over the years.

Looking along the back wall down to Produce. The Dairy alcove is to the left...

Sav-on still going strong. It's been shut down and abandoned in Clifton.

A look across the front-end. Not sure if the self-checkouts are still there. The registers have been given the "Quality Built" lights. In the far corner, you can see sections of the wall have been removed. I suspect this was happening to prep the area for the Customer Service department. The work had just begun when I was here. I thought they might have been addressing a water a leak or some other type of malfunction in the wall.


Healthy crowd here for sure. I was surprised how busy the store was when I was here. The ShopRite is within walking distance, although it is by no means an inviting ShopRite.

A former Penn Fruit just across the street...

Another Penn Fruit was located very nearby on 24th Street. Not sure if they were both in operation at the same time or if this store relocated to the other location. 

An aerial look at the surrounding area. The 19th and Oregon Acme is in the bottom right-hand corner of the image. A pitched-roof store was located over on Passyunk and may have been a relatively short-lived store. According to information on Josh Austin's flickr collection, Acme left the piched-roof store to take over the Penn Fruit building on 24th street when he company went under. That Acme remained open until he late 90's.

Taking a look at the former pitched-roof store. Exact opening date is unknown. The Acme would have moved over to the Penn Fruit building around 1978 when the chain went under.

A drop ceiling has been added inside.

Interesting to see the break room and bathroom windows on the first floor instead of the second floor.

Acme signs still going strong.

Over to the former 24th Street Penn Fruit...

This building does not appear to be significantly larger than the pitched-roof. Acme may have figured this was a better location overall since it was part of a shopping center.











  1. Excellent post, as always. Thanks for the photos of the two PFs!

    1. Thanks! I will be making an effort to include classic Penn Fruit stores in posts going forward.

  2. On the map you provided, you market the wrong building as ShopRite. The ShopRite is across the street at the NW corner 23rd & Oregon, in the former Snellenburg's/Lit Brothers building.

    1. Thanks for catching that! It's been fixed.

    2. You can see what shoprite used to look like here: (scroll down a bit past branch stores) Shoprite takes the first floor and I think they might have the backroom space on the second. Not sure though.

      I used to go there because the prices were lower then Acme, even with the employee discount factored in, but now I find Acme is cheaper when it comes to store branded groceries (at least the items I like to buy)

      This store is rather dumpy and the parking lot if a bit chaotic (even when walking there). Acme is far easier to get in and out. I do know Shoprite was supposed to remodel this location but I don't see any signs of them starting (though they did their "reset" a while back to prepare for it)

  3. From what I have read (mainly from upset people on their Facebook page), Acme seems to be ditching self-checkouts in all their stores for a better 'customer experience'. Not so sure that is a great idea.

    1. Acme's President wants them gone from all stores.

    2. It's funny that they don't want self checkouts. See how that worked out for Genuardi's. I seldom use a manned checkout. It seems to go easier. Plus, at self checkout, you don't have to worry about your cashier wondering to himself "why the heck is this guy buying corn syrup? Who cooks with that?" I tend to not get those strange looks from the attendant at the self-checkout, as there are between 3 and 5 other receipts for him to be going over. Also, it looks like in your picture the self checkout is still there, although they probably bit the dust when the new customer service was added.

    3. I strongly prefer self checkouts. For starters, I like to bag my stuff a particular way.
      More importantly, I am sick and tired of the cashiers asking me questions about what I am buying. It's none of your business! And it happens every single time I use a manned checkout.
      Acme is making a big mistake removing self checkouts.

    4. Yeah they are gone from this store and I've been hearing the complaints. I too wonder how this will turn out in the end. The only way I see this working out is if they schedule enough associates to man every register during peak times, which is not always the case. They are training about five new cashiers this week so we'll see....

      As for me, I preferred the using the self Checkout terminals (SCOTS) The SCOTS at Acme were the smoothest to use, while the ones at Shoprite were slower, which was funny because they are the exact pieces of equipment. Pathmark's were okay and the ones at Superfresh were beyond frustrating to use: scan one item, put it on the belt, scan the next, put it on etc. So tedious!

  4. Hey finally got mine covered!

    Some points I want to bring up:

    -The Save-On has been removed from the facade. For a quick while (as for a few weeks) COLD BEER was put on in it's place. Then they decided to put it to the right of the entrance (FOOD has been pushed over). SaveOn is still up on the street sign as well as in store.

    -Your comment about the "top heavy" lettering above the departments is spot on! I was hoping that this would all be be replaced like at Devon but no....all remodeling was confined to the front end only.

    -The "photo mural" was painted over as part of the "Great Clean Up" that Supervalu undertook in preparation for the change of ownership. All the managers (store directors in ACME speak) from this store and others spent a couple of days on their hands and knees scrubbing scraping and painting. A lot of junk that was in the back room was thrown in the dumpster along with some old shelves, displays, and decor (fake plants and suitcases that sat atop the produce cases for whatever reason since the beginning of time)

    -Speaking of cleanliness, you must have been there on a good time of the day haha.... Usually the place is quite disgusting by the end, especially produce. Guess that is where the night crew comes in LOL

    -Flooring in front of Bakery and Pharmacy consisted of simulated woof finish that was replaced with grey tile as it wore out. Deli and Meat/seafood may have been replaced earlier (before I started there) probably for the same reason.

    -The Frosted Mug opened in September, but it was supposed to have opened at least a year prior. Why? because the "neighborhood association" was fighting to block it (they even went as far as to got the local state senator involved)

    In the end a deal was worked out that the Mug close at 10pm, extra security was added etc.

    Still there are some who are fighting to get it shut down. Highly doubt they will succeed but....

    In any case the Mug is making money, especially during game days (this location was selected because of the proximity to the stadiums, the idea of tailgating fans stopping here en route to the game)

    -As for how full the parking lot is, looks can be deceiving.... All the spaces along the left side towards the back are taken by SEPTA bus drivers at the southern depot which is directly behind the store. Most of the spots on the right are taken by the nearby Job Corps (a ghetto youth program that I wish would disappear, I won't go into depth here but they are HORRIBLE!) Associate parking is mostly along the left side and the front edge. That leaves about half the cars in the lot belonging to people who actually shop here.

    Make no mistake though, the store gets busy, especially after 4-5pm. Ever since the new ownership crowds have steadily increased....

    -You mentioned the comparison to Clifton, that was EXACTLY the way I felt when I went in the Clifton store (my parents are in N. Jersey) So similar it was a bit disturbing haha....

  5. Ok just found this out by clicking on this link:

    I'll quote the comments in their entirety:

    big time shoprite • 5 hours ago

    "Cedar is going to build Jeff Brown, a new supersized ShopRite store behind his old building at 23rd & Oregon"

    Joseph N. DiStefano Moderator big time shoprite • 5 hours ago

    "That's good news. Any tenant for the old space?"

    big time shoprite Joseph N. DiStefano • 3 hours ago

    "Joe, The "old" ShopRite location was formerly Snellenburg's Department store, built in 1955, and then converted in 1963 to Lit Brothers. It also was used by Mr.Good Buys and Uncle Sam's, selling suplus general merchandise. According to Brown's management, the new SR, will be on the current site of US Postal store and Dollar Tree, which will be relocated. The current SR is too small, and recently L&I prohibited Brown from storing food in basement and second floor of the three floor structure. Brown and fellow Wakefern members, including your Bernie Kenny's Delaware SRs, are currently eying locations of a very troubled multi-banner chain for additional sites for new ShopRite, PriceRite, and the fresh grocers, in our tri-state region."

    Don't know if this is anywhere near a done deal, but this is pretty interesting....

  6. Something I find kinda funny about the ShopRite...
    Google Earth Street View shows the store with a "Double Coupons" banner! ShopRite, quit copying Acme!

  7. The Penn Fruit on 24th and Packer turned into a Lionel Kiddie toy store out there!!!