Friday, January 22, 2016

Acme – Fort Lee, New Jersey

Location: 2160 Lemoine Ave, Fort Lee, NJ

Opening date: October 14, 2015

Today we return to the Fort Lee A&P fresh which was covered prior to its conversion in last September's Future Acme Markets post. It's the last store in the area to be revisited from that post. It it also one of the stores that Acme has done the least to which was a little disappointing to see. Perhaps a more extensive remodel is in the works. While this store is in pretty decent shape, if you look closely you do start to see how rough things are around the edges.

A 'before" shot when it was still an A&P fresh. Acme painted the area under the arches when the new signs went up. The sections are slightly darker brown the rest of the awning. Starbucks remains but the liquor department has been removed.

I've only been to this store a handful of times in the past ten years or so. It was definitely busier on this visit that I remember seeing in the past. A ton of employees working throughout the store with a little too much restocking going on for a busy Saturday morning. The Floral Department was completely unaccessible due to a huge delivery that had just arrived.

Open 24/7 thanks to this Premium Fresh and Health Version 3 sign.

Acme worked their streamlining magic in Produce. All of A&P's clutter is gone. You can see a "before" picture below from a nearby spot...

A nice open aisle between Produce and the service departments along the right wall.

"Starbuc" still burned out.

Probably the nicest salad bar I have ever seen in a standard supermarket. Some of the mixed salads were as nice as the offerings at Whole Foods.

An extensive selection of grab and go foods.

The Boar's Head display remains here. Jersey City had theirs removed years ago.

Unfortunately Acme got stuck with La Brea breads. I don't understand it. These breads are already available at all of Acme's competitors in the area including ShopRite, Stop and Shop and Kings. They also don't gel with Acme's "We Love Local" as the bread company is based in California. I've said it before and I'll say it again... the worst thing to happen with Acme and SuperValu parting ways is the loss of the fresh baked Culinary Circle and Wild Harvest breads. Some of the best breads to be found in a supermarket. Fortunately that's the only bad thing to have happened. And on a positive note, Acme is doing a much better job keeping these breads stocked and available at their stores than ShopRite has ever been able to do.

The liquor signage is still up but there isn't a drop to drink around these parts.

Most of the former liquor dept has been turned over to health foods. The beer cases have been packed with an enormous amount of San Pellegrino...

This certainly can't stay like this forever.

A look at this aisle during the A&P days.

No new lighting needed in this area of the store.

About 2/3 of the store still has the original flooring which is showing its age in many areas. The rest was replaced during the "fresh" remodel.

"NEW Lower Prices" signage still going strong.

The spot lights in Health and Beauty survived!

How about this for ceiling design? It's tucked so far back the corner it's hardly noticeable from other parts of the store.

Looks like this may be the sign for the front-end that either fell off or never made it up to it's spot. Seems like a pretty random area to stick it.

Former home to the self-checkouts. This is the first converted store I've been to where no new registers have been added.

Also the first converted store I've seen without updated express register signage.


The Fort Lee Acme a stone's throw from the George Washington Bridge.




The new A&P hadn't been built by 1995. The original A&P is on the left side of the image. It has since been torn down. A clearer image from 1987 is below...



  1. - Clearly the beer and wine department needs a facelift. If nothing else can be done to avoid the bizarre New Jersey liquor laws, then they should simply wall it off and lease it to a third party (which would be lame, I know, but that's the biggest display of mineral water I've -ever- seen)
    - Well, there's your "Starbucks in an Acme" that has been missing for so long.
    - The bread issue is actually solved in the West Coast, where Safeway has real bread plants for its stores. Unfortunately, the Denver plant is closing and the rest of the former Safeway divisions, including Texas, Dominick's, and Genuardi's NEVER had bread plants (though the original Houston Safeway did). The uneven manufacturing distribution is one of Albertsons' bigger problems.
    - Including department-specific flooring, I count no less than six types of flooring in this store. Huh.

    1. There's also way too many types of lighting fixtures throughout the store. Not to be overly picky but the place really needs one cohesive lighting treatment. You wouldn't realize how uneven the lighting is in the store until you walk all the way through it.

    2. It's kind of like a "ks Coffee" in that acme!

  2. It would make sense that they will have to do something with the liquor area, and perhaps that also relates to why it had the least done to it during the switch over (as they might pick it to do more of a remodel sooner than other locations)?

    Also, in relation to your noting it's a stone's throw from the GWB - the question is, how long does it take to get there, and does that depend on who is in charge of lane restrictions? ;)

    1. Fortunately it's pretty easy to cut around all of the nonsense with the bridge to get to the Acme!

  3. I happen to like the La Brea bread a lot. The cranberry walnut take and bake is amazing. Also, the ceiling design is pretty awesome in the back of the store ��

  4. The Boar's Head columns and top sign look terrible. They should have taken them down. The San Pellegrino overkill also looks bad. You think they would have let vendors stock various cold sodas and drinks in that aisle until they figure out what they are going to do with it.

  5. Haha I almost fell over laughing when I walked in there and took notice to that massive aisle of Pellegrino. You cannot tell me that the can't find other items to put in there versus 750 packs of Pellegrino? And I agree, the Boar's Head looks real bad. All in all, it's still a nice store.

  6. Did they put a lot of Asian products in there to appeal to the local community?

    1. I didn't notice but then again, I didn't walk up and down every aisle.

  7. I did a quick rip up and down every aisle, and I didn't notice a large Asian food section.

  8. As much as I'm one of the biggest Acme enthusiasts around, they have a long way to go with the "Acme is local" campaign. For instance, not much Asian foods in Ft Lee. Their Ortley location doesn't have any more Italian foods than the average supermarket despite the huge Italian-American community there. You know I dislike Shoprite, but the ones around here have a huge Italian foods selection, provided by local suppliers and even ones from Italy. Acme has to realize this in order to become even better.

    1. The Albertsons Playbook was supposed to allow for local products and even ad specialization but I don't know how far along that is in implementation yet (if it is at all).

  9. The "streamlining magic" just seems to have stripped fixtures for a bunch of cardboard boxes. Though it was messy and disorganized (baskets stacked on top of smaller fruit crates, and "butter" spray in a poor cross-merchandising attempt), I kind of think that the A&P produce display was better than ACME's if they had maintained it better.

    1. Perhaps it's not captured clearly enough in the photos but as a regular shopper of many of these former A&Ps and Pathmarks. Acme's simple changes have greatly improved the shopping experience. These simple changes have dramatically improved the atmosphere in these stores.

    2. Perhaps. After all, I think that's how it's done at H-E-B (which are great stores to shop in, despite the fact that they are light on the décor side of things, at least my store).

  10. Looking at this store again, I think this store does not need a full remodel but rather a partial reset as soon as ACME can secure a beer and wine license somehow. Fix the Starbucks sign, repaint the outside to match the new brown paint, change the aisle signs (surplus from PF&H, maybe), add more international foods, and re-do some of the lighting for a more cohesive store design.

    1. Acme would have to wall off the area and set up a separate company in order to sell liquor. You can only hold 2 licenses in the state.

    2. Well, one way around it would be to put the store in its own subsidiary (Acme of Fort Lee Inc.), even Acme Markets Inc. is technically a subsidiary of Albertsons. If nothing else, they could wall it off and lease it out. Has any progress been made in the department?