Friday, April 14, 2017

Acme – Elmwood Park, New Jersey

Location: 58 Broadway, Elmwood Park, NJ

Big surprise once I sat down to start putting this post together... the Elmwood Park Pathmark was built in 2002! I never would have guessed that when touring the store. Felt far more dated but Pathmark never really shook things up with their new store construction. The interior has what I call the "Path to Savings" décor which may have been what the store was built with. If not, it would have had to have been remodeled not long after it opened. This décor package was rolled out to most stores during the "It's about time" campaign which launched in 2004. Not sure when it officially debuted. Fortunately this store was sparred of the obnoxious "SAVE" messaging which A&P unleashed on Pathmark after they bought the chain.

No exterior painting was done leaving the Pathmark and SuperCenter scars still visible. This store does not have a pharmacy which is odd.

The service departments feel a little crammed in around Produce which is another reason why I thought this was an old store. The layout here feels like a step backwards from the stores Pathmark was opening in the mid to late 90's.

The store was fairly busy on this Saturday afternoon although you won't be seeing many people in these pictures. I'm surprised it wasn't busier as there doesn't seem to be much competition nearby and the area is densely populated. 

Seafood department in the back is no bigger than a closet.

Clean and bright so why does if feel so old?

The service counter in the Meat Department looks like a holdover from the 70's. Hard to believe this was Pathmark's design for a store built in the 2000's.

Not sure if this store has had an official reset. I should have investigated more carefully but I'm pretty sure this double-wide aisle is leftover from Pathmark.

Looks like Frozen Food got all new cases in recent years.

This store lacks the "Path to (fill in the blank)" messaging on the walls. I unfortunately don't have a picture of that on the blog. The line of "Path to..." phrases were covered over with "SAVE" panels when A&P took over. You can get a glimpse of those in the former Randolph store by clicking here.

Heading for Acme's good 'ol front-end DISASTER! The standard 3 registers open on a Satruday afternoon.


The photo above was the line situation when I first arrived. It was even worse when I left. You can see long lines at the 2 open registers in the distance. Things were was so bad at the one express register when I was ready to check out, I put my purchases down and walked out. I did glance over to Customer Service to see if someone could ring up my two items but no one was there.

Enough of my critique of the front-end, time now to hear from some other customers who have shopped here. Below are comments from reviews of the Elmwood Park Acme on both Google and Yelp...

Zahair – OK but lines are always long 

Gabriela – The lines are always long since they don't usually have more than 4 cashiers open. They also removed the self checkout that Pathmark had which slowed things down even more.

Diane – When your just running in for 1 or 2 things it could take a half hour to get through the checkout.

Lisa – Good prices. Need more registers open. Clean.

Andre – Bit pricey and not that many registers open.

George – Not usually crowded. But usually not enough registers open to accommodate the customers that are there.

Janet – Oh wait another 20 minutes at the registers, at least Pathmark had self service check out. This place is never crowded but always very SLOW!!!

Dave – Pretty good sales. But long lines. That's because they only keep 2 registers open at all times. 

Cara  – If you are purchasing one item, plan on spending a half hour minimum to check out.

Jessica – They don't have enough checkout lines open whenever I come here. They should fix that.

Diane – ...and the checkout lines are so long.

And check out this doozy...

Mike – Went here twice. Both times the front end was such a disaster that verbal arguments resulted.

As I've said before, you can yelp and google any converted North Jersey store and hear the exact same complaints. Is Acme paying attention to all these dissatisfied shoppers? Doesn't seem like it. I was in my local Acme this past Saturday. ONE express register open out of the six available stations. Huge line. Only two other registers open, both with lines. I keep telling this same story over and over but it's the same situation at Acme after Acme. I'm with Jessica when she says "They should fix that"!!!


Unusual Kmart at the bottom of the photo...

The Kmart is a former Grandway.

Grandway/ Kmart - Elmwood Park, NJ
For more history on this store, click on the photo to jump over to flickr.



Never would have guessed this place was constructed in 2002.


Have to say, like so many other North Jersey stores I've been in, the Elmwood Park Acme is not living up to it's full potential.


  1. Probably all those light pastel colors make it look old. If you think about it, almost everyone (at least around here) uses dark(er) decor in their current prototypes.

  2. Aside from the lines, the rest of the reviews sound pretty good! It would be a shame if they screwed themselves over with something so easy to fix.

    1. It's that way for a lot of stores when you read the reviews. Lack of open registers is a constant complaint while many people compliment these converted stores on being clean and having great sales.

  3. You sure this didn't have the "save" signage plastered all over? I know there were other Acme conversions that removed that stuff and painted over where the old text on the wall was. That's probably the case here too.

    1. Oh, that could totally be the case. Makes sense too. I didn't notice any hints of scaring or a repaint so I thought they had never had it.

  4. This store did, indeed, receive the Sav-A-Center remodel inside with both the giant "So Happy to Help You Save" yellow foamboard panels over the department signage, and the blue "save" placcards around the perimeter of the store. The only department that never received the yellow foamboard placcard was the meat window (path to quick meals) because it is a smaller sign and I guess those yellow foamboard panels only came in one size. The "save" signs around the perimeter covered the phrases which ran around the store, such as—“path to great savings-Pathmark Advantage Club”, path to online access -".

    Acme removed both layers of decor, sanded and spackled.

  5. This was originally intended to be an A&P, but they backed out and Pathmark decided to take over the construction. I thought the store was built a little earlier than 2002 but the timeframe is about right (2000-01 was my rememberance).

    I'm guessing the reason why there's no pharmacy has something to do with Walgreens literally being across the street. The strange Kmart also has a pharmacy inside.

    And as I said before, Pathmark's self checkouts were universally terrible.

  6. The store was in planning for a while. I lived in New Jersey in the late 90's and I remember articles about the store.

    What's very interesting is this store is right next to a former Grand Union as well as the tower that housed the Grand Union HQ. I think that shopping center was torn down, but I could be wrong. It was very dated inside and outside. The Grand Union did a fair amount of business from people coming from Paterson, but they also had a lot of problems with shoplifting.

  7. The shopping center itself wasn't torn down. Just the Grand Union store and the office tower, plus the Walgreens next door if I remember correctly. The rest of the center got a much needed facelift.

    I'm guessing the Paterson proximity and the location of the store had part of the reason to do with Acme choosing to snap up this store as opposed to the Fair Lawn store, which if I'm not mistaken was bigger. The fact that both Walgreens and Kmart have pharmacies within two blocks walking from the Pathmark/Acme must have had something to do with their not adding a pharmacy; it seemed that even the smallest and most rinky dink of Pathmark stores at least had a pharmacy, because they could easily count on that to drive the store if business was otherwise flat (it kept the Clifton Pathmark open a lot longer than it necessarily should have been).

    Shoplifting is always a concern over there. Kmart is still plagued by it and Walgreens has to have an Elmwood Park cop stationed in the store overnight:

  8. After having been to other Acme stores in the past and present this store didn't quite meet my expectations, but that's alright. Hopefully over the years they get better. I really like the Acme in Midland Park, It's attractive, clean, well stocked and the employees are friendly. I don't know if you did an article on it yet, but if not, you totally should!
    P.S. Yes, I am writing this comment at nearly four AM. I technically should be doing the work I stayed up for, but your site brought me down memory lane with all the old posts.

    1. Midland Park has been photographed and will be coming to the blog soon.