Acme Markets

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Acme Markets Inc.
Subsidiary
Industry Retail
Founded Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1891)
Headquarters East Whiteland Township, Pennsylvania, United States
Number of locations
107
Key people
Robert Miller (Chairman and CEO)
Products Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor
Parent Albertsons
Slogan You're in for something fresh.
Website acmemarkets.com
This article is about Acme Markets, a division of Albertsons. For the Ohio-based chain, see Acme Fresh Market.

ACME Markets Inc. is a supermarket chain in the Delaware Valley metropolitan area in the United States. ACME is owned by Boise, Idaho-based corporation Albertsons. ACME has its headquarters in East Whiteland Township, Pennsylvania, near Malvern, a Philadelphia suburb.

ACME was established in 1891, when Irish immigrants Samuel Robinson and Robert Crawford opened a store in south Philadelphia. The company operates 107 supermarkets[1] under the Acme name in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland; it closed two stores, in Chalfont and Warminster, Pennsylvania, in November 2014.

As of 2011, ACME was the second-largest retailer of food in Greater Philadelphia, behind ShopRite.[2]

History[edit]

1980s-1998 ACME logo, the "red oval" logo, a variant of the "fish eye" logo

In 1891, Irish immigrants Samuel Robinson and Robert Crawford founded what is now ACME in south Philadelphia. (Some sources trace ACME's beginnings to 1887 or 1872.) In 1917, Robinson and Crawford merged Acme Markets with four other Philadelphia-area grocery stores, including English immigrant S. Canning Childs's South Jersey-based American grocery chain; the new company was named American Stores. Ten years later, smaller rival Penn Fruit began in Philadelphia's Center City (in the 1950s Penn Fruit would compete with ACME in urban shopping centers.) In the late 1920s, supermarkets under the American Stores banner rapidly sprouted throughout the Philadelphia region, rivaling New Jersey-based A&P, which then featured downtown stores up and down the East Coast, and west to New Orleans. American Stores' first round of introducing self-service stores in shopping centers was in the early 1950s.

Identity[edit]

In 1961, American Stores' rolled out a new logo (known as the "teardrop" or "fish eye"), in an attempt to eliminate the inconsistent use of the Acme Markets or Acme Super Markets script logos of the 1950s; however, its implementation was not used throughout the chain. American Stores' distribution center, on U.S. 30 in west Philadelphia, retained the gold script "Acme Super Markets" signage until its closure in 1993. The complex remained abandoned, complete with sign, as the last Acme store in west Philadelphia had been sold in 1980.

The new ACME logo coincided with a building style known as "A-Frame." These stores were meant to compete with A&P, Food Fair, and Penn Fruit, all of which had trademarked architecture of their own. (Larger chains Safeway, Kroger, and Grand Union competed with ACME as well, but on a smaller scale.) Most ACMEs built in the 1960s were a variant of this design. These could be adapted to major streets and shopping centers alike, and averaged 30,000 square feet (2,787 m2). Trademark features included a full peaked roof and signage that resembled the then-popular lava lamp, along with a standardized emergency exit. The latter two elements were retained in ACME's 1970s prototype which succeeded many A-Frame units. In turn, the A-Frame's footprint was very similar to ACME's first standardized building model, which had been rolled out in 1955.

Expansion and acquisition[edit]

In 1961, American Stores company acquired southern California's Alpha Beta chain of supermarkets. Many of ACME's stores in the 1960s and 1970s were paired with a regional drugstore chain, a PLCB liquor store (in Pennsylvania), a Kmart, or Woolco (earlier centers had a Woolworth), and in rarer cases a department store such as Sears or JCPenney. American Stores also bought the Philadelphia franchise rights to the then fast-growing restaurant chain Pizza Hut in 1968. ACME would also acquire a number of stores from Kmart Foods (as did A&P, Safeway, and Kroger); however, in the late 1970s, many recently closed 1950s-era supermarkets in Philadelphia and close suburbs were reopened as independents IGA or Thriftway/Shop 'n Bag. Starting in the 1980s, these independents were overtaken by family chains Genuardi's (later acquired by Safeway and now defunct) and Clemens (also defunct) along with Giant-Carlisle and Giant-Landover in newer suburbs, and modernized ACME, Super Fresh, and Pathmark stores in the city and older suburbs not long after.

From 1978 to 1982, ACME acquired many stores during Food Fair's bankruptcy, including both ex-Food Fair (by then known as discount grocer Pantry Pride) and Penn Fruit units. The bulk of these dated to the 1950s. The former Food Fair/Pantry Pride stores were replaced by or remodeled into stores with the standard ACME prototype of the 1970s, as were many expanded A-Frame buildings and a few former Pathmark (these were former ShopRite) stores.) Former Penn Fruit buildings, with their trademark barrel roof, could not be adapted to this model. Even many A-Frames were replaced by the often older but larger acquired stores.

In the late 1960s into the 1970s, ACME introduced a chain of stores (Super Saver) that were high volume, but were in high-crime and low-income areas. Both chains had the slogan "Acme and Super Saver - you're going to like it here!" The brand Super Saver was retired in the 1980s, only to be resurrected in the 1990s in the West.

American Stores was sold in 1979 to the Skaggs Companies which took the American Stores name, moving its headquarters to Salt Lake City. Also in 1979, American Stores announced that it would be closing most of its stores in New York state. In the 1980s, American Stores undertook various acquisitions (including Chicago metropolitan area chain Jewel Food Stores) which ran the "Jewel-T" chain; it operated in many former urban ACME buildings. In 1995, ACME sold 45 stores in northeastern Pennsylvania to Penn Traffic.[3] American Stores was acquired by major Western and Southern chain Albertsons in November 1999, which in turn was owned by SuperValu from 2006 to 2013.

Current and future operations[edit]

Red indicates where ACME currently operates (other colors represent ACME's parent Albertson's footprint with its various banners)

ACME is the second-largest food and drug retailer in its region,[2] where it competes with such chains as Ahold's Giant-Carlisle, Giant-Landover, and Stop & Shop; Wakefern Food Corporation's ShopRite; Walmart and its warehouse club subsidiary Sam's Club; warehouse club Costco; natural/organic products retailer Whole Foods Market; Wegmans Food Markets; Trader Joe's and its discount subsidiary Aldi; North Carolina-based Food Lion, and various smaller chains. ACME was its regional sales leader for decades, and only in 2011 lost its position as the largest Philadelphia-area grocer to ShopRite.

ACME offers online grocery shopping[4] for orders that can be picked up at the store. Prior to 2009, ACME also delivered to customers through online orders. In 2004, ACME introduced self-checkout stands, where shoppers could scan and bag their own groceries. In 2008, many ACME stores began adding hot food bars to the deli section.

Including the 76 A&P-branded stores which are slated to become ACME stores following A&P filing for Chapter 11 protection in July 2015 (see below), ACME operates (or will operate) stores in the following counties:

The last ACME store in Harford County, Maryland, in Fallston, closed in February 2011.

On July 20, 2015, long-time ACME rival A&P announced it was going out of business, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; while 25 stores were closed immediately, A&P has begun to sell stores (some to Stop & Shop and Key Food), with 76 being sold to ACME, marking its re-expansion into northern New Jersey, in New York City, and into Connecticut, as well as more stores in the Philadelphia metropolitan area and in Delaware and Maryland, nearly doubling the number of ACME stores to 183. It also marks the return of ACME's parent in Connecticut, as Albertson's operates Shaw's supermarkets; Shaw's pulled out of Connecticut in 2010.

Headquarters[edit]

The headquarters of ACME are in East Whiteland Township, Pennsylvania, near Malvern.[5][6][7] The company was previously headquartered in Center City, Philadelphia, but moved to Malvern in 1974. ACME continued to house some support departments, including its accounting department, in Center City.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Acme". SUPERVALU INC. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  2. ^ a b "ShopRite edges Acme in Philadelphia-area grocery sales". Interstate General Media - philly.com. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  3. ^ "PENN TRAFFIC CLOSES 45 ACME STORE DEAL". Supermarket News. Retrieved 2015-02-01. 
  4. ^ "Shop". AcmeMarkets.com. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  5. ^ "Acme Fast Facts." Acme Markets. Retrieved on February 14, 2011. "Division Office Headquarters at 75 Valley Stream Parkway, Malvern, PA 19355"
  6. ^ "In the Community." Acme Markets. Retrieved on February 14, 2011. "Acme Markets Attn: Dorothy Hamilton 75 Valley Stream Parkway Malvern, PA 19355."
  7. ^ "East Whiteland township, Chester County, Pennsylvania." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 14, 2011.
  8. ^ "Acme Tradition / History." Acme Markets. Retrieved on February 14, 2011.

External links[edit]