Friday, April 19, 2019

Snapshot: Former ShopRite - Union, NJ

Coming closer to home for today's Snapshot. I can't tell you how many times I've driven by the old ShopRite of Union (in fact, I grew up in Union -- although I didn't grow up shopping at this store). I did go in occasionally, though, and found it quite comforting, not appalling as the Acme Style blogger seemed to. You can tour the store when it was still open over on Acme Style here. I can offer a little bit of insight to some of his questions, such as the lack of decor. The store would have had the same decor as Watchung, which was removed at some point for a remodel to the decor now seen in Garwood. However, the remodel never happened, possibly due to the impending closure of the Pathmark at Union Plaza on route 22, approximately a mile and a half south. Village Super Market, the owners of the ShopRite, instead decided to move the store south to the former Pathmark, which is larger than the old 40,000-square-foot store but still fairly small. After sitting vacant for five years, the old ShopRite is now being renovated for a conversion to 2nd Avenue Value Stores, a slightly upscale thrift store chain.
The location appears to betray its history as an Acme, but in truth, the brick columns we see on the side of the store were actually added by Village. Or perhaps the store was previously owned by another ShopRite operator or chain, such as Good Deal (several Good Deal stores were purchased by Village in 1976). The distinctive Acme tower sign, however, remains, if slightly modified.
Although these photos are fairly old at this point, I can confirm that construction has actually started as of early March 2019. You can see the store still in operation in an old Google street view. The store is located at 2657 Morris Ave, Union, NJ.

Photographed September 2016

2 comments:

  1. The store wasn't gross but it definitely didn't do the Shoprite chain any favors in the realm of public perception. It reminded me a lot of the Shoprite in Morris Plains- old, cramped, and altogether outdated. It's one thing to be frugal when it comes to running a business but it's another to put almost no money into one that's obviously doing well.

    The new (replacement) store on Route 22 is so much better, like night and day. Same goes for the new "Greater Morristown" Shoprite in Cedar Knolls. Good to see these ancient stores getting replaced, although I can't imagine a thrift store will be an aesthetic improvement in the Union community.

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    1. Very true, and both the Morris Plains store and this one are/were owned by Village Super Market. The replacement stores are quite similar, although the Union one is significantly smaller (somewhere in the high 40K square foot range, if I remember correctly), to Greater Morristown's 78,000. I don't know what the story in Morris Plains was, but I'm pretty sure here they were just waiting for Pathmark to close. There was a similar situation in nearby Elizabeth -- Food Bazaar had been very interested in the city for many years, but only moved in once the Pathmark closed.

      There is already one large thrift store in Union, a Unique Thrift (not a huge fan of them) in the Union Plaza on 22, where the replacement ShopRite is. 2nd Avenue tends to have larger and better-maintained stores, like larger and more modern Goodwill stores as compared to the generally older and not-as-well-maintained Salvation Army stores. I think any business in this spot will be better than a vacant shell, and I'm personally a big thrift store shopper, so I'm happy to see it going in.

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