Previous Tenants: A&P
Location: 1060 Raritan Rd, Clark, NJ
Photographed: December 2020
Today we're here in Clark, NJ -- just off exit 135 on the Parkway -- to tour the middle-sized supermarket in town. This ACME is 55,000 square feet, with a 44,000 square foot Whole Foods just over half a mile to the northeast, and a 72,000 square foot SRS-owned ShopRite at almost exactly half a mile east. Clark has plenty of supermarkets, but they all do a very good business because they also draw from surrounding towns. In any other location, an ACME with a ShopRite and a Whole Foods so close might be in trouble, but this one does a very good business and is quite a beautiful store.
The store was built around 2005 as a new-build A&P, replacing a much older store in downtown Clark that we'll see shortly. The store opened with a beautiful version of Fresh 2.0 and in the summer of 2016 was remodeled to Quality Built. As we'll see, though, the bones of Fresh 2.0 are still present, unlike some of ACME's more recent, more extensive Quality Built remodels.
We enter to the grand aisle, with produce lining the left side and deli/prepared foods on the right. Customer service is just to the right of the entrance on the front wall with floral just to the left of the entrance. Bakery, seafood, and meat line the back wall with dairy on the far end and frozen foods in the last aisle and a half, and pharmacy in the front right corner.
Customer service looking very good with a nice clean white paint job and lighting left from Fresh 2.0. Prepared foods face this area, although I do think the Quality Built decor works better with the black fixtures ACME has been putting in the remodels instead of the older white fixtures from Fresh 2.0.
Produce lining the left side of the grand aisle. As much as I like them, the category markers along the top of the cases from the initial conversion are starting to fade as we see here. Plus, when the stores are reset, the category markers frequently don't match the actual stock.
Deli and prepared foods lining an island opposite produce. It looks to me like there was no wall long enough to accommodate "ACME Corner Deli" so it was shortened as we see here.
Boar's Head awning from Fresh 2.0 remains, as does the cheese department (although the hanging sign is new)...
Newer Quality Built remodels replace these single-tier cheese displays with more space-efficient upright cases. Still looks good here, though.
Spacious bakery in the back corner of the grand aisle.
Service seafood and meat behind the deli/cheese island on the back wall, with packaged meat lining the rest of the back wall. In the grocery aisles, the store definitely feels less dated than the grand aisle. The first grocery aisle lines the back of the deli island...
The grocery aisles are clean, spacious, and well-stocked. I believe ACME replaced the lighting in the store when they opened, and it's certainly a very bright space. I remember being in a lot of these cavernous A&Ps that felt dark and dingy because the lighting wasn't bright enough. Didn't help that A&P probably had half the lightbulbs burnt out.
Clearly, that's not a problem we have here! As we've seen, maintenance in 90% of ACME's acquired A&P stores has been top-notch.
Cold cuts and milk in the corner on the back wall, with frozen in aisle 11 and one side of 12, and dairy lining the other side of 12 which is the last aisle.
I don't believe ACME replaced any of the fixtures in the Quality Built remodel except maybe the seafood cases, I didn't get a good look at those. The frozen and dairy cases are definitely 2005-era. (Side question here for anyone who might know... this store seems to be about the same age as Denville, the Fresh 1.0 prototype. Those are both around the same time that Kenilworth was remodeled to Fresh 2.0. Does that mean A&P was using both Fresh 1.0 and 2.0 at the same time? If so, why would they do that?)
Looking up towards the front wall in aisle 12, the last aisle.
Pharmacy and health and beauty in these short aisles in the front corner of the store. The flooring (here and in the rest of the store) is left from Fresh 2.0, as we saw in Newport.
Front end looking good (and decorated for Christmas). This store seems to do quite well despite being very close to its competition, including the ShopRite I mentioned. I've been to that store many times but have never quite seemed to get a store tour -- so come back tomorrow for a snapshot of the ShopRite of Clark!