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Update: ACME Markets - Morris Plains, NJ

ACME Markets
Opened: 1978 in existing building; 1953 in previous building on same site; closed 2021
Previous Tenants: none
Location: 329 Speedwell Ave, Morris Plains, NJ
Photographed: June 2020 and June 2021
ACME has certainly been closing stores at slower rates lately compared to the rapid downsizing of the 1990s and 2000s, but there are still some casualties. They lost the lease here at Morris Plains, once a top store for the chain, in the spring of 2021 as the property is expected to be redeveloped, likely with a drugstore in a new-build building. It does seem that the 31,000 square foot store wasn't attracting the same volume of shoppers at the end of its life as it had previously. And by the way, we've toured the store along with extensive history here. It's likely that the ShopRite just to the east in Cedar Knolls, constructed in 2013, didn't kill this store but hurt it; a LIDL announced for just across the street from the ShopRite didn't help either; and finally, Long Island-based Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace announced they would be moving into the former ShopRite in Morris Plains. Those all combined to make it infeasible to keep the ACME open, it seems.
For some reason, the flooring in the last two aisles was replaced at some point between June 2020 (when the above picture was taken) and June 2021 (when I returned for the following store closing pictures). As we'll see, the Industrial Circus flooring was replaced with solid white.
I visited on June 2, 2021 to check out the state of the store and maybe get some good clearance deals. I did both. The store was expected to close on June 26, 2021 but I believe it closed quite a bit earlier than that because the merchandise was all sold out.
The pharmacy closed on May 19th.
Produce was still surprisingly well-stocked at the time of my visit, although the other departments were seriously thinning out or already done.
But the bakery was also surprisingly still going strong.
Deli and seafood, however, were both cleaned out.
Note that the store got Quality Built aisle markers at some point. No other real upgrades, which I assume was because ACME knew their lease would be up soon and didn't want to unnecessarily invest money.
The grocery aisles varied, some were still pretty full and some were completely empty. Note that maintenance clearly wasn't a priority here -- it's quite clean, but so many lights were burnt out.
Some of the freezer cases had already been turned off, although mostly they were clinging on to the last little bits of stock they still had.
And except for milk and (weirdly) bagged cheese, the dairy department was almost completely empty too...
Also of note that the pharmacy closing signage lists it as a Sav-On pharmacy. This store remained a Sav-On Pharmacy until its closing day, even when nearly all of the other ACME pharmacies became just ACME pharmacies.
That's all for Morris Plains now, and although I doubt another grocery chain would move in here, you can be sure I'll be back if they do! Our other two posts of the day are the ShopRite east on Hanover Avenue in Cedar Knolls, and the former Foodtown just to the east of that. Tomorrow, we head east to Hanover Township for an independent store over on The Independent Edition!


  1. Between the massive ShopRite and Wegmans coming to the area, it's pretty amazing that this store lasted as long as it did. I thought ACME was going to pull the plug years ago.

    A while back I saw a photo online that showed the QB aisle markers but you couldn't see any of the walls in the picture. I was wondering if the place got a QB remodel as a last ditch effort to keep it going. Your pictures confirm it was just the signs that got swapped.

    I think this may be the last "Industrial Circus" store out there. The rest are either closed or have been remodeled to Quality Built. Can't think of any others off the top of my head. I always think about how much décor has to be thrown in the dumpster when these stores get remodeled or close. Morris Plains got one of the more deluxe versions of it and it still looked pretty snazzy in the end.

    One final thought... I wonder how the Stop&Shop out on Route 10 is doing. (Could coverage be coming soon to The Market Report??) Used to be a very busy store before Wegmans opened. Parking lot looks pretty empty in the satellite images and street views while Wegmans has a huge crowd.

    1. You beat me to it but obviously you have seen the Stop & Shop in Morris Plains! Still seems to do a solid business, although Uncle Giuseppe's is moving into the old Morris Plains ShopRite and that will likely hurt them a little more.

      How about Main Street in Maple Shade? When I got there about a year ago it was still Industrial Circus all around.

  2. Perhaps the thoughts of not doing work that was unnecessary if they suspected the closing would occur also explains the reasoning for keeping the Savon name (rather than spending money on new signs etc.)?

  3. This was MY Acme (I worked here from 1995 to 2003 as well as having shopped here with my mom from the time we moved to Morristown in 1984) so it hurts to see it closed. I walked around about a week before the official last day and took a ton of photos, even though it was heartbreaking to see it a shell of its former self. This was once a busy, profitable store, but I guess the writing was on those Industrial Circus-painted walls since they received little attention after the last remodel about 20 years ago.

    Local press coverage revealed both parties walked away with their heads held high because a new lease couldn't be agreed upon: The landlord gets to sell prime property at a busy intersection in wealthy suburbia, and Acme is likely truthful they tried to negotiate (albeit it for much less money than they were paying, I'm certain). I thought maybe the assisted living center next door would have infused it with some new customers but I guess it wasn't enough.

    My parents are still upset because the nearby ShopRite is too big and busy for their liking, and the Morris Plains Stop & Shop isn't really on their way home from anything.

    1. Thanks for the memories! Glad I got to cover your ACME!

  4. The exterior of this store, all the way down to the removal of the pharmacy sign, looks very similar to the Lenola Rd Maple Shade Acme. That store might still have the Chalkboard decor. I haven't been there in quite some time...last time I was there, they had quite a few meat items past their date still out for sale, which (understandably) turned me off.

    1. I think that store was renovated to Quality Built, but I'm not sure. I definitely see the similarity, though.

  5. Definitely no supermarket, they said what was going to replace it.

    1. Well there were a few proposals, but none had been settled on yet, to my knowledge. One of them included keeping the building as it currently stands and just remodeling the existing structure, which would presumably be for another grocery tenant. Another included demolishing the structure and replacing it with the store model you might expect to see on a CVS or Walgreens.

  6. It's unfortunate that this store closed, but I agree with Acme Style that this Acme staying around for as long as it did was a big accomplishment, especially when one considers that the Cedar Knolls Foodtown closed so soon after the ShopRite of Greater Morristown opened.

    On Flickr (where I go by the name of "A&P Fan"), I left a comment below JoshAustin610's photo of this store. As I mentioned over on Flickr, this article provides some information about the Morris Plains Acme's closing:

    I also wrote the following:

    "Regarding this now closed Morris Plains Acme, it opened on October 24, 1977. That location was a replacement for a street-front store which opened on August 26, 1953. Amazingly, some photos of the first Morris Plains Acme are readily available online:

    For those who subscribe to, you can actually see a photo of the 1953 Acme being demolished to make way for a parking lot for the 1977 Acme. The photo was taken on October 26, 1977 and appears the following day on Page 3 of an "Other Edition" of the (Morristown) Daily Record. There is a great view of the "new" Acme (already in operation by that point), and that building lacks any "Super Saver" signage; instead, it merely sports the iconic fish eye logo."

    --A&P Fan

    1. For photos of the Morris Plains Acme that was in operation from 1953 to 1977, I shared two links above. However, the second of those links doesn't work (as I believe that I made a mistake when I initially posted it). I will repost this link below, and hopefully it will direct you to the photo:

      --A&P Fan


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