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TOUR: ACME Markets - Bryn Mawr, PA

ACME Markets
Opened: 2012, older store (1956-2011) on same property
Previous Tenants: none
Location: 601 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA
Photographed: December 2021
The Bryn Mawr ACME comes to The Market Report! Acme Style has reported extensively on this store, first visiting the older store that stood on the same property back in 2011 and then returning to the newly built store right after its opening in 2012. I would strongly recommend you read those two posts (or re-read them, if you already have) before moving on to checking out the store today.
I'm not going to describe the layout because Acme Style has some excellent, and pretty accurate, floor plans in their post. The layout hasn't really changed in the past few years -- except for a few minor changes we'll see. Here's the view upon entering, with new flooring and fixtures installed in a sad excuse for a Quality Built remodel.
I must say that Acme Style wrote a rather glowing review of this store ten years ago so I had high hopes. I was sorely disappointed. The store has not held up well, not to mention the fact that it's been scaled back in a few different ways, the remodel changed the store barely at all, and it's actually much more cramped than it seems in pictures. All told, it's only about 27,000 square feet (with backroom space in the basement, including restrooms). That all said, it was quite busy so it's clearly a popular enough store. As for the changes, we can see the new flooring looking pretty good here, but the entire prepared foods counter was removed and replaced with upright cases for cheese and packaged deli items. Similarly, the salad, hot food, and olive bars are all gone, replaced with regular refrigerators full of packaged items.
One interesting thing I noticed right inside the entrance was these Balducci's-branded gift baskets. An intriguing concept, although I'm not convinced they weren't designed to get rid of discontinued Balducci's storebrand items as they were replaced with Signature. Still an interesting element of cross-promotion between the banners that otherwise don't interact much. (Balducci's was previously owned by the same firm as Kings and was purchased by Albertsons at the same time that Kings was.)
A streamlined produce department that, for whatever reason, has had its farmstand sign removed. This department does actually look very nice, although I want signage on top of the cases.
Another very odd reduction -- the service bakery has been completely removed. In its place, upright pastry and bread cases have been installed, with one refrigerator visible to the left for items like cakes and other desserts. Why remove the bakery?
Meat and seafood here at the back of the store. As we see, the flooring in this part of the store was not replaced.
And looking across the back of the store.
I'm not sure if it's always been this way, but these department signs get lost in the darkness here. There needs to be better lighting on this one.
And in the aisles, we see that they are nicely maintained, but rather unremarkable.
I did manage to get a picture of the customer service counter's rounded soffit, which Acme Style makes a reference to but did not get a picture of.
Back in the back aisle of the store we have the dairy department. Again, no real changes and not much to say. It's certainly not ugly but it's not really special, even compared to remodels at smaller existing ACMEs.
Unfortunately, the clutter-free aisles Acme Style describes are long gone, with the aisles once again full of clutter.
Looking at these cases here, we can tell that the few closest to us are newer than the older ones behind them (which would've been original to the store in 2012). My guess is, although I'm not sure about this, that these aisles were extended during the almost-Quality Built renovation to add a liquor store in the front, which previously had the rest of the freezer cases.
Here's dairy and frozen in the last aisle. While I appreciate the windows on this wall, why is there no decor? There's no decor on any of the walls visible here, for that matter.
The liquor store in what used to be the space for additional frozen and customer restrooms. Customers are now directed to the employee restrooms downstairs.
As far as I can remember, there's no signage for this department. Is a Quality Built renovation in the future for this store? Why else would these updates be so minimal?
Looking across the front end of the store.
Well, I'm not sure what to think about the Bryn Mawr ACME. It was cramped and felt slightly dingy, despite the bright lighting and skylights. It felt older than it was, and it felt like it's been cut back significantly despite the fact that it seems to be a pretty high-volume store. All in all, I don't understand it but I won't be in a hurry to get back.
Space-saving soda and water on the front wall!
And here's one shot of the side of the store that faces the road. It is indeed quite attractive, as Acme Style wrote back in 2012. That's all for this ACME, but we have another former ACME just under two miles east on route 30 on Grocery Archaeology on Monday!

Comments

  1. Interesting, I tried to open up Acme Style but it's showing open to invited readers only.

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  2. Sums up Acme in a nutshell. Boring, mediocre stores with half-assed 'remodels'...and this looks like one of their 'better' locations. I don't envision the brand being around 10 years from now at this rate.

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    1. I have to agree with store215's assessment of Acme, as well as his or her prediction about Acme's future. I don't take pleasure when it comes to saying bad things about Acme, because many participants on this blog really like the chain. And it goes without saying that Acme has a glorious past. I love the vintage Acme locations, but fewer and fewer of those stores are still in operation. The Acme stores built in the last 25 to 30 years strike me as overly generic and provide a shopping experience that I feel is far inferior to Shoprite (or at least many of Shoprite's locations, as there are so many differences among ShopRite stores, though I consider that to generally be a good thing). I am also less than impressed with many of the A&P-turned-Acme locations, because I feel that the "Quality Built" decor is very bland. I honestly think that it was a mistake for Acme to have acquired so many locations from A&P; unless increasing its number of stores would make Acme competitive with Shoprite on price (which didn't happen), it was simply too risky to acquire so many new stores.

      --A&P Fan

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    2. I also agree with Acme being bland and not great. Many of the Hudson Valley NY area Acme stores that used to be A&P are very underwhelming. They aren’t maintained well, are never busy, and always have expired food on the shelves. They remodeled a few of them, but the remodels were bland, basic, and in some cases the only change was a new coat of paint. In the Pleasant Valley one, all they did was update the decor and change the flooring in produce. All the old cases, and old flooring and shelving that was worn and outdated was left. When other supermarkets (Stop & Shop, ShopRite, Hannaford etc… remodel their stores, they usually put in new cases, get new carts, new checkouts, new additions to the stores like a hot bar, and sometimes even get new flooring. The remodeled Stop & Shops are basic, but they at least get new carts, new cases, new features like a hot bar or pizza counter etc, they redo the entire store. In the Hudson Valley, Acme just got new floor in the produce dept, and new decor on the walls, and that’s it. They just always seem to fall short of competitors unfortunately.

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