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Update: ACME Markets - Old Bridge, NJ

ACME Markets
Opened: 2015
Previous Tenants: A&P (1990s-2015)
Location: 3500 US-9, Old Bridge, NJ
Photographed: June 1, 2024
Welcome to the first update of the day! I don't have a whole lot of time to write these, so I'm gonna try to keep this brief. But there's a lot happening lately, and I want to get out and see as much of it as I can, and show you all what I find!
The ACME in Old Bridge has just finished a minor renovation. Here's a look at it pre-renovation. It's got the Quality Built decor package, but feels just as old and rundown as it did prior to the update. I assume the store is renovating in response to the ShopRite's opening across town, about two and a half miles north. I also assume this store won't be around for much longer, if my visit was any indication. It was in really bad shape and not busy at all. On the one hand, I understand it's difficult to compete with ShopRite here, but it really feels like ACME's not even trying.
Produce looks, well, pretty bad. A lot of the fixtures have been replaced, but the flooring hasn't, meaning that sticky mats have been placed over exposed flooring patches and there's no sign that the store will be getting new flooring. There's some pretty terribly patched areas, too, with wrong-colored tiles.
The lighting is definitely better, which I commented on in the prior post. Some new fixtures in deli and prepared foods, too, but the cheese islands remain.
And it seems that ACME is having trouble filling them. One island had way too many empty shelves, and a large selection of Lunchables. It's obvious they're admitting defeat here without even trying anything.
The former sandwich counter is now dormant, with packaged seafood and meat in the case below it. The new signage is centered across that and the service counter, which almost makes it look intentional.
You can see the poorly patched flooring below. There were also too many stained and damaged ceiling tiles, which need to be fixed.
The grocery aisles are perfectly fine.
Freezer cases weren't updated in the renovation, but I guess they didn't need to be. The flooring is in much better shape here.
Yikes. This corner is just a total mess. Random shelves of sale items blocking the pathway? Check. Terribly painted color scheme? Check. "1891" jammed into a corner so the 1 inexplicably disappears? Check. Stained ceiling tiles? Check. Missing ceiling tiles? Also check. 1990s A&P flooring? Of course. Check.
What the heck is going on with this decor here? Compare this to this store's sibling in Kenilworth.
At least the dairy aisle looks pretty solid, with decent decor and new fixtures. But don't get too hopeful... the entire facing aisle is just filled with Value Corner paper towels. This is what I saw before Saddle Brook was reset, but then that store was renovated. This is what we're seeing here after the renovation. This is embarrassing.
HABA and pharmacy in the front corner looks fine.
And the front-end is alright, too, but this is seriously the best ACME could do? That brand-new ShopRite is pretty incredible, and ACME's not exactly beating ShopRite on price. So why aren't they trying something else? I've said this before, but this is the type of store that might benefit from being owned by Kroger. Kroger's renovations -- sometimes -- are higher-budget than Albertsons' (though lately that isn't so true) and Kroger might have the strength and/or backbone to at least attempt to stand up to ShopRite, which Albertsons clearly doesn't have here.
Oh well. We'll have to wait and see what goes on here and with ACME as a whole. For now, here's the other posts for today, including the new ShopRite!