Acme in the DC area

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Bearhawke
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Acme in the DC area

Post by Bearhawke »

Till I started frequenting this forum: I never realized that Acme was still around. Note the only one that I remember while growing up in the Wash DC area was the store in Arlington that shut down ca. 1973. It was on Sycamore by Williamsburg Blvd near the old WEAM AM radio field.

Typo fixed (I hope).
Last edited by Bearhawke on 13 Jan 2011 20:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Ephrata1966
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Re: Acne in the DC area

Post by Ephrata1966 »

Not to get personal, but I see a major typo in the title here...

Acme had a store in Falls Church, VA from approximately 1965 until perhaps the same time Grand Union sold off their local store. I think that might also have been a Food Fair/Pantry Pride originally. The Acme is now a Magruder's market, and the Grand Union was a Great Valu with a Vietnamese theme. Very sadly the owners sold out to the Bill Page Honda dealership next door which wants to demolish for expansion. The Great Valu in Cobbs Creek, West Philadelphia closed around the same time. This was a Food Fair/Pantry Pride and later Acme. I have no idea why Save-A-Lot put a store in a smaller space next door, and not the empty supermarket. Remember Supervalu supplies Great Valu, and owns both Acme (along with Albertsons) and Save-A-Lot now. They did use the pylon sign and bought the ex-Acme in nearby Lansdowne PA a few years ago. Cobbs Creek Great Valu was owned by the same people as the current "The Fresh Grocer" Philly chain that used to go by the name Great Valu. Their store in nearby Upper Darby/Barclay Square/Beverly Hills PA is gone too. How it looked in 1955: http://pleasantfamilyshopping.blogspot. ... hours.html Save-A-Lot might be jumping on this property right now. Their existing store nearby (a former A&P) is very similar to the one in New Castle, DE (former Acme) that just moved to the ex-Pantry Pride/Thriftway that just closed. I think next to the pictured store was an "Evans Drug" drugstore (thanks Josh), bought by Thrift Drug (later Eckerd/Rite Aid) in 1970-something. Much of this center was not built until 1974 or 1975, almost 15-20 years after the Food Fair was built, even a while after the "Pantry Pride" depreciation. The grocery anchor itself was actually planned to be a Penn Fruit, which I know thanks to Josh. In Cheltenham, a town like Upper Darby but on the other edge of Philadelphia, you will find a Save-A-Lot in a restored Penn Fruit building. Oddly enough this was on the site "DC Grocery" along with the Falls Church stores. Also in proximity to Cheltenham is a former high volume Food Fair, turned Korean market, and an incredibly preserved Thriftway/former Penn Fruit.
Bearhawke
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by Bearhawke »

I remember a Food Fair/Pantry Pride along Rte 7 near Bailey's Crossroads. Note my family didn't move to NoVa from Silver Spring till 1969.
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Ephrata1966
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by Ephrata1966 »

The Acme was at Lee Highway and Graham Road. Grand Union/Great Valu was Annandale Road and Arlington Blvd.

Do you know if the nearby Loehmann's has closed? I wonder why the Giant-anchored center is named after that store instead. Loehmann's is bankrupt and closed their only other store remotely close by, in Drexel Hill PA near Philadelphia. This one was open 40 years and was old and tired by the time it closed.
Bearhawke
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by Bearhawke »

Ephrata1966 wrote:The Acme was at Lee Highway and Graham Road. Grand Union/Great Valu was Annandale Road and Arlington Blvd.

Do you know if the nearby Loehmann's has closed? I wonder why the Giant-anchored center is named after that store instead. Loehmann's is bankrupt and closed their only other store remotely close by, in Drexel Hill PA near Philadelphia. This one was open 40 years and was old and tired by the time it closed.
Remember that I left the DC area summer of 1978 and not been back, even for a visit so I have no current hands-on info.
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Ephrata1966
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by Ephrata1966 »

Funny... that was right before Food Fair/Pantry Pride/Penn Fruit/JM Fields went out of business, except for their Florida Pantry Pride division. Hard to believe I was 38 at the time!
mjhale
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by mjhale »

Ephrata1966 wrote:The Acme was at Lee Highway and Graham Road. Grand Union/Great Valu was Annandale Road and Arlington Blvd.

Do you know if the nearby Loehmann's has closed? I wonder why the Giant-anchored center is named after that store instead. Loehmann's is bankrupt and closed their only other store remotely close by, in Drexel Hill PA near Philadelphia. This one was open 40 years and was old and tired by the time it closed.
Most recently the Acme was a Magruder's, a local DC area chain. Magruder's closed the store in December 2010. It is now something called Super A Foods. Not sure if this is an ethnic grocery or what.

Incidentally, the Giant that is now in Loehman's Plaza was touted as replacement store for two 1960's vintage Giant stores. One was at the corner of Arlington Blvd and Gallows Road in the Yorktowne shopping center and the other was on Arlington Blvd just west of Seven Corners. Both stores became ethnic markets after Giant closed them. The Yorktowne store had a fire and closed. When the Yorktowne store was open as a Giant it still had the red store signage but the core of the store had no remodel since it opened. It still had the "stove hood" over the bakery, etc.

OT: Loehmans is still open.
bobsjers
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by bobsjers »

I remember the one on Richmond Highway in Hybla Valley. It changed to a Super Saver, which was still owned by Acme. Acme closed all the DC area storesand I think it became a Dart Drug. I think it is a Shopper's Warehouse now.
rich
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by rich »

Acme had a long history in DC, predating the super market era, but they never had a big footprint. Part of the CVS on Dupont Circle was a pre-WWII Acme. There used to be a pic (displayed in the CVS window) of the store in its early days that included Acme store front.

The post office at Half and L SW was a shortlived A-frame Acme built in a weak location as part of the SW urban renewal project in the late 60s. It's been a post office for decades. The recently redone Safeway further down Maine Ave at the Metro had the better spot.

The REI store in Hollywood Plaza in College Park started out as a Shop-Rite, then became an Acme and later an A&P. It's another odd location--about a mile or so from Rt 1 and probably built to serve the 50s subdivisions between Rt 1 and the Metro right of way. REI has had it since at least the 80s.

The Acme in Riverdale, on Bladensburg Road, S of Riverdale Plaza was a dark outdated 1950s store that I remember from a childhood trip to DC in the 70s. It's now a Hispanic social club.

There was an A-frame on Hungerford Road (Rt 355) in Rockville just N of the failed mall/county building. It was a carpet store in the 90s and was demolished for redevelopment related to the new town center.

Acme once had a small store not far from Walter Reed where Georgia crosses Piney Branch. It's been demolished now but previously had a series of small businesses.
Grocery Buff
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by Grocery Buff »

mjhale wrote: 17 Jan 2011 12:44
Ephrata1966 wrote:The Acme was at Lee Highway and Graham Road. Grand Union/Great Valu was Annandale Road and Arlington Blvd.

Do you know if the nearby Loehmann's has closed? I wonder why the Giant-anchored center is named after that store instead. Loehmann's is bankrupt and closed their only other store remotely close by, in Drexel Hill PA near Philadelphia. This one was open 40 years and was old and tired by the time it closed.
Most recently the Acme was a Magruder's, a local DC area chain. Magruder's closed the store in December 2010. It is now something called Super A Foods. Not sure if this is an ethnic grocery or what.

Incidentally, the Giant that is now in Loehman's Plaza was touted as replacement store for two 1960's vintage Giant stores. One was at the corner of Arlington Blvd and Gallows Road in the Yorktowne shopping center and the other was on Arlington Blvd just west of Seven Corners. Both stores became ethnic markets after Giant closed them. The Yorktowne store had a fire and closed. When the Yorktowne store was open as a Giant it still had the red store signage but the core of the store had no remodel since it opened. It still had the "stove hood" over the bakery, etc.

OT: Loehmans is still open.
Is this the Seven Corners Giant you were talking about (now a "New Grand Mark")?
https://goo.gl/maps/zXZi9jNCz7zCPoZB8
Streetview: https://goo.gl/maps/SFca9VebqCGLvtBE8

I've been wondering the history of this store for a while and luckily found this thread before posting. I see some Giant traits but not enough to be certain from my limited experience on the chain during the time frame.
mjhale
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by mjhale »

Grocery Buff wrote: 28 Jan 2021 22:26
mjhale wrote: 17 Jan 2011 12:44
Ephrata1966 wrote:The Acme was at Lee Highway and Graham Road. Grand Union/Great Valu was Annandale Road and Arlington Blvd.

Do you know if the nearby Loehmann's has closed? I wonder why the Giant-anchored center is named after that store instead. Loehmann's is bankrupt and closed their only other store remotely close by, in Drexel Hill PA near Philadelphia. This one was open 40 years and was old and tired by the time it closed.
Most recently the Acme was a Magruder's, a local DC area chain. Magruder's closed the store in December 2010. It is now something called Super A Foods. Not sure if this is an ethnic grocery or what.

Incidentally, the Giant that is now in Loehman's Plaza was touted as replacement store for two 1960's vintage Giant stores. One was at the corner of Arlington Blvd and Gallows Road in the Yorktowne shopping center and the other was on Arlington Blvd just west of Seven Corners. Both stores became ethnic markets after Giant closed them. The Yorktowne store had a fire and closed. When the Yorktowne store was open as a Giant it still had the red store signage but the core of the store had no remodel since it opened. It still had the "stove hood" over the bakery, etc.

OT: Loehmans is still open.
Is this the Seven Corners Giant you were talking about (now a "New Grand Mark")?
https://goo.gl/maps/zXZi9jNCz7zCPoZB8
Streetview: https://goo.gl/maps/SFca9VebqCGLvtBE8

I've been wondering the history of this store for a while and luckily found this thread before posting. I see some Giant traits but not enough to be certain from my limited experience on the chain during the time frame.
Yes this is the store I was referring to. Giant opened here in 1954. The store closed in 2003 due to damage from Hurricane Isabel. Virginia suffered the worst from Isabel. There was flooding and damage even in the DC area which usually isn't affected as much as coastal Virginia by storms. At the time I think that the modern Shoppers in Seven Corner Shopping Center also likely influenced Giant's decision. As said in the previous messages Giant opened a modern store in Loehmans Plaza in March 2008.

Looking at the interior pictures that have been posted on Google Maps of the store it looks like there have been renovations in terms of the decor of the store. Even with that the store, based on the 2017 and 2018 dated pictures, still has the basic Giant layout. Also it looks like the majority of the perimeter fixtures are still vintage 1980s Giant. The red bumper strip on the refrigeration units is a giveaway. There is a picture posted of the entryway that still shows a bit of the old Giant Food logo still in the terrazzo floor:

https://goo.gl/maps/owiMCNoyZjFH8YJQ9

I was in this store in the mid-2010s when I had a training class in the area. There were still original freezers with 1950s doors in use and the service areas (deli and seafood only if I recall) still had the red and white tile that Giant used in the 1980s and 1990s. Lighting was a combination of fixtures installed by the then owners and Giant's 1990s hood style lights embedded in the ceiling. Like the Google Maps pictures show all of the perimeter fixtures at the time were vintage Giant. The ceiling of the store was in horrible condition. There were obvious roof leaks and what looked like it could have been mold in the ceiling tiles. There was a huge ventilation fan near seafood to pull out the musty air that gave the store that odd "old" smell.

There was no place for Giant to expand the store and renovating an almost 50 year old school just wasn't feasible. There wasn't anywhere for Giant to move close by either at the time. Had the Shoppers building been empty at the time I could have seen Giant moving there. This Giant was also in a bad location to get to with the way the roads are set up now. In terms of visibility it couldn't be missed on the left side heading east into Seven Corners. But getting into it especially now with the interchange there? Ugh... What is ironic in the whole thing is that after the modern Shoppers in Seven Corners closed Giant ended up opening a store there. The new Seven Corners Giant opened March 6, 2020.
Grocery Buff
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Re: Acme in the DC area

Post by Grocery Buff »

Thank you for the very detailed response! Those are great tidbits to know and keep an eye out for at future old properties for Giant and other chains. Yes, I did see and catch the irony of Giant moving into the Shoppers down the street!
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