Tuesday, January 18, 2011

As Strange As I

There are a lot of weird things out here in cyberspace and the blogosphere.  I stumbled across one the other day.  I preface all of this by readily admitting that I need a life.

Anyway, the blog is called Acme Style.  It's dedicated to the Acme and Super Saver supermarkets that dominated our area, and the mid Atlantic states in the 60's and 70's.  As you know, I love history, retail, and nostalgia, so this one is right up my alley.
In case you didn't grow up around here, or are too young to remember, Acme was one of the major players.  Its stores were everywhere, and they had a distinct style with peaked facades and sloped roofs.  Many of the buildings were things of beauty.

I guess you could write a book on what happened to the chain.  A lot of the stores got old in a hurry.  Big competition came to town, and Acme's parent company sold off the northeastern Pennsylvania stores.  Some were improved.  Others closed.  There were other sales to other chains.  The bottom line is that while Acme is a distant memory in this part of the state, it's still around in the Philadelphia area and New Jersey.

For those of us who spent a lot of time in the Acmes as kids, the web site is a treat.  If you didn't, it's nice to see how things used to be.

I grew up close to the store you see above, in Dunmore.  The building is now an auto parts store.  I remember it vividly from the Acme days.  The store was built in the year I was born.  You walked in over a metal grate with hot air blowers.  The first thing you saw was a bank of gum ball machines.  A walled in raised office was straight ahead, the cash registers on the left.  Baked goods along one side wall.  Produce and dairy on the opposite wall.  Meat, Lancaster brand, along the back.

I remember the night, back in the 80's, when I stopped in for a few things.  Kitty litter was on my list.  I couldn't find a bag that wasn't ripped open.  No one seemed to care.  It was a dingy, yellowed, tired store.  Management stopped caring.  Several of the local stores were sold soon afterward.  The Dunmore store closed.

The chain, at least locally, did not go out on top.  Isn't that always the way?