Original Tenant: ACME Markets
Address: 25 W Main St, Rockaway, NJ
Opened: probably between 1957 and 1960
Later Tenants: Salvation Army
Photographed: July 2020
The Dover Shopping Center was a unique combination of strip mall and downtown shopping district constructed in the late 1950s with department stores, a skating rink, and two supermarkets -- a Food Fair at the western end and an ACME at the eastern end. The newly constructed mall, complete with a now-demolished parking garage behind it, put many of the stores on Blackwell Street out of business, and when the Rockaway Townsquare mall opened in 1980, it put the Dover Shopping Center all but out of business.
The 15,000 square foot store actually moved from an older location directly across the street, at 11 N Warren St, in the late 1950s.
Acme Style has a post on this store from back in 2011 jam-packed with great pictures from this facility, and notice that the exterior has been painted since those pictures were taken now over 10 years ago.
Salvation Army has put its sign, which is quite small, on the side of the building instead of facing Bassett Hwy. There is a parking lot in the rear remaining today. As Acme Style says, the registers probably ran along the side wall here facing Warren Street instead of the front wall facing Bassett Hwy. Unless, of course, there were two sets of registers (one in front and one in the back), which is not a setup I've heard of in an ACME before. Let's head inside briefly...
I assume produce may have lined the front wall to the left here. Check out those wonderful air vents!
And what I assume was dairy/frozen on the back wall. Again, air vents along the top of the wall have been there since day one! Now before we leave downtown Dover, check out the former Food Fair in this same strip, and tomorrow, we have two more stores -- the Rockaway ACME that this store was replaced by here on Grocery Archaeology, and the supermarket that more or less put it out of business on The Market Report!
This Acme opened prior to December 20, 1961, since this location was mentioned in a newspaper ad from that day. And the store was still open as of January 6, 1974 (again, per a newspaper ad). While I cannot ascertain an exact closing date for this Acme, it shut its doors sometime before the end of April 1974, as A&P had moved into the building by then.ReplyDelete
A&P did have a location at 94 East Blackwell Street in Dover. According to HistoricAerials.com, that store opened by 1957. It appears that a Centennial front was added to the building sometime between 1963 and 1970. That store (and the entire shopping center it was a part of) was destroyed by fire on April 20, 1974. Very shortly thereafter (by the end of that month), A&P moved into the former Acme building.
I believe that A&P intended to operate in the small building on Bassett Highway only temporarily. A&P initially had hoped to expand the store, but was never able to do so. Consequently, A&P closed the Bassett Highway location on March 26, 1977. For those who have access to Newspapers.com, you can see a photo of this A&P on Page 7 of the March 4, 1977 edition of the Daily Record. (FYI, this A&P never received the "sunrise" logo. Instead, it sported the famous "circle" logo.)
On a somewhat different matter, it's too bad that part of this building's exterior was painted in the last decade. While the white is nice enough, the shade of blue that was there previously was quite striking.
That is really incredible -- I had no idea that there was such a short-lived A&P that replaced this ACME for just three years. Thanks for your research work!Delete
Let's say that the surprise from your findings made me spill my drink all over myself just now, definitely not a general clumsiness.
Zachary, you're very welcome!Delete
I found the history of this location to be really fascinating as well. One would logically think that the Acme near the Rockaway Townsquare Mall was a replacement for both the downtown Rockaway and downtown Dover Acmes, yet the Dover store closed six years before the Rockaway Mall Acme opened. Combined with the fact that this building later became a short-lived A&P, and I also was quite surprised.