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215 N Hermitage Ave, Trenton, NJ

Original Tenant: ACME Markets
Address: 215 N Hermitage Ave, West End, Trenton, NJ
Opened: 1961
Closed: 1970s
Later Tenants: Vereen Thriftway (1970s-1980s) > Vereen IGA (1980s) > Super Thrift (1980s-1997) > Foodtown (planned, never opened) > Supreme Food Market (early 2000s) > Supreme Shop n Bag (early 2000s-late 2000s)
Photographed: January 2021
The Westside Plaza in the West End neighborhood of Trenton is 50,000 square feet of retail space, with 34,000 square feet originally occupied by an early A-frame or pitched roof ACME that opened in 1961. You can read a lot of detail on the history here, and I summarized the progression above. Plainfield, NJ-based Supremo Food Markets most recently took over the space, around 2000 or shortly thereafter, but chose to call the store Supreme Food Market instead of Supremo. Within the first few years, the store became a Shop n Bag under the same owners, before closing between 2005 and 2010.
Unfortunately, because the rolling doors are down in front of the windows -- and the store has been closed for a pretty long time -- it's hard to get a good view inside the store. So sadly, this is all we have...
It's enough to conclude that the store opened with the older Supremo decor package, which we saw a modified version of in Perth Amboy. That places the store's opening date right around 2000, consistent with the history I linked above.
Looking down the side wall of the store. This store is extremely tucked away in a residential neighborhood sandwiched between the old Delaware & Raritan canal (and its trail, now a state park) and a row of houses facing Edgewood Ave. Part of this store's failure (and the reason that it has been so many things) is that Hermitage Avenue is a very small street, and the store is nearly invisible from the road. The store is far from any real commercial district. That said, the northwestern part of Trenton is one of the nicest neighborhoods in the infamously impoverished and high-crime city. It is, of course, the state capital also! But big-chain stores have largely avoided the city for decades because of its population: 52% Black and 33% Latino, and the fact that the per capita income in the city is a meager $14,000. The lowest in the state is Camden at just $9800 and the highest in the state is Mantoloking, down the shore near Brick/Toms River, at $114,000. Note that that is per capita income, not household income. It's also an extremely high-crime city, rated the fourth most dangerous city in the country for its population range. Camden is, sadly, considered the #1 most dangerous overall city in the United States by the same ranking.
Here's a look at the rest of the strip mall, which overall has seen better days but still has a fair number of small businesses operating in it. Hermitage Ave is all the way at the end of the mall to the right.
And this sign is the only indication of the mall's presence out on Hermitage Ave. Interesting that this store was not co-branded as Supreme Shop n Bag, and was just Shop n Bag. Also interesting that 15 years after the store closed, the sign is still out here. A few more details on this strip mall: as of 2012, Trenton had attempted to turn the supermarket space into a courthouse, but failed. That article also notes that Eduardo Trujillo, the owner of Supremo, was also the owner of the strip mall. Not sure if that's still the case. In 2020, a proposal was floated to have the city buy the property, but I'm not sure how that has advanced if at all. As much as I love to see the classic pitched-roof ACME still standing, I think it's past time that this property was redeveloped. It's possible that one of the factors contributing to Shop n Bag's closure was the fact that Supremo also owned another store just about 3/4 of a mile to the east, which is still operating today. That's our tour tomorrow, so head over to The Independent Edition tomorrow to check it out!


  1. Wow, 34,000 square feet for a pitched-roof ACME? I didn't know they were ever that large. Course I didn't know you could measure the sq footage on google maps. Not sure the feature was even available back when I was doing the blog. Now I want to go back and start measuring them!

    1. You're absolutely right -- it's much longer (deeper) than most pitched-roof stores. The pitched-roof portion is about 28,000 square feet with the rest being what appears to be backroom space. But if this store opened in 1961, that would be on the very very early end of the pitched-roof period, no? Wouldn't that be more in line with the late 50s pitched-roof experimentation period with Newtown Square and others? I suppose 1961 is right between Newtown Square in 1958 and Clayton in 1964, but it has the feeling of the earlier ones. Do you know of what the largest pitched-roof store(s) otherwise would be?


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