49 Old Route 22, Clinton, NJ
Later Tenants: demolished
Photographed: June 2020
The 1970s saw a lot of new construction for A&P, especially in the northwestern NJ area. Just in the past few weeks, we've seen Califon
, the original Vernon
store, Budd Lake
... you get the picture. Here in Clinton, the earlier 1950s store next door was replaced by this store around the middle of the decade, it seems.
The roughly 30,000 square foot store lasted with its original signage right until the end in 2015 when this store closed without a buyer. In mid-2021, the store was finally demolished for a new redevelopment
that includes smaller-scale retail and affordable housing, but I was lucky enough to get the store before it was touched!
There's a lot of great coverage of this store out there already, but I needed my own collection of pictures. For the highlights, check out Acme Style's incredible interior pictures
from back in 2012 along with A&P Preservation's coverage from 2018
and earlier that year with pictures from 2015
right after the store closed.
Sadly, I have never been inside this store. But we do have some pretty solid interior pictures through the front windows below. You can also see the barrel roof of the older store next door above.
Looking in through the entrance/exit on the left side of the store. It looks like there'd be a second entrance/exit on the right, but there isn't.
White and green registers, presumably from the Sav-A-Center era. As A&P Preservation and Acme Style point out, this store received lots of secondhand equipment and fixtures from closed stores but was never renovated itself.
Hours sign still hanging in the window right until the end.
Here's the entrance/exit area along with the back of customer service/office, and we can see the freezer cases in the middle of the store. These, as A&P Preservation points out, are newer than the rest of the store and come from the 90s-era Foodmarket style remodels.
The deli would've been just around this corner to the left of the entrance.
Here's a pretty good, if too bright, shot of the interior. This interior is in impressively good shape for a store that closed five years ago when these pictures were taken.
Here's the back of customer service/registers. Or would this have been the front of the customer service counter?
And the registers to the right of that...
Unfortunately we can't really see into the right corner of the store from this angle.
Looks like this would've been the store manager's office, maybe, or possibly a technical room (electric or something).
The building backs up to the property's edge on the right side and back, so the loading docks and everything face the front parking lot rather than the back...
This is the left side of the store building.
Looking over from the newer store's parking lot to the old barrel roof store, whose roofline you can clearly see here.
And of course we need to see the classic sign out on Old Route 22, which was reversed on one side (this side) so that the red portion with the name was still centered on the off-center post.
Would this store have originally had an entrance on both sides?ReplyDelete
Seems kind of strange that a town like Clinton wouldn't have had an Acme, but I can't think of where one could have been.
Good question. That's very likely, but I don't know for sure.Delete
Yeah, I agree -- but also yes, I don't think Clinton had an ACME ever.
I would guess there originally were entrances on both sides of the store. The right side probably got very little use since the left side faces a majority of the parking lot.Delete
I have no record of an ACME having been in Clinton. The town seems like it would have been a good candidate for one though.
A Google search shows a former ACME in Clinton that is now a fire department building at 29 Old Hwy 22.Delete
Nice find, Mike! Yep, I dropped the ball on that one. I do see it now on one of the directories I have. It's been so long since I looked up a store I forgot how many lists I have. Opened in 1952.Delete
Interesting -- I also didn't remember there was an ACME in Clinton. Taking a look at the building, it's kind of a no-brainer that that was a grocery store.Delete
This almost "brutalist" architectural style for an A&P was not unique...in fact, there was a nearly identical 1970s era twin to this store on Long Island, in Westbury to be exact, along Old Country Road. It even had the mirror image (reversed) sunrise monument sign near the curbline. The only real difference was that the Long Island store was at the center of a strip mall of the same design...therefore it had exit/entrance doors on both the left and right sides. But other than that...both stores were nearly identical. I don't think the Westbury store lasted until the bitter end...but it was open quite long. The last time I passed, I think it either became an Associated or one of the Key Food banners...so the building does live on!ReplyDelete
Yes! This design was used on a few stores, the Westbury one being another example. It was an Associated Fresh and is now a Fine Fare. I think Associated opened somewhere around 2010, and they did some renovation when they moved in (but not completely changing the place, as I'm sure you've seen).Delete
Also...regarding the logic of having a "reversed" version of the A&P sign...even as a child who knew nothing about branding...that struck me as odd...and it made no sense. But ironically, I actually have a large lighted version of a similarly reversed logo on my wall...namely a yellow and blue Sunoco sign...with red arrow. However, that sign wasn't an easily reversible oval shaped logo like A&P. A triangular-shaped Sunoco sign with an arrow has to have a "reversed" version up on the pole...no way around it.ReplyDelete
While there might be the slightest possibility of it originally having two entrances and one being sealed off later, I've seen supermarkets where there the entrance is only on one side (left side like this).ReplyDelete
As stated before there was a acme in clinton that closed very late 6o"s ,,early 70's at the location of firehouseReplyDelete
A comment somebody left on Acme Style stated that this A&P opened in 1979. This seems to be borne out by the research I did on Newspapers.com. Though I was unable to ascertain an exact opening date, an October 3, 1979 article in The Courier-News stated that the new Clinton A&P had just been granted a temporary certificate of occupancy.ReplyDelete
I'm very grateful that Acme Style posted photos of this store (that were taken by a gentleman named Andrew K.) back when it was in operation. It's also a treat to see Zachary's photos of the closed store, and I was saddened to read that the building has since been demolished.
I loved the vintage decor that this store had. And it was very surprising to learn--from two different individuals over on Acme Style--that this decor was not original to the store, but instead was part of a 1984 remodel.
This A&P obviously did not have the most attractive exterior in the world, but I don't dislike it, either. For those wondering, the top center portion of the exterior (which housed the A&P sign) was painted brown (as opposed to its prior white color) sometime between September 2008 and July 2009, based on available street views on Google Maps.
In the Somerset County town of Warren, the A&P (now Acme) opened in August 1979, as a relocation from the shopping center across the street (which most recently was home to a Kings supermarket). (Note that, despite having a very Centennial-like appearance, the old Warren A&P was originally a Foodtown; in between the time it was A&P and a Kings, it again spent some years as a Foodtown.) When A&P's newer Warren location was renovated and expanded in the late-90s, it received its current "'90s Centennial facade." Though I've been unable to find any photos of the newer Warren A&P prior to the renovation and expansion, I've long wondered if its original exterior appearance resembled the Clinton store, given that the two supermarkets opened at around the same time.
Just as I stated in my comments about A&P's former Califon store, I'm surprised that Acme didn't acquire the Clinton location, due to the lack of nearby competition. But again, I'm not all that surprised that Weis and ShopRite both passed on the store, since those chains would be unlikely to open a new supermarket in such a small building.
Wow, another really great read A&P fan!Delete
I imagine ACME wasn't interested in this store due the amount of upgrades it would eventually need. Although it must have been profitable to have survived until the final round of closings. Upgrading/remodeling the store probably would't have generated enough new business to justify the cost or else A&P would have turned it into a mini-fresh!
And I don't think this was mentioned yet. Very similar décor that was seen in this store is STILL intact in another store...
A farmer's market in Hillsborough with one wall of the old school décor.
Thanks so much for your kind words, Acme Style.Delete
You make some very good points regarding why Acme decided not to acquire the former A&P. If I recall correctly, there was another former A&P-owned store--the former Super Fresh in Newark, DE--that Acme originally planned to acquire but decided not to because too much investment would have been required. (I believe that much of that former A&P/Super Fresh Centennial building was gutted; a Food Lion is now in that shopping center.)
It really is remarkable that the farmer's market in Hillsborough uses some of the decor that the A&P had. FYI, that A&P's decor was part of a renovation that also took place in 1984. (An article in the June 13, 1984 edition of The Courier-News mentioned that the Hillsborough A&P's renovation was completed the previous month and that remodeling work was just beginning at the Clinton A&P. Though that newspaper article did not mention this, I'm sure a big factor in the Hillsborough A&P getting renovated was the impending opening of the ShopRite across the street, which began operations on February 26, 1985.) Of course, that 1984 remodel was not enough to save the Hillsborough A&P. That supermarket--which opened sometime between December 1971 and February 1972--closed during the second half of 1996.
Thank you both, as always! Lots of great stuff here on the story behind a few A&Ps in the area.Delete
I mean, I think between you you covered anything and everything I could say and then some about these stores. The only thing I'll add is that I'm like 60% certain that the A&P at Five Points in Union (which is now Seabra's Market) had this wood-paneling decor up until the end which would've been around 2005. I'm really not sure if there's a way to confirm that, and it may have gotten a renovation (maybe the 90s Foodmarket decor, but that would clash with the opening of Kenilworth since Kenilworth was supposed to be a replacement for Union). And I have only the foggiest of memories of what the interior of that A&P looked like, although this decor packaged looked really familiar when I first saw it on Acme Style. The next part is...did that decor last all the way through the Five Points store's brief time as a Foodtown? I kind of remember Foodtown, and subsequently Food King, looking just like A&P just with a new sign on the front, and that Seabra was the one to do the major remodeling sometime around 2009. But that's not that important to know, and also totally irrelevant to this post. So anyway, thanks for your comments, as always!
Zachary, nothing you say is irrelevant.Delete
I found your comments about the former A&P at Five Points in Union to be very fascinating, so thank you for writing them.