Acme was established by Samuel Robinson and Robert Crawford in south Philadelphia in 1891. By 1917, Robinson and Crawford merged Acme Markets with four other Philadelphia-area grocery stores, and the combined company was named American Stores. Supermarkets under the American Stores banner soon sprouted up throughout the Philadelphia region, rivaling New York-based A&P. The company started capitalizing on the name “Acme” for its grocery storefronts in the 1930s, and they were the first to use self-service stores in the early 1950s.
The company introduced a new logo, known as the teardrop or fish eye, in 1963, effectively replacing the inconsistent logos of the previous decade. But Acme failed to complete the implementation, leaving many of its stores with the old Acme logo until 1993. The creation of the new logo had coincided with the creation of a new building style, called A Frame, that averaged 30,000 square feet and was developed to compete with Acme’s then-rivals A&P, Food Fair and Penn Fruit, each of which had high-concept architecture of its own.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, many of Acme’s stores were paired with a regional drugstore chain, a PLCB liquor store, a Kmart and a Woolco. American Stores even bought the franchise rights to Pizza Hut in 1968. Acme would also acquire a number of stores from Kmart Foods, however, after the 1970s, many supermarket locations in urban Philadelphia were retired and served as IGA or Thriftway/Shop ‘n Bag locations.
Throughout that decade, Acme also tried to rebrand and downscale a number of its stores under the banner Super Saver, using the jingle “Acme and Super Saver — you’re going to like it here!” The brand was retired in the 1980s but resurrected in western states throughout the following decade.
In 1978, Acme acquired many stores during Food Fair’s bankruptcy, including both ex-Food Fair brands Pantry Pride and Penn Fruit. The following year, American Stores was sold to Skaggs Drug Centers, who kept the name but announced that it would close most of its New York store locations. In the years that followed, American Stores undertook various acquisitions, including Philadelphia discount supermarket Jewel-T. Acme was acquired by major western and southern chain Albertsons in November 1999, which was itself acquired in 2006 by SUPERVALU.
Among its special services, Acme offers a full line of national and company branded groceries and personal products, as well as online shopping and in-house pharmacies in all stores. The company is the largest food and drug retailer in its competitive market, and was the first to offer self-scanning features. It has a hot-food and salad bar at most locations, and even liquor in some locations in Maryland. In April, 2010, Acme removed 26 merchandise categories not core to its business, including fragrances, automotive accessories and everyday electronics.
Headquarters: Malvern, Pennsylvania
No. of Stores: 132
No. of Employees: 200,000 (SUPERVALU)
Geography: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Special Services: National and company branded groceries and personal products, online shopping, in-house pharmacies, self-scanning features, hot-food and salad bar, liquor store in some locations.
Acme Markets, Albertsons, Bigg’s, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Shaw’s, Shop ‘n Save, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy
Acme brand, and those owned by its parent corporation, SUPERVALU.