Skip to main content

TOUR: Asian Food Markets - Marlboro, NJ

Asian Food Markets
Owner: Jon Chen
Opened: 2012
Cooperative: none
Location: 79 S Main St, Marlboro, NJ
Photographed: January 2021
Today we're going to take a look at this Asian Food Markets location in Marlboro! We've previously seen Asian Food Markets in North Plainfield and Jersey City, and a few other locations will be coming to the blog soon. This approximately 30,000 square foot store is in part of a former ACME, which Acme Style covered way back in 2010.
The remaining approximately 15,000 square feet of the ACME space has become a gym, visible to the far left here. Now we will be touring this store, which has some surprises for us on the inside...
...starting with the decor! ACME removed all of its fixtures and lettering from the store, but the bones of the decor remain and have been incorporated into the Asian Food Markets interior with new lettering affixed to the existing structures. (Notice that the actual lettering is the same as the lettering in Jersey City; the rest of the decor here is left over from ACME and Jersey City has no other decor.)
I'm not sure what ACME's layout would've been, but Asian Food Markets has this department on the front wall, just next to the entrance, as the hot food and bakery. ACME's deli/bakery presumably lined the right side wall, with those service departments removed for a larger produce area.
I assume this was ACME's deli. I forgot to look carefully at the flooring for signs of removal of service counters, but I'm pretty sure Asian Food Markets put all new flooring in regardless when they moved in.
And in the back of the grand aisle, we transition into frozen meat and seafood. I assume most of the cases we see here are not left over from ACME but are in fact secondhand from elsewhere.
Looking towards the back wall we see some new pictures fitted into the existing ACME decor. These cases were definitely not new when Asian Food Markets installed them.
And looking back up towards the front wall. Notice the flower sign on the left wall, so I assume that's where ACME had their floral department (although I've never seen an ACME with the floral department in that location).
Like the other Asian Food Markets we saw, the aisles are split in half from front to back. The shelving was all installed by Asian Food Markets.
There's a pretty large nonfoods selection here compared to Jersey City, I think.
Looking across the middle of the store back towards the grand aisle.
A very large service seafood counter takes up most of the back wall, and the decor here appears to be repainted. To the left of it is the butcher counter. Remember that Asian Food Markets is only about 2/3 as wide as ACME was, so the back wall is much shorter than ACME's back wall.
Now heading into the last aisle, which has dairy on the outside wall and frozen facing, we see something really fascinating. Remember how the Asian Food Markets space is smaller than the ACME space was, and this wall was pulled in for the gym? Well unless ACME was shrunk at some point, Asian Food Markets actually recreated the ACME decor for this wall (or moved it in from the other wall). This is the dividing wall, so it couldn't possibly be just left over since ACME didn't end here.
This is something I've never seen in my life. It has to be, right? Was the ACME cut back before it closed for some reason? Is there a simple explanation that I'm just forgetting?
And why does this floral image keep coming up around the store? I can't imagine how ACME would've had them all set up.
Looking up towards the front-end. If Asian Food Markets really did pull in this wall, they did an excellent job of hiding it.
The front-end seems to have some pretty significant differences from ACME, although are those register markers left over from ACME?  Anyway, that wraps up our tour here and up next we'll be heading over to our other Marlboro store just to the north. Head over to The Market Report tomorrow for our next stop!


  1. Seeing old décor totally intact is one of my favorite things, but seeing old décor retrofitted by a later retailer is another... and then seeing old décor *replicated* is another still. That is to say, this store amazes me!! Love it.

    The replicated décor in the dairy aisle looks much too close to the real thing for me to think it's an independent reproduction; if it is, color me very impressed, but I'm inclined to say they somehow just rescued and reinstalled most if not all of the existing décor from the original perimeter wall. That said, it likely would have been difficult if not near impossible to get all of that down without injuring it... so who knows, maybe it's all a reproduction after all, in which case that is some very skilled work!

    I do know of a few other cases of décor matching like that, which never cease to fascinate me. AFB just shared a story of one in PA the other day on Discord, as you saw. The independent grocer in the former Schnucks in Southaven, MS, matched the style of the existing décor for some new signage installed several years ago:

    (Supposedly Superlo will be remodeling soon, although thankfully to my knowledge nothing has come of that just yet.) A chain called Nam Dae Mun in the Georgia area has not just once but many times over replicated Publix's old Wavy Pastel décor. And another independent store in GA is perhaps the oddest one yet, located in an old Walmart Neighborhood Market but using as décor their own reimagined, reconstructed version of Kroger's Bountiful décor.

    I'm on my phone right now so it's difficult to pull those links, but I know they've been shared in Discord before if you want to search them out. I can come back later and attach them in a response to this comment, too, so your other readers can see them (if I remember!)

    1. No kidding!

      That's also my assumption, that it was recovered from the original side wall and re-hung, but all very well done. I'm surprised they actually put that much work into it. Fascinating stuff on all those reuses of decor, and I will definitely check them out over on the Discord. I love to see it, and thanks for sharing!

    2. My pleasure! If you're having trouble tracking down any of those past conversations let me know and I can try to see if I have any better luck, lol.


Post a Comment