Farmer's Best Supermarket
Location: 571 Adams Ave, Lawncrest, Philadelphia, PA
Photographed: July 2021
One of the more well-known former ACMEs in Philadelphia is the Farmer's Best Supermarket, out here in the Rising Sun Plaza. The sprawling, roughly 23 acre mall at Rising Sun Avenue and Adams Avenue was originally anchored by a department store and this ACME when it opened in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The ACME received the 1980s remodel and then small updates in the 90s Checkerboard Arch era, to use Acme Style's terms, before closing in the late 90s. Hong Kong Supermarket opened up in the former ACME in 1999 before changing to Farmer's Best in 2009, but it's unclear if the store changed ownership. After my summer 2021 visit, the store changed names again in 2022 to Super HK Supermarket (presumably for Hong Kong).
These days, the Farmer's Best/Super HK store is rather large, at a solid 57,000 square feet including several small storefronts inside. The ACME was closer to 28,000 square feet when it was built, later having been expanded out the right side above to just under 40,000 square feet in the 1980s.
Here we see where ACME's entrance would've been, with produce on the left side wall, seafood/deli/meat on the back wall, and dairy/frozen on the right side. Today, we enter the store on the far right side in what used to be ACME's emergency exit, with produce on the right side, meat on the back wall, frozen on the left side, and seafood in an expansion to the far left. Below we can see the expansion, which Acme Style notes was probably a drugstore. By the way, I don't think I've actually linked Acme Style's coverage yet, so here's
a look at what the store looked like back in 2011. (Placing that link there just in case Acme Style opens up again.)
Let's head inside. Acme Style got some pictures that I didn't, and vice versa. So for instance, I didn't get a picture of the second entrance set of doors, since Farmer's Best's entrance is set farther inside the store than ACME's would've been. We can see the transition between grocery (brown) and dairy/frozen (blue) checkerboard tiles here as we enter the produce department.
These produce bins in the middle of the department were installed by Hong Kong, but it wouldn't surprise me if the outside upright refrigerators were left over from ACME but moved over to this side of the store.
All of the decor in this store is left over from ACME, and today, this is the last store remaining with the 1980s ACME decor, albeit slightly modified. As we'll see there was some construction and renovation work going on at the time of my visit, but it doesn't appear that the decor was changed at all.
Former meat department on the back wall is now home to refrigerated grocery items, such as eggs and noodles.
And here's a look across the back wall. The store was quite cramped because of the merchandise out here on the floor, but it also looked like a reset was going on at the time of my visit.
The grocery shelving was installed by Hong Kong in 1999. And oddly enough, the fluorescent lighting Acme Style commented on was actually removed here. We'll see it fully functional in other aisles. I would say this store has not held up particularly well in the last 10 years. The decor, actually, is looking much better than the actual facility.
Things are a bit brighter in this aisle, with the fluorescent lighting mostly working here (along with the lighting in the shelving).
We can see what looks like some flooring patching in some aisles, likely done when the shelving was replaced or maybe moved at some point.
Speaking of that, here's some more evidence of ongoing construction. I'm not sure exactly what happened here (maybe a grocery aisle was removed? But that would be way too close to the shelving on the right...), but we can definitely tell the grocery aisles were being worked on. In the below picture, you can also see some shelving and the freezers mostly empty, which I assume is all part of this reset.
The deli signage remains! No deli, of course, for over 25 years...
And under the deli and seafood signage, we have one large butcher counter, which I assume is in new cases (or possibly repainted 80s ACME cases, but they look newer to me). Acme Style mentioned that Hong Kong pushed this service counter back, as the dark brown smaller tiles are nonslip tiling for behind the service counter.
And in the last few aisles in the main supermarket, we have frozen foods. Hard to place an age on any of these freezers, but it's possible the coffin cases with the red stripe are left over from ACME, and were just relocated from across the store at some point. This flooring is also not left over from ACME, and was replaced probably by HK when they added the freezers here.
No more seafood in this corner, as it's now in the expanison room under the red banner above.
In the last few aisles of the main supermarket are these larger/bulk packages of food items and refrigerator cases for the meat department.
Now let's head over to the expansion seafood room, which Acme Style didn't get to go into.
Truthfully, it's not all that exciting, although it is a very large seafood department. All the lighting needs to be replaced here, too, as we see.
And some more freezer cases take up the other side of this expansion.
As we see, this store is quite large and seems to have a very good selection of food, but is in terrible shape as far as the facility goes. We're just 3/4 of a mile from a brand-new (and very formidable) Asian supermarket competitor, which we'll be touring shortly, so I wonder if anything will happen here, or if they've lost any business from the opening of the H Mart nearby.
One last look at the seafood department before we return to the main supermarket building...
Here's a good overview of the back wall. And we head over to the front to see the customer service counter, complete with a 1990s-era Checkerboard Arch sign...
And the front-end is mostly unrecognizable with its new decor and red paneling installed by Hong Kong. ACME flooring is definitely intact here though!
It was fun to see this store with its large collection of ACME remnants, but it's really in terrible shape these days. It needs a major renovation -- and now might just be the time with the new H Mart just 3/4 of a mile away on Adams Avenue. But before we get out there, we're going to cross Rising Sun Avenue to check out a small independent grocer and butcher shop across the street right here on Monday!
Those doors/windows on the left side, as well as the ceiling in seafood make me wonder if that space was once a Rite Aid. Both seem to match those which opened in the early 1990s.ReplyDelete
Certainly could be. That would make sense to me.Delete
I was just there in July. I shot a YouTube video tour of the store. ( https://youtu.be/GNra_JE3TRM ) Most likely the only surviving 80s Remodel store out there.ReplyDelete
Great video! Interesting to see the (minimal) changes since I was there.Delete