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TOUR: White Haven Market - White Haven, PA

White Haven Market
Owner: Christopher Kubishin
Opened: 2005
Cooperative: none
 501 Main St, White Haven, PA
Photographed: May 25, 2019
Welcome to White Haven, a small town of 1100 in the eastern part of the Coal Region, and incidentally the hometown of protagonist Liz Lemon on the TV show 30 Rock (although it's a heavily fictionalized, and much larger, town in the show). White Haven is located along the Lehigh River, where the Delaware & Lackawanna Railroad once had a line, and today that railroad is a bike path.
While the supermarket in town is today the White Haven Market, the store of just under 10,000 square feet was built around 1970 as an ACME. In fact, it is a very flat pitched-roof building, and what used to be the side of the store is now the front as a strip mall has been constructed extending out of what used to be the front. We'll see evidence of this change inside.
Before we go in, a look at the railroad heritage of the area. Here we also see the strip mall built in front of the old ACME. The strip mall and this property appear to have been built on land previously used (before the mid-1960s) as a rail yard, and the right-of-way was redirected around the yard, a few blocks west.
We enter in the front-left corner of the store and walk along the left side wall to produce in the back left corner and on the back wall. Dairy is also on that back wall, with meat on the right-side wall and deli in the front-right corner. Frozen foods are then on the front wall of the store, with registers slightly oddly protruding into the store near the left-side wall. It's a slightly odd layout until we consider that it likely was originally rotated 90 degrees, meaning that produce and dairy would have originally been on the left side wall (first aisle), meat and deli on the back wall, and frozen foods on the right side wall (last aisle) with the registers on the front wall. That makes a lot more sense.
Prior to the White Haven Market's opening in 2005, the store was a Thriftway. I'm not sure what else, if anything, the store operated as. White Haven Market is owned by the same people as the Plymouth Market in Plymouth, in the Wyoming Valley, where we'll be visiting when we're in that area.
This decor might feel like it doesn't warrant a second look, but I believe it's actually 1970s ACME decor. Compare this to the Village IGA in Ridgefield Park, NJ, which I know still has 1970s ACME decor inside.
I believe this decor has been painted, but was installed by ACME and therefore makes this store one of the very few stores out there that still has the 1970s ACME decor.
These days, the White Haven Market is independent and not a part of any cooperative, but sells Best Yet products from C&S.
A look at the meat department and deli. I strongly suspect everything we see here decor-wise is left over from ACME, maybe even the flooring. That means that the layout change was done while ACME was in business, not later, since the decor is clearly meant to use this layout (most notably in the produce area, or at least I'm not aware of any other pitched-roof ACMEs that had decor on the front wall other than the famous sign). Or perhaps a later tenant kept the decor but moved it around and painted it.
I strongly suspect everything we see here is left over from ACME, except the obvious (tile, paint colors, and fixtures). The awning certainly is, and while I'm not positive the hanging deli sign is, it definitely could match. For a good look at this decor package, check out this archived post from Acme Style.
Looking back across the meat department to the other side.
The deli department was likely reconfigured at some point, to expand it into the L-shape it has now. I assume originally it was only under the awning.
Frozen foods in the last aisle, which these days is on the front wall.
And a look across the store through the middle dividing aisle. I don't recognize this flooring but I'm not positive it's not original to ACME also.
On the other hand, I do not believe the aisle markers are from the ACME days.
Here's the soda alcove next to the entrance, which was previously a separate storefront from what I can tell. And this makes for a strange layout with the registers, which now are kind of floating in the middle of the store between the few aisles for soda and snacks, and the produce department...
Originally, of course, the registers would have been on the front wall of the store, which makes so much more sense in retrospect. When I was visiting the store, I hadn't done any homework and didn't know anything about the store's history, and was thoroughly confused by the layout. We have three more stores before we're done with the Coal Region entirely, moving to the west more or less along route 80 for Freeland, Conyngham, and Berwick over the rest of this week. Come back here tomorrow for Freeland!


  1. This was never an Acme store

  2. I was about to say that this reminded me of the Point Pleasant ACME, and there it was!

  3. Lived in White Haven all my life. This market was never an Acme

    1. It may not have ever been an ACME, but that interior sure looks like it came from one.

    2. Thanks for these all! It looks like there was previously an ACME across the street, possibly in a building that's now demolished. The decor may be secondhand from an ACME, if this never was one, but the similarities to an ACME of this era are remarkable.


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