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R.I.P. Collegeville Acme and Wegmans

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Chefpaulo Feb 1, 2009 10:44 AM

While braving the morose atmosphere of the soon-to-be-closed Collegeville Acme, the seafood manager told me today that the Wegmans under construction on Rt. 29 had posted a "stop work" order as they are not proceeding with plans to open. Apparently, Wegmans management has no interest in opening a store that will turn less than $1M a week and, due to economic conditions, decided to conserve resources and back away from this project. Furthermore, Albertson's decision to close the Collegeville Acme was largely due to the impending opening of the Wegmans. As of 2/25, we'll have no Acme with no Wegmans on the horizon. I feel sorry for the 170 P.O.ed, teary-eyed Collegeville Acme employees who, if they want to stay employed, are being dispersed to stores up to 50 miles away from home. Anyone heard anything else here? What a mess!

  1. g
    givemecarbs Feb 1, 2009 12:06 PM

    Ouch! How distressing. As I read this I was feeling the cold fingers of anxiety creeping down my back. I'd like to say something upbeat but all I can think of is that more of this kind of news is likely forthcoming for this entire area. Bah!

    1 Reply
    1. re: givemecarbs
      c
      cwdonald Feb 1, 2009 12:40 PM

      I would expect that this is caused by the merger of Pfizer and Wyeth, which people expect there to be significant loss of jobs on the Wyeth side. The grocery business looks like it is going to shake out. Here in Doylestown, Superfresh is closing its stores, as it reshapes may of its stores in Bucks county, switching some of them to Pathmark, which is positioned as a lower priced market. I think Acme and Superfresh will have increasingly hard times as union shops competing against higher end Wegmans on hand, and lower priced non union chains like Giant.

    2. s
      stormicans Feb 1, 2009 01:39 PM

      Just curious . . .where did you read this? There is nothing on their website about this.

      4 Replies
      1. re: stormicans
        b
        bignickpsu Feb 1, 2009 02:08 PM

        According to this article, Acme is closing it's stores in Ambler, West Chester, and Collegeville.

        http://philadelphia.bizjournals.com/p...

        1. re: bignickpsu
          CindyJ Feb 2, 2009 06:23 AM

          I doubt that the Acme in WC will be missed. There's a Shop Rite about a mile away, and a Giant and another Acme just a couple of miles down 202. What I do wonder about is how that Acme's closing will affect business in the other stores in that strip mall -- especially the Chester County Book Company, which is the single best book store for miles and miles and miles around -- better than any Borders or Barnes & Noble could EVER be.

          1. re: CindyJ
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            leepinleemur Feb 2, 2009 08:59 AM

            Cindy it isn't the west goshen acme, it is the one on 322 in east bradford next to the giant. Nobody knew about it and went there so I wouldn't worry about it or the bookstore. Everything in that shopping center near acme is already mostly gone.

            1. re: leepinleemur
              CindyJ Feb 2, 2009 12:45 PM

              Oooooooh! Well then, count me among those who didn't know that store existed. I know where the Giant is; I don't recall ever seeing an Acme in that vicinity. Then again, I don't get out to that area very often.

      2. l
        Lola2007 Feb 2, 2009 05:38 PM

        NOOO Not the Wegmans! I have been really looking forward to that one opening. I wonder what will happen with the one that was supposed to open in Malvern. The Collegeville one would have been an anchor in that new shopping center. Ugh! Thanks for the update, however sad.

        I wonder if it is too late for the Acme to change their mind?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lola2007
          c
          Chefpaulo Feb 3, 2009 05:00 AM

          I was hoping so but nay. To stay, they have to sign a ten year lease but the building is a shambles (several aisles were barricaded when I was there due to profuse leaks from melting ice) and Albertson's won't commit for that long. No other food store is interested so look for the opening of the world's biggest dollar store or having a papered window vacancy for ten years.

          I also wonder about the possible domino effect of Wegmans pulling up anchor at the new center. Could be bad news all around.

        2. saturninus Feb 3, 2009 05:16 AM

          I called Wegman's corporate and they said this was not true and that they plan to open in October 2009.

          1. kissdadish Feb 3, 2009 06:05 AM

            Wegmans has current job openings on the web for the Collegeville store. They signed the lease b4 construction began, as did Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting (which I'm sure they wish they didn't). Both projects have hit a critical mass that ensure they will both open. The penalties for breaking the lease + all of the other expenses associated with planning and construction are prohibitive.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kissdadish
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              givemecarbs Feb 3, 2009 08:59 AM

              They are not exactly rushing to finish that WF in Plymouth Meeting.

            2. Fitzy31 Feb 6, 2009 11:00 AM

              I work at Wyeth (ouch) which is directly across from the new center. The Wegman's building exterior (shell) is complete and there's a lot of cash already invested in the place. Also, both Wyeth & GSK have very large cafeterias and not many people go off campus to eat lunch- the Wegmans people must have know this before committing any money. I'm confident that Wegmans will open and do so on time. There are thousands of households in the area that will shop there (including mine), no matter what the economic climate.

              1. AmblerGirl Feb 6, 2009 03:44 PM

                We just lost our Acme here in Ambler. It needed a little TLC but it was great having a market here in town. I would have loved a TJ's or WholeFoods to take its place... but we are stuck with a CVS :( So, we are stuck with the same "mess" here in Ambler!

                5 Replies
                1. re: AmblerGirl
                  CindyJ Feb 6, 2009 04:35 PM

                  Are you far from the Wegman's up on Rt. 611?

                  1. re: CindyJ
                    AmblerGirl Feb 7, 2009 04:17 AM

                    About 20 minutes and it is a great store, but its no substitute for having a grocery store in walking distance (perfect for last minute purchases!)

                    1. re: AmblerGirl
                      CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 05:01 AM

                      I can't remember the last time I lived walking distance to a grocery store. Must have been back in the days of my childhood. How nice that must be!

                  2. re: AmblerGirl
                    t
                    the dog ate my homework Feb 7, 2009 04:33 AM

                    The future of the Wayne Acme is pretty fuzzy, too. The little mini strip it's in is looking pretty dreary since the adjacent Rite Aid shut down. There's rumor mill from employees that they'll super duper size the one by the Haverford School and keep the one in Devon, closing the main Wayne location. It's depressing looking now, but I guess it matches the rest of the blight in Wayne. Look up and down Wayne Avenue. There was an appeal to the township from Rite Aid's property owner to smash down the Taco Bell and Blockbuster on the opposite corner, replacing it with a jumbo, drive-thru (ick) mega Rite Aid but no update on that yet.

                    1. re: the dog ate my homework
                      CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 04:58 AM

                      Now that I think about it, I'm not sure what's going on with the Acme chain. It seems that they're moving out of old locations rather than refurbishing them. The old Acme location in Kennett (New Garden) has been sitting vacant for a year now. It sounds like the Acme stores in WC and Wayne will become abandoned buildings soon, too.

                  3. cheesewit Feb 7, 2009 01:46 AM

                    I do business with Wegmans and there is no stop work order nor is there anything of the sort. Collegeville is on track for a Sunday Oct. 11, 2009 opening.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: cheesewit
                      p
                      percyn Feb 7, 2009 10:52 AM

                      Whew !!

                      1. re: cheesewit
                        i
                        isadorasmama Feb 26, 2009 01:20 PM

                        Here's the latest from a real estate blog:

                        http://tinyurl.com/bx83t9

                        1. re: isadorasmama
                          bucksguy14 Feb 26, 2009 06:18 PM

                          Here's a link to the Wegman's site with info on the store opening -
                          http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/sto...

                          Once you get there, there's a list of questions - click on the one that says -
                          Where will Wegmans be building new stores in the future?

                      2. c
                        crazycow Feb 23, 2009 01:12 PM

                        what about redner's? doesn't anyone shop there?

                        1. c
                          Chefpaulo Feb 27, 2009 03:54 AM

                          Well, I'm glad I posted and had this rumor controlled. Thanks for all input, hounds. I eagerly await the opening of Wegmans but, R.I.P. Collegeville Acme. Wednesday was their last day.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Chefpaulo
                            Chefmonty Feb 27, 2009 05:57 AM

                            I generally would not want to add to the rumor mill, but a friend's daughter works at the Collegeville Acme, and she has heard from souces there that Trader Joe's has shown an interest in the store. I can only pray that it is true

                            1. re: Chefmonty
                              l
                              leepinleemur Feb 27, 2009 07:04 AM

                              Funny I heard the same rumor regarding the closing brandywine acme! Has any TJs taken a space as large as an Acme?

                              1. re: leepinleemur
                                Chefmonty Feb 27, 2009 07:14 AM

                                None that I am aware of. As a matter of fact, when I first heard the rumor, I thought that the space was to large for a typical TJ's

                          2. 94Bravo Feb 27, 2009 01:03 PM

                            Friday, February 27, 2009
                            Wegmans hiring 550 in Phila. suburbs

                            Wegmans is hiring for its new Collegeville store -- and yes, they plan to sell beer.

                            "Wegmans is beginning the process of hiring full-time employees for its new Collegeville store (in Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County) set to open in October," the Rochester, NY-based chain says. "Available positions include everything from cashiers and customer service to culinary professionals. The store will employ approximately 600 people, 550 of whom will be hired locally."

                            Wegmans wants would-be fulltime workers to apply online at www.wegmans.com/careers, go to Job Listings, and to Collegeville. Why is Wegmans building now, with the economy so slow? "We've been working on the location," at US 422 and PA 29 near the Wyeth labs, "since before the downturn. And everyone has to eat," Blaine Forkell, the manager who'll open the store, told me. He opened earlier Wegmans in Downingtown (2003) and Warrington (2006) since the company decided on its current low-price, limited-brands big-store model.

                            Wegmans employs around 37,000 at 72 stores. Most are in sleepy upstate Pennsylvania and New York towns like Erie, Bethlehem, Syracuse, and Buffalo, but increasingly it's been adding large stores in East Coast suburbs like Cherry Hill, Downingtown, and Manassas, Va.

                            It's avoided big cities like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., however. "Our stores are large -- 100,000 square feet plus," said spokeswoman Jo Natale. "Finding sites in large cities that are able to accomodate a store our size with parking is almost impossible."

                            Natale said pay and benefits at the nonunion chain are "comparable to, or exceed, that of our competitors," which in the Philadelphia area are led by the unionized Acme and ShopRite chains. One difference: while union supermarket workers can qualify for traditional guaranteed pensions, Wegmans has only a 401(k) worker-directed retirement plan.
                            Posted by Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:40 AM

                            1. CindyJ Feb 28, 2009 05:20 AM

                              There's an article about the opening of the Collegeville Wegmans on the front page of today's Inquirer, too.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: CindyJ
                                c
                                cwdonald Feb 28, 2009 08:11 AM

                                The most interesting aspect that was noted is that Wegmans will actually have a pub in the store, with a liquor license. That means they will probably be serving beer in the area where people eat food within the store (or in an area such as the upstairs where people take their trays of food... ), as well as being able to sell take out beer. Wegmans as a company has been out front in trying to change the PA liquor laws that do not permit supermarkets to sell beer. It seems that while they continue to lobby for supermarkets right to sell beer, they have simply created a new entitity within the supermarket that will be able to sell beer. Not the same as being able to take beer to the checkout along with the eggs and bacon but its a step in the right direction.

                                1. re: cwdonald
                                  CindyJ Feb 28, 2009 11:44 AM

                                  I posted something here a few days ago regarding the PA ruling that would permit Wegmans to sell beer and wine, but the CH moderators moved it to the "Food Media" board, where it received no attention. Here's a link to that post, which links to an article that appeared in the Inquirer. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/599037

                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    c
                                    cwdonald Feb 28, 2009 03:52 PM

                                    Great information Cindy. I am glad to see Wegman's out in front on this. Their flagship supermarket in Rochester has been renown as a restaurant destination, including great wine dinners, so it is nice to see that they are trying to ultimately create the same experience in the Pennsylvania market.

                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                      g
                                      givemecarbs Feb 28, 2009 06:26 PM

                                      That is awesome. The late Vidalia in Lansdale was able to do it and Wegman's won't go out of business like Vidalia did. The mods were showing us poor Pa ers some mercy with the whole alcohol thing due to the crazy system here in Penna. Since how beer wine and alcohol has to be sold here in Pa is very convoluted, we should be able to talk about it on the Penna board.

                                2. cheesewit Mar 27, 2009 02:00 PM

                                  It was confirmed by a friend who was interviewed for a position at the Collegeville store that in addition to the Malvern store (Rt. 29 near Rt. 202), Wegmans will be building a store in King of Prussia on the old Valley Forge Golf Club site currently being developed. This was told to her by her interviewer as they asked if she would accept a position there if Collegeville fills all openings.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cheesewit
                                    t
                                    the dog ate my homework Mar 28, 2009 06:53 AM

                                    So glad to hear that rumor confirmed. That's excellent news. But, the old golf club site sure is moving slowly. I had read that it was going to be almost a town in itself, with housing and shopping. It's just flattened land and a bunch of bulldozers right now and has been for many months.

                                  2. g
                                    givemecarbs Oct 12, 2009 12:43 AM

                                    Was just reading about the Wegmans grand opening in collegeville. Any one try their Pub restaurant yet?
                                    http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2...

                                    22 Replies
                                    1. re: givemecarbs
                                      c
                                      Chuckles52 Oct 12, 2009 05:55 AM

                                      Was there yesterday, along with most of montgomery county. It is absolutly a 'knock yer sox off' kind of place. If anyone was there and found a pair of argyles.......

                                      1. re: Chuckles52
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                                        mitchh Oct 12, 2009 06:24 AM

                                        I wasn't there, but someone I know where there and told me that the Pub has a no tipping policy.

                                        1. re: mitchh
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                                          Chefpaulo Oct 12, 2009 07:06 AM

                                          Since I was the one who inadvertently started the ugly rumor, YES, WEGMAN"S IS OPEN AND IS FANTASTIC! I had to be there on opening day (Sunday 10/11) and, despite the crowds, it is an overwhelming experience. The overall selection is mind-boggling and the luxury of buying beer in a supermarket -from a huge selection, I might add - is a Pennsylvania first. The Pub was crammed, as was the extensive food court, and free samples await at every turn. I found cheeses I hadn't seen since Europe (there is an entire counter devoted to just Parmesan) and the bodacious international section has been arranged by region. Don't let me spoil the fun of exploring this amazing establishment. You must go and see. It makes all other markets look absolutely anemic.

                                          CP

                                          1. re: Chefpaulo
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                                            givemecarbs Oct 12, 2009 11:33 AM

                                            Awesome! Now I just have to mapquest it up. I haven't been to collegeville since the collectible card games shop closed. I usually go to the warrington wegmans and I'm wondering if this one (not the pub of course) is also open 24/7? Of course if I want the whole drinking beer at the supermarket thing Foodtown in Lansdale is closer for me. But the Pub sounds a lot more exciting.

                                            1. re: givemecarbs
                                              c
                                              cwdonald Oct 12, 2009 12:27 PM

                                              Carbs - You may actually be closer to the Warminster Wegman's which has a beer selectoin and the ability to sit as well though not as well thought out as the Collegeville one.

                                              To get there not via back roads... Turnpike to King of Prussia, to 422 West to Collegeville Exit. You will see the huge shopping center ahead of you as you exit. Stay in the center turn lanes, make a right turn, go two blocks and make a left into the shopping center.

                                              1. re: cwdonald
                                                c
                                                Chefpaulo Oct 12, 2009 02:30 PM

                                                OY! CW, that's a bit out of the way from Lansdale. I'd cut across Rt. 363 to Germantown Pike, up the Pike into Collegeville, make a left on Rt. 29 South and look for the new center on the right about 4 miles from C'ville. No back roads necessary.

                                                CP

                                                1. re: Chefpaulo
                                                  bucksguy14 Oct 16, 2009 10:21 AM

                                                  Chefpaulo, I tried your route going and Arcola Road and Evansburg Road coming back and cut 5 minutes off the trip to/from Upper Gwynedd on the back roads. I've been going to the Warrington store since it opened and, not only is the Collegeville store a little more convenient, it's also larger and has more to offer. It's my new Wegman's!

                                                  1. re: bucksguy14
                                                    c
                                                    Chefpaulo Oct 16, 2009 03:46 PM

                                                    See you there (even if I don't know who you are.) But isn't it the store of stores? What a backyard gem!

                                                    CP

                                                    1. re: Chefpaulo
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                                                      givemecarbs Oct 17, 2009 01:15 AM

                                                      Wow! Now I gotta go there tomorrow! Just wear your toque Chefpaulo! Like you did at Assi! Let's unleash the hounds on this new Wegmans!!!

                                                    2. re: bucksguy14
                                                      c
                                                      Chefpaulo Oct 22, 2009 12:10 PM

                                                      BG, Many thanks for the travel tip That's the way I went today and it sure beats sitting on the Perkiomen Bridge for 10 minutes.

                                                      What an amazing place. It is my new purveyor for just about everything comestible. Just watch out, though, a $20 shopping list going in results in $60 coming out. Some great bargains today: fresh asparagus (white or green) $1.49/lb.to name one.

                                                      CP

                                                      CP

                                                      1. re: Chefpaulo
                                                        bucksguy14 Oct 22, 2009 07:54 PM

                                                        CP - Happy to be of service! I'm a "back roads bigot". I was a consultant in my former life. I drove to most of my clients and avoided "main" roads whenever I could.

                                                        You're absolutely right about tripling a shopping list cost! I don't think I've ever bought only what I went there for - there's always something on the end of an aisle, or in the middle of a display, or somewhere conspicuous that catches my eye and eats a hole in my credit card! I love that store!

                                                2. re: givemecarbs
                                                  cheesewit Oct 12, 2009 04:24 PM

                                                  Store AND Pub are open 24/7

                                                  1. re: cheesewit
                                                    h
                                                    Hellolaura Oct 12, 2009 05:35 PM

                                                    Good to know, I'll do an early morning run!!!!

                                                    1. re: cheesewit
                                                      Chefmonty Oct 15, 2009 07:27 AM

                                                      I read, beer sales end and pub closes @ 10 pm

                                                      1. re: Chefmonty
                                                        c
                                                        Chefpaulo Oct 15, 2009 03:19 PM

                                                        PHHEEEEWWW! That's a relief! A 24/7 bar in C'ville? Just think what THAT clientele would look like at 8 a.m.

                                                        CP

                                                        1. re: Chefpaulo
                                                          crazyspice Oct 15, 2009 04:14 PM

                                                          LOL! CP, I was wondering about that myself!

                                                          1. re: Chefpaulo
                                                            g
                                                            givemecarbs Oct 15, 2009 04:29 PM

                                                            Aw man! I Knew it was too good to be true. :( And me with a designated driver lined up and everything.

                                                            1. re: givemecarbs
                                                              h
                                                              Hellolaura Oct 15, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                              does anyone know if Wegman's in Collegeville serves breakfast? Also, what are some "must buys" or "must try's"?

                                                              1. re: Hellolaura
                                                                bucksguy14 Oct 15, 2009 08:18 PM

                                                                Don't know that there are any "musts" at Wegman's. I've been shopping at Wegman's since I was taken to lunch at one in Rochester, NY when I was doing some consulting there about 15 years ago. The stores have changed since my first encounter, but they're still the best around. We happen to really like their crab cakes, chicken pies and cheeses. My wife is a big fan of their homemade apple pie. If you've never been to Wegman's, just grab a cart and start walking around the store with the wide-eyed, awed look that all first-timers have. It's not quite the Costco stare, but it's close! You'll enjoy it and, like the rest of us, you'll be back!

                                                                1. re: Hellolaura
                                                                  NYChristopher Oct 22, 2009 12:25 PM

                                                                  Don't know about the pub but on the grocery side of things, I am addicted to their house brand crunchy peanut butter (not the creamy, that was only so-so) and their "Nuggets" shaped pasta which I use in my minestrone (Aida M's recipe from chow). I also liked their chicken stock and canned beans. Now if only they would move to the city.

                                                                  1. re: NYChristopher
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                                                                    givemecarbs Oct 22, 2009 02:03 PM

                                                                    I went on saturday night around sevenish and despite the miserable weather it was packed. If anyone has tried the pub please report back. I snagged some rice and butter chicken and really enjoyed it. The pad thai not so much but I should have known better on a hot foods buffet. I prefer the second floor seating at the Warrington location but that pub does intrigue me.

                                                            2. re: Chefmonty
                                                              cheesewit Oct 22, 2009 03:21 PM

                                                              I've been meaning to get back here and correct my post. Thank you for doing so. I do get "inside info" as my wife works at the store in the Patisserie and I'm a supplier to Wegmans. We were fortunate to attend a pre-opening bbq party for employees and families. It is truly a wonderful supermarket.

                                                3. e
                                                  EpicurBurbs Oct 23, 2009 04:31 AM

                                                  Have been to Wegmans a few times now, and wow I love that store! Most recently, stopped by this morning on the way to work and picked up a chocolate croissant and some coffee - must admit the croissant was the best I have had outside of France. And potentially even better than some I have had there! Point is the fresh baked goods are delicious.

                                                  1. s
                                                    shellbellc Oct 23, 2009 12:53 PM

                                                    Hubby stopped by the pub this week. He had to wait to get a seat, only like 5 minutes. Once seated he noticed the oysters on ice right in front of him. The oyster of the day was Blue Points. Ordered up 3 to have while he sipped his beer. $1.99 per oyster. He didn't venture past the pub. A friend went to get seafood last week and came home with swordfish steaks that they hand cut directly off of the fish laying there!

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