The remodeling of the Acme Fresh Market on State Road continues its progress — with crews literally building a new store above and around the existing store.
While the $8 million project wasn’t completed by Thanksgiving as originally planned, crews are getting close to enclosing the structure so the old store, which dates to 1949, can be demolished.
“Yes, it’s behind our anticipated opening of November, but it is probably the most complex project that I’ll say Acme has ever done,” Acme Executive Vice President Jim Trout said. “We’re literally trying to build a store on top of an old building and scoop the other building out underneath it. That has its challenges. We’re trying to get that store done as soon as we can.”
Store officials were hoping to have a portion of a new concrete parking lot open on Wednesday — and traffic for the pre-Thanksgiving shoppers made for a packed parking lot and parking on side streets — but the concrete wasn’t quite dry yet. Store officials hope the two additional rows of parking will be ready by today.
Next up by December is enclosing the new building so workers can start the interior work in preparation for the first of two moves. By the end of January, store officials hope to take the existing store and move it to the back of the new area, so the old area can be demolished.
The new store will be 52,000 square feet, or about one and a half times larger than the existing 33,000. But for the first move in January, the “new” portion will be about the same as the old.
Trout and Acme President Steve Albrecht said shoppers have been “incredibly patient and loyal” and the company is asking for patience as the project continues.
The temporary back store will not have the same layout as the existing store or the new one, so shoppers will have to get used to a few different layouts during the construction, Trout said.
But customers have been eager to see the new store, often peeking into the back area where work is being done, Trout said. Trout said officials are hesitant to give an exact date for the completion, but hope to be done by May.
The construction and plans ran into a hiccup this month when members of Cuyahoga Falls’ Planning Commission expressed concern about a change in the windows facing State Road without approval from the city. Acme put in colorful glass blocks instead of plate-glass windows and awnings that had previously been approved.
Albrecht went before the Planning Commission this week and apologized for not contacting the city and explained that aesthetically he wanted something more colorful that would be pleasing to drivers and bring light into the store. The glass panes feature some clear glass blocks and various colors, including large red squares.
Albrecht said the thoughts about aesthetics account for the side of the building that is closest to State Road. Another idea in the design was to mimic the famous 1956 French movie The Red Balloon about a red balloon that follows a young boy.
The glass will also complement a sculpture around the movie that is being commissioned for the store, Albrecht said.
“The traffic on State Road is going to appreciate the color and it’s very attractive and unique,” he said.
Albrecht gave the Planning Commission a tour of the project and the commission approved the new windows, he said.
Trout said Acme is just as eager as customers for the completion.
“Believe me, Acme wants the additional revenue. It’s just a complex project. Unfortunately, there’s no firm timeline. You’ve got our word on it, we’ll get it done as soon as we can,” Trout said.