The last remnants of the old Acme on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls are set to be demolished soon as workers get to the finishing touches on the new store.
The new construction has taken place around and over the existing store, which dates to 1949 and according to customers and Acme Fresh Market officials, was in dire need of replacement.
The new $8 million store is scheduled to officially open by Memorial Day weekend, but customers have been already using parts of the new store in recent months.
The new store is 52,000 square feet, or about one and a half times larger than the existing 33,000.
The final piece of the “old store” that remains is the front door and part of the brick facade that faces State Road. In recent weeks, customers have been routed through the old entrances into the new store using one of the two new entrances. The old entrance is scheduled to be torn down in the next week and customers will be re-routed to use the other new entrance on the other side of the main new entryway, said Jim Trout, Acme executive vice president.
“They’ll start to enter what we call the perishable side of the store beginning next Wednesday,” said Trout.
While the original store’s main entrance faced State Road, the new store’s main entrance faces the side parking lot.
Once the old entrance is demolished, workers will pour the rest of the parking lot and complete exterior and interior work on the new building, he said.
Work on much of the interior of the new store is already done and workers will be laying tile for the entrance area, said Trout.
The flower shop will open May 7, in time for Mother’s Day, said Trout, and the new U.S. Bank branch is scheduled to open May 6. The deli will be the last department to open a week or so later, Trout said. The store does not currently have a working deli but there is some meat in the special cuts meat case now.
“We’d like to thank the customers for their patience,” said Trout, noting that the store had taken longer than anticipated. The company originally had hoped for a late 2012 opening, but the project was just more complex than previously thought, he said.
“This was one of the most complicated projects that Acme has ever undertaken. It’s not that anybody did anything wrong. It was just a very, very complex project to build a store over an old store and take the other store beneath it,” he said.
Asked whether Acme would try to build another store around an existing store, Trout said: “It was very important to Acme and customers that we remained open. We want to be the supermarket of that community.”
The changes to the store are noticeable.
“They had a convenient supermarket. Now they have a complete supermarket. They have every department that Acme Fresh Market offers,” he said.
New to the store are a bank, floral department and enlarged frozen foods, dairy, prepared foods, bakery and liquor departments.
Separately, Acme President Steve Albrecht in recent weeks sent a second letter to Cuyahoga Falls officials, renewing his request for what he calls equal economic development treatment for Acme’s new store and the proposed Portage Crossing development at the former State Road Shopping Center, where Giant Eagle will be relocating a new store.
Albrecht has said money that the city is spending on Portage Crossing and agreements made with developer Stark Enterprises result in the developer making zero investment. Albrecht is asking that his project also result in zero investment.
City officials said in response to Albrecht’s first request for what was called a level playing field that the two projects are not the same and the maximum amount of incentives available were given.
When asked about the second letter, a city official said nothing has changed.