It took about 10 years of planning and acquiring parcels of land, but Acme Fresh Market officials are ready to rebuild their State Road store, which has been falling into disrepair, in Cuyahoga Falls.
“Customers have been hugely patient,” said Acme President Steve Albrecht on Monday.
Albrecht said he knows the Acme No. 10 customers have been shopping in an underserved store, but now he added, “We’re excited about rewarding them with the best we can come up with.”
Albrecht Inc., the real estate development unit for Acme, will today submit plans to the city for an $8 million expansion and redesign.
The store, which dates to the 1950s, will go from 30,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet with expanded bakery, floral, prepared foods, perishables and deli/meat departments. The store will add 40 employees to its current 70.
The store serves customers in Cuyahoga Falls, including the Northampton area and many in the North Hill area of Akron, said Acme Executive Vice President Jim Trout. “We know we have to earn some customers back,” he added.
Acme wants to break ground May 1 and be finished Nov. 1. The entrance will face north off a large parking lot; the entrance now faces east, fronting State Road.
The only thing that will be “old” will be a 1950s-era Acme sign. A similar sign was removed in 2003 when State Road was widened and upgraded. It has been in storage and will be updated with LED lights, said Albrecht.
The sign is the impetus for the design of the store’s exterior, which will have a 1950s look, he said.
“This will be unique. The neighborhood is well-established. [The store] has been there since the ’50s. That brand-new store will fit right into that community,” he said.
The store will remain open during construction, and the shopping area will be moved to the newer parts as they are completed. The last of the project’s three phases will see the demolition of the existing store within the new one, said Albrecht.
In assembling the parcels it needed, Albrecht spent at least $500,000 to do the following:
• Buy a car wash building to the south of the store six years ago.
• Buy a building across the street for employee parking.
• Buy a house to the north on Shaw Street for parking (the street will be narrowed).
• And buy an apartment building behind a PNC Bank branch to the south of the store.
Apartment tenants are moving out, and the Custom Auto Detailing and Hand Car Wash will be open until March 15 before moving to 411 West Ave. in Tallmadge, said its owner, Ron Shuler.
Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart, a regular shopper at the State Road Acme, recalled maneuvering around pails catching water from the ceiling at least three years ago. He said he called the city’s community and economic development director and told them “we can’t have this in Cuyahoga Falls.”
Robart said he believes there is room for multiple groceries in the area, with the rebuilt Acme set to compete with a new grocery store in Portage Crossing and a nearby Marc’s.
Albrecht said Robart has pledged to give Acme the same assistance being given to the grocer in the Portage Crossing project.
Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blinfisher and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty.