Walls are moving between the Acme Fresh Market Store and Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts Store in the Montrose area.
For Jo-Ann Stores, the change is creating a more compact store. For Acme, it’s an opportunity to add space in the competitive grocery arena.
The renovations are allowing property owner and management firm Albrecht Inc. to reconfigure the parking lot and work on an updated look for the rest of the Montrose Acme Plaza, said Joe Albrecht, vice president of the real estate development unit for Akron-based Acme.
Albrecht Inc. is the real estate unit related to Fred. W. Albrecht Grocery Co., operator of Acme.
Jo-Ann is giving up about 10,000 square feet of sales floor, said Albrecht. Officials hope to give Albrecht the space in October. The Jo-Ann will be about 26,000 square feet when complete.
Said Jeff Fink, senior vice president of real estate for Jo-Ann: “At the Montrose Jo-Ann, we saw an opportunity to get closer to our ‘sweet spot’ in terms of square footage. When we found out Acme was interested in helping us reallocate some space, we were thrilled; the result is a win-win for both retailers.
“We’ve touched everything in the store to enhance the environment from easier-flowing traffic patterns to fresh inspiration throughout the store, all while maintaining the same great assortment of merchandise and services. The result is a vastly improved shopping experience for our customer. Even with the downsize, the remodeled store is still above average compared to our current store prototype,” Fink said.
Acme wasn’t looking for extra space, but when it became available, Executive Vice President Jim Trout and President Steve Albrecht decided they’d take it.
“It’s a very competitive landscape out there and we’ve got to make sure we can continually improve our store,” said Trout. “It can work for Acme. We want to bring that bakery department more to a focal point up front and make the pharmacy more [of a focus]. We want to re-engineer the organic department and we want to reposition the checkouts so they’re not the first thing customers see in the store. It’ll be product, product, product.”
The store has already gone through several remodels.
“It’ll give us an opportunity to renovate an already-polished store,” Trout said. The exterior of the store will also get a redesign.
No decisions have been made on when to complete the renovations — it will be sometime next year, said Trout.
The sales floor will go from 54,200 square feet to 64,200 square feet, Albrecht said.
The store has a very large back room not used for product sales from the days when it was an Acme Supercenter, said Albrecht.
Albrecht Inc. recently reconfigured the parking lot in front of the store, taking it from angle parking to straight-in parking to allow stopping in either direction and giving wider spaces, said Albrecht. The center lane coming off the traffic light at state Route 18 will also be eliminated and the parking lot flow will be adjusted, adding more landscaping islands and more greenery along Route 18.
“It’ll soften the look and look more aesthetically pleasing,” he said.
A wide driveway along the west wing of the shopping plaza will be eliminated and straight-in parking in front of the stores will be added.
Albrecht Inc. is also working on facade updates to the west wing of the plaza, with a goal of completion before winter, he said.
“That building was one of the first buildings built in Montrose. It needs a little bit of a refresher,” Albrecht said. “We want to put a lot more glass” onto the storefronts.