Tour: A&P Fresh - Pompton Lakes, New Jersey

While most locations that closed in 2015 as a result of the A&P bankruptcy went on to live happy lives as ACME Markets, Stop & Shops, and Key Foods; the Pompton Lakes location is a different story. Opening in 1997 as a result of a fire in a terribly outdated shopping center that formerly held a Ben Franklin and 50's-style ACME Markets, both with wooden barrel-style roofs. ACME was likely unable to rebuild the store due to the fact that the fire had started at ACME and that it was a violation of fire code. 

So enter A&P, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. A nearly 125,000 square foot state-of-the-art shopping center rose from the rubble to put Pompton Lakes on the map of modernized New Jersey towns today. As I write this, there are currently five new housing projects going on in the town, along with the figurative defibrillators to bring this shopping center back to life, as the landlord and the borough have yet to find concrete interest in this anchor space. The store fell one slot short of ACME Markets' top picks.

For those who don't know Pompton Lakes, it is located just North of Wayne and is East of Kinnelon, but also keeping just a 15-mile buffer between the borough and New York State. The town is upper middle class. It is quite a bustling town with modern-day four-lane roadways, and I-287 and I-202 frontage. Add that together, and you not only have a nice town, but also a town that is accessible for those NYC commuters looking to move outside of NYC, but making sure their commute isn't too far. On a side note, Pompton Lakes was given its name through the singular Pompton Lake, which is located on the town's eastern border. Just a skip and a jump over from Pompton Lake is the North and South Twin Lakes, which are on the Northwestern border of the town, and significantly smaller than Pompton Lake.

Alright, enough geography... let's get to the tour!

Today's photos are extremely limited, but we're still grateful for them. Photos of this store are very rare, and to find a store in its current state alone is even harder. So thank you to Matt Grundy at Ripco Real Estate for first sending A&P Preservation these pictures a few years back, and giving us some more details on the space.

The store retained its 00's Calligraphy hideous blue/orange flooring through the Fresh renovation, which would make sense in a way, as the store was barely a decade old at the time of renovation in 2004. Note that all of the A&P logos on the faux canvas boxes and aisle markers have been spray-painted over, which is a shame.

This store is roughly 63,000 square feet of absolute supermarket bliss. From the pictures here, I can tell that the store had a typical 90's/00's format (although I can't place my finger on what format this store is actually supposed to represent, as the exterior is rather unique.)

The produce department is under exposed structure, which adds a nice modern touch to the store. For 1997, this was a great move. Drop ceilings in produce departments (or any part of the store today, for that matter) absolutely create a drab feeling unless painted black or brown, like Food Bazaar did in North Bergen.

Quick view of the front end here; the store has 17 checkouts including self-scanners. To the left here is Customer Services and the Pharmacy. If you can see far enough, at the opposite end of the checkouts is a 500 square foot space meant for a bank, which I believe was never used at this store, or at least did not last that long. We'll see reference of that in the floor plans below.

The Floral department is to the left of the main entrance.

A better, generic version of this store layout can be found here on the A&P Preservation archives, although a full-res version of the Pompton Lakes location can be found here on Ripco's website, which I will soon be adding to my archives. You can see the bank space on the left side here, as well as the whopping 17 checkouts, and an Eight O Clock Coffee Cafe area to the right of the main vestibule. A&P sure did invest a lot in this store, only to have it abandoned one day. 

The current plan for the anchor tenant is to either split it into two adjacent spaces (as seen above and below here) to create likely a grocery anchor and a general merchandise anchor space, which may be hard to do considering the store's proximity to Wayne, which has just about every store in existence. This is why chains like ACME Markets (has stores in Boonton and Midland Park), ShopRite (Oakland), and Stop & Shop (Pompton Plains) have refused the space, as it would create somewhat of a monopoly and overlap of the stores in the area. 
What I think would do very well here is an independently-operated store under Key Food or Allegiance (likely Key Food's Food Emporium banner that was borrowed from A&P) to create an upscale store for an upscale neighborhood, just like the Doleh Family did to turn an expanded Centennial into a state-of-the-art successful supermarket in Marlboro.

Thank you once again Matt Grundy at Ripco Real Estate for the photos of the store and extra information!

Be sure to stay tuned for more updates, store tours, news, and more next week!

A&P Fresh of Pompton Lakes

47 Wanaque Ave.
Pompton Lakes, NJ

ACME Markets (demolished) > A&P