Two Acme SuperCenters, one on State Road near Graham
Road in Cuyahoga Falls and a second on Waterloo Road on Akron's south side,
are slated for closure this fall, company officials announced Wednesday.
Acme attributes the closings to increased competition
among large-chain competitors like Giant Eagle and Finast in grocery sales
and big-buying department store chains such as Kmart and Wal-Mart in the
sale of non-food items.
"The face of competition for Acme has changed
dramatically," Jim Phelps, Akron's deputy mayor for economic development,
said Wednesday in a released statement. "In this exceptionally competitive
market, Acme long ago made a community commitment to serve nearly every
neighborhood in the city, even ones that were not terribly profitable."
The changing face of competition, which now has
geared itself to placing stores only in more profitable geographic regions,
has made it difficult for companies, like Acme to cater to entire communities,
In an effort to keep up with the changing market,
many of Acme's remaining stores are scheduled for makeovers. Acme is abandoning
the once-popular "SuperCenter" idea that it pioneered in pursuit
of a "Fresh Market" approach that caters to grocery shoppers with
a gourmet deli, specialty items and a variety of fresh products.
Acme spent $6 million two years ago to convert
the former Acme SuperCenter store in North Canton into its prototype Fresh
Market store, which has met with success and prompted the chain to plan
the conversion of seven existing Acme SuperCenters and 12 regular stores
into Fresh Market shops.
It is not known what the future will hold for the
three Acme stores in Portage County. There are two stores in Ravenna, a
grocery store on East Main Street and an Acme Express store on West Main
Street. Another Acme grocery store is located on S.R. 59 east of Kent.
Local store managers said this morning they cannot
answer questions concerning the future of the Portage County stores. They
referred all calls to the company's main office on Gilchrist Road in Akron.
Several messages left there for comment concerning the stores' changes were
not returned by press time.
The Kent Road store in Stow is in the process of
undergoing a renovation to become a Fresh Market grocery. The store debuted
more than 30 years ago as the chain's first all-inclusive store, selling
everything from groceries and health and beauty items to hardware, clothing
When renovations are complete, the Stow store will
feature only food items, having removed most of its other merchandise from
the shelves already.
Acme expects the two store closings in Akron to
displace about 120 employees. Company officials have said the employees
will be able to use the seniority they've earned with Acme to get jobs at
other stores in the chain.