The Fresh Grocer, located at 40th and Walnut streets, closed today and will undergo renovations in preparation for an Acme location to open in its place in fall 2020.
Penn terminated the Fresh Grocer's lease in April 2016, claiming that they failed to renew the lease "in a timely fashion," according to a Facilities and Real Estate Services statement from December 2016. The Fresh Grocer then filed a lawsuit against the University in December 2016, and the case has since been making its way through the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
The University and Acme Markets officially announced in April 2017 that an Acme supermarket will replace the Fresh Grocer.
“We are excited to have ACME’s commitment to delivering an excellent all-around experience for our shoppers align with Penn’s commitment to providing a high-quality grocery store to the residents of University City, including the campus community,” Papageorge wrote in the press release.
Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services Anne Papageorge wrote in a press release that Penn Bus West will begin stopping at 44th and Walnut streets near Supreme Shop n Bag, located at 4301 Walnut St. on March 9. The Penn Bust West will also add a designated stop at 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue near Mariposa Food Co-op, located at 4824 Baltimore Avenue, also effective March 9.
Beginning on March 9, Penn Bus East will also have a designated stop at South Square Market located at 2221 South St., Director of Communications for Facilities and Real Estate Services Jennifer Rizzi wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Earlier this semester, Penn Transit extended the Trader Joe's shuttle pilot program from Feb. 1 until April 4 and will continue bringing students to Trader Joe's at 2121 Market St. for free. Shuttles run on Thursday and Saturday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9:55 p.m.
Many students told the DP they found the store's closure "unnecessary" and criticized the University's decision to replace the Fresh Grocer with an Acme location, which they believe to be less affordable. Students also raised concerns over losing the convenience of 24/7 service and proximity during the vacancy period before the Acme store opens.
In 2018, Philadelphia Magazine compared four grocery stores in Philadelphia — Acme, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Aldi — and found Acme to be the most expensive.