After months of construction, Acme Markets will open on 40th and Walnut streets on Oct. 23 at 6 a.m., and will operate daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Acme will replace the Fresh Grocer, whose abrupt March closure was the culmination of a four-year legal battle over The Fresh Grocer's lease with Penn. The store will feature a beer and wine shop, indoor and outdoor seating, and a third Starbucks location within a seven-block radius, Acme Communications and Public Affairs Manager Dana Ward wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian in June.
The University and Acme Markets first announced Acme's replacement of The Fresh Grocer in a joint press release in April 2017.
"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," Executive Director of Real Estate in Facilities and Real Estate Services Ed Datz wrote to the DP in June.
The mid-semester decision drew scrutiny from students and local residents, who cited the lengthy transition period without a grocery store, as well as Acme's high prices, compared to Whole Foods, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s grocery stores. Students also voiced concerns over losing the convenience of a 24-hour grocery store. While the initial announcement in 2017 said the store would be open 24 hours a day, Ward wrote to the DP that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all 24-hour Acme locations were instructed to close at midnight.
The store has since decided to close an hour earlier at 11 p.m. It is unclear when or if those locations will go back to being open 24 hours.
To help alleviate inconveniences caused by The Fresh Grocer's closure this spring, Penn created an additional Penn Bus East stop at South Square Market located at 2221 South St. in March. The Undergraduate Assembly also announced in February that Penn Transit would extend the Trader Joe’s shuttle pilot program from February 1 to April 4, among other modifications to Penn Transit’s schedules and routes.
While the pandemic's onset forced the University to suspend some Penn Transit operations and limit others, both initiatives are now up and running for the fall semester.
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