Facebook

ACME General Store closing, will not relocate

Customers crowd the store for going out of business sale

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Thursday, March 21, 2013

Enlarge photo

Denise VandenBerge, middle, helps her staff attend to a steady crowd of customers after learning ACME General Store was holding a going out of business.

Jim Fair

Denise VandenBerge, middle, helps her staff attend to a steady crowd of customers after learning ACME General Store was holding a going out of business.



Enlarge photo

Callaghan Murphy said he was a regular customer of the store. He bought his camping equipment, a backpack and hammock in the past.

Jim Fair

Callaghan Murphy said he was a regular customer of the store. He bought his camping equipment, a backpack and hammock in the past.



Enlarge photo

Kelly Collins said she was disappointed in the store's closing. She frequently shopped at ACME.

Jim Fair

Kelly Collins said she was disappointed in the store's closing. She frequently shopped at ACME.



Enlarge photo

Sunglasses were among the most popular items sought today during the going out of business sale.

Jim Fair

Sunglasses were among the most popular items sought today during the going out of business sale.



ACME General Store, opening to much fanfare almost four years ago, is closing and will not relocate.

Owners Chris and Denise VandenBerghe announced the store’s closing this morning with a going out of business sale email. The store, at the corner of Victoria and Trade Street, will close as soon as the merchandise is sold. Employees were removing kitchen equipment and racks today as crowds of shoppers filled the store to purchase reduced goods.

“It kind of makes you wonder where all these people were before today,” a shopper who asked not to be identified said. "This is very frustrating." Shoppers were carrying overflowing baskets and armfuls of goods. Many went straight to purchase sunglasses and flip flops. Clothing was also popular.

Denise VandenBerghe said she had a heavy heart working in the store. “I’ve done all the crying I could do,” she said. “We’re not saying we won’t every open again, maybe in a smaller place somewhere. We love Greer and Wild Ace is doing well. We plan to stay around.”

The foot traffic, although improved dramatically since ACME opened, was not enough to pay for the business’ overhead. “You can’t justify opening for $110 a day . . . that won’t pay for staff and utilities,” VandenBerghe told GreerToday.com last week.

The VandenBerghes have invested their personal time in Greer as member of several boards and merchant associations.

One of the factors considered was the moving of Tunes on Trade to the City Park amphitheater this year. Last year the summer concert series was located in front of ACME. Downtown merchants suggested at a Greer Station Association meeting that it was less likely spectators would make their way to shops on Trade Street.

Allen Smith, President and CEO of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, was at ACME this afternoon. He said he preferred to issue his response in a statement.

The VandenBerghes were hoping property would become available at Morgan Square in Spartanburg, virtually across from their Wild Ace Pizza opening next month, but that didn’t materialize when negotiations broke down. The VandenBerghes and Spartanburg business officials have had conversations about the store becoming an element in that downtown’s revitalization.

One official, who asked not to be identified because of the relationship between Greer and Spartanburg business entities, acknowledged there was sensitive communication exchanged this week suggesting the recruitment of ACME through incentives.

Bruce Rivera, owner of Rivera’s, was at the store this morning offering support to Denise and observing the sale of merchandise this evening. “For future investors the dynamics downtown don’t match,” Rivera said. “It seems sometimes we’re seeing as many things going out as coming in.”

Rivera referenced the closing of EFS, a training facility across the street from ACME and Tate Realtors moving from its location to Wade Hampton Boulevard next to Starbucks. Tate is moving to expand its business and EFS, dependent on memberships, suddenly closed without an announcement two Sunday's ago.

“We don’t have enough retail downtown as it is,” Rivera said. “It seems like everybody says ‘I’ve got your back’ but then you close and see this and it’s like a slap in the face.”

Callaghan Murphy, a regular customer at ACME, said, “I’m shocked and depressed to see the store closing. It’s a cool place to be and I’ve bought my backpack, hammock and some camping equipment here. I must admit I liked the air cannons upstairs that brought the boy out in me.”

Murphy, who has been hired at Home Depot, bought a survival, multifunctional knife to help him while working in the garden department.

Kelly Collins said she was a regular customer. “I’m disappointed in the lack of traffic coming to the store,” she said. “I am surprised the store is closing. I enjoy coming here.”

Share



Related Photo Galleries


Leave a Comment



Trending: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Obituaries, Chon Restaurant, Allen Bennett Hospital

GREER CALENDAR

View All Events