Wegmans open, Acmes shut, in Chester County

What's behind the Acme supermarket chain's decision to shut its stores on US 30 in Exton and US 202 in Westtown? Those Acmes -- not far from the chain's headquarters, near Malvern in affluent suburban Chester County --  face a busy competitve market that includes a four-year-old Wegmans at the former Worthington Steel site east of 202 in East Whiteland Township, plus a second planned Wegmans on 202 in Chadds Ford, a short drive south of the Westtown Acme.

The Chadds Ford Wegmans will also threaten a nearby Whole Foods Market. Another Acme, a ShopRite and a Super G are located a short drive south across the Delaware line. Each Wegmans employs around 200 fulltime, plus hundreds of parttimers. Acme says 120 work at the two stores doomed to close.

Acme, once the Philadelphia area's dominant supermarket chain, is owned by a group of buyout and real estate investors including Philadelphia-based Lubert-Adler Partners. Family-owned Wegmans has 83 stores and has been expanding steadily around Philadelphia.