About Ames

Founded 1958

Ames operated 467 stores in 19 states and DC during their peak year, 1999.
Approx. 21,500 associates

Entered Chapter 11 on August 20, 2001

Ames Department Stores, Inc. is pleased to welcome you to our internet site to learn more about our company. Whether you are an Ames customer, associate, shareholder or investor, our site has something to offer. We invite you to learn more about Ames, its history, and its commitment to customer service.

Ames began in 1958 when two Connecticut brothers, Milton and Irving Gilman, opened their first store in the Ames Worsted Textile Co. mill in Southbridge, Mass.

Ames' original business strategy was radical: bring discounting to the underserved smaller towns and rural areas of the Northeast. Ames’ broad product mix, discount pricing and convenient shopping hours were enormously popular with customers.

Ames’ success spurred an aggressive growth period from 1978-1988. Combining a new store building program with acquisitions of other discount chains such as Neisner Brothers, Kings and G.C. Murphy, Ames grew to 450 stores by 1985.

The 1988 acquisition of the 392-store Zayre discount division, however, brought a sharp reduction in profitability, and Ames filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in April 1990.

After successfully emerging from bankruptcy on December 30, 1992, the company returned to profitability in fiscal 1993 and operating performance has continued to improve. The Company has also implemented a unique program offering special discounts for customers 55 and older, the 55 Gold® Savings Card, and a special purchase program, Special Buys, to generate customer excitement by offering substantial savings on close-out merchandise, prominently displayed throughout the stores' main traffic aisles.

Under the leadership of President and Chief Executive Officer, Joseph R. Ettore, a 36-year retailing veteran, management was focused on targeted expansion (Ames acquired 155 Hills stores in December 1998); maintaining a customer-friendly environment with appealing merchandise presentations, customer service, and strict chainwide operational and financial controls.

For more information, inquire via e-mail.


August 14, 2002
A final message from Joseph Ettore

To all Ames associates, customers and supporters:  With deep personal regret, I have to tell you that Ames Department Stores has determined that...


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Ames vintage:

Old amesstores.com intro
Old old amesstores.com intro
Old Ames closeout ad in our local newspaper


Misc. Information:
Vault.com Survey

UEA Ames energy accounting study


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