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Author Topic: How far would you drive to Ames?  (Read 1492 times)
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« on: October 03, 2014, 02:35:39 PM »

Saw another OLD thread on here that is way too old to revive about people living in rural areas where
Ames was the closest discount department store, and even then they were 20 to 30 miles away.

When I worked for Ames that seemed to be their deliberate strategy.  At least where I was
stationed in Michigan.  Find some little pocket off the beaten path somewhere that was largely
devoid of competition that you could have all to yourself. 

Hillsdale was a great example.  I am sure Ames loved that town because it was quite literally 35 miles
from any other place to shop.  There was a Meijers in Jackson, 35 miles to the north.  There was a
mall in Adrian, 35 miles to the east.  There was another Ames in Bryan, Ohio, about that far to the
south.  If you needed to buy most typical household goods in Hillsdale, you did so at Ames.  They did
not get any real competition until Walmart moved in to the nearby town of Jonesville in the 90's.

Imlay City had a Fishers Big Wheel across the street, but it was not much competition.  That chain was already on its way out.  In fact Ames CEO at the time, Peter Hollis, had previously run Big Wheel and he seemed to be trying to park Ames locations in all of their best towns.  Beyond that there was a Kmart about 15 miles to the west, and another in Port Huron about 30 miles to the east.  And one to the south in Romeo, which I think was 22 miles.

That store was planned to do 6 million the first year, but we did 9.   Michiganders we found out were not adverse to driving forty, fifty, even sixty miles to go shopping.  Plus we'd draw a good many customers from
Canada who were trying to avoid the GST tax.
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2014, 08:47:58 PM »

I grew up in Bristol, Connecticut near the Farmington town line. The nearest AMES (and KMART) were on Queen Street in Southington. We used to go there and KMART at least once a month. Going by the directions on Bing they are 6.7 miles away.

Back in the early 1990s when there was only one Walmart in the state and it was 24.4 Miles away in Manchester. We'd make a trip 2 or 3 times a year. It was a big thing back then before there were so many of them. We'd make a day out of it - also hitting The Buckland Hills Mall, and some other stores out that way.

Growing up Bristol had Caldor and Bradlees. Since those were the two stores in town, those were the two stores we'd frequent the most. And on a smaller scale they had Marshall's and TJ MAXX. Now Bristol has a Walmart and TJ MAXX. KMART came in after Caldor closed and closed during one of the many rounds of closings around 2002.  Bristol almost got a Target across the street from Walmart, but due to some political crap they didn't get to come to Bristol. Then BJs wanted to build on that property too. They weren't allowed either. Both went to Southington.
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 10:21:38 PM »

As a kid in the 80s, Ames was the closest discount dept store; one was about 30 minutes south, another about 30 minutes east. Their biggest competition was probably Woolworths. Later Jamesway and Roses started muscling in but neither ever seemed to effect Ames that much. It was only when Wal-Mart really started saturating the market that things went downhill.
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