Zayres, I mean Bradley’s; excuse me... Ames

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

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, Massachusetts. At its height, Ames was the nation's fourth-largest discount retailer with annual net sales of $5.3 billion, operating 700 stores in 20 states, including the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and the District of Columbia.  Ames's original business strategy brought discounting to the smaller towns and rural areas of the Northeast.  The company's success in serving a largely rural customer base in smaller, less-competitive markets resulted in consistently strong financial performance and steady growth combining acquisitions and an aggressive store-building program through the late 1980’s.  In 1988 it purchased the 392-store Zayre discount chain.  Bankruptcy was filed twice in 1990 and again in 1999. On August 14, 2002 Ames executives announced it would close all 327 stores in the chain and wind down business. "Continued softness in sales, combined with tightening terms and slower shipments from our suppliers, have reduced our funds availability below critical levels," Ames chairman and CEO Joseph R. Ettore said about Ames' decision to go out of business.  More of Wal-Mart’s bureaucracy leading the way.