Sunday, April 29, 2012

Elyria Shopping Center in Elyria, Ohio

Nicholas Eckhart
Photos from March 14, 2012

     This post is on the Elyria Shopping Center on the east side of Elyria, Ohio. This shopping center contains a former Hills department store (later was Ames and has since been subdivided) and a former Tops Friendly Markets store. The shopping center is 142,827 square feet.

     The Hills store was at 825 Cleveland Street in Elyria, Ohio. The Hills store was built in 1977. It became Ames in 1998 after Ames acquired Hills. The store closed in 2002.

     The former Hills / Ames was subdivided into a Dollar Tree (14,925 Square Feet), Rentway (now closed), Best Cuts, Fast Cash Express Tax (now closed), and a larger space that has had no occupancy since Ames.  I cannot quite recall when the store was subdivided although I would say around 2004 or 2005.

      I think some Ames features may still exist inside (like the Green stripe with brand names). I don't recall going to this store much but I remember that it was nicer than other stores I frequented and had an nice open feel. I remember a small food court by the front and at the time the electronics department seemed very impressive. That is really all I recall about this store. I did find an image of this store as it looked as Ames here.

     The only businesses that still survive in this shopping center are Dollar Tree, Best Cuts, and Burger King. I found a Loopnet page listing that the stated that the Dollar Tree store is for sale.

This is how the former Ames appears today. This store has obviously been subdivided and its exterior look has been greatly changed.

More of the greatly changed former Hills and Ames store. Part of the 

The Tops Friendly Market store was at 821 Cleveland Street in Elyria, Ohio. This store was originally built as Finast in 1989. I heard someone tell a story about the Hills Department Store having fireworks every year, but after Finast opened the fireworks were not allowed for some reason. This store replaced a nearby Pick -N- Pay store that was located in  North Ridgeville in a shopping center that is now torn down. Pick -N- Pay operated stores under the the Pick -N- Pay (Northeastern Ohio) and Finast (Northeastern U.S.) banners when they were acquired by Ahold in 1988.

     Ahold decided to use the Finast name on all their U.S. stores; all new stores (such as this one) opened as Finast and they began converting all other Pick -N- Pay stores to the Finast banner. The last stores operating as Pick -N- Pay became Finast in 1994.

     After the 1996 merger with another of Ahold's brands (Tops Friendly Markets) I recall a mix between the Finast logo and the Tops logo. The logo had the Finast style writing but had the Tops red and white cube to the left. I searched around and found no trace of this logo online. I know I have a paper bag with this logo on it somewhere, if I find it I will post a photo.

     In 1999 all Finast stores were re-branded as Tops Friendly Markets. Tops would remain in the Northeastern Ohio market until December 2006 when all of their Northeastern Ohio stores closed.

This store then became a Giant Eagle grocer store for roughly more than a year before that closed in February 2008. Here is a link to a picture and more information about this store's time as Giant Eagle.

The Former Finast /Tops Friendly Markets /Giant Eagle store

The Former Finast /Tops Friendly Markets /Giant Eagle store

A former branch of the Lorain National Bank. There is a sign up saying that a Napa Auto Parts store is coming soon. There was previously a Napa downtown that closed a few years ago.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Former Sedona Grill in Sheffield, Ohio

Nicholas Eckhart

As a post I decided to include this closed down restaurant in Sheffield, Ohio. I know that the Sedona Grill concept was started by Tumbleweed Southwest Grill in 2007. Tumbleweed had big plans for Sedona Grill, but only managed to open only two restaurants before the concept was discarded on January 14th, 2008.

The first Sedona Grill opened in early 2007 in Lima, Ohio as part of a concept that Tumbleweed wanted to fulfill its plans for a higher-scale restaurant.. The Sedona Grill concept include a higher-scale look, higher-scale food, and higher prices than that other Tumbleweed restaurants. the company had plans for four more to open by the end of 2007 (Garfield Heights, Ohio; Sheffield, Ohio; Murray, Kentucky; and Raleigh, North Carolina). Of those four locations only the Sheffield, Ohio restaurant became reality. The Sheffield restaurant opened in late 2007. This restaurant was at 5223 Detroit Road in Sheffield, Ohio. The two Sedona Grill locations closed on January 14th, 2008 when Tumbleweed abandoned the concept.

Today the Sheffield location has been reopened as Sorrento Italian restaurant. Sorrento relocated from a old location in Elyria.

The following photos are from my April 8th, 2012 visit to the former Sheffield Ohio restaurant.

The "This restaurant is permanently Closed" notes were still on the door

I tried to get a peak of the interior but failed. From where I was it was easy to see that everything was still left inside. In this photo the tops of the chairs and some of the lighting elements can be saw.

Outdoor dining area

The highway sign even still had signage on it.

*Sedona Grill Revisited*
The following photos were taken after the Sorrento renovation of the former Sheffield Sedona Grill.

Here is the other former Sedona Grill location I tracked down. Plans for three more in Garfield Heights(Ohio), Murray (Kentucky, and Raleigh (North Carolina) were cancelled before the concept was shuttered.

Lima- 1939 Roschman Avenue 
  • Opened in early 2007 as the first Sedona Grill
  • Used both Tumbleweed and Sedona Grill signage
  • still vacant as well
Image from Bing Maps

The two Sedona Grill locations that were opened

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Former Kmart and Rini-Rego in Amherst, Ohio

Nicholas Eckhart

I am uncertain when this store opened as a grocery store. I believe (based on design) it may have originally been a Fazio's Supermarket before becoming Rini-Rego. In the late 1990s (right before Rini-Rego was acquired by Giant Eagle) a new Rini-Rego store (now Giant Eagle) in the same shopping center replaced this one. The address of this former Rini-Rego grocery store is 1953 Cooper Foster Park Road in Amherst, Ohio.
There was also a former Ames and Hills store nearby (not pictured) The Ames store originally opened as a Hills department store. Hills was re-branded as Ames after Ames acquired  Hills Department stores in 1998. This store was closed in 2001.The former Hills/ Ames currently operates as a food company's warehouse.

The Pat Catan's Craft Center is in the former Kmart foods area of the former Amherst Kmart store. It is surprising how much of the store's Kmart look is still intact today. The strips of exposed lighting and the massive circular heating vents give the interior an over-powering Kmart feel (still almost 20 years after Kmart left this site). The street is store is on is still called Kresge Drive today!

I am unsure when exactly this Kmart opened, but to me it looks like a late 70s or early 80s store. The parking lot lights look like a 70s design as well. The old Kmart Canopy seems very well intact. It appears the canopy was also lengthened when Kmart expanded this store (look at how the first three parts in the canopy look older and then the other two look newer). Kmart left this site in 1993 for a new prototype Super Kmart Center store across the road in Lorain. (see the Lorain Super Kmart post for more on that store).

 This store did recieve an addition later on in its Kmart days. That addition area is now used as the Tractor Supply Co. store. 
Now on to what I found nearby.
The 1,636 Square foot former Taco Bell and Don Tequila restaurant as it sat on March 23, 2012.

The old entrance to the restaurant (added on after Taco bell moved to a newer site nearby in the 90s).

This appears to be a 70s style Taco Bell build.

A look at the back of the Taco bell from the old Drive-Thru area. The Stuccoed part was added on later on (I think possibly while it was still Taco Bell) 

Dead-End Drive-thru! The Drive Thru has been blocked off by an addition since Taco Bell left.

The 90s style Sears Appliance and Hardware store across the street in Lorain. The store apparently has only two cars in the parking lot.

A look towards what looks to be an old Garden Center. I think the other two cars are for employees.

A site plan  made with Bing Maps imagery.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rockport Shopping Center in Rocky River, Ohio

Nicholas Eckhart

     The Rockport shopping center at 20001 Center Ridge Road in Rocky River, Ohio was built in 1964 by the Rockport Associates Company. This shopping center lies on 7 Acres of land. Rockport underwent a massive remodel in 1992 (giving it the current look). The shopping center currently has 210,000 square feet of retail space (most of which is vacant).

     I am not certain when the 43,797 square foot Rini-Rego grocery store opened up, but the facade points to a mid-1990s store. The Rini-Rego store remained open for a short time after Giant Eagle purchased Rini-Rego's parent company (Riser Foods) in 1997. The store briefly became Giant Eagle before a new Giant Eagle was built a couple of miles away in the Early 2000s. 

     The 105,000 square foot Target store was built in 1997, but I am unsure what discount store had a store on that site before. Historical imagery on Google Earth make it appear that the store before Target may have been one of the first Kmart stores. 

     The Target relocated in 2008 to a new shopping center nearby built on the site of the former Westgate Mall. In late February 2012 it was announced that the remaining section of strip mall will be torn-down for a new apartment complex. The owners (Wald & Fisher Incorporated) will retain ownership of the former Target. The company claims that some retail companies are expressing interest into the former Target store. 

     I am looking for some information on this Rockport's early days, but I have been unable to track down anything but the company that built it and the year it was built.

Here is a site plan I found at

Here are the photos I took of this Shopping center on March 31st, 2012.

According to the site plan this was a Gags & games store

The former mid-90s style Rini-Rego grocery store

Torn-down section of the shopping center; the old grocery store is in the background.

Receiving for the old Rini-Rego / Giant Eagle grocery store

The only proof I found that Pier 1 Imports once had a store in this shopping center.

An empty lot where the now torn-down section of this shopping center was once located.

The left side of the former Target; this side was once connected to a now torn down section of this shopping center. The Hometown Buffet was the tenant attached to the left of the Target.

The terrace on the front of the former Target store looks like it has saw better days. There is also the pharmacy sign's label-scar is visible behind the tree.

A "Fire Door" on the front of the former Target

The boarded up main entrance and the abondoned bike rack

A close-up of the boarded up main entrance

Where the main Target sign used to be; the Target label-scar is barely still visible.

This is a shot showing the side of the secondary entrance.

The secondary entrance to the old Target

A close-up of the boarded up secondary entrance

The former receiving area for Target

The back entrance to the old Target

Another example of graffiti; notice that this is nearly identical to the one on the back of the former grocery store that also said "TEBS". 

The side of the old Target that used to be attached to a now torn-down part of the shopping center as viewed from behind the store.