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.


  1. The Tops store was orginally opened as Finast in 1989. The store replaced a Pick n Pay/Edwards supermarket in N Ridgeville.

  2. Sorry, I did not see this store when it opened but someone told me that this was Pick -N - Pay when it opened. They must have been confused with the North Ridgeville store. I will change the post later.

  3. There also used to be a Rentway in one of the post-Ames subdivided spaces, relocating there from what is now the Drug Mart Plaza in Sheffield Village. It was the only other tenant to ever occupy anything in the subdivided portion. Napa Auto Parts is now open. Blockbuster across the street is closed.

    When Giant Eagle closed that location, the Charter One Bank inside remained open for a month or so before it finally closed. Shortly after this store closed, the Sheffield Village location received an internal makeover and, I think, inherited all of the new signage - and some of the equipment - from here.

  4. Here's the FFM logo!

    The newer-constructed location in Avon Lake had the Finast name with the Ahold hexagon-thing on the front when they first opened, replacing the "Finast" with "Tops" later. When you drive past the building, you can still faintly make out the "Finast" part.

  5. Anyone know if someone has bought the former Tops and Hills space. Both were for lease on Loopnet and NAI Cummings website as for lease and both have been removed...and when you google 825 Cleveland Street Elyria Ohio Easton Bell sports company comes up.

  6. AHH! Easton Bell sports company! I have been wondering about this for some time. The Tops looks vacant from the exterior but the interior is very well in use. I parked and peaked into the windows of this shopping center. I could not get a good look in Hills / Ames store but got some pictures of the Tops interior through the window. I was expecting to see all the grocery equipment left behind from when Giant Eagle closed but instead saw bags full of what appear to be balls filling the store. After you mentioned that this was a sports company I looked closer at my pictures and noticed a box that says "Riddell". Perhaps this side of Elyria is a good place to have a sports warehouse since the Riddell factory is only a mile away. Here are my pictures of the former Tops space.




  7. Not bags of balls. Helmsets and pads. The Riddell factory less than a mile away reconditions helmets, pads and uniforms and uses this old building as storage.

    1. I am not sure how they bought this building when it was listed as a commercial property.


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