Fisher's Big Wheel

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TenPoundHammer
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Fisher's Big Wheel

Post by TenPoundHammer » 28 Nov 2007 12:25

I'm just curious if anyone around here remembers Fisher's Big Wheel.

I don't have very strong memories of them, seeing as I was 7 when the chain went under in 1994, but I do remember a few of their locations. I know that a lot of them were sold to Pamida; my research has found that nearly half of the Pamida stores in Michigan used to be Big Wheel.

What I found odd is that, in Michigan at least, Big Wheel rarely went head-to-head with other stores. One exception I can think of is Alpena, where Big Wheel had a store in a former Tempo, about 1/4 mile from the Alpena Mall, which at the time featured JCPenney (still there) and a Kmart that predated the actual mall (Kmart relocated about 10 years ago).

Speaking of malls, I was surprised to find out that Big Wheel used to anchor a mall in Meadville, PA! (This location is now a Big Lots.)

By the way, as the person who created the page for Fisher's Big Wheel on Wikipedia, I'm curious if anyone knows what year the chain was founded. I know the first store was in New Castle, PA.

rich
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Location: Washington, DC

Post by rich » 28 Nov 2007 18:27

Fisher's Big Wheel stuck to small towns. The closest thing to urban locations that I ever saw were a few exurban areas near Cleveland--I think there was one near Rt 422 & Rt. 306 in the Bainbridge-Aurora area and one in a failed downtown urban renewal project in Painesville. They bought at least some Mr. Wigg's stores. Mr. Wigg's had tended to locate in similar kinds of places; the Paineville store started out as a Mr. Wigg's.

New Castle is big enough that they would have had plenty of competition there. Meadville is small, but a regional hub. It had a healthy downtown well into the 70s, even with a shopping center on the periphery that was anchored by a small branch of Erie's Trask's.

pffft
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Re: Fisher's Big Wheel

Post by pffft » 18 Dec 2008 22:25

I worked at the home office of Fisher's Big Wheel from 1987-89. I will get (and post) the exact detals the next time I am in New Castle, so part of this is a little sketchy. The (2 or 3) Fisher brothers opened their first store sometime around 1930. But, they did not become a discounter chain until the 1960s. (The 1960's must have been the decade that discount stores really took off because that is when Kmart, Wal-Mart, and Target also began to reach out nationally.)

Peter Hollis was CEO until just before I started in 1987. (He must have "made the rounds" because he was also CEO at Ames and Jamesway at various times.)

The last surviving Fisher brother was still around when I started in 1987. I always remembered that his office was small and modestly furnished, whereas Stan Brenner's (the CEO from 1986-89) was much larger and more elaborate.

Robert Floum became CEO just before I left in 1989, and when FBW was still growing. But then began the years of decline as Wal-Mart invaded the North. Floum left in 1993 when it was obvious they would not survive. They hung on until late 1993 / early 1994 and that was it.

There are still a few articles in the Web concerning CEOs and store closings, but it's not easy finding info about FBW's beginnings. I will pass those details along when I get them....

pffft
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Re: Fisher's Big Wheel

Post by pffft » 23 Mar 2009 21:59

It's me again. I located a family member of one of the Fisher brothers. This is what I've learned in addition to what I already knew: Daniel Fisher gave birth to Fisher Bros. Dry goods Co. in New Castle-later to become Fishers' Big Wheel. There were 3 Brothers, Dan, Mike and Ed. It is believed that the chain was founded in 1930, as the 30th anniversary was held around 1960.
The family member said "I was lucky to have been born to a wonderful family" and has fond memories of those days. It was very sad to see it go.

Kenc4
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Re: Fisher's Big Wheel

Post by Kenc4 » 15 Jul 2014 12:24

I remember when Ed Fisher would come into my store back in the 70's. #28 was in Wheeling WV. In the beginning they leased the clothing department space from Fred Games. He owned the store. It was called Big Wheel. The building was a old factory. We had our stock room was in a house up the street. We had a old pickup to bring stuff back and forth. The store in Moundsville WV was the second store Fred built and leased the clothing department to Fishers Brothers. Then they brought out Fred Games. That is how Fishers Big Wheel came about.

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nysw3636
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Re: Fisher's Big Wheel

Post by nysw3636 » 22 Oct 2014 18:55

1910 was their first store....

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