FISHER'S BIG WHEEL / BUY SMART

The first regional discount-type retailer we will cover originated from the 1939 consolidation of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania's Fisher Dry Goods Company (1914) and Big Wheel Hardware. The discount mart concept was adopted in the mid-1960s, with the new format Fisher's Big Wheel stores averaging 45,000 square feet.

Expansion into several Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern States was carried out during the 1970s and '80s. In January 1979, Tempo and Buckeye Mart stores, owned and operated by Minneapolis-based Gamble-Skogmo, were acquired and rebranded.

Another acquisition, in 1989, brought in previous Danner's and Heck's locations. By this time, there were one hundred and eight stores operating as Fisher's Big Wheel and a subsidiary known as Buy Smart.

Competition from Wal-Mart cut into the Fisher's customer base. Store closings were underway by December 1990 and continued into 1991. The chain entered bankruptcy proceedings in July 1993, with additional store shutterings. By March 1994, all stores had closed. Twelve locations were sold to Omaha-based Pamida in May of the same year.