McKeesport, Pennsylvania's G.C. Murphy 5 and 10 operation started its discount subsidiary, known as Murphy's Mart, at the same time that the first Venture store had opened for business in Missouri.
The first Murphy's Mart occupied a former Mayfair department store in Bethel Park, a Pittsburgh satellite city. The first location built from the ground up was located in Harmar Township, Pennsylvania and opened in July 1970.
Murphy's Mart stores spanned from 32,000 to 106,000 square feet and carried shoes, apparel, hardware, small appliances, furniture, housewares, candy, toys, hobbies, sporting goods, automotive goods and gardening supplies. Some stores also featured an Auto and Tire Center.
By late 1978, trouble was brewing, resulting in the shuttering of some stores. Industry analysts opined that the chain had expanded so quickly that it was unable to manage itself. A campaign of downsizing and upgrading of merchandise, along with an updating of store interiors, brought an increase in profitability.
Unfortunately, the "hostile takeover" 1980s came along, with much of the retail industry being decimated...G.C. Murphy / Murphy's Mart included. The Connecticut-based Ames chain merged with G.C. Murphy in August 1985 and rebranded Murphy's Mart locations as Ames stores during 1986 and 1987.
MURPHY'S MART-ANCHORED SHOPPING MALLS:
*CAPITAL CITY MALL, Cumberland County, PA (1974)
*RALEIGH MALL, Beckley, WV (1974)