Department Store, a chain of West Virginia based discount department
stores, was founded by Boone County natives and businessmen Fred
Haddad, Tom Ellis, and Lester Ellis and wholesale distributor Douglas
Cook. The Heck's name was a combination of the names Haddad, Ellis and
Cook. Haddad served as President, Lester Ellis was Vice-President, and
Tom Ellis was Secretary-Treasurer.|
Kanawha City HECK'S
stores were discount, stand alone department stores found in small
cities throughout West Virginia, western Maryland, the Ohio Valley, and
parts of Indiana & Kentucky. Its structure and product lines were
similar to its competitors, Fisher's Big Wheel, Hills Department
Stores, G.C. Murphy's Mart and Walmart.
its peak in the 1980s, Heck's operated 170 stores throughout West
Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Maryland and Virginia.
Forbes Magazine ranked Heck’s third nationally in profitability and
growth in 1980, beating out Kmart.
In 1983, Haddad retired as
Heck's president and sold his stock in the company. The Ellis brothers
had previously sold out in the 1970's.
Sales fell the following year, and the company saw its first losses in 1984. In 1985, layoffs began, as losses continued.
number of factors contributed to Heck’s decline. The U.S. economic
downturn of the early 1980s hit W.Va. particularly hard, and the store
faced increased competition from other chains as well.
1989 the company emerged from Chapter 11 with 55 stores and under a new
name, as Take 10 Discount Club; a membership club costing $10 to join.
September 1990 all of the assets of the Retail Division were sold to
Retail Acquisition Corporation, Inc., and became L.A. Joe Department
Stores. Two locations were sold to, and became, Fisher's Big Wheel. One
Location was sold to Gabriel Brothers
A 1991 Philadelphia
Inquirer article lists several factors for the collapse of Heck’s under
the new management, putting the blame on sweeping changes to the stores.
the Inquirer cited customer frustration with constant store redesigns
and products being dropped from inventory. The store also faced major
troubles from costly data errors caused by its new computer accounting
|If you're over 50, there's a good chance that you still have something in your house from HECK'S.|
Washington Street East store that would later burn to the ground as a Goodwill store.
Typical interior of an early Hecks store.
1977, the Washington Street East Heck's was a Goodwill store.
On Jan 18, in sub zero temperatures, Charleston fighters had a
real situation on their hands. I was off duty and took these
Ran across this article from 1975 concerning the condition of Capitol Street as a viable business location.
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