Fisher's Big Wheel

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Fisher's Big Wheel
Discount department store
Industry Retail
Defunct 1994
Headquarters New Castle, Pennsylvania, United States
Number of locations
Area served
Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia
Key people
Peter H. Hollis
Products Clothing, photography, garden/seasonal, sporting goods, large appliances, records, hardware, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics and housewares.
Divisions Buy Smart

Fisher's Big Wheel was a discount department store chain based in the Pittsburgh suburb of New Castle, Pennsylvania, United States.[1] The company operated stores under the Fisher's Big Wheel and Buy Smart names. At its peak, the chain comprised more than 100 stores in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. The chain declared bankruptcy in 1993, selling some stores to Pamida and closing others. The chain closed in 1994.


Fisher's Big Wheel consolidated in 1939 following the consolidation of the Fisher Dry Goods company of New Castle, Pennsylvania and a hardware store called Big Wheel.[2]

While based in the New Castle area, its headquarters were actually in Neshannock Township just north of the city. The company's flagship store was located next door, and was used as a prototype store. After the company's liquidation, the headquarters became various medical offices, while supermarket chain Giant Eagle consolidated two nearby locations and moved into the former flagship store.

Fisher's Big Wheel primarily located in smaller towns which were not already served by other discount retailers, while in other markets, it competed directly with such discounters as Zayre, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Hills Department Store.[1]

Several locations of Tempo and Buckeye Mart, two discount chains operated by Gamble-Skogmo, were also acquired by Fisher's in 1978. The stores were operated under the Fisher's Buckeye-Tempo nameplate.[3]

In 1986, the company's president, Peter H. Hollis, left the chain and became the CEO of Ames Department Stores, where he served for four years before becoming executive vice president of Jamesway.[4]

Big Wheel acquired ten former locations in 1989 from two discount chains in the Midwestern United States: eight from Danner's and two from Heck's Department Store.[5]

Fisher's Big Wheel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1993, closing ten of its stores.[6] Fifty-five more stores were later closed in 1994 as a means of liquidation.[7] Several locations were also sold to Pamida, a discount chain based in Omaha, Nebraska.[8] On January 6, 1994 it began layoffs and liquidation under bankruptcy and closed the last of its operations by the end of the year.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hisey, Peter (1988-11-21). "Big Wheel rolls domestics into forefront - discount store chain". Discount Store News. Retrieved 2007-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Rouvalis, Cristina. "Fisher's Big Wheel to shut down 11 more stores by March 1". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Gamble-Skogmo To Dissolve Division By Sale, Transfer". The Wall Street Journal. 8 November 1978. Retrieved 27 July 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Jamesway hires ex-Ames chief - Peter H. Hollis". Discount Store News. 1988-11-18. Retrieved 2007-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Hisey, Peter (1989-02-20). "Big Wheel speeds growth with new stores, takeovers - Fishers Big Wheel, discount store chain". Discount Store News. Retrieved 2007-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Fishers Big Wheel to close 10 units; chain files Ch. 11 petition; revamps executive staff". Discount Store News. July 1993. Retrieved 2007-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Fishers Big Wheel to close 55 stores in liquidation". New York Times. 1994-01-07. Retrieved 2007-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Arlen, Jeffrey (1994-09-05). "Positioning Pamida - Apparel Merchandising Supplement - Company Profile - Cover Story". Discount Store News. Retrieved 2007-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>