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Thomas & Hoffman Store. ca
Award winning window display by Homer
Hoffman. Awarded by Printzess Company of Cleveland, Ohio.
H. H. Hoffman Story.
Those of you who have watched Niles
develop may well recall the circumstances which led to the founding
of the present day Homer H. Hoffman Co. Many newcomers
who are familiar with the store and its services will be interested
in this brief glance backward to the turn of the century.
Sometime between 1880 and 1890, a young Welshman, W.A. Thomas,
opened a department store at 5 East State Street, Niles. He handled
a complete line of general merchandise, in the best qualities available,
and soon the store was recognized as a valuable addition to the
community. He sold wallpaper, carpeting, ladies’ wear, children’s
clothes, linens and many items you find in a modern up-to-date store
of today. He had a reputation of fair and honest dealings and above
all a nice personality and cheerfulness that made him an instant
When Mr. Thomas withdrew from the business
in 1900 , to go into a new adventure – manufacturing steel
sheets – Ira Thomas and Henry H. Hoffman
formed the Thomas and Hoffman Co. In 1902, Homer H. Hoffman
joined the sales staff of the organization.
It was 1905 when Thomas and Hoffman
Co. moved into a newly constructed building at 33 South Main Street,
the site of its present location. When Ira Thomas resigned from
the firm in 1908, it was incorporated as the H.H. Hoffman Co., with
Henry H. Hoffman, Homer H. Hoffman, and Frank O. Hoffman
as operators. This company remained in continuous operation until
1926 when Frank O. Hoffman left the organization.
Selling Hickok Belts: unknown and
Wallpaper Department: Jesse Beil
and unknown woman.
Henry H. Hoffman retired on August
1, 1944 and at that time Homer H. Hoffman purchased the assets
of the corporation. The firm then became the Homer H. Hoffman
Co. operating as a private business until September 1 ,1948 on
which date it was incorporated. Today this establishment is operating
with Homer H. Hoffman, President-Treasurer, and M.K. Kiracofe,
The Homer H. Hoffman Co. now maintains
a staff of approximately twenty employees. The unusual record
in service achieved by members of this staff is a tribute to the
policies and consideration of the company over the period of many
years. Among these employees are five whose combined years of
outstanding service total 133 years. Julia Gresham has
been with the store for 37 year; George Griffiths, 29
years; Alice Bixler, 25 years; Lula Shaffer,
22 years and Dora Williams, 20 years.
Many members of the families in Niles
and surrounding communities have patronized the store for three
or four generations. Throughout the many years this company has
been servicing Niles. It has been the policy of the management
to offer their customers quality merchandise from nationally known
manufacturers; to offer friendly, personal service. As a matter
of fact, Homer H. Hoffman Co., still takes the same pride in fair
and honest dealings, as well as high quality merchandise, which
was the characteristic of original W.A. Thomas and Bros. Store.
The Hoffman Store used a special
method to take a customer’s payment to the accounting department
where change and a receipt would be generated. Throughout the
store were suspended overhead twine track and pulleys that were
in constant motion and the clerk would attach a small carrier
car which then traveled the wires to the accounting Department.
The change and receipt then was sent back over these wires to
the register where the sale was finalized. Young children would
stare in amazement as they watched the metal cars traversing the
different departments of the Hoffman Store.
We at McKinley Federal are proud to have the Homer H. Hoffman
Co. as neighbors and wish them continuing success.
D. L. Evans
Secretary, McKinley Home Federal Bank.
(Written in 1950's or very early 1960's)
The Hoffman Store used a special method
to take a customer's payment to the accounting department where
change and a receipt would be generated. Throughout the store were
suspended overhead wire track and pulleys that were in constant
motion and the clerk would attach a small carrier car which then
traveled the wires to the accounting Department. The change and
receipt then was sent back over these wires to the register where
the sale was finalized. Young children would stare in amazement
as they watched the metal cars traversing the different departments
of the Hoffman Store.
James Kiracofe, son of M.K
Kiracofe, mentioned that the 'wire' for this pulley system was actually
twine that was easily repaired whenever it snapped from the friction
of the pulleys.
Advertisement Celebrating Old Home
Store front window display from 1939.
Thomas & Hoffman Department Store
Advertisement. ca 1906
Homer H. Hoffman
Homer H. Hoffman, Niles Merchant, Dies.
Niles Daily Times, May 17, 1958
Homer H. Hoffman, 80, a prominent department
store merchant in Niles for 56 years, died at 1:15 this morning
in Trumbull Memorial Hospital of a coronary ailment.
Mr. Hoffman had been actively engaged in his
business, the Homer H. Hoffman Company, up to the time of his
death. Born February 14, 1878, in Knotts Twp. Stark County, he
was the son of Henry and Alice Bandy Hoffman.
Following his graduation from Salem Business
College, Mr. Hoffman began business in that city, moving to Niles
in 1902. He began an association with the Thomas & Hoffman
Company in 1902 which has continued under the name of Homer H.
Hoffman Company to the present day. When the company was incorporated,
Homer H. Hoffman held the office of its president and treasurer.
He was associated with the Mahoning Lodge 394
F&A.M. Knights Templar 79, Niles Commandary, a 50-year member
of the Odd Fellows Lodge, Rotary Club. Active in Liberty Bond
drives during World War I and many other civic projects, Mr. Hoffman
was also a past president of the Retail Merchants Division of
the Niles Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the First Presbyterian
His first wife was Edith Wagstaff, who
died in 1947. He is survived by his wife, Alice Kirk Hoffman,
whom he married October 12, 1954; two daughters, Mrs. Melville
(Kathryn) Kiracofe, Niles and Mrs. Edwin (Mary Louise)
Wenger of Detroit; four grandchildren; two brothers Clayton
of Alliance, Ohio and Keith of Beloit, Wis. and one sister,
Mrs. Allan West of Damascus, Ohio also survive.