The H. H. Hoffman Department Store in Niles Ohio

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Thomas & Hoffman Department Store Advertisement ca 1906

Thomas & Hoffman Store. ca 1905

Award winning window display by Homer Hoffman. Awarded by Printzess Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

Award winning window display by Homer Hoffman. Awarded by Printzess Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

The 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 success.

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 George Griffiths.

Selling Hickok Belts: unknown and George Griffiths.

Wallpaper Department: Jesse Beil and unknown woman.

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, Secretary.

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.

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)

Homer Hoffman looking at antiques in display window.

A Side Story:

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.

Close-up of display window,

Advertisement Celebrating Old Home Week.

Advertisement Celebrating Old Home Week.
ca 1909.

Store front window display from 1939.

Store front window display from 1939.

Thomas & Hoffman Department Store Advertisement. ca 1906

Thomas & Hoffman Department Store Advertisement. ca 1906

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