A Brief History of Clarkins Department Stores, Part I

Clarkins stores, 1971 and 2004.

Clarkins was a chain of discount department stores that was headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Co-founded by brothers-in-law William Clark and Elza Hopkins (Elza E. Hopkins 27 Aug 1921 - 15 Nov 2004) in 1946, the origin of Clarkins name can be quite easily guessed.

Clark was a tire builder at the time and Hopkins, a University of Akron Alumnus, a mechanical engineer. The chain started out modestly by selling surplus materials at what was at one time a filling station in Akron. In that first year of operation the men had begun to add more to their inventory, including tools and other hardware, and moved to a larger location. In addition, they opened the Canton location.

In 1950 an entirely new store was built in Akron while the Canton store was expanded. May 1959, the Kent, Ohio Clarkins was opened, making three locations in total. The Kent store moved from University Plaza in 1968.

1965 saw another company purchasing Clarkins, Unishops. The purchase didn't seem to change much, at all, from November 23, 1965...

2 more years passed and in 1967 Clarkins opened offices and a large warehouse on Arlington Road, also in Akron. Stores were then opened in Cuyahoga Falls and Canton. In November of 1970 Clarkins in Youngstown opened.

Construction on three more locations, Bedford, Elyria, and Euclid, Ohio happened and two of those locations opened on October 27, 1971. By Christmas 1971 Bedford and Euclid Clarkins were in full operation. These two locations were ninth and tenth for Clarkins. Elyria Clarkins opened later.

Regular business hours at Clarkins in the early 1970's in the Cleveland area were 10 am to 10 pm Monday through Saturday, and Noon to 7 pm on Sundays.

What did Clarkins sell? You can pack a lot into 100,000 square feet, and departments included: Clothing, housewares, health and beauty, domestics, tools and paint, toys, auto parts, photography equipment and cameras, jewelry, pet supplies and live fish, lawn and garden and of course, records.

Clarkins department stores were located at the following addresses:

Akron, Ohio
3200 Arlington Rd.

Bedford, Ohio
380 Rockside Rd.

Canton, Ohio
3200 Atlantic Blvd.

Canton, Ohio
2905 Whipple Rd.

Cleveland, Ohio
12800 Brookpark Rd.

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
4075 Akron-Cleveland Rd.

Elyria, Ohio
1016 East Broad St.

Euclid, Ohio
26100 Euclid Ave.

Kent, Ohio
1600 S. Water St.

Lorain, Ohio
3000 Leavitt Rd.

I'm primarily interested in the Euclid, Ohio location, as you can probably guess, and for now I will leave it here. A very brief (and partial) history of a rather long standing company that seems to be almost completely forgotten about 39 years later.

Look for Part II very soon.

September 26, 1971, a Clarkins store is coming soon...
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