Hills Stores Company, formerly Hills Department Stores, was founded in 1957 by Herbert H. Goldberger. In 1964, SCOA Industries of Columbus, Ohio, purchased Hills. Goldberger remained president of Hills until 1981, when his son succeeded him. His son had previously been the Vice President and Director of SCOA Industries when he led a management buyout of Hills in 1985. Hills quickly became the nation’s eighth-largest discount retailer.

As of January 1998, Hills operated 155 stores in 12 Mid-Western and Mid-Atlantic states, with a majority of its stores located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and New York, with 8,553 employees.

For the 39 weeks that ended 10/31/98, net sales fell 2% to $1.12B. Net loss totaled $126M, up from $29.9M. Revenues reflected sales decreases in apparel, toys, and electronics. The loss also reflected a $49.6M income tax provision vs. a $17.2M income tax benefit.

Finally, in 1998 Hills and Ames merged, increasing Ames’ store count by 50%, thus making Ames the third largest discount retailer in the nation. All Hills locations converted to Ames, and the overlapping stores were closed.

The company’s goal was to be the store of choice for the value-conscious family by offering: Dominant merchandise assortments for Apparel and Home at Everyday low prices with responsive customer service/satisfaction guaranteed.