Claber's in Pittsburgh

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Claber's in Pittsburgh

Post by bobsjers »

Does anyone Remember Claber's? I remember them when I was in Junior High. I loved Christmas decorations and electrical things, and Claber's had the best assortment at the best prices.

I think at some point, they tried to get out of the department store business, and into the Home Center business. I remember reading an article decades ago in one of the trade papers for hardware stores. Whether they did that before they went out of business, I don't know.

Since I moved out of Pittsburgh before they went under, I'd love to know more about what happened. I would guess that chains like Zayres was too much for them.

Another interesting thing, is that I think that anyone who owned stock in Zayres, would now own stock in BJ's Wholesale club. As I recall, they sold the Zayre division to Ames, but kept BJ's and some other companies (Marhall's?). They sold everything off except BJs, and renamed the company BJ's.
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Re: Claber's in Pittsburgh

Post by rich »

I believe Claber was bought by Cook United of Cleveland, which owned Cook's, Ontario, and Uncle Bill's among others. It would have made sense given that their center of gravity was nearby. I think they kept the Claber name through the 70s; the acquisition was probably in the late 60s/early 70s. Cook bought a number of regional discounters at that time. Cook eventually overextended itself through acquisition and builds in new markets and began to shrink around 1980. They consolidated most of what was left under the Cook's or Rink's names.

Re: Claber's in Pittsburgh

Post by LTDan@52 »

My family shopped at Claber's (in the Fox Chapel Shopping Center or Fox Chapel Plaza) when I was growing up in the 1970's. Bought my first baseball glove, and I think we purchased a parakeet and fish as well as hardware there.

I worked at Claber's during the summer of 1978 -- between high school and college. It was a great place to work, my best summer job. I priced items, stocked shelves, helped customers, etc. They had a wide variety of merchandise, and lots of interesting customers came into the store. I recall the owners had put a lot into it and took good care of their customers and employees. I seem to recall they may have expanded or opened a second store about the time I started.

Here's what I recall happened. During the summer of 1978, a union pressed the employees to organize. The vote came at the end of the summer, and the union was voted in (I recall that some long-term/loyal employees were set against it). When I returned during a break less than a year later, it was closed. I had heard that Claber's was unable to make their financials while meeting the new demands of the union. Too bad -- it was a really great place.
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Re: Claber's in Pittsburgh

Post by nysw3636 »

Doing some homework on this topic, I found that Claber's Discount Department Stores (Clabers Distributing Company of Pittsburgh) had 7 stores. They were bought by Fisher Foods, Inc in January 1969.
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