After 45 years in the Rolling Acres corridor, Diamond’s Men’s Store is closing up shop.
The store first opened in the former Rolling Acres Mall and was one of the last stores to leave the mall, when electricity was shut off in the fall of 2008.
Diamond’s reopened a few days later in a retail strip center just outside the former mall doors at 2530 Romig Road.
Business at the new store was never as brisk as the busy days before Rolling Acres’ business declined, but owner Rick Diamond said he still had a good business running an outlet-style store for the urban market.
Even now, Diamond said, the store still does well, but it was time to close and try something new.
“It’s just been plodding along there,” said Diamond, whose father started the original Rolling Acres store. “It’s always been minimally profitable.”
Diamond’s, which has one store at Richmond Town Square, is opening a new concept store in Shaker Heights at Chagrin and Lee roads on April 1.
“I’m trying to put the focus elsewhere,” said Diamond.
Diamond said he tried to find another urban Akron location to relocate, but didn’t find anything he was interested in right now.
The Diamond family has a long-standing history with the Akron area. At one point there were more than 30 stores in Northeast Ohio, with several in Akron and Fairlawn, including Christian St. John and Suits Inc.
Harriet Neiman used to run a competing men’s store with her late husband, David Nelson. Nelson’s Clothes was in Summit Mall at the same time that Diamond’s was in the 1970s. But after Nelson’s death, Neiman joined Diamond’s as a salesperson 37 years ago at Rolling Acres Mall.
“It’s like family for me,” said Neiman, who will soon be 78 years old and will be retiring.
“I love men’s clothing. Women are fickle,” she said, saying men are easier to dress.
But Neiman said the clientele of the store has gotten older over the years and new generations haven’t found their way to the store.
David Cawthon of Akron stopped in the store on Monday to get a new two-piece suit for a Valentine’s Day concert, not knowing the store was closing.
“I’ve shopped here half my life,” said Cawthon, 48. “I’m going to be upset. That’s my man, he takes care of people,” he said of longtime store manager Mark Simko.
Cawthon said a lot of his friends from church shop at the store, but acknowledged that the Romig Road corridor doesn’t have the traffic it had before the mall declined and closed.
Cawthon picked up a suit for $49.95 plus an alteration fee.
Rick Diamond said he has no timeline for when the store will close. Going-out-of business sales started Monday.
There are sport coats that are discounted to $9.90.
“Yesterday a guy bought seven of them. I’m trying to really mark this stuff down. I don’t want to take it [to the new store]. I want to sell it to the bare walls,” he said.
The store’s employees — Simko is a full-time employee with three part-time employees — are either looking for new work or going to retire.
Diamond said he’s not opposed to someday coming back to the Akron-Canton market.
“I know that Akron is really underserved with the kind of customer we serve. There’s virtually no stores,” he said.
Simko said customers have been asking where they’ll go or are trying to decide if they’ll drive up to Cleveland.
“People come from all over to see us,” he said. “A woman called from Orrville yesterday and asked where she’d go.”
Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or email@example.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty