Supermarket Sunday: Clyde Evans Market – Lima, Ohio

A civilian boilermaker for the U.S. military in Hawaii during World War II and a construction engineer by trade after that, Mr. Clyde Evans knew nothing about the grocery business when he bought a store from a friend in the early 1950s. Eventually, he began adding stores in nearby communities. At its peak, Clyde Evans Markets employed more than 1,300 people. In 1994, Mr. Evans retired and sold all but one of the stores to SuperValu, a food wholesaler that had been one of his primary grocery suppliers. He donated his final store on Lima’s Market Street to the Trinity United Methodist Church, which he was a member. The building was razed and its site converted into a park.

“Our philosophy of business is very simply to take care of all customers by offering them the best possible service. Most of all, Evens treats the customers like family so they will want to keep coming back. Evans endeavors to fill all our customs needs. We are a ‘one-stop-shopping store’.” With this credo being their driving force, the designers approached the layout for this new 39,200 sq. ft. store.

The large supermarket still managed to be intimate by combining big supermarket conveniences with small market comfort. Each one of the specialty shops had its own unique identity yet they all blended with each other for a total design consistency.

Spaced along the perimeter wall were neon graphics and signage that identified the shops as Meat, Dairy, Pharmacy or Video. In these specialty areas the floor was gridded with red vinyl strips in a similar pattern to the white backing of the neon signs. In the Deli and Bakery areas, translucent, back-lit red awnings were used with white lettering.

“I remember vising one store in Lima, Ohio, in October 1980. It was Clyde Evens’ grocery.” – Ronald Reagan, 1982