Five Points Shopping Center really clicked in Akron

Five Points Shopping Center really clicked in Akron

Five Points Shopping Center was ahead of its time.

In an era before malls, the West Exchange Street plaza provided one-stop shopping.

A five-pointed sign, outlined in blinking lights, greeted customers 60 years ago. Boat-sized automobiles jammed the parking lot and bargain-hunting consumers thronged the stores at the grand-opening celebration Nov. 15, 1962.

“Akron’s only shopping center COMPLETE under ONE roof.”

Local history:Shopping was a pleasure at O’Neil’s store at Stow-Kent

Acme Foods, Scott’s 5 and 10, Peoples Drugs, Western Auto and Al’s Discount Shoes offered a wide variety of products at special low prices. Low partitions, not walls, separated the businesses.

“By merely crossing aisles, customers will be able to walk from one store to another in the 60,000-square-foot main floor,” the Beacon Journal explained.

A Beacon Journal advertisement Nov. 14, 1962, announces the arrival of Five Points Shopping Center in Akron. Remember that sign?

Akron neighbors opposed plaza

The development at 636 W. Exchange St. was not without controversy.

The City Corp., led by President Max B. Wyant, built the $1.7 million plaza (about $16 million today) on a 9-acre tract after a protracted legal battle.

Five Points neighbors had expressed concerns about increased traffic volume and reduced property values. They worried about urban blight, loud noise, safety issues and drainage problems.