Rickel Home Center


If you needed home supplies in the 70s, you probably spent some time at Rickel Home Centers. In the 70s at least, they were the largest harware retail store on the island, with nine locations that would expand significantly in the decades that followed. Then they were gone.

Originally called Rickel Brothers, the chain was founded by three brothers named Rickel back in 1953, in Union, New Jersey. The family based hardware store expanded to the island in the late 60s and eventually grew to over 90 stores on the east coast. The slogan that carried them through the 70s and beyond was “Rickel Helps You Do it Better- Do it Better With Rickel”

In 1969, the family sold the chain to Supermarkets General Corporation, owners of PathMark supermarkets. By the 70s, Rickel had stores in Greenvale, Levittown, Commack, West Babylon, Stony Brook, Selden and Holbrook. My family shopped at the Stony Brook location. A lot.

Rickel continued to grow throughout the 80s, with over 90 locations overall.  A new kid on the block called Home Depot was also growing, however, and they would eventually put Rickel’s out of business in the next decade, thanks to a successful lawsuit.

It was a valiant run for the once plentiful hardware chain, but even a merger with old rival, Channel Lumber couldn’t save the day. By 1998, all Rickel Home Centers closed their doors for good.


When we moved into our new home on Long Island in 1972,  Rickels ended up becoming my second home. On the weekends, I wanted to be home riding my bike. Instead, I  usually wandered aimlessly around Rickels for hours on end while my parents picked out light fixtures and chose paint colors.

As a result,  I hated Rickles as a kid. But over the years, my memories have grown more fond . Now, I mostly remember the smell of the store, the sawdust and paints. I also remember the entire floor plan of the store. Finally, I remember that we usually went over the Friendly’s after Rickels. As much as I hated Rickel Home Centers, I loved Friendly’s. 🙂

Did your family shop at Rickel’s? I’d love to hear any memories you have of this departments store from yesteryear in our comments section below.

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17 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    Lowes also killed it.

  2. Paul J says:

    I live in East Northport. So, I was familiar with the Rickels in Commack. My father use to shop there all of the time. I too, remember the layout. One of my favorite childhood memories involved the Commack store. I was a warm sunny day out and my entire family (Mom, Dad, my two sisters and I) went to Rickels to buy a kiddie pool. We loaded it into the car drove home and my father put it up immediately. We splashed around and had a lot of fun, but then it started to rain. Amazingly I look back on it as a perfect day. Sadly that location is now a TJ Max. I have been inside of it once and found it to be so depressing that I left. There isn’t even a trace of what it once was. I wish I had a picture of the way that it was. Sadly, I don’t. Hopefully one will turn up eventually.

  3. Rob says:

    I worked in the Stony Brook Rickels for about two and a half years back in the late 80’s. I had shopped there with my Dad for years. He would say he had to go get one or two things and try to go alone but i would convince him to take me and I would play video games and maybe buy a soda from the vending machines while he checked out. Years later my Mom convinced me to apply there and I got the job, worked housewares, paints, stock room. Many many fond memories of that store, until they spent a year or more ripping it apart to “renovate” it and people stopped coming because it was such a mess. Don’t mess with people’s familiar places if you want to stay in business. RIP Rickels!

  4. Rob says:

    Most of my fond memories is from my time working there. Made plenty of friends, several of them I still keep in touch with. Worked for years until they closed (Holbrook, Commack, and Stony Brook.

  5. jeff says:

    I played many a frogger game at rickels

  6. Henry says:

    I’m too young to remember shopping there (born 94) but I was just doing some updates around our house and pulled an electrical box out of the wall and it had a sticker from rickel brothers for .39 ahhhh the good old days haha

  7. JF says:

    the workers wore burgundy vests. My sister and I would try to hide from them for some reason – probably just to do something while our parents shopped.

  8. Susan says:

    My family moved to “the island” and my father shopped at Rickel’s and loved it. I don’t know which one but I remember going with him. All of our neighbors went to Rickel’s. My husband just opened a package of nails from Rickels. ($.39) The go to place for house supplies. Fond memories.

  9. phil says:

    Rickel helps yah do it better do it better with rickel

  10. Mildred Fisher says:

    I purchased some ceiling tiles from Rickles in 1983 . I need My whole downstairs has the same color. I can’t find that color anywhere. It’s the kind that has the fiberglass backing. The color is a beige color that feels like peoples. Do you know where I can find the make Rickles carried.

  11. Vincent Greco says:

    I worked in the lumber dept. in the Rickels in West Babylon. We RULED THE STORE!!! The lumber dept. was the best dept., we thought, in the store. It was the mid to late eighties, I graduated High School in 1987, so you can figure the era. We had a ton of fun working there, and I remember we used a forklift to lift myself up really high where the lumber deliveries came in, and I used a ‘bat symbol’ stencil to paint a black ‘bat symbol’ over the entrance in the back, and we called the lumber dept. the ‘Batcave’ after that. It was 1989, and the ‘Batman’ movie with Michael Keaton had just come out. I remember there was a Grossmans’ lumber right across montauk highway, and we felt very competitive with it. I miss that place, the smell of the lumber dept., and my friends I worked there with, although I still keep in touch with some of them. Here’s a mind blower… before that location, that place was something called ‘Shop Village’, kind of a combination mall and flea market, very cool, I had lots of fun there as a kid. I still have a Rickel push mower, I doesn’t run… but I HAVE IT!!! Rickels was the BOMB!!!

  12. Marjorie Carter says:

    Working for Rickel’s was the best eleven years of my life.

  13. andrew fernandez says:

    lowes and home depot put them out of business as well as pergaments.

  14. Jeff Nossan says:

    My father and I shopped at Rickel’s in the late 60s and early 70’s in Stony Brook. My favorate Christmas gift of all times was purchased there for some reason. They sold Tudor Electric Football sets back in the 1970’s and in 1973 had the grandad of all Tudor games waiting for me with the Orange Circular Rickel Paid sticker on the box. Still have it.

  15. Steve F says:

    I just met up with my wife from shopping when she asked me where I went with out thinking about it is said Rickles

  16. Dave George says:

    If you think Lowes, Home Depot, Builders Square, etc put Rickel out of business…your wrong-this company was run very well had strong manangers and merchants and a fantastic 30 yer reputation in the market. No, what put Rickel out of business was the homegrown management team-they just didnt have the umph to play with the big boys and internal conflicts and fighting as well as poor fiscal health is what killed the Rickel franchise-today customers yearn for a smaller store……

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