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.