“It’s a lot more walking traffic down here,” said Larry Resnick. “It’s a great neighborhood, different, new clientele, and a lot of the same [customers] from the other store.”
A development is planned for the site of the former building. Long a staple of Broadway’s business district, the old Resnick’s will be replaced by a 10-story apartment building that’s been at the center of the local debate on development financing.
But that debate hasn’t distracted Resnick from moving his company forward. Turns out, 104 years of reputation beats one year of development talk.
“Some people didn’t know we were still here,” said Resnick. “When they come in, they know us. And they say they’re thankful that we’re still here because we offer things that no one else does.”
New locale, changing business
The new store is slightly smaller than the former one, not for a lack of sales but for a changing business. Resnick’s is still fundamentally a hardware store, but it’s expanded services for rentals and deliveries. Party rentals, in particular,have been a great new source of revenue, said Resnick. Talk about a family business, Larry’s son is in charge of that side of the operation.
Small businesses come and go on Broadway. Though the business district finally seems to show signs of rebounding from the recession, it’s still a challenging small-business environment.
“Not just in Bayonne, it’s hard to start any kind of small business [in NJ],” Resnick said.“People ask me why we moved. We have to change with the times. My grandfather came here originally and sold candy before he opened the store, then he sold pots and pans, clothing, radio parts, ice tongs, ice boxes, everything. We change, too.”
Larry Resnick’s grandfather, Harry, opened his first hardware store in 1912 after emigrating from Russia in 1908, and bought a separate hardware store on Broadway in 1918.
“Because we know the community, we know what the buildings are like, so we have the products you can’t find in big-box stores.” – Larry Resnick
Resnick’s adapted to the challenge, partly due to its long and close ties to the community. “Because we know the community, we know what the buildings are like,” said Resnick. “So we have the products you can’t find in big-box stores.”
The business still does key cutting, but they’ve advanced to servicing keyless entry and remote ignition devices. It’s a UPS access point, and it rents tools, party equipment, and repairs all kinds of home goods. “We’ve been doing all this a long time,” said Resnick. “But some new services are always necessary.”
The Resnicks are enjoying the increased foot traffic around 36th Street and being more centrally located. “It’s a great move,” said Linda Resnick, Larry’s wife, who was working the register while Larry took calls at a service desk in the back. “It’s just a happy atmosphere, really.”
Though the debate on the efficacy of tax abatements and development in town can be thorny, Resnick supports the notion of enough space for small businesses to come on Broadway, especially around new development.
“More homes are fine, but if you’re going to keep Broadway a vital business district,” said Resnick. “I think they need to attract businesses by requiring stores underneath new developments.”
More and denser residential development on Broadway can mean a big boon for Broadway commerce. A wave of development may even enable the next wave of Broadway legacy businesses.
Rory Pasquariello may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.