Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Tale of Two Guys








A familiar sight in Eastern Seaboard cities from the 1950’s through the very early eighties, the Two Guys discount store chain was founded in Harrison, New Jersey by a pair of brothers, Herbert and Sidney Hubschman, with a single 600 square foot store in 1946. The brothers soon established a reputation for selling radios, televisions and household appliances at razor-thin margins, much to the consternation of their competitors, one of whom dubbed them “Those two b@5#@rds from Harrison”.

Choosing to wear the putdown as a badge of honor, the Hubschmans adopted a sanitized version of it as their company name. The company was legally known, in fact, as “Two Guys From Harrison, Inc.” until 1959 when they acquired O.A. Sutton Corporation, a manufacturer of electric fans, air conditioners and heaters, who would become a major supplier to Two Guys and eventually to other chains as well. Sutton’s fan product line had the flashy-sounding name of “Vornado”, which became the name of the combined entity. The store moniker had been shortened by this time to “Two Guys”.

Through the 1950’s into the early sixties, the company built ever larger stores, averaging between 135,000 and 190,000 square feet by 1964. The stores initially had leased soft goods departments in addition to the core appliance and electronics offerings, along with a large supermarket area. By the mid-60’s, Vornado had taken over most of the leased departments and ran them as in-house operations. The company was early to join the trend towards building near controlled-access highways, standard practice for those that followed, right up to today’s Wal-Mart Supercenters.

In 1964, Vornado told a New York Times reporter that they would no longer include supermarket departments in new Two Guys stores (though in actuality they did on several more), citing poor profitability in food operations. Two Guys’ arch-competitor E.J. Korvette was plagued with a similar problem, and would ultimately decide to dump food stores altogether. Ironically, Vornado would purchase a supermarket chain on the West Coast, Food Giant, in 1967.

Sadly, by the end of 1964, both Hubschman brothers were no longer part of the “Two Guys” organization. Sidney resigned from the company in November, 1963, and Herbert, company chairman at the time, passed away in September of the following year.

The photos, showing a typical Two Guys store exterior and several department views are from 1962.
Many thanks to Steve, who identified this store's location as on Rt. 10 in East Hanover, NJ and sends the following memories:
After a closer examination of the "TWO GUYS" main entrance photo, I can say that the store was located in East Hanover, NJ.

I remember shopping there many times as a kid and that to the right of the store was the attached liquor store. (You will see blue panels about waist high where the car is parked in front, with a man standing by an open car door.) Over the doors window panels read "BAR" "BEER" "SODA". That’s where my Dad would take me to buy Brookdale soda.

To the left of the main entrance there is another length of blue panels, where the shopping carts where kept. Notice there are automatic side doors as in the front. The liquor store did not have the automation doors.

The interior photos look to be from the same store as I remember.

For a short time my Dad used to work at the liquor store part time. The store had a separate entrance from the Main Store. I don't believe it was affiliated with "TWO GUYS" in any way.
Your picture of the Grand Union Meat Dept. looks identical to the Two Guys Meat Dept. I can remember those diagonal 2 way mirrors! They also use to slide open for the butchers to load the display shelves below.
One thing not mentioned is that TWO GUYS had a Lumber Dept. building located on the highway before the main store. The building had a fire back the early-mid 70's and a new one was built next to the main store. The original Lumber Dept. store was gutted and made into a Goodyear Tire Center. Too bad though the building was demolished 2 months ago and I don't know what's being built now.The buildings are still there along with Vornado Warehousing in the back.
For more Two Guys Information, click here, or search by other topics listed on the right side of the page.

64 comments:

  1. Wow, Two Guys had a VERY interesting history behind the name which I never knew of. But what happened to the chain? When exactly did they go kaput and how come the brothers were no longer apart of the company after the early 60s?

    I love that funky front entrance in that first pick and bold colors they picked for the shoe department. How come stores don't paint their walls with bold colors anymore?

    ReplyDelete
  2. The last Two Guys store closed in 1982. I'm guessing they were a victim of the recessionary times and less than effective merchandising (like Korvette)along with heavy competition from Caldor and Kmart, who were both very strong at the time.

    The brothers had a falling out in the early 60's, leading to Sidney's leaving the company. His brother passed away the next year.

    Vornado is still going very strong as a huge player in both shopping center and very high $ downtown real estate. They bought the Merchandise Mart in Chicago (which you've blogged about,right?)from the Kennedy family a few years back.

    I agree the front entrance is fantastic. Amazing attention to detail on the awning design.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yea, I knew Voronado dabbled majorly in real estate but I had no idea they bought out the Merch Mart which, yep, I have got an old postcard of on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am curious how you are so familiar with the founders of the store. I don't often hear accurate acounts of the store?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sid - Whenever I write about one of these chains, I try to dig out the best source material I can from when the stores actually existed, so the accounts tend to be more accurate. In the case of Two Guys, I have a book called "The Great Merchants" by Leonard Sloane and Tom Mahoney that was written in the 40's and updated in the 50's and 60's. It has a basic story about the founding of Two Guys. The New York Times and Time Magazine online archives go way back and are extremely helpful with dates and major event details. Company annual reports, when you can find them, are also a big help.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for your answer, I thought possibly you may have been connected to the stores in some manner. The photos are also interesting, as I dont have any myself-Thank You

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was wondering if you have or know where to find any other photos of the Two Guys stores, either interior or exterior. I am very familiar with the stores history, but would like some photos if possible. Thank you for anything you could find.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was wondering if you have any other photos of the Two Guys stores, either interior or exterior; I am very familiar with the detals of the store's history, yet have no pictures. If you have any questions about the stores, I would be glad to answer them for you. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sid - I do have several more nice photos of Two Guys stores which I'm hoping to post after the first of the year. If you have memories of the Two Guys stores or worked there, and want to email me your contact info, that would be great.

    I've probably gotten more emails and feedback on Two Guys than any other chain I've discussed. Must've been a great place to shop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The one in Kearny, NJ, was a great place to shopLIFT. In the late seventies and early eighties the store was kind of a mess and there weren't a lot of employees. My friends and I would run around and play in this huge store. We'd open the toys and play with them. Upstairs, they had rugs, and I guess, housewares, and it was pretty much abandoned. Maybe because it was cooler in there, we spent the later half of the summer of 1981 using that store as our personal playground. We were around ten years old and lacking in both judgement and supervision, so, before anyone gives me a lecture, I'm aware that it was juvenile delinquent behavior.

      Delete
  10. I believe Vornado may still be around as I see signs on new strip mall and office complex developments here in New Jersey from time to time, though I am not entirely certain if this is the same company that used to own Two Guys stores or they are just using the same name. The real estate link to the former Vornado company makes it likely this is the same entity.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous - It definitely is the same company. Vornado, Inc. closed the stores and became the "Vornado Realty Trust", usually keeping the Two Guys stores' real estate and leasing it to other chains. I would guess by now that Vornado is bigger into upscale office space then retail space, but I'm not sure. Just the other day I was traveling through NYC and saw a Vornado sign on a major office building. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It makes me so proud to see how many fans there are of theTwo Guys stores. I am very proud of my grandfather and his brother for founding such an historically, amazing development. Love you, Papa!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nora - Thanks for your comment, it's an honor to hear from a descendant of one of America's great retailing families. Amazing it certainly was. I have to tell you that I've recieved a more enthusiastic response (emails in addition to the posted comments)about the Two Guys posts than for anything else on this site, so there are definitely many fans!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for this site. Reading about Two Guys and seeing the photo of the Dover store brought back a lot of memories.

    I remember being dragged there by my Mom countless times, either while she shopped for clothes (stay out of the lingerie department, Mom!) or for food. I bought my very first record in their record department (Simon and Garfunkel).

    In the early 1970s, after having pinched my pennies and saving over $200, I went to Two Guys' stereo department. They had a separate sound room where you could listen to the equipment, and the salesman ignored me until I pulled out the cash. A little while later, I walked home with a brand-spanking-new, genuine walnut-grained, ultra-high-tech Sony 8-track player/recorder, which was actually better quality than the crappy stereo I attached it to. What a proud moment.

    My brother has it now, in his basement, and I believe that it still works to this day.

    Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Steve - Thanks for sharing taht memory! It seems that many folks who shopped at Two Guys remember it fondly.

    We got our first (and only)8 track player at Wards in 1970, and one of the first albums we bought for it was Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water". I'm trying to remember if that was one of the 8-track tapes that actually had channel breaks in the middle of a song, as quite a few did. I could never get used to that "ker-chunk" sound in the middle of a song!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nice site on Two Guys. The company went out of business more for real estate values by new owners who still run the company and have made it into one the top two or three Real Estate Inventment Trusts in the country.Several years ago they bought control of Toys R Us primarliy for its Real estate value.Previuosly they did the same with Alexanders Dept Stores in New York area and redeveloped them into prime real estate locations.I spent almost 20 years with company and loved it. I 've got tons of pictures and will try to scan and get them to you. Both the founders grandsons worked for me in the stores and were great kids.Shame they did't find capable retail CEO to run the company.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The Atlantic City Two Guys became the Police Operations Center in the '90s. All kinds of stuff a kid could afford

    ReplyDelete
  18. loved the pictures. i came across this site while trying to research the "grave site' that was chained off at the rt18 east brunswick' nj, two guys,(eventually a great eastern)

    pardon the lower case ,on a portable

    still great to re-live this splendid part of retail history.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I barely remember this store - I was 8 when they went out of business. The one we went to was in the Reading, PA area.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for this feature on Two Guys. I was a weekly visitor to the woodbridge nj store while my mom did the grocery shopping. It was a great store that had everything the average consumer would need. My favorite's were the radio and stereo department where I would salivate over all the neat equipment and scheme how I would approach my mother and father with my needfull wants, to no avail.Then I would spend the balance of the time in the record department where stack's of the latest 45's would blair from the speakers that hung on the back wall. I loved that place and miss it. Also who could resist a hot dog from the pushcart that was at the main entrance. It was a exciting huge store filled sounds and scents of happy consumerism. I'm not shure why I think of it so fondly but I do.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Michael - Thanks for sharing those great memories! I think a lot of us who grew up during that era can relate, even though we may have lived in different parts of the country, with different store chains.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I shopped at a Two Guys in northern New Jersey. I thought the store was in Harrision but perhaps that was just what my parents called it. I remember the layout and how my mother would go look at the housewares, curtains and pillowcases. I would hang out in the music section. I purchased my first acoustic guitar there for about $14.00! I think it was made of plywood because it fell apart before I even finished college. It was a start as I own two Martin guitars now. Good times and memories shopping there!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous - Great story! A Martin guitar is a far cry from anything you'd ever find at a discount store! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Back in the day, Two Guys was the place to go for everything! We lived in Helmetta and shopped at the store on Rt. 18 in East Brunswick. I remember mom taking us shopping for school clothing in the husky boys department. Every so often I would play hooky from school to go food shopping there with my mother. I remember her running into freinds who would be shopping and smoking cigarettes at the same time. Cigarette butts were all over the floors! We did almost all of our Christmas shopping there as well and all my allowences were spent there to buy monster model kits! Last weekend I was at an auction and won the bid on an old dresser. To my suprise in the drawer was a chistmas ornament in the original box with a Two Guys half off sticker still on it. It is my most prized possesion.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is very interesting. I was a Two Guys electronics/major appliance manager on Long Island in the late 70's. They opened the first Long Island store at Coram in 1975. This was a former Grant City location. Then New Hyde Park opened and finally Freeport. The Freeport store was a deal Vornado made with the government and I believe they were given the land for free and had tax breaks to develop the area which had economic hardship. Vornado made out on that deal because I don't believe that store was open more than 2 years before the real estate deal went thru. I still have my employee badge which was a gold/yellow background with the Two Guys logo in brown. Non-management staff had the opposite colors, brown background and the gold logo.

    ReplyDelete
  26. WOW! Its really really weird to see those pictures. I was thinking to myself...did they all look the same and than I read on to see it was the store I went to... whoa

    serious fun flashback

    ReplyDelete
  27. My "Two Guys" was on Route 1, prominently featured, in Levittown, Pennsylvania. I can't recall when it was erected but it was a fixture and mainstay from about 1966 or so through the early '80s at which time it became a Jefferson Ward.

    I was a porter (clean-up spills etc) at hire in 1972. Later I moved-up the food-chain to become a truck unloader. As far as I know our store was the only one in the chain which did not feature a loading dock. Every item was removed by my able coworkers and myself. Those were, literally,the good old days.
    Belonging to the Retail Clerks Union netted me the benefit of 50 cent prescriptions. That'd be like saying 5 or 10 dollars today. I enjoyed my time there as I worked with good people. I'd really like to name them, and I do remember some of the names even though it has been 34 years since I labored there, but I don't want to offend those that I'd leave off because of my poor memory. I'd like it if they knew though that I celebrate them, each and every one, as I recall them. Hourly and Managers alike

    Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Japan4 - Thanks so much! Two Guys is one of the chains I really wish I could have seen! Never spent much time in their area until after they were gone, unfortunately. I have to say that's a wonderful sentiment to have about your fellow employees. Every place of work should be like that.

    And 50-cent prescriptions - Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hello Dave,

    My pleasure to relate some of my experiences. Our Levittown Two Guys would be considered medium-sized when measured against the retailing juggernauts of WalMart* and Super Target of today but I guarantee that our family atmosphere went the competition one better. Two Guys was a throw-back to the pioneering days of discount retail and they did put up a valiant fight to stay in business. Missing today in retailing is the hands-on knowledge of the respective Two Guys 'experts' that oversaw the operations of their various departments.

    Before I ever worked at Two Guys it was my Dad's favorite place to shop for hardware and building materials. I went with him when I was 8 years-old or so to the stores located in New Jersey while Levittown's store was still on the drawing board. While I was a porter back in '72 I also wrangled shopping carts, primarily on Sundays, when our regular staffer was off. The regular 'lot man/porter' took his job very seriously so as to ensure that the carts were all safely tucked away and that the lots, front, sides and back were all free from blowing trash. I will name this fellow because in doing so I betray no confidences in disclosing that William Scarborough had a heart of solid-gold, an oldtimer's work-ethic and I trust that he's still with us and is enjoying his retirement. Oh, the tales I could tell. Nothing scandalous but just those of good human beings doing their jobs when it mattered.

    Maybe next time I'll go on about our Snack Bar, located in the rear-center of the store. And yes, those fifty cent prescriptions were nothing to sneeze at!

    Sincerely,

    G

    ReplyDelete
  30. Two Guys, Garfield NJ.
    I remember the Two Guys store in Garfield NJ. When you first enter through the front store doors there was a vendor section before it lead into the main store.

    In that section there was a nun who used to take donations for the local convent. There was the "hot dog man" who sold hot dogs and soda from his hot dog cart with a umbrella. In addition there were soda and vending machines as well.


    Then on the directly on the left was the Liquor store with its own door and sectioned off from the Vendor area but before you would enter the main store.


    Walk past the vendor section and you would enter the store.

    Then you would enter the store, if you would walk straight through the store all the way to the back. There was a games area with pinball and miniature bowling alley as well.

    Off to the right from the gaming area was the sporting goods section where they sold guns, weights, baseball/football/basketball equipment.

    The electronic section was located in the right front of the store. Once you walked into the Two Guys store, make a right down the first long aisle all the way to the end.


    That store in Garfield also had another entirely separate store down the "hill" which was the lumber and automotive department. It was built somewhere in the mid 1960's.


    Yearly Closeout sale
    Once a year, Two Guys would have a closeout sale, it ran a few days to maybe a week. They had this special closeout sale in their lumber and automotive store.

    I remember the closeout sale from the Spring of 1977 fairly well, I bought a number of record albums for one or two dollars a piece.

    Nationals
    Side Note: there was another department store about a mile from there in Lodi NJ called Nationals. They were a lessor known small "chain" that sold TV's to food to automotive.

    The electronics/appliance section within Nationals was actually called at some point "Prince Range Stores".


    Blue Laws
    One thing that always stood out in NJ, was the Blue Laws". The law stated that certain items could not be sold on Sunday such as clothes, electronics and appliances.

    Two Guys could be open on Sunday, certain sections had to be closed off. I think Two Guys just had the sections roped and chained off with signs saying something to the effect of "Closed Sunday under NJ Law".

    Nationals had a scissor gate that closed off the electronic and the appliance section on Sundays. The clothes section was roped off.

    I didn't work for either Two Guys or Nationals. But shopped there quite often with my mom and dad..until the stores eventually went out of business.

    I too would like to see more pictures of Two Guys and newspaper ads if available.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  31. My local Two Guys was in Union, NJ.

    I spent a lot of time in the game room as a kid while my mother shopped. (Does anyone remember dropping your kids off in an area of a store without worry?). Back then, they had the mini-bowling machines and a few early video games. I remember playing Space War and Canyon Bomber... early 70s.

    Blue Laws prevented sales of clothing on Sunday's and I remember the corragated cardboard closing off that area.

    If I remember correcly, there was a smaller building to the side that sold gardening supplies.

    Reading all the comments and stories brought back many fine memories.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great site. I worked for Two Guys in their advertising dept. Located in the home office in Garfield N.J. It was my first job in advertising. We had a major printing facility there. Each week we would print 5 million circulars,for chain wide newspaper distribution.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Not to tell my age, but I remember the ORIGINAL Two Guys in Harrison near the RCA plant. The store was actually located in three separate buildings - one clothing, one appliances and one hardware, lumber, etc. They then built an enormous 3-story store in East Newark along the Passaic River with a glass front with escalators located behind those huge glass panels. The complex featured a stand-alone indoor play area for kids and a used car dealership in the parking lot. Our ritual on Friday nights was to shop at the New Two Guys. Also remember shopping there on Sundays when half the store was cordoned off due to the blue laws. The sporting goods section on the second floor was a kid's dream. Also Two Guys was the first place I watched color TV. Our Lionel train set came from Two Guys and each Christmas we bought more stuff to add to the layout. I think the toy department was on the first floor in the back. Great memories. I recently read where the Meijer's chain in the Midwest takes credit for creating the "one stop shopping experience". I believe we have to give credit to Two Guys for that. They were the original Super Center.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I lived near 3 Two Guys. they were located at:

    US Route 1, Levittown, PA
    Street & Knights Road, Bensalem, PA
    Roosevelt Blvd (US Route 1) & Red Lion Road, Philadelphia, PA

    The Levittown locaton is now "The Dump', and it's building was not altered except for the "Jefferson Ward" front facade.

    The Bensalem location, before it was demolished, was a Bradlees and a Shop Rite, and was replaced by a modern day Kohl's

    a portion of the Philadelphia location is still standing as Planet Fitness, with most of it demolished and replaced by Best Buy

    ReplyDelete
  35. The Two Guys I remember the most was the one in Hackensack off Route 4. My parents and I would go there frequently and i would play the bowling machines in the game room. There was also the supermarket and the record department.
    I also remember a radio ad that went:
    "You get more for your money at Two Guys,
    Be wise. Shop Two Guys.
    You get more for your money at Two Guys,
    Shop Two Guys and save.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Howard – Thanks for providing the lyric to that great Two Guys jingle- what a fun era! You never really forget these things.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks for the great pics and memories. I remember the Two Guys in Bethlehem, PA. It was large, or so it seemed to a little kid. They had a grocery store to the left of the main store. What I look back and remember was that you could practically look across the entire store and see where your mother was at all times. all the merchandise was low in bins or on racks. They had a small restaurant in the back. But I kind of remember it being dark and dingy. In the early 80's when I was almost 20, I remember re-discovering the record department and buying alot of albums super cheap. I guess i just took these stores for granted then. never realized how nostalgic they would all become to me now. How I wish I took pics of everything!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Two Guys in Bricktown New Jersey was at the time considered by Vornado Corp. to be the best and most modern of the chain after it's total remodel shortly before it was closed. It truly was the original "Supercenter"! Full department store, grocerys, automotive parts and repair shop, hardware, lumber, electronics, deli, arcade, yard and garden, liquor, cafateria and it was also the first time I ever saw live lobsters in a tank for you to select for purchase at the seafood counter! God I really miss that store so much. Can't help but think as well that if fate had played out differently there just might not have been all these damm Walmarts around this country and we would be blessed with wonderful Two Guy's stores in thier place!!!
    Long live Two guys! Long live Vornado!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Anonymous – You’re welcome, and thanks very much for your comment! Those sightlines were a great thing when you were trying to find your mom, not so good when you were trying to hide out in the toy department! :)

    I think that many of us, and I definitely include myself, never had a clue how nostalgic we would eventually become for these places. Thanks again!

    Brian – Thanks, and I couldn’t agree more – Long live Two Guys! Long Live Vornado! That’s the new slogan around here! :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. I really appreciate the information you have on Two Guys. Growing up in Lancaster, PA in the 60's and 70's, it was a real treat to go shopping with Mom to Two Guys (and sometimes Nichols Discount City on the other side of town). I just passed by the former Two Guys site and there is a large sign advertising the Vornado Real Estate Trust; they must still own the land (it's a Lowes,several banks, Weis Market, etc. now).
    Regards,
    Jeff (Lancaster, PA)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Jeff – You’re welcome, and I’m glad it helped you relive some good memories! I have a picture of the Lancaster store taken at its grand opening in 1966. I’d be glad to send you the scan if you’ll shoot me your email address. Mine’s in the profile section here. It’s small and the quality isn’t great, but you may get a kick out of seeing it.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I have nothing but fond memories of the Two Guys in Vineland NJ- the sights (Christmas lights/robotic windup xmas toys on the set up table) and smells (sauerkraut!) will stay with me forever

    ReplyDelete
  43. I worked in the East Hanover store when I was a senior in high school. It was 1980-81 and the store was showing its age for sure. While the first image does looked like the East Hanover store I don't recall any of the bright colors and, towards t end. the shoe department was much less "attractive". What I recall were simple boxy cases with shoes on top and drawers under. Lord there was a lot of pilfering going on amongst the staff.

    ReplyDelete
  44. WOW - this brings back great memories of my childhood and my favorite hobby as a kid! When I was a kid living in Dunellen, NJ in the 60's and 70's, I would wait faithfully every month for the latest Watchung NJ Two Guys sales circular to come out in the Courier News to see what new Aurora, Tyco and Bachmann electric HO scale slot cars and sets, accessories were on sale. What would then followed was an epic war of wills with my father to get him to take me there and by me a couple new cars. The war was usually won by me.
    It was located in Watchung on Route 22 next to Lockheed Electronics, where my grandmother, Ethel Hedden, worked for many years as an accounting clerk. After Two Guys closed, for many years the building was taken over by a Flea Market, and later maybe another store. The Building's still there, I think, but the land also houses many other stores now, including a Home Depot. Now that I think of it, I think I remember seeing it getting torn down sometime in the early 90's, and me feeling very sad that a piece of my childhood was disappearing. The complex where the Two Guys stood was right next to the Blue Star Shopping Center, which still exists to this day. The EJ Korvettes was in that center. I believe it was the store all the way to the left, which last time I saw, was a clothing store, like a Kohls or something. There were many discount stores in the area, and we would go to Two Guys and the others for many things, but I only remember going to any of them to get my slot cars! I remember cars being as cheap as $.99 when they were retailing for $2-$4. I was crazy for Aurora A/FX, G-Plus and Thunderjet slot cars back then, and I still, to this day, have most all of them, plus many more, about 2,000 in all. I have many memories of nagging my father to no end to take me to Two Guys, Korvettes, Great Eastern Mills and Valley fair to get the latest Aurora cars. I still remember the night my dad bought me, and to this day still my only two Bachmann slot cars in my collection at the Watchung Two Guys, a seafoam green Corvette and a green Toyota 2000GT. I remember the days he bought me an A/FX Lola Can AM, a Dodge Custom Van, a and two Corvettes at Two Guys. I have to cut this short due to length- I'll do another post...
    Gene

    ReplyDelete
  45. (continued)
    I remember being very sad to hear that Two Guys was closing. The Valley Fair in North Plainfield on Route 22 had just closed sometime in the early-mid 70's. I can still smell the fresh buttered popcorn they sold in the entrance lobby snack stand. Now it's a KMart - not a very good substitute, but its still there. For years they kept that same snack stand, and that popcorn smell would evoke memories. I could still see the old Valley Fair/Great Eastern Mills in my head when I walked in. That KMart still had the garden center and the electrical/lighting department in the exact same places. I remember my dad took me to the Valley Fair clearance sale to get a new pair of drumsticks, and along with the sticks we walked away with three Aurora Thunderjet slot cars(a lemon yellow Dodge Charger and AMX, and an orange AMX) at 60% off of the price of $.69 - 27 cents each! Man, I wish I'd pushed my dad to spend just a few bucks to buy all the cars they had left on the pegs that day! We couldn't have dreamed what sentimental value they would have to me today back then, or if 'd ever still have them. But I digress - Two Guys was definitely a vivid childhood memory for me - loved that store and all those great discount stores that are no longer. They had everything in those stores - there are none like them anymore that's for sure. The last store I saw that was anything like them was Lane, in Branchburg, NJ back in the late 90's I guess. I went there occasionally to buy Hot Wheels. It definitely had the same flavor with the food market along with the discount department store.
    I would love to connect with any former Two Guys or Valley Fair employees who may still have a stash of those great toys I loved as a kid. Those very same little cars my dad bought me form the core of my collection - call me a little kid, although I just turned 50 a couple weeks ago, but they have a lot of sentimental value to me today. My email address is thunderjetgene@yahoo.com if any of you used to work at the stores around the Dunellen/North Plainfield area. Thanks!
    Gene

    ReplyDelete
  46. I remember the 2 Guys in Harrison. Practically lived there when I was 8 or 9 years old being a resident of Newark in the 1960's. My mom and dad always took me shopping. I distinctly remember the smell of push cart hot dogs when you first came in . The building was kind of futuristic with the entire front face being a wall of glass. It was built of solid concrete. You could see the criss crossing escalators from the parking lot. The interior of the 3 story building had an atrium type of design. You could look all the way down to the first floor from the 3rd. I remember the snack bar was pure white with stainless steel chairs and tables. The 3rd floor was always very eerie to me. Nothing up there except very large rolls of carpet and linoleum, not too many people went up there. I loved the camera department on the first floor next to the side entrance. This entrance had a big sliding roller track steel door. The camera department was very open and airy with telescopes and flash umbrella equipment and large windows above the wall mounted display cases. Just gave it a very futuristic, space age type of feel. Funny how so many people have found memories of this special company. The building stood vacant for years but was eventually demolished and replaced by a Pathmark.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Anonymous - Thanks for the wonderful detail on that very interesting store! I have a picture of it and posted it on the PFS Facebook page. I've been curious about it because it looks so different from other Two Guys stores I've seen in photos. Would you recall this store's location by any chance? Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Thanks for the web page my uncle JACK STOLBACH was hi up on the TWO GUYS board im not sure but i think COO or CFO what kid memories my mom still has stock in vornado again thanks for the trip down memory lane any one remeber the blue law in N.J. THNX T.KENNEY

    ReplyDelete
  49. As amazing as this store was to my childhood, it's amazing that you're still responding to people that give their accounts here.
    I'm not as old as some of the people that post on here to remember it from way back but I do have a pretty good memory.

    The last store closed in my area when I was 7 but my grandfather took us there EVERY sunday when I was a kid. I remember from 3 yrs old on so a good 4 years but I still have flashbacks of the Two Guys stores till this day. I live in Rochester, NY and I mainly remember going to the one on Hudson Ave. in Irondequoit but also the one on Ridge Rd. in Greece.

    We bought a nice big console TV there once but my fondest memories are all of the Star Wars toys my grandfather used to buy me from there. God I loved it! A Wal-Mart sits on that site today (and in a pretty sketchy part of town now) but I think about Two Guys when I drive by there more than a normal person probably should

    ReplyDelete
  50. New London was my local Two Guys. Just found a nice retro "Two Guys" T-shirt at a little store on the Asbury Park boardwalk. Paid too much for it but I figured I'd never see another...

    ReplyDelete
  51. T. Kenney – Thanks very much. Interesting that your mom still holds Vornado stock - I think they’ve now been a real estate company for nearly as long as they were a retailer.

    Johnny – I try to get around to everyone, although it takes a while sometimes. From what I’ve seen Two Guys is near the top of the “most fondly remembered” list, for sure. As far as thinking about the good old shopping days when driving by the stores of our youth is more common that you’d think!

    And those Star Wars toys are worth some bucks today!

    Anonymous – I think I’ve seen some of those Two Guys shirts online but don’t remember where – the oval with the script logo design, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Does anyone know of any Two Guys locations in the New England area? I'm trying to track down specific locations of these stores in New England, particularly in Massachusetts. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  53. My father Jack Cerreto was V. P. of the store for years. He was best of friends with Sidney and remains friends with his family. Thanks for such an accurate account of the store's history. He has many stories to tell about the stores and the people who worked there. I will post some of the stories another time.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Mike – All of my listings of Two Guys locations are older, before they expanded into New England, sorry! Maybe someone can help us out here.

    Scerre – Thanks so much! I’d love to hear his stories and would welcome the chance to include them on a future post!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Anonymous said, "loved the pictures. i came across this site while trying to research the "grave site' that was chained off at the rt18 east brunswick' nj, two guys,(eventually a great eastern)"

    Wrong! The "grave site" you were researching was located in the parking lot of the Great Eastern store on Route 1 in New Brunswick. This store eventually became the U.S. 1 Flea Market. The Two Guys store on Route 18 became a Kohl's.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Actually, it was a Bradlee's store before becoming a Kohl's.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Do I remember Two Guys in Middletown NJ!

    The lady that had the hotdog and sauerkraut wagon in the vestibule, to this day when I smell sauerkraut I think of Two Guys.
    I never bought a hotdog from this lady, for reasons I’d be at a loss to explain.

    What else do I remember about Two Guys:

    My mother bought me my “Big Jim” camper and action figure doll, when they didn’t have it in stock I cried all the way home (perhaps the sign of a spoiled child, at any rate a disappointed one).

    Going to the hobby department the day after Christmas to shop the big sales and coming home with loads of models and large size matchbox vehicles.

    When my parents sold their previous home and were able to pay off the bridge mortgage, they brought me to Two Guys after the closing; bought me an Aurora racing car set and we all had a snack at the snack bar.

    My first toboggan came from the sporting goods department in Two Guys and they raised the price while my father and I were making up our minds.

    Our first electric calculator came from Two Guys and was sold to us by a clerk that could actually speak correct English, not a Jersey bimbo or a zit face teenager with an attitude.

    The men’s bathroom had the names of the two school sluts from Thompson Junior High School scrawled in a bathroom stall (how it got there I can only guess).

    Continued

    ReplyDelete
  58. The old vinyl LP records I purchased in the late 70s and very early 80s.

    The photo booth machine in the snack bar and the faces I made at the camera.

    The “big boy” toys I drooled over in the hobby department and the big boy prices (at least for a kid)!

    The uncountable tins of Holiday pipe tobacco my father purchased in Two Guys (also one of the contributing factors of his massive and fatal heart attack).

    The expensive camera equipment, like the sound Viewmaster I could not afford.

    The PVC jackets I used to love to try on and that my mother very wisely would not buy me (she knew I would not wear it to school but just wanted to try them on in the store to feel tough).

    The Family Circus cartoon paperback books, I used to purchase from the abbreviated book department.

    A girl I had a wild crush on lived in a subdivision in the back of Two Guys and how I used to hope I would “run in” to her in the store (in fact, I actually did a couple times).

    The loads of fishing equipment I bought, hoping my father would take me fishing (that was a real waste of money).

    The cheap “athletic shoes” I used to beg my mother NOT to buy me.

    The fish floating on the top on the tanks in the pet department, in fact it seemed there were more dead fish than live ones!

    Continued

    ReplyDelete
  59. My school friend’s mother worked as the store detective for a time that is until a shoplifting suspect turned around and punched her in the mouth (something a lot of people in Lincroft would have paid to do).

    The games of skill and chance next to the snack bar, I didn’t have the money to play (I wonder what happened to them).

    The womanly departments that my mother used to go to shop in, urging me to go look in the toy department and leave her in peace.

    When some of the employees went on strike and stopped cars at the entrance urging them to go in and turn around stating the people working there were scabs. My mother promised to turn around but keep on driving and shopped at the store.

    The “evil clown” across the street from the Middletown Two Guys.

    The tantrum my father had when the store manager refused to sell him an item on Sunday owing to the Blue Laws NJ had at that time.

    When Two Guys was having the going out of business sale, I cut classes in high school to go shopping. Amongst other items, I purchase the octagon shaped Rolling Stones album “Through the Past Darkly”, an Ouija board (the only movement that ever did was the removal of $6 from my wallet) and a vinyl camera bag (I still have the bag but it has seen better days).

    The faux stained glass sheets of Plexiglas in the building supply department that I thought were the coolest thing since sliced bread, now I think they are the tackiest thing the earth ever $h!t out.

    Continued

    ReplyDelete
  60. When a kid I knew in school wanted to replace the door on his club house and we agreed to chip in and help. Only to bail on him at the last second and laugh like hell! Did he think we were going to get it home on our bicycles?

    Finally, when the family next store to me was going to Two Guys and Dairy Queen and my parents wouldn’t let me go because it was past my bedtime (I was only 5 years old at the time). They could make me go to bed when it was still light but I got up when it was still dark!

    The End

    ReplyDelete
  61. Where were the Two Guys stores located in the Rochester, NY area?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1500 Hudson Avenue, near Ridge Rd.

      Delete
  62. I remember well the Two Guys store in Schenectady, NY from when I was a student at Union College in the early 1970s. Situated just between the campus and the nearby downtown shopping area, it was always convenient for whatever I might need or want for my dorm room. The Vornado Realty Trust owns a strip mall near my recent New Jersey residence; it's interesting how the value of a retail franchise relative to its associated real estate has played out. In the case of Sears Holdings, I'm hoping that KMart and Sears Roebuck will still survive.

    ReplyDelete