The pictures above are exterior views from 1964, when Two Guys was certainly in the top echelon of America’s fastest growing discount department stores. The first two photos are of the chain’s standard 135,000 square foot prototype, the first being the Cherry Hill, New Jersey store in the Camden County Plaza shopping center (as mentioned in the previous post), the second a new store in Dover, New Jersey located on Route 46. The third was a 200,000 square foot monster of a store from Jersey City, N.J., which was located on Route 440 and Communipaw Avenue.
Two Guys/Vornado continued to grow and expand in the late 1960’s and early seventies to around 60 stores in the Eastern states, and they eventually added a number of Two Guys stores in California to augment Vornado’s purchase of the Food Giant/Unimart/Builders Emporium organization there. The peak of Vornado’s retail success, from a sales standpoint at least, came in 1975 when sales reached nearly a billion dollars. The decline was swift from that point, however, due in part to their ill-fated Western expansion, the general economic doldrums of the times and heated competition in their core Eastern markets from companies like Caldor and Kmart, who were extremely formidable at the time. In 1979, Vornado divested the 22 existing West Coast stores, and the following year 12 stores were leased to Montgomery Ward. In 1981, all but twelve of the remaining stores were closed. Then on February 9, 1982, this headline appeared in the New York Times – “Two Guys Chain Ended”. The final twelve stores were leased to Stop and Shop Companies, Inc. to be reopened as Bradlees stores.
Vornado has never looked back, achieving super-success over the last 25 years as a real estate investment trust, owner of a multitude of shopping centers and prestigious downtown office buildings including Chicago’s famous Merchandise Mart, which they purchased from the Kennedy family in the late 1990’s. In an interesting twist, Vornado recently reentered the retail arena, having purchased a 1/3 interest in Toys R Us in 2005.
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