Friday, October 12, 2007

Two Guys, Many Girls, No Pizza Place

Here are some more photos of Two Guys Department Stores from the early 1960’s, the era in which the chain experienced its most impressive growth. The first photo, from 1962, shows a great-looking New Jersey store exterior and sign. The full parking lot is a pretty good indicator that business must have been robust. The second through fifth photos show department views from various Two Guys locations, circa 1963-64. The last photo, from 1963, is of the snack bar in the brand-new (and number 20 in the chain) Hackensack, N.J. Two Guys - a 160,000 square foot store (including a 30,000 sq. ft. supermarket) with a whopping 86 (!) departments. Without a doubt, Two Guys stores were among the largest-sized discount stores of the era.

A milestone and sign of the future for the Vornado/Two Guys organization was reached in 1964 with the opening of the first shopping center to be completely developed by Vornado. Camden County Plaza, located off of Route 38 in Cherry Hill, N.J., featured over 350,000 square feet of retail space, including a Two Guys store, two supermarkets (I haven’t a clue what they were), a bank, and several other stores. Now primarily a real estate company, the Vornado Realty Trust owns over 160 shopping center and mall properties.
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  1. I just love the interior photos. Really shows the decor of the times. And that swanky sign and building in the first photo is pretty cool too.

  2. I just loved the Two Guys store. So many memories as a child of the 60's/70's. Looking at those photos... I wish I could just drive over to Watchung Two Guys right now. Just Awesome...

  3. Looking through all these memories, it's amazing to me how many stores combined grocery and general merchandise, which was a format that just amazed me the first time I saw it at a Bradlee's in Portland, Maine in 1976. I couldn't believe that they had a department store and a grocery store under the same roof. As best I can remember, that format just didn't appear anywhere in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York, area. In fact, the first place I can think of that did it was a Wal-mart Supercenter that opened just a couple of years ago.

  4. Carl - Thanks for the comment - the grocery/gen mdse combinations were tried by a suprising number of supermarket chains, with varying degrees of success. I would have thought the Grand Way concept would have been a good one to try in your area, especially since Grand Union had a number of stores there.

  5. What a great time for design. And you could wear anything from the clothing displays today and look completely contemporary. The airplanes on the back of the boys' department wall are extremely cool too-RR Ryan

  6. I was part of the original opening of the first Two Guys in San Bernardino, California. Our opening was Nov 7, 1968. I was there till be closed our doors May of 78 or 79. The final day of operation fellow employees were so sad to see this end and were planning a get together by the unemployment office on Monday when the mgr came and told me that myself, the head cashier and the warehouse mgr had jobs Monday at Fedmart,,,who was taking over our building and we would reopen the new Fedmart in the Two Guys building.
    I loved that job for over 10 years. Allthe employees loved it and the family we had there. Nothing like retail of today. All these years later there is still a comradre of employees who are still in contact..I'm pushing 60 and was 19 when dI started there.
    The customers loved it. I wore many hats cause I had "experience" coming from W.T. Grants,
    I ran the vault for the opening, rang out 78 registers each night. All of NJ was here for their big California debute.
    I'd write contracts to help in Major appliances, but my favorite for about 7 years was being the Camera Dept Mgr. I was the first female and there were allot of reservations about that! ha ha
    I showed them by being number 1 est and west coast. I won all the contests, wrote for the newspaper we had...took all the photos and loved the customer interactions. I loved them and I know how they felt about me. I grew with their families, shared their stores and loved teaching them about the latest equipment. To this day I still remember the modle numbers of equipment and their prices. I have lots of photos and papers packed away somewhere.
    All of us loved our community, fellow employees. Just so much to tell, I wouldn't know where to start. I'll cry.

  7. I was an original employee of the first Two Guys in California, San Bernardino. Opening day Nov 7, 1968.There tillthe last day of operation, May 15, 1978. A sad day for all. We were such a tight knit group who all loved our jobs and being with each other daily. Our customers were loyal and simply the best! They became family also. I have lots of photos as the last 6 or 7 years I was the camera Mgr. The chains first female mgr..."women can't do this" ha ha watch my smoke...I soon became number one east and west coast. I wrote for the paper the Vornado Ink....Stillhave copies packed awy somewhere.
    I loved training my customers and taking the time to teach them how to use equipment, how to hold a camera. I gave service that you cannot get here anywhere. We became part of each others lives, sharing photos, watching their kids grow up and me too. I was 19 when we opening and I'm puswhing 60 now! OMG!
    There still is a large group of us who stillkeep in touch and remember the good old days. The best employer ever and I just loved it when the Jersey Boys would come out! We made 7m our opening week, I was counting it.

    I just have so many fond memories of the wonderful people and the family we bacame. Once I got bunch of dept mgrs...all to my house as it was inventory night. All the ladies came over, we had a pajama party, then we allwent to work in our pj's...slippers and all. I organized Christmas parties, we had bowling teams, softball leagues, we baby sat for each other...we and all of management took care of each other. I loved working 6 days a week. The snack bar with it's lime green was our kitchen.
    We had an auto and tire center, a Pharmacy, an optometry, a huge grocery store...nothing like this in Calofornia before. We had the garden shop, you name it we had it. We were the fist ca baby built fromthe ground up. Still stands today as a Home Depot.

    So many fond memdories of wonderful customers, fellow employees and how we touched each other lives. It changed the course of my life and I went on to treater and much higher paying jobs even tho I was one of the highest paid and they would never let me live it down. But the relationships and bgonds formed there, I cherish a lifetime. This has never been felt anywhere else. No Wal-mart etc could ever have what we had!
    I'll add photos if I run across them...I took allot.
    I wore many hats there, in the vault, major appliances, contract writter, head cashier, shrink committee, Xmas party planner. Miss you guys!

  8. Chelle - I can't tell you HOW MUCH I appreciate those wonderful, detailed, heartfelt comments! Wow! It absolutely gave me a feeling of being there. No doubt your extremely high level of service to both your customers and your co-workers was greatly appreciated. What a perfect example for today, when that type of spirit is all to hard to find, in retail or anywhere else. Thanks so much again!

  9. the 1st photo looks like it was from union nj.but check this out,going thru my parents hous ei found a lysol spray can with a two guys sticker on it for $1.89.still works!

  10. John- Thanks- I'm not really sure which Two Guys it was, but it was definitely was one of the cooler ones!

    Depending on how old that can on Lysol is, it may be pretty dangerous stuff! they were forced to reformulate it years ago.

  11. Two Guys stores were cool, and had many unique departments including an arcade, and snack bar in many stores. I grew up In Kearny & Brick, NJ, where we had the "flagship" Two Guys (in Kearny), and one of their prototype stores in Brick. The best was the Two Guys in downtown Newark, this was set up on 4 floors of the former Kresge/Chase-Newark department store and Two Guys ran it like a regular department store. The flagship Two Guys in Kearny was a former factory building that they rebuilt with a glass front. The Union City, and Neptune stores followed this design.

  12. Wow! Some of my favorite childhood memories are Two Guys related. Loved shopping for Super 8 movies at the Watchung location. The smell of chlorine always reminds me of their recreation department with filled above ground pools on display!

  13. Thanks for all the information on this great site! It's great to see the full stories behind chains that sometimes seemed to come and go mysteriously without much of a trace. For me, the history of Two Guys was more mysterious than most. I had never heard of it until I found a flyer for the Marlborough, MA store, advertising a table saw for about $80. What's odd is that I bought that saw in 1986, four years after the chain's demise. Was the name retained on some of the stored that might have been taken over by Interstate or Bradlee's? This place sure didn't look like Bradlee's, but its size was modest compared to the descriptions I've seen here of Two Guy's stores. Any information left here will be greatly appreciated!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed this! As far I know, when Two Guys shut down in 1982, the name completely disappeared.

  14. The original two guys was in harrison NJ the first dept store was on passaic ave in Kearny

  15. I am looking for pictures of the California Two Guys store. Goleta or El Cajon is at the top of my list, thank you.