By Carol Tannenhauser
After 120 years on Amsterdam Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets, Beacon Paint & Hardware is closing its doors for good at the end of this Presidents Day. Bruce Stark, who owns the store with his brother Steven and his sister Ellen, spoke with WSR by phone as closing time drew near. His voice cracked and he paused for a moment when we asked him how he is feeling.
“Heartbroken,” he said. “Devastated. It’s the same old story. Business has slowed down, we have no winter…” His voice trailed off. He has worked at the store, which his father purchased from the previous owner in 1971, for 48 years.
The good news is that the three Stark siblings are joining Janovic Paint & Decorating Center, on 72nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam, Bruce as the manager, Steven as an outside salesman, and Ellen in the office. Three Beacon employees are going with them. Bruce admits, in some ways, it will be a relief. “I’ve been working seven days a week for the past two years, and stressing every minute.”
Bruce made a point of saying that his landlord, The Brusco Group, had bent over backwards to help him stay in business. He also said that Janovic had tried to figure out a way to buy Beacon and keep it in place, but it couldn’t be worked out. Bruce hopes to continue the community improvement work he has donated over the years, he said.
He posted the following heartfelt goodbye on the store’s Facebook page.
It is with a broken heart, and profound sadness that we must inform you that after 120 years, Beacon Paint & Hardware will be closing.
We have loved every minute of serving the Upper West Side. We love our customers, our neighbors, the schools, the students, parents, dogs and everyone else who shopped here or just came in to see our dogs or to say hello.
It was our pleasure to support any cause the community asked us to. We would not have lasted as long as we did without our wonderful customers, neighbors and community.
We loved you and you loved us right back. The support you had for us was overwhelming.
We knew you could shop cheaper elsewhere, but so many of you came back to us time and time again. What beautiful people you are. We can’t thank you enough for all your support.
We will still be in the neighborhood, though. We are going to work for Janovic Paints. I will be manager of their West 72nd Street store (between Amsterdam & Columbus). Steven and Ellen will also have jobs with Janovic; Steven will be an outside salesman, and Ellen will be in their office.
Please come by and say hello. I miss my friends already. Please continue to come to me to ask for any kind of donations. I will need to get permission first, of course, but will continue to support the community as much as I can.
When our father bought this store in 1971, the competition was three small hardware stores, and one paint store. Today, it is the two largest companies ever. I still believe that in a fair fight, we would have kicked Home Depot’s rear, but there seems to be a shortage of fairness these days.
For the record, our landlord, The Brusco Group, was willing to bend over backwards for us. They offered to do whatever they could, but there were too many other factors involved.
You will still be able to contact us at the numbers and emails listed below:
Bruce Stark: Bruce@beaconpaint.com (347) 538-4050 Steven Stark: Steven@beaconpaint.com (347) 538-4020 Ellen Stark-Gabe: Ellen@beaconpaint.com (516) 238-7067 Mel Stark (Dad)
Evelyn Stark (Mom- deceased) Dinah
and Bru (deceased)