By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
P.C. Richard & Son celebrated its 100th anniversary this month with 1,000 of its closest friends.
Vendors, family members and assorted guests filled a ballroom at Manhattan's Marriott Marquis to mark the milestone with the nation's largest privately held CE and appliance chain, and to support the charitable P.C. Richard & Son Foundation.
The $2,000-a-plate dinner drew a who's who of industry leaders, as well as musician Jon Bon Jovi who gave a private performance for the fundraiser.
In prepared remarks, president Gregg Richard, great-grandson of founder Peter Christiaan Richard, thanked his vendors, his employees and most of all his customers for their support, “without whom we wouldn't be here tonight.”
Richard said the company was already six days into its second century and has never been better positioned. So far this year the $1.5 billion business has added six stores — all former Circuit City locations — and is about to open a seventh in Princeton, N.J., which will bring the store count to 57.
In addition, every existent store was completely remodeled in four months to present a larger assortment of TVs and gaming products, and to provide live, interactive PC and digital imaging displays.
Training has also been stepped up for staffers, Richard said.
“We've invested in the business at a time when most companies were pulling back,” he noted.
Richard credited his father, CEO Gary Richard, with taking the company “to heights unimaginable” to second-generation family head Alfred “A.J.” Richard.
“We don't sell boxes,” Gary Richard explained. “We sell benefits and features. And we deliver, install and service what we sell. When you're standing in front of the product, we're standing behind it. We're your daddy.”
The company began as a Brooklyn hardware store opened in 1909 by Dutch immigrant Peter Christiaan — the P.C. in P.C. Richard. His son A.J. added radios and appliances to the mix, and service and trucking operations to support them, while grandsons Gary and Peter Richard led the metro area expansion that built the company into a regional powerhouse.
More recently, great-grandson Gregg laid the groundwork for a major expansion in New Jersey with the opening earlier this year of a 325,000-square-foot complex housing a regional headquarters, a distribution center, and training and service facilities. The new development complements the Richards' main 650,000-square-foot warehouse and corporate headquarters in Farmingdale, Long Island.
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