By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
P.C. Richard & Son is living proof that service and selection still resonate with the consumer.
Over the course of its 98 years, the family-run business has survived two world wars, the Great Depression, an over-stored New York metro market and the emergence of national big-box chains. Yet by sticking to its guiding philosophy and motto of "Honesty, Integrity, Reliability," the company has become the nation's largest independently owned appliance dealer and remains a vibrant part of the local economy.
Those family values were imparted by founder Peter Christiaan (P.C.) Richard, a Dutch immigrant who opened a Brooklyn hardware store in 1909. Peter retired in 1947, leaving the company in the hands of his son Alfred (A.J.), who established a service department and trucking division and began the multi-store build-out of the chain.
Today, A.J.'s son Gary serves as CEO and his grandson Gregg is president of the $1.2 billion business. The company saw its greatest expansion to date under Gary's watch, with the chain opening its 50th store this week in Staten Island, N.Y. While its consumer-friendly philosophy has served the retailer well, the Richards also attribute their success to their low overhead, which is a function of its thinly layered management and a policy of owning, rather than leasing, real estate. Customers are also drawn to P.C. Richard's assisted-selling floors, low-price guarantee, and expansive product assortment, including the ultra-premium built-in majaps found in 26 Designer Appliance Centers across New York City, Long Island and New Jersey.
P.C. Richard also provides delivery and installation through a company-owned fleet, and operates its own factory-authorized service center out of its Farmingdale, N.Y., headquarters.
"We do it all," Gregg Richard told TWICE. "I'm frustrated when I visit the competition and I see a TV on shopping cart. What kind of in-store experience is that? If price is what matters to you, we guarantee the lowest. Would you rather shop for a $3,000 TV on a computer monitor or visit a terrific-looking showroom with a knowledgeable sales staff and the largest display of name-brand electronics and appliances?"
More intangible, but no less important, is P.C. Richard's sense of community, as reflected in its charity efforts, festive store opening galas, generational customers, and an anecdote offered by sportscaster Roberto Clemente Jr. The son of the baseball legend recalled visiting several New York CE stores during a break between games in 1986. Wearing a T-shirt, shorts and "a big Afro" haircut, he was repeatedly shown the door until he came to a P.C. Richard. There he was treated with courtesy and respect, he recalled, earning the chain the $2,000 he was carrying along with his enduring loyalty.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.