Making it to 100 is no mean feat in any business, let alone consumer electronics retailing, and particularly within the dog-eat-dog New York metro market.
But some things never go out of style, and P.C. Richard & Son's guiding philosophy of “honesty, integrity and reliability” has apparently served it and its New York, New Jersey and, most recently, Connecticut customers well for one century.
Those family values were imparted by founder Peter Christiaan (P.C.) Richard, a Dutch immigrant who started the business as a Brooklyn hardware store in 1909. Peter retired in 1947, leaving the company in the hands of his son “A.J.” — the late Alfred J. Richard — who added radios, appliances and a service department in the 1930s, and a trucking division to support deliveries.
A.J. also led the regional expansion that would build P.C. Richard & Son into the largest privately held electronics and appliance chain in the nation.
That build-out still continues under Peter's grandson, CEO Gary Richard, and his great-grandson, president Gregg Richard, who now lead the $1.5-billion family business. This year the chain raised its store count to 56 by adding six former Circuit City locations, including what became its first Connecticut outpost, in Norwalk.
At the same time, the company laid the groundwork for a major expansion into New Jersey with the opening of a 325,000-square-foot complex in Carteret, N.J., which houses a regional headquarters office, a distribution center, and training and service facilities. The new center complements the company's main 650,000-square-foot warehouse and corporate headquarters here on Long Island.
The retailer will formally celebrate its anniversary on Oct. 17 with a charity gala in Manhattan, underscoring its long commitment to community. That spirit was once related during a new store opening by sportscaster Roberto Clemente Jr., who recalled visiting several New York CE shops in 1986. Sporting a T-shirt, shorts and “a big Afro” haircut, he was repeatedly turned away until he came to a P.C. Richard. There he was treated with courtesy and respect, he recalled, earning the store a $2,000 sale and Clemente's enduring loyalty.