100th anniversary gives retailer P.C. Richard reason to celebrate


In a year of economic turmoil that has taken a toll on many businesses throughout the United States, one company found reason to celebrate. P.C. Richard and Son, an appliance and electronics retailer with 2,800 employees and stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, is marking its 100th anniversary this year.

The company recently opened stores in Brick Township in Ocean County, Eatontown in Monmouth County, and East Brunswick in Middlesex County.

All of those stores are performing as well as, or better than, company officials expected, according to Gregg Richard, the president of the company and the fourth generation of the family to operate the business.

On Oct. 23 P.C. Richard and Son opened a store in Lawrenceville, Mercer County.

P.C. Richard and Son took over seven Circuit City locations that closed earlier this year — five stores in New Jersey, one store in Queens, N.Y., and one store in Connecticut. The venture into the Nutmeg State is the first for company that has its headquarters in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Gregg Richard, who was appointed president of the company in 2004, said a century of business achievement is something he does not take lightly.

“It gives me a sense of pride and it is an awesome responsibility to keep going and to improve on what we have done; to give our customers a level of service they deserve. It’s all about giving our customers a great experience and a reason to come back.”

Over the course of a century, Richard said, the company’s directors and employees have seen and dealt with all types of economic conditions, including the Great Depression, World War I and World War II. Today’s tough times are another challenge to be met.

“During 100 years we have seen every condition. This climate and environment is difficult, but we have a clear advantage. Customers care more now than ever about where they buy. Because we do everything from selling a product, to delivering it, to installation and service, I think we sit in a much better spot than a company that only focuses on selling a product.”

The company was founded in 1909 by Peter Christian Richard — yes, there really was a P.C. Richard — an immigrant from Holland who opened a hardware store in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, N.Y.

In 1924 the store relocated to Ozone Park, Queens, N.Y., and P.C. was joined in the business by his son, A.J.

In 1935 the company established its own service department. The 1950s saw the company expand throughout Queens and into Long Island. A.J.’s sons, Gary and Peter, became full-time employees, building the legacy through a third generation.

By the 1980s the company was operating 19 showrooms in New York and in 1993 P.C. Richard and Son opened its first store in New Jersey, in Wayne.

Today, Gary’s son, Gregg, oversees the operation. He believes his great-grandfather, P.C. Richard, would marvel at what has become of that first small store in Brooklyn.

“P.C. would look at what his son, A.J., did and say you grew this to a point I never imagined. A.J. had a son, Gary, who had the ability to grow it some more. We have a company with a culture, and it is something that needs to be nurtured,” Richard said.