Since 1911, Alper’s Hardware has provided the people of Port Washington with quality tools and generosity that are unmatched by any chain store or online website, according to owner Adam Novick.
Novick is a fourth-generation owner of Alper’s Hardware, located at 81 Main St. in Port Washington. When asked if he was somewhat obligated to make this a career choice, Novick explained that was not the case.
“My parents never forced me to follow in the family footsteps,” Novick said. “But I think after three generations do it before you, there’s almost something in your blood that urges you to do it.”
Alper’s originally started off as a jewelry store on Main Street by European immigrants Sam and Fanny Alper.
After they purchased an auto supply store, the Alpers expanded into hardware. The store traded in watches and necklaces for hammers and nails, and Alper’s Hardware was officially created.
“It goes to show that Alper’s has been changing with the times long before today’s world,” Novick said. “Knowing the environment and community around a store is integral for its success. Even with the influx of people who switched to online shopping, we provide a service that they can’t.”
Novick said his store, like many family-run and local businesses, has taken a noticeable hit with the presence of companies such as Amazon being there at the touch of a screen.
While Alper’s also delivers and has an online platform, Novick admitted the convenience of Amazon is tough to compete with.
“Some people really prefer sitting at home, or at work, or in bed and get all of their shopping done there,” he said. “Store owners definitely recognize the trends that are going on, but it just means we have to be more proactive and creative with how we do business here.”
Alper’s Hardware was recognized in September as the recipient of the New York State Senate Empire Award.
The award is given to “businesses that are leaders in their industry, developing an outstanding, thriving business; using innovative methods or product(s), increasing jobs, economic growth and making significant community contributions which impact New York,” according to the Senate’s website.
“We were very honored to receive the award,” Novick said. “It showed how much the community values our store and what type of impact this business has in the community. It’s always more than simply being at the register when people come into the store.”
Novick said the customer service and advice he and his employees provide customers are one of the main things they sets their store apart from not just Amazon, but from other chain stores as well.
“That’s one of the nice things about having a dedicated clientele,” he said. “You know people, and you know their stories. If someone comes in for new Christmas lights a few times saying they keep breaking, we will make sure that there isn’t something else wrong in the wiring of their outlets at home before they waste more money buying perfectly working lights.”
Few people and businesses have a better grasp of the community than the people at Alper’s do, he added.
Novick said that his parents Mark and Doris played a large role in the store becoming more involved with the community.
The store has sponsored events and offered discounts to loyal customers to show their thanks.
In 2015, Alper’s donated paint to the Port Washington Police Athletic League to help renovate their building. Each year, Alper’s also hosts Karmecue, an annual barbecue charity event that raises funds for the Community Chest of Port Washington.
“I want to say that we’ve raised over $90,000 over 15 years of hosting Karmecue in the spring,” Novick said. “That’s an example of a great event that not only promotes people to come out and show off their barbecue skills, but also give the store great exposure to some of our equipment with avid grill masters present.”
Novick said he and his family are grateful for the Port Washington community for keeping Alper’s in business for over 100 years.
“I don’t know where else my family would even be without this store and this community,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure being in the business district, and I hope to continue serving the people of Port Washington for years to come.”