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Two Guys from Harrison: One Person’s Garbage Is Another’s Gold

May 05, 2023
Two Guys from Harrison Department Store TV Section

“The Two Guys from Harrison” Department Store was founded in 1946 by two friends, Sidney Silverstein, and Herbert Hubschman. They began by selling used televisions out of a storefront in Harrison, New Jersey. However, the business soon expanded, and the founders started selling other household items, such as appliances and furniture. Ultimately, Two Guys from Harrison was the Amazon of the 50's through the 1970's.

Sidney Silverstein and Herbert Hubschman started their business as a result of an unexpected encounter with a Radio Corporation of America executive. The story goes that in the early 1940s, Silverstein and Hubschman owned a successful delicatessen in Harrison, New Jersey. One day, a frequent customer who happened to be an RCA  executive suggested that they go on a tour of RCA with him. While on the tour, Herbert Hubschman asked about televisions that were in a storage area.  The executive advised that those televisions were returns that had cosmetic defects customers did not like. Later in the tour, Hubschman and Silverstein offered to buy the storage room televisions. The executive was impressed with their business acumen and offered them a proposition: he would provide enter into a contract with them to purchase cosmetically defective RCA televisions and electronics and they could resell them

Silverstein and Hubschman saw an opportunity and decided to take the offer. They rented a building in Harrison close to RCA and filled it with RCA merchandise. They advertised heavily, with slogans such as "We are Two Guys from Harrison, and we're slashing prices!" The sale was a huge success, and customers flocked to the store to take advantage of the bargains.

After the success of selling RCA Televisions and electronics, Silverstein and Hubschman decided to open a department store, which they called "Two Guys from Harrison." They leased a larger building and stocked it with a wide range of merchandise, from clothing and home goods to electronics and appliances. The store was a hit with customers, who appreciated the low prices and wide selection.

Over the next few years, the business grew rapidly, with the founders opening more stores throughout New Jersey and eventually expanding into other states. "Two Guys from Harrison" became a household name, known for its affordable prices and customer-friendly policies, such as easy returns and extended store hours.

The success of "Two Guys from Harrison" was a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of Silverstein and Hubschman, who saw an opportunity and seized it. Their story is a reminder that sometimes the most successful businesses start with a chance encounter and a willingness to take a risk.

Two Guys From Harrison Escalators at Kearny New Jersey Store

One of the stores was located in neighboring Kearny NJ.  Two Guys from Harrison eventually dropped it from Harrison and became known as Two Guys.  In the 1970s, Two Guys was purchased by the Vornado Realty Trust which saw the value of the real estate that Two Guys owned for its various department store locations.  Vornado Realty Trust sold some of the properties but mainly converted the Two Guys store locations into what we now know as strip malls where various smaller stores are located. Vornado Realty Trust took its name from a line of products including fans that Two Guys sold.  The Vornado name is still associated with high-quality fans although it is not clear whether Vornado Realty Trust owns the trademark for the Vornado fans.

What are your Two Guys from Harrison story?  Two Guys played a big part in the Department Store history from the 1950s through the 1970s and many have fond memories of shopping trips to Two Guys from Harrison. Let Us Know Your Thoughts on Two Guys on our Community Discussion Board.  If you have not signed up yet to participate you can Sign Up now. Although you have to Sign Up, signing up is Free.

Other Articles of Interest:

The Rich History of the Harrison Plaza Mall

3 Year Anniversary of the Closure of the Keegan Landfill in Kearny NJ