Longevity and looks: has dual reasons to celebrate this May. The hardware store, a Port Washington mainstay since 1911, is the most recent recipient of the Golden Storefront Award, a joint beautification award by Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington and the B.I.D. This just days before an official street designation by the on Saturday May 14, as the corner of Irma Avenue and Main Street, where the store is located, becomes “Alper’s Corner” to mark its centennial anniversary.
“It feels great,” said Doris Novick of the attention the store is garnering. Novick and her sister Sheryl Cohen own and operate Alper’s along with husbands Mark Novick and Lew Cohen. The store was opened by Novick and Cohen’s grandparents, Sam and Mary Alper, and remains an intergenerational enterprise: Novick’s son Adam and son-in-law Brian Fogel also help manage the store.
Alper’s may be the go-to source for locals in search of hammers, nails or paint but the shop’s earliest incarnation was as a jewelry store at 89 Main Street, a few storefronts from its current location at 81 Main.
Over the years, the shop added gifts and house wares, eventually adding an appliance shop and slowly the store morphed into a hardware store. In 1965, the store became one of the first in the New York Metro area to join the True Value co-op, which supplies many of the store’s products.
“They wanted my dad to rename the store True Value,” reminisced Novick. “But my dad said ‘No way, they don’t come in because it’s True Value, they come in because it’s Alper’s.’”
The family’s commitment to the store and town won praise from Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington’s executive director Mindy Germain.
“They renovated it giving it a fresh look but it still feels like a mom and pop, and not a formula,” said Germain of the store’s 2010 renovation. “It’s nice that they did the front and the back, not just the front,” added Germain of the renovated exterior and façade which runs for many yards along both Main Street and Irma Avenue.
The beautification award recognizes merchants for attractive window displays and keeping sidewalks and planters swept, well-maintained and garbage free. “We always sweep the streets and gutters,” said Novick. “It’s our responsibility and it’s just the way I was brought up. It’s a no brainer,” Novick added.
A hundred never looked so good!