We were flabbergasted when we approached a full service lumber yard in the middle of Manhattan. Since 1923, the city has relied on this venerable lumber supplier, hardware store, and contractor heaven for its construction needs. The knowledgeable staffers and prompt service give this metropolitan shop a distinct small town feel.
Since its opening in 1923 on Prince Street, family-owned business Prince Lumber continues to be an essential resource for New Yorker’s construction needs. Although no longer on Prince Street, Prince Lumber maintains its name and legacy of providing all of the necessary building materials for projects of any size or shape, as well as optimal customer service to support clients at any level of construction experience. At its newest Hell’s Kitchen location, these ideals are clearly demonstrated upon entering the store. In contrast to the highly commercial atmosphere of Eleventh Avenue, Prince Lumber is incredibly approachable. This quality is achieved in part by the bright signs that clearly label the shelves lining the sizable interior, but is especially exemplified by the friendly staff around the store. Prince Lumber’s identity as a well-established family business on its third generation has been essential to the business’s culture. As Neil Eisenstat, manager at the Hell’s Kitchen location explained, at Prince Lumber, “everyone is family. ”As family they stick together, and have created “the kind of business that builds Manhattan up. ” They have been around long enough to become a staple of the neighborhoods that they have been a part of, and they are confident that no matter where they go in New York City, their dedicated clients will follow them. As the city continues to build around them, they look forward to remaining essential to its construction needs.
Starting as a family owned business in 1962, Midtown Lumber continues to expand, build up the city, and uphold its legacy of excellent customer service and quality under the new leadership of Zach Chasky. Zach began working at Midtown Lumber as a teenager, and instantly knew that a career in the lumber industry was just right for him. “I really enjoyed it. It was the first kind of thing in my life that just really made sense. ” After working at Midtown Lumber for three years, Zach left in order to grow as a project manager at a different construction company. Later, Mike Kopf, the son of Midtown Lumber’s founder Paul Kopf, re-hired Zach for a more senior position. There was never a question of whether Michael Kopf was going to take over Midtown Lumber when he grew up. Since 1962, when his family came to New York and his father and uncle co-founded the business, it had been a part of Mike’s life. He spent his earliest days in and around the place: “I used to play in the bins in the back, ” he recalled. Though Mike eventually attended Baruch College, he always arranged his class schedule to allow him ample time to work at the lumber shop. He started working full-time when he was twenty-four. After working for Mike for fifteen years, an accident caused Mike to be unable to continue running the business, and Zach was able to raise the money to purchase the lumber business. Midtown Lumber receives a wide range of clients: from individual people, to businesses of all sizes, to developers. Zach considers the fact that around 90% of their income is from returning customers a major success. After working in the business for so long, a lot of the customers have become his close friends. While describing what it is like to work at Midtown Lumber, Zach said that “most people would say my environment is too relaxed. I’m close to everyone who works with me. It’s really a family environment. ” Having great quality and consistency, as well as truly treating every customer like “they’re the only one who matters, ” has established them as a reliable business over the course of their decade’s long existence.
If bar hopping in the middle of the night is not in the plan one evening, there is somewhere else to spend time that we found to be amazing. Laid out on two floors, with a lumber yard in the back, there is nothing that cannot be found in the Nut House related to the home... and we mean nothing... and the best news is that at any hour of the day or night, New Yorkers can come and find it, as the hardware store is open twenty-four seven.