20 NOVEMBER 14, 2019 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
HARRY’S PAINT & HARDWARE
82-03 Eliot Avenue
Middle Village, NY 11379
Mon.-Fri. 6:30 am to 6:00 pm
Sat. 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sun. 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Beyond the paint cans, brushes, putty knives,
door hardware, fasteners, screws, bolts, hinges,
springs, casters, stove pipes, duct tape, hammers,
nails, screws, rollers, window cranks, pivots,
closers, tools, garden hoses, nozzles, fertilizer,
grass seed or anything else that falls under the
category of hardware, there you will find Harry
Lambros of Harry’s Paint and Hardware waiting
for you at his table in the corner ready to answer
your question, offer advice, or just say hello.
Known for his unbridled friendliness, his unfiltered
speech and sense of humor, Harry has
cultivated a loyal and devoted coterie of customers
since opening his first store. He purchased
Bil-Jac Paint in 1985. In 1998, he purchased Covel
Hardware and moved the paint across the street
which is when they became a True Value hardware
store to, then later as Harry’s Paint & Hardware.
Located on Eliot Avenue, Harry’s is a Middle
Village institution. Harry Lambros, his wife, Harriet,
and daughter, Christina, through their hard
work have made it that way.
Who in our neighborhood has not been in his
store? But what do we know about Harry the
Harry Lambros 80 years old in August 2020
moved to Ny from Greece at 7 years of age and
has lived on 70th Street in Middle Village since.
He has been married 48 years and has two children.
He went to William E. Grady Vocational High
School in Brooklyn, until he was asked to leave
due to poor grades. I never did the homework,
He joined the Navy in 1958 and served for 5 years.
Stationed in Pensacola, Florida aboard an aircraft
carrier with the rank of Third Class Petty
Officer as a Storekeeper. He was known aboard
ship as the Greek.
After his stint in the Navy he went to work as a
truck driver for an ice cream company selling ice
cream to stores. I didn’t like the idea of working
for anybody, he says, so he bought his own truck.
In the early 1970s he started selling Marino’s Ices
wholesale to grocery stores, bodegas, and pizzerias.
After a while he decided to sell his truck and
become a painter when the industry changed.
Harriet rarely says a word behind the counter.
What do you think she is thinking?
Harriet’s a quiet person. She doesn’t have a big
mouth like her husband. She is probably thinking
about the money. Someone has to pay the bills
and Harriet is the one who pays them. And the
bills, they don’t stop coming, do they? Harriet’s
been paying all the bills for forty-two years. I
don’t pay them.
Celebrating 49 years January 2020 what do you
attribute to your long and happy marriage?
Harriet. She’s a good person. We have two wonderful
kids. We love each other. Harriet’s a hard
worker, a good wife and a good mother to our 2
children. We will be leaving the store to daughter
Christina who started working in the store in
2000 when graduating college at CW Post – LIU
with a MBA from St John’s U. She is married 7
years and expecting her 3rd child in Fed 2020. My
son, Elias, is a partner with KPMG and is married
living on Long Island with his wife and 3 children.
I am told that you vacation in Florida during the
We own a house in West Palm Beach and spend 3
months a year there. I let all my relatives use it..
Anybody who wants to go down there I say here
are the keys to the house, there’s a car in the
garage. Go, have fun!
Have you noticed any changes in the contractors
that come into your store?
There is less now coming into the store due to
the fact that they’re not as busy as they once
were. We have quite a few still, you know, but I
see that they are not in here every day like they
used to be. When we started out in our business,
70% was contractors and now, I would say our
business is 70% retail and 30% contractors. You
know, the homeowners got wise. They come in
here and say you know what; I’m not going to
Home Depot anymore. I wouldn’t go back to that
place. We got you.
How has your clientele changed throughout the
It hasn’t really. We have steady customers and
we get an abundance of new customers. After
so many years of building up a good reputation
you get new people. Usually faces I remember
names I don’t remember too much.
Why should someone go to Harry’s instead of
Home Depot or Lowe’s?
If you go to Harry’s, Harry is good for a chuckle
and a smile and 99% of the people know they are
getting good service from this store. Our prices
are within reason, not high, and a lot are cheaper
than Home Depot. The prices are good, the
service is good, the workers treat people with
courtesy and respect, I demand that. If I hear
something is wrong I’ll say something. We treat
the people of this neighborhood pretty good,
and the neighborhood has always treated us
pretty good too.
That is the reason that you have such a devoted
and loyal clientele.
What makes you different from your competitors?
Well, there are not too many small hardware
stores left. Our prices are good, and we’re reasonable,
and we’re in a good location and we
give good service and advice. Seven out of ten
people come in here looking for advice. And
when they hammer us with the questions for
an hour, we don’t mind.
Does the proliferation of national chain stores
in Queens like Home Depot upset you? Queens
County has 1448 chain stores. Only Manhattan
has more with 2552. What’s happened to all the
small mom and pop stores?
Not all mom and pop stores are run the correct
way. A lot of them will look to make a better
profit than what they should be entitled to and
that hurts them. They do the good business or
they’re making good money, but their business
is not moving up. When the business is not moving
up that means it’s standing still at a certain
point, and eventually their business will go
down. If you’re in business, your business has
to move up. It cannot stay the same. If it stays
the same, 90% of those businesses will go out
of business in one year, two years, or whenever.
What has changed in our neighborhood since
you opened Harry’s?
It’s gotten a little more congested.
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR PATRONS AND FRIENDS
- WE WISH YOU A HAPPY AND HEALTHY HOLIDAY