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Laurelton bids goodbye to last family hardware

After 73 years in Laurelton, the last of Merrick Boulevard's family-owned hardware stores is closing its doors Thursday.

L. Zickerman Hardware Co. was once one of five family-owned and operated home and tool supply shops in downtown Laurelton, said Mark Zickerman, who has worked in the shop for 40 years.

Mark and Arlene Zickerman are closing their store less than a month after a Home Depot opened in nearby Springfield Gardens, but they said the new superstore was only a small factor in their decision to close.

"It pushed us in the right direction," said Arlene Zickerman, referring to the influence of the new Home Depot, the third to open near their Laurelton store.

In addition to the Springfield Boulevard site, the national hardware chain has stores in Elmont, L.I. and the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, L.I.

The Zickermans said they could not compete with the superstore, which is open seven days a week and has longer hours than their family-run shop. But even without the new store, they said they still would have retired.

"Home Depot did not make my decision. It is not the reason why I am retiring," said Mark Zickerman, who is turning 60 this month.

Business has slowed down over the years, but more importantly, Arlene and Mark Zickerman said they wanted a chance to travel and spend time with their first grandchild, who was born last month.

"At this point at his age he wants to retire," Arlene Zickerman said of her husband, who has been working at the store 10 hours a day, six days a week for 40 years.

"I just want to retire and take it easy," Mark Zickerman said.

Mark's father, Louis Zickerman, established the store in 1928 and ran it with his wife, Sally. Mark helped out as a youth and eventually took over the business with Arlene.

The Zickermans, who both grew up in Laurelton, have always supported the local block associations by donating paint and other supplies, Mark Zickerman said. In this way, they helped contribute to the Police Department's designation last year of nearby 128th Street as a model block for New York City.

While the neighborhood modernized around them, the Zickermans never remodeled the hardware store. They even kept the store's original cash register because customers often told them they liked the nostalgic feel of the old-fashioned store.

Now customers have been coming in to tell the Zickermans they are upset the store is closing, Arlene said, but they understand why they are doing it.

"Everybody is very positive," she said of the customers. "They are sad to see us go, but they are happy for us that we are getting on with our lives."

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.

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Chef Eddie Sun from NYC, Laurelton says:
I spent so many hours browsing and getting advice from Zickerman's knowledgeable staff when I lived there in the 60's. Our family's restaurant Wong's, was probably held together with supplies and hardware from Zickerman's. I wish Mark and Arlene all the best.

Chef Sun
Aug. 25, 2013, 1:19 pm

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