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Nathaniel Garber Schoen and Kang

Business of Excellence – Garber Hardware

by | Feb 24, 2023

A Century Old Family Business Still Going Strong

  • Business: Garber Hardware
  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Owners: Nathaniel Garber Schoen and Scott Schoen
  • Years in business: 139

If a business thrives for over 100 years, chances are it’s doing something right and has a lot of loyal customers. Garber Hardware is one of those businesses. A quintessential family-owned New York City hardware store, it has been serving customers of Greenwich Village since Nathaniel Garber Schoen and Scott Schoen’s great, great grandfather opened the doors in 1884. Since 2013 the latest generation to run the venerable store has used technology from Paladin Data Corporation to run the family business.

Garber Hardware is older than many local landmarks such as the Chrysler and Empire State buildings, the George Washington and Manhattan bridges, Carnegie Hall, and Grand Central Station. Although it’s not quite in its original location – it relocated in 2003 – it still features an incredible variety of products and provides friendly neighborhood service.

The stores – a second location in the West Village was added in 2016 – embrace their history. They are both decorated with vintage signs and photographs that date back to 1908. They are also invested in their future and use the latest technology to make sure they are fully stocked and operating efficiently.

Like many legacy stores that date back more than a century, Garber Hardware purchased inventory from more suppliers than it could keep track of. Nathaniel and Scott, cousins and fifth-generation owners, moved from a previous point of sale to a web-based ordering system. In 2013, they consolidated their store with Orgill Hardware and Paladin.

“At our bigger store, we had a ton of different vendors. When we opened our new store, we were fully committed to moving to a full-service supplier. We were looking for a better solution. I only considered options that had good EDI. Paladin checked all the boxes.”
Nathaniel Garber Schoen

Co-Owner, Garber Hardware

Garber Hardware circa 1940

Garber Hardware circa 1940

Paladin is fully integrated with all Orgill programs including EDI, the new FanBuilder™ customer incentive program, remote stock check which allows stores to see what’s in stock at their regional warehouses, and more. However, it was Paladin’s easy-to-use ordering, extensive inventory management functions, and user-friendly point-of-sale that sold Nathaniel.

Garber Hardware still buys from several different suppliers including Orgill, but now Paladin helps the owners order more efficiently and effectively. Nathaniel says he uses Paladin’s Suggested Order reports for specific departments and an RF gun to finalize his orders.

Garber Hardware circa 1910

Garber Hardware circa 1900.

Paladin’s EDI integrations, Suggested Order and Order Analyst, which helps stores find the lowest cost items from their EDI suppliers, saves retailers time and effort. Its integration with Capital One Trade Credit is a feature Nathaniel says he uses often. It’s a customizable business-to-business credit management service that helps stores grow and protects them from credit risk. He says it helps manage his thriving B2B business.

“I love the software. It’s easy to use and does exactly what we need. I’m certain there’s a lot more of Paladin we’re not taking advantage of. There always seems to be a big project on the horizon,” he says. “We’re growing the business.”

The Schoen’s main store is 5,000 square feet, which Nathaniel says is huge for New York City, with a pair of checkout terminals. The smaller store is 2,000 square feet and growing. Nathaniel found another 1,000 square feet right around the corner and is working to connect the two spaces. Paladin will help them run both stores as they navigate their second hundred years.

“I’m definitely super proud of the business. It can make certain business decisions harder when you’re that attached. At the end of the day, it’s really special,” he explains. “We have customers who were shopping here when I was a child. Nowadays that seems pretty rare.”

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