Glen Emmerich
"I've been tneir Macy's," Mr. Emmerich said of the Homestead residents across the street.


After 24 years as owner of the Price Right variety store on Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens, Queens, Glen Emmerich has called it quits.

On May 31, his last day, he sat by the counter while well wishers came to shop and bid him farewell, expressing both grief and incredulity that this was really, really happening.

“I love you, Glen,” said one man, Steve, as he passed through, expressing the sentiment of many others as they stopped by.

Of course many also came for the bargains that were to be had. The already incredibly low prices had been cut in half for the close-out sale that was ending this day. A phone handset cord could be had for $1.00, a flashlight for $1.00, ten yards of duct tape for $1.00, a 12-piece assortment of sandpaper for $1.00, Revlon’s Jean Nate bath splash and body lotion combo for $5.00, and a set of three children’s water guns for 50 cents, to name just a tiny sampling.

Part of being a successful retailer is to have the right buying connections, Mr. Emmerich said as he watched and chatted with customers, trying not to show his emotions. After all, 24 years is a large chunk of his 59 years of age.

He has seen toddlers who came to his store with their parents, grow up to raise families and come in with children of their own. Some of those toddlers later helped out in the store as teenagers. Just as he helped out while growing up in Kew Gardens when the original store, which opened in the 1970’s, was called Mark Skyer. It was later renamed Kew Super and sold health and beauty supplies.

When Mr. Emmerich bought it he in turn renamed it, calling it Price Right, and turned it into what he calls “an everything store”-- everything from low end to moderate end-- and doubled the size to 3,000 square feet. He took pride in knowing his customers and giving them personalized service.

Retailing has always been his interest. A graduate of the Baruch College Business School in New York, he started off managing stores for others and went on to purchase the store in Kew Gardens because he was born and raised here.

The slow economy of the last few years and competition from large box stores and the Internet have been the fatal blow for many Main Street retailers like him, he added. That, and difficult parking. But he will miss it.

“It’s sad, saying goodbye,” he said, especially to his elderly customers at the Homestead retirement home across the street. “I’ve been their Macy’s,” he said. And to the kids who very soon will have to load up on affordable school supplies somewhere else.

A bad back following an operation has slowed him down. He had been open all these 24 years seven days a week. He can’t do what he used to do, he explained. It was time to go.

And go where? With a gleam in his eye, the long-time retailer said, “I may open another store, something smaller and maybe something a little more upscale.”

But he was not divulging details of where and when. For now, he sat by the check-out counter and wished everyone farewell.

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