Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Garfield Store Soon to Bid Farewell

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Garfield Store Soon to Bid Farewell

Article excerpt

GARFIELD -- After 100 years of business, Meltzer's Sporting Goods will be closing at the end of the year.

Billy Meltzer said he is going to retire at the end of the year and that his three children are not interested in continuing the family business.

"We made it to 100 years, and that was very important to me," Meltzer said. "I'm going to be 65, it makes sense. Now is a good time for me to pack it in while everything is still OK and to go out on my terms."

Meltzer said he didn't want to sell the Meltzer name to anyone and jeopardize the family reputation. Meltzer owns the building on Outwater Lane and said he plans to rent out the space once the store closes.

There is no formal closing date for the store. Meltzer said he was going to try to make it to Christmas, but the merchandise is moving off the shelves quicker and the closing date may be Thanksgiving weekend in November.

"There's an emotional attachment to the store; it's really hitting people hard," he said. "It's a good feeling in that regard and a good feeling to get out when things are still relatively good and on my own conditions. Everyone is paid. We don't owe any money. It's great to go out on those conditions. I know I can go out with my head held high. It's a blessing."

Meltzer's has been a family-owned store since his grandparents started the original mom-and-pop store in 1914. Last year, Meltzer said during an interview for the store's anniversary that it's unclear whether or not they started the business from scratch or bought an existing business, but his grandparents, Sam and Jennie, were in the store every day until they died.

Meltzer's was a general store that sold everything, including hardware items and sandwiches, to factory workers in the city. They also sold coin collections and stamps at one point.

The business evolved through the years to the sporting goods store it is today. Meltzer said his father had an interest in fishing in the 1930s and it grew from there.

Meltzer said his grandparents lived above the store until they died. The upstairs space is now used to keep gun-purchasing records of every gun they've ever sold. …

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