875 Nostrand Hardware

875 Nostrand Hardware

Working on Nostrand Avenue picking up litter with my intern Ronald, we came by the hardware store at 875 Nostrand between Crown and Carroll Streets. While we were there, the proprietor came out and said hello to Ronald and asked what we were doing. I explained that our organization is the Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association and, among other things, we pick up litter in the area. The man offered us a box of one hundred large black bags, which I accepted, and when we finished work, I came back and picked up the box. The bags have turned out to be very helpful. The next day I came back and offered the man an ad in the September issue, and this we published. It can be found on page 7 of the September issue of the magazine. After that I wanted to do a profile of the store for the October issue. I went down to the place on September 26 and below you find what I found out.

The owner of the store is Navin Persaud. His family is from Guyana, and he is one of four brothers. They came to the US in the late 1990's. Navin was educated in Guyana and finished growing up in East Flatbush. His father worked in construction and his mother tended the family at home. Navin at first worked in construction like his father. Some of his brothers also work in construction and one of them owns some buildings.

Navin wanted to have his own business, and in 2013 the opportunity arose. The store at 875 came up for sale, and Navin bought it. It was already a hardware store but was in very bad shape. Over two years, Navin and his brothers renovated the place, replacing almost everything – the walls, the floor, the electric system and the plumbing. They also fixed up an apartment upstairs where Navin now lives. There was some stock left behind in the store, but Navin had to get much more before he could open in 2015.

The area was a bit depressed then. There were empty stores and some of the others were not doing well. However, over the last four years, there has been steady improvement. New people have been moving in, and they often want to make alterations in their houses and apartments. They tend to show up on Saturdays and buy paint to redo a room or some furniture. Or they might buy lumber to build a shelf or cabinet. Because Navin has a background in construction, he can help out and get one of his brothers to cover the store. Not all his clients are newcomers; he also works with a woman in her 90's who has been around since the 1970's and has had a series of projects for Navin to work on, both to supply materials and help with the work. The store seems well stocked. I went there for some electrical equipment to get my computer system working, and Navin had everything I needed.

Navin is also community minded. He offered to help out with some of NAIA's projects. Right now we are building tree guards for the 25 trees currently in the Tree Care program. We also need posts to put on either side of the young trees to keep them steady. Navin told us to let him know what we need help with. He is glad to see the neighborhood prosper as believes it will help his business. No doubt he is right. However, Navin does not see himself as the proprietor of a single store forever. He would like to open several businesses and have managers run the ones that have already been set up. Perhaps he could partner with his brothers. As they have a background in construction, that might be a possibility. Navin is a young, energetic man, and not married. He got 875 Hardware up and running. It seems obvious he could do more.

Drop by the store – it will almost surely have what you need, and Navin is a bright courteous person who is concerned about his customers, just as he is concerned about the whole community he lives in. He has a very enlightened approach.

– John DeWind

New MerchantsRobbie Klein