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Two Guys from Harrison

By Bill Newman

       During the years of World War II two brothers, Herb and Sid Hubschman owned a snack bar in the R.C.A. building in Harrison, N.J.  The unit was run on a small markup, that coupled with shortages of the most popular items kept the business from doing more than just keeping the Hubschmans going.  During this period acquaintances were made with many of the executives of R.C.A.

        The end of the war  saw the start of a new era - television.  Any company with the ability to produce a television set jumped on the bandwagon.  R.C.A. became a leader in this new field.

        Herb was invited by an R.C.A. executive to tour the plant.  During the tour he saw a number of TV sets that had scratches on the cabinets being held in one area.  Herb was told that these were sets that had been returned by dealers because they were "unsaleable".  As yet no plans had been made for the disposition of the sets.

        After a talk with Sid, Herb and Sid presented a plan to the R.C.A. executive they would take all the unsaleable sets a special price for a month, after that they would pay for the sets and/or return the unsold sets.  A deal was made and the sets were delivered to a vacant lot and covered with tarpaulins.

        The Hubschmans planned to sell each set for five dollars more than they would have to pay.  As Herb once said, "If the plan works, Sid and I can each make fifty dollars a week, more than we've ever made before."

        They had circulars printed which they put under windshield wiper blades on cars in the neighborhood.  The day of the sale they were met by a crowd at the lot.  They sold out their month's supply in a few hours.  R.C.A. was able to supply more sets but knew it could not keep up with the demand.  Stories vary as to how R.C.A. was able to meet future commitments but they did.

        Word spread about the great buys, department stores and sellers of major appliances could in no way meet the Hubschman's prices and their customers did not miss an opportunity to let the store know.  In the trade the Hubschman brothers became known as, "those two bastards from Harrison".

        Shortly later they were ready to run their first newspaper ad and to name the business.  They decided to taunt their competitors and call their business "The Two Bastards From Harrison".  This move failed, as no newspaper would accept their ad.  The name was changed to "Two Guys from Harrison" and the ads ran.

        Herb and Sid became leaders in the fight to break the Fair Trade laws, which they did and to eliminate "Blue Laws'" in many places and to set the discount business in motion. 

        The company was later headquartered in Newark, had a store in Newark in what was once the Kresge's Dept. Store building, had as many as eighty stores and several other businesses.

        In later years "from Harrison" was dropped from the store names, each was simply called, "Two Guys".

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