Dave's New York Turns 60!
April 11, 1963. 60 years ago this week, our grandfather Dave opened up his store, which was called Dave's Army & Navy at the time. I wanted to take some time to reflect on what he created and what Dave's has become as we celebrate Dave's turning 60!
Dave took a loan from family and cashed in his GI bill from his service in the US Army. With those, he was able to start a small store that sold new and used military surplus, clothes, jackets, footwear, and even knives and cots. From those early days to now, so much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same.
Not many people know, but the guy you see behind the counter every day, the guy that everyone calls "Dave," is actually named Bob. Bob is Dave's son, and he took over the business in 1978. Bob joined his father in 1969, working the floor, the stock room, and the register before taking over the whole show. Bob had been the driving force of the business (along with his wife, aka Mrs. Dave) that has seen the store grow, change, move, and help bring it to what it is today. Through the '80s and '90s, our store was remodeled, expanded its footprint, grew the stockroom, and eventually moved to our current location in 1999.
Bob was the one who took chances on brands like Carhartt and Red Wing long before anyone else had ever heard of them. He forged relationships, with brands like Schott, Dickies, Alpha Industries, and others, that have lasted decades. And it has been his day-in and day-out dedication to the store that has helped make it what it is today.
Grandpa Davey was only able to see the store start to flourish. Sadly his health had deteriorated in 1979 and he passed away in early 1981. I was barely 6 months old and my older brother wasn't 2 yet. Our little brother was still 3 years away from being born.
We never got a chance to know him, but our father has shared his stories many times. Davey worked hard. He was dedicated to providing for his family. He didn't have a business degree, but he knew how to provide value for people. He understood the principles of business and set a standard for how he worked.
Those ideals were carried down to his children, and Bob has run the store with the same perspective for decades. We've always had a focus on value, utility, and service, and regardless of what we sold, that much has stayed the same. And I'm confident that aspect will continue for the next 60 years.
My brothers and I were always around the business growing up. First crawling then walking the aisles, then running around playing hide and seek. We pretended to run the store and ring the register; we folded clothes because we thought it was fun! Back then we didn't realize how special it was to be part of this business. We've been working in the store for more than 20 years now, and every day we see how amazing the people are. We value the relationships we have with staff, customers, and sales reps. We are grateful for the generational support to keep our shop open. Each day we make sure to say something that we are thankful for, and very often it's the people around us.
We are not sure if our grandfather envisioned a 3rd generation ever taking over the business, but we'd like to think it may have been his plan all along. The values he instilled in his family carry on through today. We take pride in running a store that provides value and utility, and serves an awesome array of people.
Thanks to everyone who makes this place so special.
Cheers to 60 years, and here's to 60 more!
Adam, Dave's New York