You know you want to learn more about an obscure, bygone Brooklyn hardware store. You know you do!
Yesterday, I posted an update of Krauser Hardware, which used to do business on Atlantic Avenue in days gone by, and whose sign was recently uncovered when the owners of the new restaurant The Moxie Spot started setting up their new digs at the former Krauser address. I had known little (OK: nothing) about Krauser until I was contacted by Rob Krauser, an actual descendant of said tradesman. He told me the store was founded by his grandfather, Benjamin Krauser.
But the saga's not over. Soon after meeting Rob, I was contacted by his father (Ben's son), Bob Krauser. Bob was good enough to fill in considerably more blanks in the story:
Krauser Hardware was formed as M. Krauser Inc in the early 1900's by my grandfather Mendel, who was previously in the retail hardware business in Warsaw, Poland. The first store was on the lower east side and then moved to Atlantic Avenue on the site of the current Brooklyn Queens Expressway. When the store was taken over by NYC under eminent domain, the current building was constructed in the late 1940's and consisted of three connecting stores with basements, a second floor for storage and a few rental apartments.
Mendel started the business with three of his sons; Simon, Benjamin and Irving. Benjamin was the surviving son and retired and sold the property in about 1982. Benjamin retired to Florida and passed away at the age of 87. The hardware store served the downtown Brooklyn area for both retail neighborhoood clients as well as diverse factory and shipping accounts. I remember making deliveries to Norman Mailer's brownstone on Willow Place as well as the piers of the Royal Netherland Steamship Lines; Long Island College Hospital and the original Goya Foods near the Gowanus Canal.
Norman Mailer bought tools!