1462 Second Avenue Near 76th Street
You could pass by this tiny hardware store every day and see only the scaffolding, trailers, and massive iron rafters of the high-rise being built next door. Look closer, though, and you’ll see a steady stream of supers, contractors, and East Side residents who’d never think of going anywhere else. Manager Jerry Cotler -- a third-generation hardware man -- knows he’ll never win a price war against the Home Depots of the world (“I can probably walk in there and buy something cheaper than what I’m paying my suppliers for”), but then, no one comes to Thalco for the prices. They come because people at conglomerates won’t remember your kid’s name, or waive delivery charges (only imposed for orders under $30) because they “don’t want anyone to hurt themselves carrying something extra-heavy,” or listen for twenty minutes as you explain that problem with the thingamabob on your whatchamacallit.