Where Two Guys was is Now Five Guys 50 Years Later
Journeys into Hackensack
Here is something you are not likely to see elsewhere.
In perhaps an ultimate twist of irony a name from the past has resurfaced locally - sort of.
Remember Two Guys ? If you are of a certain age - like me - you do. Two Guys was a discount department store in an era when there were not many - before kmart and Walmart and Cosco.
The original name was Two Guys from Harrison and they had a long history in Hackensack, first on Passaic Street near its border with Maywood and then later at the site that is now home to Home Dept, Staples, Petco et al near the northern border with River Edge.
It was founded in 1946 by brothers Sidney and Herbert Hubschman in Harrison, New Jersey, originally selling major appliances such as televisions. The chain acquired the manufacturers of the Vornado appliance brand in 1959, and spread beyond the New York City metropolitan area to more than 100 locations in upstate New York, eastern Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, and as far as Illinois and California. The company's financial success started to decline in the late 1970s, and it was defunct by 1982.
The name came during the early competitive times when television hit the mass market in the original golden age of television.
As to the name, Two Guys, the story has it that In 1946, the Hubschmans operated a snack bar concession in the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) plant in Harrison, New Jersey, which was one of the earliest US manufacturers of television sets. They became friendly with one of their customers, an RCA executive who invited Herbert to tour the plant. During the tour, Hubschman saw a batch of scratched-cabinet television sets returned from the retailers as unsalable. The Hubschmans worked out a plan to buy these sets for a low price, and sell them in a vacant lot for a $5 markup on each set, providing their own publicity using car windshield flyers. The sale was so successful, that the batch they figured would take a month to sell were gone in a few hours. They continued the arrangement with RCA, and soon were ready to open their own store and use newspaper advertising. By this time, they had heard of their competitors whining, "We can't compete with those two bastards from Harrison!" The Hubschmans wanted to use that as the store name to taunt the competition, but no newspaper would print it, so they settled on "Two Guys from Harrison".
After Two Guys left the property was vacant for a spell until Bradlees came to town. Additions were made other tenants as well - such as Pathmark. Then Bradlees left the scene and eventually so did Pathmark.
Today a new generation of stores fills the shopping center. One of them is a burger and fries place called "Five Guys".
These five guys are different guys.
Five Guys was founded in 1986 by Janie and Jerry Murrell; Jerry and the couple's sons, Jim, Matt, Chad, and Ben, were the original "Five Guys. The first Five Guys restaurant opened in 1986 in Arlington County, Virginia, and by 2001, the chain had expanded to five locations throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area. In early 2003, the chain began franchising, beginning a period of rapid expansion. In a year and a half, permits had been sold for over 300 franchised locations. As of 2012, Five Guys had over 1,000 locations open throughout the United States and Canada, with over 1,500 locations under development. At that time, the company was the fastest-growing fast food chain in the United States, with a 32.8% sales increase from 2010 to 2011.
In the midst of their growth, one place they grew into was a store in Hackensack, there along Hackensack Avenue, in part of the very building opened by Two Guys some five decades earlier.
And, bet these five guys did not even know that Two Guys had been there.