As Hudson County changes with the times, making advances to meet the demands of a growing population, we rely on the small businesses to maintain the old-world charm of local history. Many Hoboken businesses have served the community for decades, being passed down through family generations. One of which, General Lumber Company Inc. dates back to the 1930s. Keep reading to learn more about its history and the products available in Hoboken.
General Lumber didn’t start out as a family-owned business, but when the opportunity presented itself, veteran Paul Lopes jumped at the chance to start a family legacy.
“My Dad, Paul Lopes, worked at General Lumber for 30 years after he returned from WWII. He purchased it from the previous owner in 1967. Then in 1986 my husband, Donald and I purchased the business,” Esther Grauso, the co-owner at General Lumber, told Hoboken Girl. “We are proud to say we are a second-generation, soon-to-be third-generation, family-owned business.”
General Lumber started out as a full-service lumber yard, serving the community for decades until a Nor’easter hit in 2007.
“On April 15th, 2007 a three-alarm fire due to a Nor’easter destroyed our location,” Esther recounted. “We had to re-invent our business to what it is today: a True Value hardware store and a Marvin Window & Door showroom.”
The Community: A Great Place to Be
General Lumber has only had two owners and kept the same name and location through almost 100 years, making it a unique feature of Hoboken history. When it comes to staying in business, Esther says it’s the community they have built over the years that means the most.
“The best part of running our business is the relationships that we have established over the years. We can say that we assisted the grandparents of many of our customers. Hoboken is such a wonderful community and as much as we loved servicing the crowd of years ago, we enjoy helping the young folks and families that have decided to make Hoboken their home,” Esther mentioned. “Our goal is to continue to provide Hoboken and its surrounding areas with all their hardware needs, whether it’s a switch plate cover or Marvin windows and doors for their home. Even if a customer does not purchase a product from General Lumber and just stops in for advice or a recommendation, we are happy to help.”
Not only does the company have a long history in Hoboken, but the family that owns it has also been in the area for generations.
“I was born in Hoboken and my grandparents and Donald’s grandparents lived here. All of my family including parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins have lived in Hoboken, as far back as the early 50s,” Esther told Hoboken Girl. “My Mom told me stories of women walking baby carriages up and down Washington Street during the 1960s and when I was working here in the 70s and 80s, I could not believe that it was even possible — Hoboken was not a popular place to live. But today, there are moms walking their babies on Washington Street again. Hoboken has come full circle and it is a great place to be.”
The Modern-Day Operations
General Lumber holds a unique place in the lumber, window + door, and hardware industry as a Woman Business Enterprise and Small Business Enterprise. The day to day operations are headed by Esther’s husband, Donald Grauso, and assisted by Bryan Feldman and Brian Cruz. Ed Scerbo has been the mainstay for many years at the counter of General Lumber.
Joe Azzolina has been working on our Marvin Window & Door sales for years and is now a Marvin Sales Specialist, Rob Morrissey, who will not only be found at his desk at General Lumber but is on-site at many of the Marvin Window & Door job sites.
General Lumber has been selling windows since the 1930s and now exclusively sells Marvin Window products. “The Marvin Window lines that we represent include Essential, Elevate, Ultimate, Modern, and commercial Infinity. All Marvin products are modern enough yet old fashioned enough to last forever,” Esther shared. “The Marvin brand stands the test of time. Customers can visit our showroom for examples and have our sales force answer questions.”
Customers will find a variety of materials in stock at General Lumber Company, including True Value Hardware items, Ben Moore paint, Marvin Windows & Doors, Trustile Doors, full-service lumber, and building materials. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL LIST OF PRODUCTS.
The General Lumber Store & Showroom is located at 200 – 204 Clinton Street in Hoboken. Open Monday through Friday from 7:30AM to 5PM, selling hardware, building materials, windows, doors, and paint. You can call 201-659-5664 with questions. The warehouse is located at 1330 Madison Street.