By RICK REMSNYDER
When a customer enters the new Beck’s Wallkill hardware store and home and garden center, owner Michael Beck said he wants them to feel welcome.
“Our whole business is built on service,” Beck said in a recent interview. “We have a knowledgeable staff. It’s not like going into big-box retailers. You have people who can help you. We do local delivery. We do assembly. We’ll get involved a project and we’ll see it from start to finish.”
Located across the street from the Wallkill Public Library, Beck’s Wallkill is a sparkling new addition to the hamlet, and Supervisor John Valk couldn’t be happier.
“We’re very pleased that the owners took a chance on Wallkill and they see a vision of their business growing,” Valk said. “They did an amazing job remodeling an abandoned building.”
Valk is hoping that the addition of Beck’s hardware store to Wallkill’s business district will convince other prospective businesses to open in the hamlet.
“We’re hoping others will do the same,” Valk said. “The new hardware store is very visible. It’s not on a back street. It’s right on the main stretch. I think it’s a great location and we hope they do well.”
Beck owns a total of five hardware and home and garden centers. In addition to the new one in Wallkill, he has two other stores in Pine Bush and one each in New Paltz and Monroe.
Beck, 56, began working in hardware stores as a teen while attending Ellenville High school. His father Ken Beck was a successful football coach at Ellenville for a number of years.
“I went into corporate for a long time in lumber and building materials in Newburgh,” Beck said. “I eventually made my way back eight years ago to the Pine Bush store where I was the general manager. Then I bought the two stores in Pine Bush in 2019.”
After purchasing the two Pine Bush stores, Beck opened his New Paltz store in March of 2022 and opened the Monroe store in April of 2022.
Beck’s brother Mark is working in the family hardware business with him and his sister Melissa is an attorney in New York City.
Beck said Town of Shawangunk officials approached him about the possibility of opening a store in the hamlet. The vacant building was formerly a Ford car dealership and then a warehouse for seamless gutters.
After purchasing the building at the end of 2021, Beck said work began shortly thereafter.
“We gutted it and it’s been redone right down to the studs,” he said. “Everything is new inside and out.”
The 6,000-square-foot building is stocked with rows and rows of hardware products. The shelves are well-organized with everything a local homeowner or contractor would want from a hardware store. The high ceilings, overhead fans and freshly painted walls offer an inviting atmosphere for shoppers.
Beck thought opening a hardware store in Wallkill was a good business decision.
“There was a hardware store (Weber’s Hardware and Paint) here for years,” Beck said. “I think that us coming into the town is the start of more businesses coming into town.”
When it comes to grills, Beck’s Wallkill has such popular brands as Weber, Blackstone and Traeger.
“We’re a master dealer for all of those,” Beck said. “It’s a huge category since COVID hit because a lot of people were home and they started cooking at home instead of going out to eat. We’ve probably tripled the size of that business in the last couple of years, and we’re dedicating more and more square footage to that.”
Benjamin Moore Paint remains Beck’s largest overall seller.
“Paint has always been our No. 1 department in the store,” he said.
Beck has been encouraged by the number of contractors who have purchased supplies as soon as the store swung open its doors in the past month.
“We have a good blend of homeowners and the builder professional coming in,” Beck said. “That’s a good sign for us. We’re expanding all our power tool lines now. If I look at our biggest area of growth going forward, I think it’s going to be contractors.”
Beck’s Wallkill figures to be a fixture in the Town of Shawangunk for years to come.
“We’re happy to be here,” Beck said.