Beautiful Windows and Storm Door.Patricia S.
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Thank you to our customers who voted us
We at PROWN’S are very pleased to be celebrating our 95th anniversary. For nearly 75 years, our 3rd generation family business had been located on Broad Street in Red Bank, NJ, until our recent move to 135 Monmouth Street.
It all started on July 20th 1925, when my grandfather, Max Prown, went into the 5¢ & 10¢ business with Mr. Julius Cooper. The store, named "PROWN-COOPER", was located at 47 Broad Street (known then as the Truex Building, now the present location of Olde Monmouth Candies). Products included school dresses for $.87, coal scuttles for $.49 and phonograph records for $.39!
In 1929, my grandfather bought the business out from Cooper and the store became known as National 5¢, 10¢, & $1.00 stores (Because we expanded to 6 store locations from Woodbridge to Lakewood). The multiple locations didn’t work out that well as my grandfather spent most of the time in his car. So he closed all the stores except Red Bank. The store name was changed to Prown’s with our famous slogan "PROWN’S has everything" (even today we still carry everything for your home improvement needs).
One evening in August, 1960, an electrical short led to a major fire that completely devastated the store and several other shops and offices. That fire required 350 firemen and 6 hours to put out. My grandfather learned of the fire when driving home from a Rotary Club barbecue with his wife Matilda. Seeing all the excitement in town, he asked a fireman where the fire was. That fireman, not knowing my grandfather, simply replied, "PROWN’S" - can you imagine the look on my grandfather’s face!
Although 61-years-old at the time, as early as the day after the fire, my grandfather announced that he would rebuild bigger & better than ever. With the help of several local businesses, they were able to continue to operate the home improvement division from a temporary location.
On February 15, 1961, Max Prown and his 40 proud employees re-opened at 32 Broad Street. At this location, the store continued to prosper, selling "EVERYTHING" for the home (The neon PROWN’S sign out front of the present store is the only fixture that survived the fire).
In the summer of ‘68, my grandfather died suddenly and quietly one evening at home with Matilda. My father, Jules D. Prown, a professor at Yale when he inherited the business, announced that the store would continue under the leadership of his cousin and long-time store General Manager, Edward A. Straus.
After working several years in the store, I was very pleased to be asked to carry on the family business as President following the retirement of Edward Straus in the early ‘90s. Much of our success can be linked to our very close and long-time relationship with our customers. As stated several times by Ed Straus, "Our employees have built up confidence among our customers. We deal in politeness - our selling staff clings to old fashioned virtues and treats every customer as they themselves would like to be treated".
With the changes in Downtown Red Bank and changes in the consumer shopping opportunities, it became clear that the days of a "Five and Dime", single location, variety store were nearing their end.
On January 1, 2003, I announced the transition of the Prown's business from a variety store to a dedicated Home Improvement business specializing in custom windows, doors and window fashions.
We moved around the corner to 135 Monmouth Street and have a full Home Improvement showroom that is open 7 days a week.
While many other businesses have come and gone, our clear and simple approach set us apart and carried us forward today in our dedicated Home Improvements Business.
THANK YOU !!
David M. Prown