Little Neck merchant nails customer service

Photo by Phil Corso
By Phil Corso

There are not many fair-weather customers for North Shore Hardware owner Michael Steinberg, whose business flexes its muscles when Mother Nature is at her worst.

The Little Neck mom-and-pop shop has existed for almost 40 years, a period in which Steinberg said he saw a lot of changes. A warming climate put a shift in his clientele’s shopping habits, so Steinberg said he and his crew have learned to be ready for anything.

“Last year was one of the hottest years on record, but our prices didn’t rise,” Steinberg said. “Weather directly impacts our sales here.”

Manager David Mendez said North Shore Hardware shined the brightest in the wake of intense weather, when its inventory is at the highest demand. After Superstorm Sandy battered her way up the East Coast, North Shore management said locals were flooding the shop for the essentials.

“You really can’t adapt to the changes in the weather,” Steinberg said. “You need to be stocked at all times.”

Even during an in-between period such as mid-March, North Shore Hardware was stocked for all the seasons. On one side of the store, shovels line the shelves in preparation for an unexpected last-minute snowfall. Just a few feet away, however, a broad array of gardening necessities sat at the ready for the coming summer months.

North Shore Hardware was originally established in nearby Great Neck, L.I., when Steinberg’s father William opened the business. Since moving to Little Neck, the store owner said he saw Northern Boulevard’s entrepreneurial landscape ebb and flow dramatically while his shop remained a stable institution, providing him with a loyal following.

And because he lives in nearby Bayside, Steinberg said he has a handy finger on the pulse of northeast Queens’ needs.

“We give our customers service and experience,” Steinberg said. “That’s why they come back.”

Wife Candy Steinberg said North Shore Hardware has become known as more than your typical hardware shop, where someone might go for their routine handy essentials. She said the shop had its roots firmly planted in Little Neck and has learned how to be there for its customers.

“This isn’t just a hardware store. It’s a variety store,” she said. “It has everything. We’re more than just tools.”

North Shore Hardware operates out of 252-11 Northern Blvd. in Little Neck and is open seven days a week. For more information, the store can be reached by phone at 718-229-2101.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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