For as long as he can remember, Robert Molchan has loved the hardware business. Growing up in Middle Village, Queens, he often visited a nearby hardware store with his father, who worked in a machine shop.
“I loved the way everything was laid out, all the variety of things that hardware stores sell,” he said. “I found it fascinating. I knew I wanted to open my own one day.”
In 1983, Mr. Molchan’s dream came true when he opened a shop in what is now the King Kullen shopping center on Main Road in Cutchogue. He was living in Mattituck at the time and, he said, “I had done a lot of research on hardware stores for sale, and then I just decided I would open up one myself.”
For 10 years, Mr. Molchan operated that shop, which quickly drew a loyal customer base. Wanting a larger operation, he bought property just west on Main Road and built the structure that sits there today, with the “Cutchogue Hardware” sign proudly over the front door.
He has been at this location since 1993 and this month he began planning for his retirement, placing a “for-sale sign” at the curb in front of the building. “I have wanted to be in this business since I was a little kid,” Mr. Molchan, now 64, said on a sunny morning, standing inside the store with his son, Robert Jr.
“And it’s been a very good business,” he continued. “But it’s time to move on.”
Robert Jr., 27, has manned the cash register in the store since childhood, and said he will miss the daily bustle of the business but is in full agreement with his father’s decision to sell it and retire.. He said he will seek a management position in another business.
Mr. Molchan said both the building and the business are for sale. “I hope whoever buys it will keep the hardware store,” he said. “Cutchogue still needs it.”
The building, zoned Hamlet Business, has a 3,200-square-foot main floor, a similarly sized basement and an 1,800-square-foot second floor. It sits in the heart of Cutchogue, near the busy Wickham Farm Stand. It is on the market for $1.9 million.
“It’s been a great business,” Mr. Molchan said. “It’s what I always wanted.”