[An earlier version of this story erroneously reported that Faerman Cash Register has closed, however owner Brian Faerman has clarified with us that although the building is for sale, he will be able to stay in the building for 3-6 months after the sale of the building goes through and he will operate from a new location after. The store is currently still open].
New York City is dense and diverse enough to support a plethora of stores that focus only on one item, from pencils to buttons to chopsticks. But many of these shops are coming under pressure from rising rents and neighborhood change. The Bowery, which traditionally has been a mecca for restaurant supplies and lighting, has been evolving fast with the arrival of boutique hotels and high-end retail in the last decade. One longtime establishment, Faerman Cash Register Co. is still in operation, but change is on the way.
The family company started all the way back in 1910 — when Bernard’s father and uncle started the business after immigrating to New York City from Poland. In 1965, Bernard bought 159 Bowery for $75,000, giving the business a permanent home, where he sold and repaired these machines. His son Brian joined the team as a third-generation owner and continues to run the store. Until now, Bernard and his son Brian have been working together, selling and repairing cash registers, scales, and other machines. “I think great customer service has allowed the business to last this long,” Brian tells us on a recent visit.
But times are changing. Median income in this area has risen drastically, and commercial rents have skyrocketed in tandem. The Faermans have put up the building at 159 Bowery for sale for $7.9 million, after noticing many vacant properties with ‘For Rent’ signs in the windows popping up over the years. Brian tells us, “Essentially, the city is forcing me to do it. My real estate taxes are around $50,000 a year and not many people use these old cash registers anymore. People just aren’t that interested. It’s a lot of money. I wish that my taxes that would go down, but unfortunately they won’t.”
The Faermans have been known to state that they would never leave the property, but it looks like that time has come. For Brian, who has worked his entire life in the cash register business, this appears to be relatively hard for him. Many of the vintage cash registers, however, will still be in good hands. In the meantime, although the building is for sale, Faerman will be able to stay in the building for 3-6 months after the sale of the building goes through so you can still find great vintage registers and get your repaired in the meantime. After that, he plans to operate in a new location and stay in business. “I’m taking all the cash registers with me,” he says.
Next, check out 8 Disappearing Neighborhoods in NYC.