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First Harmon Store Reopens in New Rochelle

(l-r): Harmon CEO Jonah Raskas with local elected officials: New Rochelle City Councilman Matt Stern, Westchester County Executive/NY-16 Congressional nominee George Latimer (holding certificate) and Westchester County Legislator Judah Holstein. (Credit: Michael Turek)

The weekend of June 28, beauty store Harmon Discount of New Rochelle celebrated its official grand reopening. With the tagline of “Back and Better Than Ever,” Harmon celebrated the occasion with free samples and giveaways, as well as product demonstrations, and mini-makeovers.

On hand for the celebration and for the official cutting of the red ribbon was Westchester County executive and the newly minted Democratic candidate for Congress George Latimer, County Legislator Judah Holstein and New Rochelle City Council Member Matt Stern. Latimer presented Harmon Discount with a certificate of recognition.

“I’m happy to be here,” exclaimed Latimer. “I have campaign offices right upstairs, and when I get one of those ‘honey-do’ lists, I have a place to go. Good luck, Godspeed and anything we can do to help you: The city, the county, we want to cut through the red tape with a safe pair of scissors and make sure you have a successful run.”

In February 2023, parent company Bed Bath & Beyond closed the entire Harmon chain. Then, two months later, Bed Bath & Beyond declared bankruptcy. New Rochelle resident Jonah Raskas purchased the intellectual property and the trademark of Harmon in August 2023. He is now the owner and CEO. Before Harmon’s closure, the chain had 50 stores. The New Rochelle location is the first to reopen. The next Harmon store slated to reopen (in late August) is in West Caldwell, New Jersey, near Livingston.

Quaker Ridge Shopping Center adorned with bunting celebrating their tenant’s grand re-opening.

The reopened stores will follow the same Harmon model, as Raskas explained: “It worked. When it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Harmon was a good business; nothing was wrong with it. It just happened to be owned by Bed Bath & Beyond. It went under, which then took Harmon under.”

Raskas described the reaction from shoppers to the reopened store. “Several people have said it’s a mitzvah, as in a positive commandment. Many have just said, ‘Hallelujah.’ They were so happy and excited. There’s just been above and beyond exuberance and excitement across the entire landscape. People have been missing this store and coming to a place where they can come and treat themselves. Harmon really catered to that, which is something really special and really exciting.”

Harmon was a staple in the New Rochelle community. “We have been highlighting ‘Welcome back to your Harmon,’” Raskas said. “It’s a very different experience and type of feeling when you go into a Harmon versus any other type of store. The prices are really competitive and, many times, the best around. We continue to focus on that because people want to feel like they are getting the best bang for their buck.”

Raskas stated that shoppers see the competitive pricing and, as a result, they bring their entire shopping list. “People say it’s the one place where they can get everything.”

In their invitation to customers for the grand reopening the store showed that they offer trial-size and travel-size needs, beauty, hair care, skin care, cosmetics, health and personal care, a camp headquarters, and flash sales. Noting what truly sets Harmon apart is the Trial & Travel and Professional Haircare sections, Raskas described how there are very few stores around the area that carry the same assortment of products in these categories. In addition, the New Rochelle store is also carrying a large number of kosher snack products.

New Rochelle resident Sarra Lorbert said: “I’m so happy to have Harmon back in the community. It has truly filled a need. The store is stocked with useful products at reasonable prices. I needed to get my girls ready for camp. I brought them to Harmon, they ran loose in the store, and, in the end, I was able to get everything they needed for camp. No other local store compares to what Harmon offers us.”

Yael Fraenkel of New Rochelle added: “I love the fact that there are so many kosher products. I love that there are products in Harmon that I can’t find anywhere else.”

Proud store owner Raskas concluded: “Most important is everything was going well with Harmon and, therefore, we want to just continue doing what was done already.”

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