Robert Rickel, the co-founder of northeastern home center chain Rickel Brothers, died at the age of 90.
Robert and his two brothers, Alvin and Morty, opened their first hardware store in 1945, and the Rickel Brothers' “Buy Direct and Save” approach to home center retailing showed tremendous growth through the late 70s, growing to about 100 stores at its peak.
The stores operated in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and embraced a combination of ease of shopping and DIY advice. The phrase “Rickle helps you do it better,” was a slogan, a memorable jingle and a pioneering attitude for home improvement retailing.
Robert was the last surviving Rickel brother. Morty died in 1980 and Alvin in 2008.
Robert served in World War II, as did both of his brothers, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross.
The Rickel brothers sold the business in 1969, but Robert stayed on as CEO.