We’re going back to 1956 New Jersey this week for Epstein’s Throwback Thursday for the grand opening of the Bigelow Rugs & Carpets Service Center in South Hackensack. This 131,000 square foot, $1.2M ($10.2 in 2014) facility provided Bigelow retailers along the eastern sales region a fast and efficient customer order handling outlet for all of their rug and carpet needs. This building featured two acres of storage space as well as one acre of workroom space and was able to store 2,500 rolls of carpet in the warehouse area and an additional 2000 rolls in the cut & finish area.
Order handling in this facility was very cutting-edge for 1956 and featured a teletype hook-up with each of Bigelow’s eastern region sales offices and the orders were then processed through an automatic machines in the Service Center. For instance, a permanent punched tape was prepared for all of Bigelow’s customers and when a customer placed an order that ‘tape’ was inserted into the automatic typing machine which produced the shipping ticket and bills of lading simultaneously in the shipping department. (We realize for our millennial followers that last paragraph made absolutely no sense, but equate it with something you are familiar with – think how Amazon knows all about you when you log on from past purchases, this is the same thing Bigelow was doing, but 50 years before Jeff Bezos perfected it online!)
This facility also featured the latest, most efficient labor-saving material handling equipment including automatic staking, ram-trucks and overhead cranes which assured fast selection and dispatching of orders. Additionally, the inside shipping and receiving docks were able to accommodate 4 railroad cars and 12 trailer trucks which featured ‘floating’ hydraulic docks which could be leveled to the exact height of truck floor.
Lastly, this facility featured a state-of-the-art laboratory and training center for Bigelow’s Carpet Cleaning Institute (sadly, they really were never able to perfect getting red wine stains out of white carpet!)