(WTNH) – Sometimes we walk past a place dozens of times and never notice it.
There is a store in downtown New Haven that’s been around for almost 150 years and many people have never paid attention or gone inside.
It sits behind an overgrown tree downtown, with an old neon sign. You can tell it’s been there for years.
AD Perkins Company was established in 1876, which makes it 145 years old.
The country was celebrating its Centennial with 38 stars on the flag and Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.
Arthur Perkins started the company part-time in a mercantile exchange hardware store as a mail order small pocket stamps with a pad.
Perkins worked closely with Charles Goodyear, the New Haven native and inventor of vulcanized rubber.
Jay Smilovich runs the place now, which has branched out over the years making signs and so forth, and still produces trademark rubber stamps. There are only five employees there, all of whom have worked there for more than 30 years.
“You can’t stand still and you need to treat people the way you like to be treated and I can say with confidence people like to deal with us,” Smilovich said.
Perkins has some big clients like Yale, which means some pretty famous people use Perkins products.
“Paul McCartney wore out nametag, Bill Gates wore our nametag,” Smilovich said.
But Smilovich said what brings him great joy are products with an emotional story behind them, like their “63” pin.
“This was for Firefighter Torres and his funeral. 62 signifies class they wore at his funeral,” Smilovich said.
To see the full story, watch the video above.