Friday, January 12, 2018

Scotto Funeral Home And Sal's Pizzeria: Is Carroll Gardens About To Lose Two Long-Time Businesses?

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Pardon Me For Asking began as a celebration of Carroll Gardens more than ten years ago. In that decade, our little Brooklyn neighborhood has undergone tremendous changes. It has been painful to witness the closing of many small, locally-owned businesses to make way for the arrival of anonymous chains.
Some of the closings are due to ever increasing commercial rents.  Some, however, are due to the fact that neighborhood merchants, who also own their own commercial space, may be tempted to close their family business to become landlords to a high paying tenant.
When the high monthly rents potentially bring in more money than revenue from one's own business, who can blame the local shop owners?

Whether this is the reason behind Scotto Funeral Home and Sal's Pizzeria, two long time family-owned businesses here in Carroll Gardens, advertising their commercial spaces or not, their more-than-likely closure represents a nail in the coffin for the old neighborhood. (Sorry for the pun.)

Scotto Funeral Home
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Scotto Funeral Home at 104 -106 1st Place was founded in 1926 by the Scotto family.
The business is situated in the middle of four brownstones owned by the family.
The imminent departure of the funeral home from this location has been rumored about for a while now. A listing for the huge space, which has been posted on the web site of real estate firm CPEX, would confirm what local residents had long suspected.
For generations of Italian-Americans in Carroll Gardens, Scotto's has been an integral part of the community. It is sad to imagine that one day, in the near future, the space may be occupied by a Gap or a Starbucks.

Sal's Pizzeria and Mama Mia
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Sadly, another CPEX listing for 305 and 307 Court Street would indicate that Sal's Pizzeria and Mama Maria are also ready to close. Both the businesses and the buildings are owned by John Esposito.  Sal's was founded by John's parents Sal and Maria, who opened the pizzeria in the 1970's.
In 2012, the two businesses were featured on British chef Gordon Ramsay's television show Kitchen Nightmare, which may (or may not) have helped the eateries.

This, too, is a huge commercial space that may attract a chain rather than a locally-owned business.  After 40 plus years, it will be strange to see a new store occupy this corner of the neighborhood.

Change here in Carroll Gardens, as in the rest of New York City, seems inevitable.


32 comments:

Katia said...

I know this news will generate lots of emotions amongst many here in Carroll Gardens, I ask that comments remain respectful to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember Ebel's? Or even the sportswear store where Blockbuster was, where Union Market is now? When there were multiple butchers? Or even multiple theaters?

Retail evolves, tastes evolve, the economy evolves. Clientele evolves. The big houses that used to be for big families to all live in got cut up into small apartments, and are now being converted back to big houses, usually with fewer residents than before.

No neighborhood can be the same forever. What a disgusting, horrifically static world that would be. Change is not a good or a bad thing, it just is.

Oh, and I've never liked John's slices.

Carole Gardens said...

I have been here 30 years and I too have seen so many changes Katia. This is what I think: When the local economy and the local merchants are LOCAL that gives a neighborhood a flair all unto itself. A stability. A presence of people who are involved and who care. You can like these people or hate these people but they make the neighborhood a specific place with a specific flair. So many of the local businesses were run by people who lived near by. The Mom and Pop economy.

Sure tastes change and things change. The economy evolves etc. But there was a stability and a charm here that is exactly the reason developers and real estate agents were drawn to develop and market CG in the first place. They are still marketing us that way even as we lose these features one by one! Carroll Gardens became a "BRAND" and developers and real estate people were quick to seize on it. Why was it successful? Hell yes. Because the CG the brand said we were Mom and Pop with "old world charm" and "stability" and tree lined "SAFE streets" etc etc.

Do you remember the first time Carroll Gardens was featured as a desirable nabe in the NY Times? I sure do. That is the kiss of death for the rents and local economy as far as I am concerned.

Anyhow this is the way it is all over the place not just here. I am certainly powerless over these economic forces myself. But try to get a mortgage here in one of these banks even as a resident and homeowner living here so log. It is NOT so easy anymore. Try calling your local roofer. He closed. Your local Affordable restaurants and take-outs? Bye bye. Your local real estate broker? Moved her office. Your selection of local supermarkets and food markets? Banks and chains in their place. People you know on the streets these days who smile and say hello to you? Very few.

What is the impact of all this in the long term? To me it is obvious. Carroll Gardens loses its personality and soul and becomes another anonymous place with high rents and lots of people who come and go through here. Is this the way capitalism has designed us to be and act? I am not an economist. But think about the emotional and psychological impact of watching this happen all around you. The sadness and the grief. The anger. Does all this change impact np one? Are those impacted only "NIMBY's"? Is money the only reason we allow all this to happen around us?

Are the overall impacts of this kind of change to a neighborhood beneficial or not? Who is helped and who is not? In the long run is it better for all concerned? There are many wise people who study these phenomena. See here: https://www.amazon.com/Zoned-Race-Displacement-City-Planning/dp/0996004130/ref=sr_1_2/134-2888147-2048518?ie=UTF8&qid=1515780426&sr=8-2&keywords=zoned+out
and here:
https://www.amazon.com/How-Kill-City-Gentrification-Neighborhood/dp/1568585233/ref=sr_1_3/134-2888147-2048518?ie=UTF8&qid=1515780426&sr=8-3&keywords=zoned+out

Is there no other bottom line in our country than the all mighty dollar? How will our children feel about this? How do WE really feel about all this? Is it really "worth" it?

Anonymous said...

To Carole Gardens, one more question: What can we, who love the neighborhood, do to preserve what we love about it, besides patronizing local businesses and voting? One can only spend so much of one's budget in the local stores.

Carole Gardens said...

I am honored that someone has asked me a question so here goes! Besides patronizing local businesses and voting IMHO you can do any one (or all) of the following things (and others I have failed to mention here):

Generally speaking:
Local public meetings and alliances are of utmost importance!
Pick any one thing and attend on regular basis and SPREAD THE WORD! The spreading of the word is the most important aspect.
One can form a group with a few other concerned citizens and then each member of the group can take turns attending the meetings and then keeping the others informed so that not everyone has to attend each time. But the word must be spread.
Everyone has busy lives yes (!) but staying involved with local issues and local politics is CRITICAL. Without continuing commitment and support from local residents Carroll Gardens becomes a place where external forces can easily make decisions without our consent.

For example:

1) There are local CAG meetings where the future of the Gowanus Clean-Up are discussed and the public is invited. Up-Zoning and Eminent Domain are tied up with the clean-up so the Gowanus Canal clean-up is a HUGE and important local issue.
https://gowanuscag.org/index.php/page/4/

2) There are very important Community Board Meetings for CB 6 where the public is invited. The Community Board handles so many issues critical to the community. Again the public is invited.
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/brooklyncb6/index.page

3) The FROGGS (Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus) are an extraordinary group of citizen activists who have been advocating for this neighborhood for many years and who have a wealth of information about this area. The public is invited to their meetings!
http://froggbrooklyn.org/

4) A Carroll Gardens Civic Association that invites the public to monthly meetings re: local Issues is either no longer in existence or barely functioning. A new vital and energetic one with young and NEW people to the nabe is desperately needed is it not?

5) Local politicians including Brad Lander who talk a good talk but is who held "in check" not by ordinary constituents but by developer lobbies like SO MANY of our local (and state/federal) politicians need to be held accountable!

5) Get involved and stay on top of the issues by reading Katia's marvelous blog daily :
Katia is a true gem and resource for this neighborhood and this blog is a labor of love. How many neighborhoods have a Katia?
But she can not carry the whole neighborhood by herself. No one can. We are in this together folks.

Our community voices need to be heard as a collectivity is what I am saying.
Citizen activism is the ONLY WAY in our society to maintain a democracy. This is obvious on the federal as well as local level isnt it? Please help me add to this list and perhaps Katia will blog the list and add to it as well.
We need a Citizens'/Residents' Manual perhaps..
a Citizen's List of things we all must do to ensure we live in a place where we have a voice.

Kind regards, Carole

Anonymous said...

It's all over for Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill. Each street has at LEAST one long-term gut renovation with giant dumpsters out front everywhere. The amount of construction and truck noise in this neighborhood is unbearable. While some people genuinely do care, they are the few passionate ones who care very much. The majority doesn't care the Manhattanization of the community is now complete. There is dog crap EVERYWHERE. Those that clean up after their dog are the minority. Those that are texting on their phone making believe they didn't see their dog do it's business and not clean up, are the majority. I've had to verbally and physically confront these people. There are more nannies taking care of children than mothers taking care of their own kin. No sense of community. The library isn't for books anymore, it's for childcare. People don't stop to say hello or even look up from their phone when passing on the sidewalk unless their children are in the same $20,000 nursery school. It's Williamsburg 2.0. Sorry, I don't want to pay $4 for a cup of coffee at East One and sit with a bunch of laptop zombies. Was the coffee better at Happy Pants? No. But at least I could talk - have an actual human conversation with the patrons about the Yankees. It's only poetic that a funeral home is potentially closing, because that combined with one of the best slice places in NYC gone, would in fact be the death of a dying neighborhood. Change is good. Buddy knows that. You have to stay ahead of the curve. But this trajectory and brand of change that is happening is the bad kind. I'm done talking, tweeting and writing about it. After many years in the neighborhood, we are moving out. Not because we are being priced out, but rather to be somewhere that offers charm and community. Sense of place has been lost. I would like to personally thank Valentino the cat for putting up with me knocking on the window all these years, special thanks to the ladies at Caputo's Bakery for always knowing my order. And an extra special thanks to Katia who runs one of the best blogs in America. Although soon it may be brought to you by Starbucks.

Katia said...

Carole, well done. Thanks for this.

South Brooklyn Memories said...

It is a sad reality about the ever changing dynamics of a wonderful community. Sadly, the mom and pop businesses can no longer afford the rents and those who own properties with retail stores are finding it more financially feasible to rent than continue operating their own businesses. Both Scotto's Funeral Home and Sal's Pizzeria are legends. They were run with heart and soul. And their loss will be tremendous for those of us who remember a different time.

I remember Smith Street before it underwent its "rebirth" more then twenty years ago and how it has gone through so many changes as well.

Carroll Gardens/South Brooklyn is not the same place; replaced by a different style and nuance. Perhaps, it is just the way life goes. Nothing remains the same; its bittersweet and difficult to accept. Memories are special and there are so many. And for so many of us we will grieve the loss of Scotto's and Sal's and we can look back sand say, "remember when.."

Anonymous said...

Good change: Losing parking spots to Citibike. Bad Change: Losing parking spots to a car share program (Kinda defeats the purpose). Good Change: D'Amicos updating the inside of the shop a couple of years ago to appeal to broader clientele. Bad Change: Marietta's sign not being preserved after closing and the installation of neon red UBREAK I FIX bordering a historic district. Good Change: Recycle bins along Court & Smith St. Bad Change: Not seeing Frank the real-estate man at Strong Place bar because yet ANOTHER good business has closed down. We can all go on and on and on.

Anonymous said...

I am very sad to hear about this. My wife and I were just at Sal's yesterday and John didn't mention this to us.
Sure will miss the delicious pizza and the long chats with Sal and the two guys behind the counter. They are all great people.

Anonymous said...

This makes me so sad. I'm born and raised here, living in the house I was almost born in since 1960. I have wonderful memories of the neighborhood growing up. We've been through our tough times when people left the neighborhood because it was bad.
I remember going to Coney Island as a kid with all the Italian families,mine included as well as the family of Sals pizzeria back in the 60's.
Neighbors were neighbors, we looked out for one another,sat on the stoops,patronized all the mom and pop shops.
It's not the same. The sidewalks and streets are filthy, we had more stray dogs back then with less poop on the sidewalks. Now we have more dog owners and more dog poop left behind.
My mother,father and most recently my sister all passed away. My home keeps me here because of the memories, but the neighborhood sadly has become colder and the second Manhatten. Community? Gone. It's all about money, real estate,money,real estate...
Ah yes...Buddy's dream came true.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. John Esposito inherited the pizza joint. Surely he’s entitled to move on and give back to his kids. I hope he saves the sign. It’s the best. When I moved here in 1989 it was Mola and Sals for slices. So many other options now. Scottos is also an older man. Why not give up the ship? But now are there any funeral homes left? Raccuglia is done. As the original residents begun to retire or die the change is eminent. I’d say Greenpoint remains very Polish. There just aren’t many of the old guard Italians here anymore. And I miss them. Their stories. There a few lovely older people who still live and shop here. The older woman who is always dressed so tidy. Her tweed suits. She is carrying on. Say hello to her. She’s wonderful. As far as shopping Local well. Union Market is the new Local. But so is a Atlantic avenue. And the shoe repair on smith. And Scottos. Not everything has to be Mac Cosmetics. Yes. The death of Marietta was handled badly. That family was scrambling. And my heart was breaking. But desperate times call for desperate acts, George Bailey. Just be happy we have no glass towers beyond our stoops. My building is filled with narcissistic millenials. Would it kill half of them to buy food from Key Food and not Fresh Direct? Let alone bring other people’s boxes inside the door. 2018 is the deathnell for many. Not just our hood. Europeans just keep moving in while we should be the ones moving there! Anyway. Court Pastry lives! Be happy.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to stumble across this blog, I've been out of the neighborhood for 20 years. My mom still owns and lives in Carroll Gardens. What can i say, when I come to visit I feel the sense of excitement but then I walk around and envision what my neighborhood use to be and boy do I miss it. No one, I mean no one, will ever have the childhood I had. I only wish my kids could!
Everyone was you friend, I mean everyone. 20 blocks by 20 blocks deep. We were afraid to do anything wrong because we knew someones mother was always watching. I don't think there will ever be a neighborhood like mine ever again. Sad but true.
Good luck new comers! I know change is inevitable, but not always good!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Manhattan. You all know how that borough turned out. But we were all neighborhoods. Then I moved to Brooklyn 30 years ago. First cobble Hill where my husband and I were married. Then to Carroll Gardens. I felt that old feeling I had growing up in Manhattan. But now we see the end of all that. And we mourn for what has been lost. It was time for us to say goodbye and now live in a very lovely village in Long Island in a house built in 1907 and 40 minutes by LIRR to Brooklyn. Our sons find it easy to visit on the train from Atlantic Terminal. They remain in Carroll Gardens for now but have trouble coping with the changes as well even though they are only 30 and 32. So, the young are affected as well. So it remains for us to keep the faith and the beauty of the place in our hearts. Cent’anni a tutti!

Anonymous said...

Every generation has a sense of loss as they see shops and restaurants that they are attached to close. After 68 years here, I have seen my share of change. Some for the better and some for the worst. One thing I can tell you is that my father talked of "how it used to be" with a sense of sadness and even anger! I'm sure his father did too, going back to the 1920s! If you go back far enough, someone was complaining about the ponds and streams being filled in to build brownstones!

Connie Verano said...

what about court pastry. Is it closed for renovation or closed permanently? Anyone know? I am reading different stories. thank you

Anonymous said...

I moved to Carroll Gardens in 1988, and still remember the day I stumbled into the neighborhood. Parked on the corner of Union & Henry in front of the old Nino's & instantly fell in love. The neighborhood was nothing fancy, ethnically Italian, some young people moving in circa "Moonstruck." I lived thru the fireworks on the 4th of July, the older people sitting on their lawn chairs in front of their houses in the summer, waving to me as I walked home. On Sundays, tomato sauce waifed thru the air, most of the stores were closed, and you had to go to Park Slope or Brooklyn Hts. if you wanted to shop. My husband & I bought a co-op, then eventually sold and bought a small house. We raised our daughter, and I spent years in Carroll Park with my friends and their kids, not worried because Kathleen the park lady was there. The Halloween parades, movies in the park, walking to playdates. I am so grateful to have lived in this beautiful community for nearly 30 years. We moved 2 years ago to another Brooklyn neighborhood, which in many ways reminds me of Carroll Gardens "back in the day." Bur truth be told, there will never be another Carroll Gardens. Change happens, it's inevitable. But as many comments have stated, fight to preserve what's left - shop local, be involved!

Katia said...

Connie, no worries. Court Pastry opened again after resolving problems with the Health Department.

Anonymous said...

The short answer to your question is YES. The longer answer "nothing stays the same everything changes". The people moving into Carroll Gardens nothing about living with generations of your family on the same street or caring about your neighbors. They care about their cell phones and texts and making money. They have forgotten how to communicate with someone unless its in 140 Characters. Saying hello to a neighbor might involve actually knowing that neighbors name. Their children's nanny know more about their kids than they do. They are the children of the computer age. When they shop they look for logos that they know, the national brands, mostly on Amazon. Shopping local mean nothings, unless local means on their home computers. These are the kids who were always told by their parents that they were special. And they are special, so special that they don't need to be part of a COMMUNITY.

MFF said...

Hi. Katia, thank you for doing a wonderful job with PMFA. It’s a daily must-read for me. While I don’t have much connection to the Scotto funeral home, I would be sad to see Sal’s close. It’s not the best pizza, but I go there for a solid slice with my young boys all the time.

I want to say a few words on the direction of the neighborhood and the negativity I see in the comment sections. A disclaimer: I was not raised in this area. I can’t claim a lifelong connection to some of the older businesses, nor can I compare the community to prior eras. But, this neighborhood is home for me and my family. My wife and I have lived here since 2007 and intend to raise our children here. I’m also attached to many of the businesses, and find it upsetting when they close. It’s always top of my mind when I shop. As my wife can attest, I refuse to buy anything on Amazon - or any online retailer - and will scour every block to buy local, however obscure the item.

While I’ve felt my share of dismay at closings, I am optimistic about the direction of the neighborhood and find many negative comments unfair. It’s harsh to broadly condemn the neighborhood when a business that has been around for an entire generation comes to its end. It is an impressive feat to last that long. To argue that it must last ANOTHER generation, and otherwise declare the neighborhood a nameless, corporatized wasteland is, well, a bit much. Perhaps the owner’s children want to do something else. Perhaps tastes have evolved. There is nothing wrong with either.

To me, the question is not whether some businesses go with time, it’s what replaces them? Too many fixate on select changes that we - including myself - don’t like, while ignoring many new small businesses that have arrived, which still make up the majority of openings (impressive given broader retail dynamics). In the last couple months, we’ve had ambitious and terrific restaurants open - like Ugly Baby and Dumonet. Ugly Baby is perhaps the best Thai in NY. We’ve had other good arrivals in the last year - like FOB, Big Tiny, White Maize, Indian Table, and Gumbo Bros. East One’s coffee may be expensive, but the owners are passionate, the offering is quality, it’s a community space. If we extend to Columbia Waterfront or Gowanus, we find other great additions like Popina and Claro. We added a lovely bakery in Charlotte Patisserie, a beautiful new bar in Barely Disfigured, charming retailers like Disco and Born. And then we have Books are Magic, where a local author did something radical in this day and age - she opened an independent bookstore. That never happens anymore. It’s terrific, and it has been embraced. All in just the last year. These are not multi-generational beauties like Espositos (yet), but they are run by sincere folks who are no more corporate and no less local. We should recognize and support them with just as much vigor as we mourn a closing, not place disproportionate attention on losses and make sweeping declarations about the “death” of the neighborhood. A static commercial corridor with no evolving offerings isn’t ideal; a mix of old and new is better, as long as there’s a local flavor to both.

I have a recommendation for those dismayed at the direction of Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill: if you haven’t already, go to the tiny storefront with the stale “Coffee Shop” sign on Henry & Pacific, called Lillo’s. You’ll be greeted by Lillo himself, a warm, humble Italian. There are perhaps a dozen seats. You’ll think the clocks have rewound 50 years and you’re sitting at Lillo’s kitchen table in an Italian village. There are a couple menu boards, but Lillo will just ask: “what would you like to eat? I’ll make whatever you want”. Twice I had pasta, and for $13 he made a generous portion of pure deliciousness. Lillo will let you sit there all day, perhaps toss in a homemade pastiere for your kids; you’ll feel like time has stopped, and all is well. I dare anyone to go there and walk away thinking the neighborhood has lost its soul. Cheers to feeling blessed to live here.

Katia said...

Beautifully written, MFF. Thanks for the reminder that it is not all about loss here in Carroll Gardens. Yes, we have gained lots of nice new stores in the neighborhood that deserve our business. I have only stopped at Lillo's once for coffee, but now I will definitely stop by again...and more often.

Anonymous said...

Mff has good points. Charlotte Patisserie has filled a gap but the Greenpoint shop is where the items are made. Not on court street.

Anonymous said...

I'm 65 now, lived there all my life, raised my kids there till junior high, then we're asked to leave after over 45 years.
GREED ! When we visit "They" call us " Used to be's", meaning we used to live there ... Horrible, that neighborhood was our little town.

nancy said...

My family has lived in Carroll Gardens since the early 1900's. so I have, via my parents, a long memory of 'when things were different.' Butchers, bakers, hat makers, etc. but those businesses can't exist in the 21st century. Long hours, high overhead, etc.. But how do you retain our neighborhood as an "Urban Village." It may be impossible. In the 1970's I and a small group of neighbors petitioned theCity to Landmark Carroll Gardens...we are between two landmark neighborhoods Cobble Hill and Park Slope. The Powers that Be here opposed Landmarking the area. Hence, we got only a Carroll and President and Hoyt,Smith Square. There will be eroding of Carroll Gardens, as we know and love it. Look around the canal. Just look at Scotto's-every house has lost its stoop. But we go on. For me, this is not the hip place to be- it is my home, my roots, my heritage. Change will come, people will come.But they will want their wifi, their cappucino, their conveniences. In the long run: is a wifi coffee shop any different than the old social clubs where men played cards --both served its purpose...at least the old men talked between hands

MichelleOcampo said...

Eat Here : Marquet-Patisserie 221 Court St. at Warren
We are fortunate to still have them in the neighborhood.

Steve B said...

I can relate and sympathize with all the posts. Remember when Smith street was no street? Anyway for all those that asked what can you do, learn the real truth not the REBNY crap always blurted out by the politicos. Simple, become an expert, take a few minutes and get up to speed on the rigging at City Hall. www.SmallBusinessCongress.org

Connie Verano said...

does anyone know about Court Pastry store? is it closed permanently?

Anonymous said...

I don't really think the NYT had much to do with the popularity of the neighborhood since I think that profile was written back in 2002? I had already heard about the area when I first moved to Brooklyn in 98. Even back in 2001 when I moved here I remember local real estate agents telling me and my friend it would be hard to find a two bedroom under 2,000 back then because it was a popular neighborhood. I think retail in general is going through a transition and it's not just here in Brooklyn or NYC. It's nation-wide. As MFF noted, there is still non-chain businesses opening up. If Scotto's and Sal's are leaving because they don't want to do this anymore I can't fault them. At some point you'd like to retire and maybe your kids don't want to do what you did.

Toni Leatherman said...

I grew up in Carroll Gardens. I actually work for Madison Estates on Douglass St. I lived in Maryland for a while my husband was stationed in DC. I couldn't wait to move back. I have and always will love downtown south Brooklyn. To me I was privileged to grow up in this community. Change is going to happen regardless of how we feel. I'm proud to have grown up in one of the most sought after places in Brooklyn. I had the best of both worlds my family was from both Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. I love bringing my children and grandchildren around and tell them stories of what use to be. Just as
my parents and grandparents did with me. This is my take on this. Carroll Gardens will always be beautiful and I will always hold it dear in my heart. It wasn't the buildings and streets that made it special it was the people, it was us. Progress and change will always move forward not just here but in every neighborhood. It was a different time there was a huge sense of community, life was simpler. We all looked out and took care of each other. That's what's changed, not just in Carroll Gardens but in every neighborhood. I'm just thankful for the wonderful friendships and memories. Boy we may not have had much but we had each other and no one can change or take that from us!! I will always be a neighborhood girl no matter where I am.

Katia said...

Thank you for this, Toni. A lovely sentiment.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Carroll Gardens for nearly ten years. I have never heard a single neighborhood person referred to as a "leftover" or "used to be." EVER. Where are the long-time Carroll Gardeners hearing this false information -- or do nannies or the neighborhood youth call their relatives this? Whatever it is, it seems to be simply a hurtful rumor that was probably started by one person and has been perpetuating for at least a decade. It makes its way into every neighborhood, online response. I'm frankly tired of hearing "they call us _____" because it seems to create division. Who is "they?"

Mildred Ciscone said...

Here here !!! So do I and many others. Most of us got married in our churches. Our loved ones got treated with care from our funerals homes. Everything changes and we have to kno and respect that. Store owners get old and if the new family members aren’t choosing that busy. There got sell. All our old store owners are going to warmer places during retirement. Enjoy your lives no matter where you are. We loved every single convience of walking to the stores for years. Fresh mozzarella store. Hoyt Italian bread. Pastries. Fishes. Pork stores etc....