Small Town Economics 101

Over the time of this blog’s life, I have talked many times about the businesses along the street between Katonah and Mount Kisco, Route 117. It’s a motley assortment of unattractive storefronts, in varying degrees of occupancy.

Today, on my appointed rounds, I took a few photos.

I stopped first at Splash Car Wash, location #1. The car that came out before me was a black Dodge Charger and the man waiting for it was neat as a pin in a dark blue suit. I dared to say to him, “State Trooper?” Yes. We struck up a fun conversation, his car unmarked, and he added that he’s part of the governor’s detail, hence the suit and not uniform. I had to ask him about the car: how fast have you gotten this baby? His answer was hysterical. 55, of course!! He added the car “can” do about 150 but did not choose to tell me how he knows that!

#1 = current Splash location; #2 plans for new build at former Carvel store

I conned asked the management of Splash for a free wash that was due me on my birthday. The policy is free on the day, one day before or one day after your birthday, not a week, but hey, I’ve been going to that Splash for as long as they’ve been there so they nicely obliged.

Splash is about to vacate this location, and move up the street, not even a half mile. A very controversial new location that will be the demise of one of the last remaining Carvel buildings in New York. It was also controversial for the residents on the street behind the new location and what the car wash traffic will do for those residents coming and going home.

Design concept of new car wash
Design concept of new car wash
Say goodbye to this iconic Carvel store

The current Splash has an agreement with someone to buy it and keep it a carwash, so we’ll have two options for car cleanliness.

*Catty-corner*[see bottom of post] to the old Carvel building was, for a nano-second, the second home to our local Mercedes dealer, Estate Motors. Estate is up a ways on Route 684, in Golden’s Bridge, not a horrible distance for service etc., but not along the drag that is car dealer central. But something went wrong, it never opened, and now has a For Sale sign in the window.

Estate Motors even went so far as to add the steps and that huge round foonzie entrance to what had been a drab Dodge dealership previously.


But other dealerships are doing quite well – across the street is Honda, Acura and GMC/Buick, all booming business. So it begs the question of why Mercedes opted out (or was forced out?) of this space. Curiouser, if they don’t intend to occupy this building, you’d think they’d pay to take their signs down. Doesn’t look good for the image of the place. Curiousest: the four cars sitting there with for sale signs in them were all Audi’s!




For good economic news, this building, long ago a Dress Barn, then a used car lot, then was to be a kitchen cabinet store that never opened. Verizon moved from a smaller location down the street to this nice new spot with lots of parking and a dance studio came in last month so this building is now alive and well. A good thing.


Across the street, once the Range Rover dealer, still empty, going on a couple of years now. The Range Rover dealership moved to a newer space – they did not fold as a brand here.

And this poor store – it was a Hobby Shop forever, then they left or closed, then a dry cleaner for a couple of months, then a puppy-in-the-window store. Today, empty. I didn’t wish the puppy store owner illwill, but I have to say I am glad she has gone. No one should sell dogs in a window. The only glow left on the building is my bright reflection in the glass! 🙂

My conclusion: The economy of this stretch of road is good. More stores open and doing well than not. I don’t go to malls unless I absolutely have to, and even then, go kicking and screaming, so I am delighted to patronize all these small businesses. And that I did today. Oops, my car wash was free. Never mind.

I had to look this up at before I typed it. I wasn’t sure if it was catty or kitty or cater-corner. Much to my surprise…..

Catty-corner, kitty-corner
Catty-corner, kitty-corner, and cater-cornered all derive from the Middle English catre-corner, literally meaning four-cornered. All three forms are used throughout the English-speaking world. They usually mean positioned diagonally across a four-way intersection, but they can work in other contexts relating to one thing being diagonal from another.

While most dictionaries recommend cater-cornered, kitty-corner and catty-corner are more common in actual usage. The past-participial forms—i.e., kitty-cornered and catty-cornered—might be more grammatically correct, but the uninflected forms are more common.


Kitty-corner from Brownstone in Fort Worth, Fred’s serves terrific sloppy burgers and great fries. [Dallas Morning News]

The child then pointed catty-corner across Santa Rosa Avenue. [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

His trailer is cater-cornered to the crime scene, a fact he admitted shook him a little. [Columbia Daily Tribune]

Cowboys Stadium technically is in Arlington, Texas—not Dallas—kitty-cornered from where the Giants won the World Series in November. [San Jose Mercury News]

Who knew?

4 thoughts on “Small Town Economics 101

  1. It’s funny how these ugly commercial strips, which we train ourselves to not really see, are the best barometer of a town’s economic wellbeing. Far more meaningful than cute little shops or good restaurants.

    The fact that the first Splash location will still be a car wash is interesting! If I remember right, getting the permits to operate a car wash in the NYC suburbs (NY or CT) is a colossal production, as if it were a nuclear waste facility. (OK, slight exaggeration.) Perhaps that is the most valuable aspect of the property, and whoever is doing the financing demands that it be maintained?

    I enjoyed your report of the Dodge Charger conversation. Didn’t the Crown Vic used to be the law enforcement car of choice? I know that has changed–I can’t remember the last time I saw a Crown Vic–but I think I remember the charm of the Crown Vic was that it was not a unibody car, and I’m wondering if the Dodge Charger has that particular distinction. I’ll bet some of your readers will know.

    1. Betty: you are correct that getting a permit for a car wash is next to impossible. The waste water issue, any potential pollution to the ground, but in this application for the new Splash, that aspect seemed of little importance to the neighbors. The talk was all about traffic, how the cars coming into the wash would be directed, how they would exit, would they be backed up on the road that goes up to the homes? In the end, the neighbors had little voice in opposition to the car wash because for decades, the Carvel store had been there, had more traffic, was open longer, had noisier attendees who would linger and gather. It was open late into the night so the lawyers for the carwash felt the neighbors would have the benefit of the carwash – closes early. Closed on rainy days. Not exactly the place to meet a hot date. Plus, Splash is heavily invested in local charities, they always have benefits for police and fire departments or Little League. That’s of no consolation to the abutters but in the long run, they will be a better choice for the old Carvel than another fast food joint might have been.

      As for the police cars, yes to the Crown Vic being the old standard. Since this was an unmarked car to the governor’s detail (black on black, not even an ounce of chrome on the wheels), maybe that division uses the Charger. The trooper said it was a 2007. I was going to take a photo of the car but I don’t look so great in handcuffs!!

  2. Between your camera and question to the State Trooper, he is probably still checking you out for any and everything.

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