As I was walking along the Boulevard recently I reminisced about some of the wonderful
happenings and the great business people I had the pleasure of knowing and working with
for so many years. One of those very valuable people was Neil Parrott. What a wonderful
person...tough but loyal to his friends and to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights residents.
He worked hard, but I knew him as a hero to a very dear friend of mine.
A young mother who had a terrible problem with a neighbor. Neil sold that family a home
and was so shocked at the problems, he bought back the home, relocated the entire family
and did not sell that home for many many years. He rented it, but never to a family
unaware of the problems they might encounter. What a Guy!
He was a stockholder in The Observer newspaper and paid for his advertisement/column. He
expressed his views and shook the town to its roots at times, but everyone rushed to
Fisher's Luncheonette on Wednesday to pick up an early copy of The Observer to read what
Neil had to say. By the way they bought the newspaper even though they would receive it on
Thursday in the mail at home. They just couldn't wait. The buzzing that went on was
amazing and FUN!
He was a really fabulous person and a great "boss" to work with...and I mean
with! He and I had a great friendship and shared our hopes and dreams for the town. He
later brought his home to Sussex and had a second office there.
However, he did spend much of his time in the White House where he maintained his own
living quarters. He divided his time between Heights and Sussex. I was in Sussex the other
day with a friend of mine who purchased a beautiful old church and is in the process of
converting it to her home and a vintage clothing business. I'll share more on that at
another time. It was a heavenly spot with a babbling brook behind the church with a quaint
tiny bridge over the brook and we toyed with name ideas for the spot and I thought it
might be a wonderful women's retreat/spa...Angela's Brook Haven sounded nice to me.
Back to Neil and here's the connection, we all went to the Sussex Inn for lunch. Learned
that this was a Teddy Roosevelt stop, and guess who owns it a member of the Parrott
Family. The person said Neil Parrott, but since Neil left this world in 1986, I knew that
couldn't be. If anyone knows more about this, please "clue us in." I would
recommend this lovely spot, which has great Charcoal Broiled Hamburgers to all of you.
I see the area beginning to take on a tourist quality. Visited an art shoppe and an
artistic type clothing store while we walked along this village street. Many closed shops,
but was told life was beginning anew, with several restaurants opening and shops, such as
an upholstery store bringing their dreams to an area worth visiting and making an
investment or two in the area.
Next bit will probably focus on one of our best businessman Bill O'Shea. More stories
about Bill and his wife Gwen and their road to the Passaic Avenue Florist and Gifts
location coming soon.
Walking along the Vard has always been very interesting. Chatting with old friends,
and meeting new ones. We remember some really great personalities and their enthusiastic
participation in a variety of promotions. Ideas were many and there were many willing to
work to keep the business area exciting.
What a great group of people! Some will remember the
haberdashers. It as located where the caterer is now. Nat Laudicini was a super-duper
salesman. He and his brother owned the shop. They boasted the best in merchandise
and service. And indeed that was true. They took part in every promotion. I asked them
once why they (the brothers) supported everything because their business was the busiest
place on the Boulevard. They were next to Barning's ice cream shop and traffic was good.
He told me he likened the business to a big, beautiful cake fully decorated, but could
always use a little more icing on that cake. Therefore, they helped the smaller businesses
by adding their dollars to the whole and it made the project bigger and better.
"Everybody can eat and the customers are given a special price and special
treats." We lost Nat many years ago, but he was a gem and his memory remains as I
pass that shop.
Oh, by the way, add to that the story, a true one, that
Nat had a fantastic shirt in the window and a young man came in to price it saying,
"I probably cant afford it," to which Nat said, "Make me an
offer." The man said a penny and Nat replied, "Its yours." That
person was a forever satisfied customer. Of course the price was never a penny again. BUT,
it was a fun happening and everyone knew about it at the time. Word of mouth advertising.
Always a big plus for any business.