Moving on from Pine

James Neiss/staff photographerThe former site of Art Curcione and Sons United Floor Covering at 1621 Pine Ave. It's now the home of a Jackson Hewitt office.  

“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die, kid,” said the ghost of Babe Ruth to Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez in the classic baseball movie “Sandlot.”

Arthur V. Curcione and his wife Frances are true legends of Pine Avenue. The former Niagara County legislator was a longtime small business owner who operated Art Curcione and Sons United Floor Covering, first on 19th Street near Pine Avenue, and later at 1621 Pine Ave.

Curcione had always dreamed of having his business on Pine, which is right where he moved it after obtaining the property.

After the couple passed away a few years back, the family left the property to the trusty hands of their son Arthur Curcione, Jr.

As the landscape on Pine Ave continues to redevelop, the younger Curcione took some time to reminisce about the property, the business, and the parents that made it all possible.

“When we got it, it was not in the best condition,” said Curcione recently. He talked about the work the family did originally, and over the years, to upgrade and maintain the property.

“We remodeled it immediately to open the floor covering store,” he said, “and we refurbished the residential property.” Curcione pointed with pride to the fact that the home at 1619 is one of few, if any others on Pine, that has a gated yard. “We wanted the tenants to feel like it was their home.”

With the floor-covering business closed, the commercial building is now the home of a local Jackson-Hewitt Office that has leased it for the next couple years, Curcione said.

Since taking ownership of the property, Curcione has continued to work on its upkeep, but as he approaches age 70, he made the heart-wrenching decision to put the property on the market.

Curcione said, “the new owner will essentially take over a turn-key operation, with tenants already in place.” Fortunately, a buyer quickly came forward for the property after it was listed with local realtor Mike Hooper.

“I’ve sold a lot on Pine Avenue this year,” said Hooper, “there is definitely a transition going on there.”

In addition to the Curcione property, Hooper mentioned Pete’s Market House, Pine Avenue Hardware and other properties on one of the city’s premier small business strips that have sold.

A lot of the properties have been purchased by out-of-town investors, “I think sometimes people who are here just sort of failed to realize the value of some of these places,” Hooper said, “sometimes you get a new set of eyes involved and they see the value.”

Because of the historic nature of the businesses involved, and the changes that have occurred to the economy over the years, the owners all got up past retirement age at about the same time. The new investors will come in and modernize the properties with an infusion of investment, Hooper said.

Now waiting on the sale to close, Curcione can take pride in the fact that he was a responsible steward for the property he inherited. His parents would be proud, he kept the legend alive and the property intact so that a new story can begin.

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