Though it’s been years, Bernie Carr still holds a place in his heart for his old business and the little corner of the city that he, his business and their neighbors made thrive.
Carr became a partner with Joe Brinkman, who owned the Texaco Service Station on the corner of Turin and Bielby Road, in the late 1960s.
“As time passed by, we were looking to make more income and started B & J Auto Sales,” Carr said. “We ran that for quite a while — from about 1968 to 1989.”
There they sold late model used cars — five years from the date and older — at affordable prices to local residents, who were happy to support B & J.
“I’m not blowing my own horn, but at one time I had 60 cars on that corner lot,” he added. Around 1979, Brinkman and Carr decided to go their separate ways. “Joe wanted to have strictly a repair business, so he opened up his shop on the corner of Route 26 and Elmer Hill Road,” Carr said. “I continued with B & J Auto sales and my wife, Gloria, opened the Big Dipper Ice Cream Stand just down from the garage. It was very successful, and she ran that for about six or seven years.”
The two sold their corner businesses in 1989 to local businessman Jim Gillette. Gillette, Carr said, took down the old Big Dipper and reconstructed the B & J Auto Sale garage into a new ice cream shop. That property and ice cream shop was then bought by Dawn Zagurski, who operates Sam’s Eats and Sweets to this day at the still bustling corner.
And so years later, Carr sat down one day and decided to make his own little corner of Rome in his basement, recreating the corner of Turin and Bielby Road where B & J Auto Sales and Big Dipper Ice Cream once sat.
Carr said he had some nostalgia for the past and felt the need to make it.
“I think about it every now and again. We had a good business and we made a lot of friends,” he said. “We did a lot, and people (felt) they were getting a brand new car. We did the best we could, as honest as you can be.”