Harry Truman was still President, there were only 48 states in this country and the carpets of both Mohawk and Bigelow-Sanford were still being produced in this town when Casmier and Albina Sikorski opened their Amsterdam, NY service station at 33 Prospect Street in 1949, right in the middle of one of this city’s busiest and most chaotic intersections. For the next 34 years this hardworking Rug City couple dedicated their lives to making that business successful and to raising a family. Then in 1983, Casmier died.
Most betting folks back then would have probably given you odds that there would be no way that family-run business would still be around for another 34 years. And when you look at how that industry and Amsterdam itself changed over just the past couple of decades, the odds that Sikorski’s would still be going strong today would have even been steeper. Coleco and its thousands of employees are gone, taking their thousands of cars with them. Chain convenience retailers like Stewarts took over the gasoline business and automotive technology continues its transition from mechanical to digital. But Casmier and Albina had been developing a secret weapon, today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant, their son Fran Sikorski.
Amsterdam’s history is filled with examples of all kinds of family-run businesses failing or being sold off after the second generation takes over running them from the first. Just take a ride up to Prospect Street in the next day or two and take a look at the number of cars being worked on at Sikorski’s and the number of highly trained mechanics doing the work. Fran, with the invaluable assistance of his his wife Jackie, has done a masterful job…
My complete birthday post for Fran Sikorski will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. I also distribute an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that includes the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty people whose birthdays I recognize each month. Each newsletter also includes an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.
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