September 23 – Happy Birthday Fran Sikorski

sikorskistationHarry 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.

Fran successfully transformed the business from a gas and service station into a modern hi tech car and engine repair center. He invested heavily in the latest analytical technology and made sure his mechanics were properly trained on how to use it. But there were a few key things Fran did not change from the days Casmier Sikorski opened up the place. He made sure Sikorski’s goal continued to be to treat each customer as fairly as possible by making sure they performed each repair as cost-effectively as possible. Translation? They never overcharged. They stood behind every single thing they did. If they made a mistake they admitted it and corrected it on their dime. Were they perfect? No, but they tried to be and that’s all a customer can ask.

After almost 70 years in operation, Sikorski’s is no longer owned by a Sikorski. Fran and Jackie sold their beloved car service and repair center to one of their long-time employees.

Like Casmier and Albina, Fran and Jackie raised three children all boys and the couple have been dedicated members of the Amsterdam Elks Club for many years. The story of Amsterdam really can be told by weaving together the life stories of its people. The story of Fran and Jackie Sikorski is one of hard work, strong family values and giving back to their community.

 

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