Best of Westchester 2011: Services

Keeping our homes, our cars—and ourselves—up and running



Carpet Cleaner

Elbee Carpet Cleaning
Peekskill  |  914.736.7136
 

photo by Cathy Pinsky

 

 

Since 1988, Leon Bristol’s one-man operation has been growing an ever-larger base of devoted residential and business customers—to the point where Bristol has stopped advertising. “Everyone comes to me by word-of-mouth and referrals,” says Bristol. “I do everything myself. I’m not like one of these places that hires kids off the street and then you don’t know what kind of job you’re going to end up with.”

 

 

 

 

Dog Trainer

Bob Maida
914.395.3647  |  dogtrainingbybobmaida.com
He trained the Reagans’ dog and he trains other dog trainers. And since 1969, Bob Maida has trained animals for their TV and movie close ups. That speaks volumes, no?

Wedding Florist

Petals by Alice
Pleasantville  |  914.788.1081  |  petalsbyalice.com
We’ve touted Petals by Alice and owner Alice Norwick’s stunning floral creations in our Westchester Weddings magazine for years. Finally, the rest of the country has caught on as both The Knot and WeddingWire honored the 23-year-old florist shop with their top awards this year. Validation is a good thing.

Florist

Au Ciel
Irvington  |  914.591.1135  |  au-ciel.com
Sure, many places can put together knock-out floral arrangements. But Minoo Hersini adds another dimension, finding inspiration in the worlds of fashion, architecture, and interior design.

Foreign Auto Repair

D & A Auto Center
Bronxville  |  914.793.2577  |  daautocenter.com
Auto mechanics are well known for their honesty, right? Or maybe we’ve just been taking our cars to D & A Auto Center in Bronxville for so long that we forgot. Brothers Don and Adam DiBona were born in Italy, but they’ve been diagnosing, servicing, and inspecting sleek German engines and family-friendly Japanese sedans in Bronxville since 1973. Honesty, says Don, is their “number-one priority,” and their prices are pretty darn good, too. Oh, and if you have a dent, they own part of the body shop next door.

Bike Repair

Van’s Katonah Servicenter
Mount Kisco  |  914.232.6097  |  vanskatonahservicenter.com
In June 1970, John Van’s father, Ralph, opened the family car-, truck-, and bike-repair business, Van’s Katonah Servicenter, and seven-year-old John was right by his side. The Servicenter, which is today run by John, has stressed the child-like fun of riding a bike for the last 40-plus years. It sells and repairs a full range of mountain and racing bikes, in addition to accessories and apparel, plus specialties like recumbent, tandem, and folding bikes—all with a one-year warranty for Van’s to service them. Its staple, though, is the tune-ups—on brakes, chains, pedals, wheels, and whatever else—necessary to keep you “rolling trouble free.” (Most tune-ups range from $50 to $100.) As Van says, “What’s more fun than riding a bike?”

Flooring Contractors

Savino Brothers
Ardsley  |  914.693.0360  |  savinobrothers.com
For as long as we can remember, Savino Brothers has been Westchester’s go-to hardwood flooring contractor. These guys, in business for 25 years, learned the art and craft of installing and refinishing wood floors from their father. Got a modest home? A custom manse? Not to worry. No project is too simple, too large, or too intricate. Just ask the folks at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the Westchester County Center, Kykuit, the Irvington Historical Society, or the dozens of churches and schools, or the hundreds of residential customers who’ve contractedSavino Brothers over the years.
 

Cleaning Service

Oscar’s Cleaning Service
Ossining  |  914.391.5609  |  oscarscleaningservice.com
Book with Oscar’s, and an experienced, trustworthy crew will show up on time, and have your home dust-free, dirt-free, and odor-free in no time. More important, they will take extra care not to bang, break, or move (except, of course, to clean around and under) your treasured possessions in the process. When they’re finished, your house won’t reek of Clorox and Pine-Sol, either. It will just smell fresh and look clean. Who can ask for more?

Property Inspector

Tom Blake at Blake Pre-Purchase Consultants Inc.
South Salem  |  914.533.2034  |  blakeinspections.com
If you’ve ever purchased a home and soon ended up shelling out big bucks for “unexpected” problems—a leaky roof, broken pipes, gnawed wood, foundation cracks—then you’ve learned, the hard way, the value of a thorough home inspection. Why not do it the right way next time? Hire Tom Blake of Blake Pre-Purchase Consultants. For 30 years, Blake has been inspecting properties in Westchester and Southern Connecticut; nearly all of his business comes from referrals. What makes Blake the best? “I take digital photos of everything as I go through the property,” he says, “so there’s no ambiguity about the findings. It helps the negotiating go more smoothly. I report what I see, I don’t use boilerplate reports, and I don’t just tell the clients what is wrong, but what could go wrong. Best of all, he answers to no one “except the client.”

Guitar and Guitar Repair Shop

Rock Island Sound
Tarrytown  |  914.333.0420  |  rockislandsound.com
When it comes to music—and especially musical instruments—knowledge and experience are important. But passion—well, passion is paramount. Anyone can string or sell a guitar, but only a passionate musician, like Rock Island Sound owner Paul Bessolo, a multi-instrumentalist and genre-spanning guitarist, can help you “build” your custom axe from body to neck to strings to pickups. He can help you figure out which pickups work best (and how they differ) on which guitars; which electric guitar is best for hard-rock wailing and which is best for country twang; the pros and cons of a Tele versus a Strat, or a solid body or hollow body; which acoustic is warm and which is crisp. The store carries a large selection of new and vintage guitars, basses, and gear from all major brands, including Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor, and Marshall, as well as boutique brands like Victoria. It sells instruments at competitive prices, offers lessons in all instruments, and provides music for events. It also has a huge range of replacement parts and does neck resets, crack repairs, binding, and other work. It rents guitars and equipment, too.

Domestic Auto Repair

White Plains Chrysler
White Plains  |  914.946.2600  |  whiteplainschrysler.com
From replacing a burned-out headlight to fixing major transmission problems, White Plains Chrysler masterfully handles every type of repair for nearly every make of vehicle. Its skilled service technicians are thorough. The shop offers a no-appointment-necessary, no-wait express lane for routine maintenance needs. And if you’re one of those unlucky souls who encounters car problems on a Sunday, you’re in luck—White Plains Chrysler is one of the rare repair shops open Sundays.

Tech Service

NexTech Systems
Millwood  |  914.762.2611  |  nextechsystems.net
Offering on-site and off-site service, NextTech’s team of crackerjack techs can solve your computer problems in no time—with friendly, personalized service. Do you really need more?

Gay Resource Center

The LOFT
White Plains  |  914.948.2932  |  loftgaycenter.org
Since its founding in 1983, The LOFT—the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Service Center for the Lower Hudson Valley, a non-profit organization—has been serving the needs of Westchester’s LGBT community. We applaud them for it. You should, too.

Heating and AC Repair

Mercury Air Conditioning and Heating
Yorktown Heights  |  914.245.1639  |  mercuryac.com
Serving Westchester for more than 40 years, Mercury provides courteous, expert service in installing, repairing, and maintaining both residential and commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems of all sizes and configurations—in addition to humidification and air-cleaning systems. Mercury offers preventive maintenance and service contracts—and free, competitive estimates for new installations. Their service? Among the fastest around.

 

 

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