Brookside survives floods and fire to keep rolling
By Joe Moskowitz
Twenty-five summers ago, Mary Hinkley, her brother, Dick Finch, and Dick’s two sons, Steve and Will, all started a business together.
The building in which their new business was housed was an old creamery located on the banks of the East Branch of the Delaware River in Margaretville so they called it Brookside Sales. The name and the location have provided plenty of stories over the ensuing years.
Current owner Will Finch says that back them they thought the old creamery on Route 28 just outside of Margaretville was a great location for a new business, and very quickly their combination of hardware, farm supplies, and used cars and trucks took off. Then came the floods. The water from the Great Flood of 1996 stood five feet high in the store, but Finch said they cleaned up and the next day they were back in business. In 2006, more flooding, The July “Carnival “ flood left two feet of water in the store.
Two years later, Finch could have used the all the water he could get. He was barely able to escape and warn others to get out as a gasoline fire destroyed all but a small portion of the old creamery.
For more than two months, Finch sold cars, but not much else out of a trailer, yet he never laid-off any workers. Eventually, a new Brookside rose, on higher ground, and Finch was back fully open, just in time for the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. And if that wasn’t trouble enough, the repair shop, which is located in the only remaining vestige of the old creamery, was damaged by flooding in 2011 and everything inside had to be replaced. In spite of the three floods and a fire Finch still thinks it’s a great location to do business.
Signs of success
Finch says he is proud of the many cars and in the area with, “Brookside” license plate frames. He says one year he sold 300 cars and trucks. He never thought he would do quite this well and he knows it isn’t entirely because of his location. He has a solid reputation. He says he tries to maintain a good variety of stock and he tries to be fair. He calls it, “Good Will.” It seems to work.
When asked if he has any complaints, the man who endured three floods and a devastating fire said, “no” and continued doing what he has been doing for the past 25 years, selling cars, trucks, paint, and chicken feed from a great location with a great supporting staff.