BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
When Suffern Mayor and 2013 county executive candidate Dagan LaCorte announced the arrival of Ace Rainbow to the former-OTB on Orange Avenue in Suffern, one local business was less than thrilled with the news, or at least the news reports.
The old-time local “Hardware Store” on Lafayette Ave. run by Bill Tarantino since the 1960s–and in the family since the 20s–might be hurt by the competition from what he calls a “big-box store.” Tarantino’s store, by constrast, is like a classic piece of Americana, sort of like the hardware version of the doctors of yesteryear who made home visits. Tarantino still performs niche services such as lamp repair, all with a personal touch.
But LaCorte said he doesn’t think the new store will affect the Tarantinos’ business and blamed news reports for the impression given to Tarantino. He noted that the store is an Ace Rainbow not an Ace Hardware, and is more of a “Bed Bath and Beyond with Benjamin Moore paint” than a full-on hardware store.
LaCorte said he heard Bill Tarantino and his wife Anne were upset and went to visit their store. The visit did not end up going over well with the Tarantinos, in fact the longtime, active members of the community have withdrawn their support of LaCorte’s county executive candidacy over the Ace Rainbow deal and the apparently unwelcome visit to their store.
Bill’s wife is Anne Tarantino, a cancer survivor who is again fighting the good fight against bone cancer. She said when LaCorte visited the store, he told her they shouldn’t be worried about the Ace store because they were retiring soon anyway and would be selling the building.
“What business is it of his what I do with the building,” Bill Tarantino asked rhetorically in an interview with the Rockland County Times.
LaCorte told the Rockland County Times he did not mean for this to come off his lips as an insult, and said he was merely repeating information the Tarantinos had told him last year in a private conversation. LaCorte’s intention was to smooth things over with the Tarantinos, but the exact opposite happened.
The Tarantinos now believe LaCorte visited them to “gloat” because he has a grudge against them. Their daughter Lisa has expressed her outrage voluminously on Facebook. LaCorte says this is not the case at all.
The Tarantinos had donated $100 to LaCorte’s campaign. John Dizzia, the owner of Ace Rainbow, donated a cool $5,000 to LaCorte’s 2013 candidacy.