Living ‘Over the Store’ at Home: When It’s Good, and Not

Real Estate Sales Representative with William Raveis Real Estate

Would you believe that 52 percent of American companies operate as home businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration? My wife and I have occupied that category almost from the day we were married and perhaps, at least on my side of the family, it was ordained.

I was fascinated when as a child my mother told me that my paternal grandfather had been a soda bottler in Philadelphia, and more interestingly, that his bottled sarsaparilla was delivered to and stocked by the corner store owned by the father of the wildly popular singer at the time, Mario Lanza. When I asked where the bottling plant was located, I was astonished to learn that it was based in the basement of my grandfather’s row home, and further, that the returned bottles were hand scrubbed with round brushes by his first wife (“who literally worked herself to death,” my mother said) and all of her 18 children who had survived childbirth and were old enough to work.

My stay-at-home mother, who had a bent toward the dramatic, left me with a horrible impression of an at-home business as dark and dangerous, even draconian, and I was grateful that my family lived simply in a one-story ranch with no industry going on around or beneath us that required my slaving away after school. However, once married and ensconced in my first home in the city which happened to have a ready-made antiques shop on the first floor, I seemed to become obsessed by a demon, perhaps the spirit of my grandfather, to succeed in my own business located within my own home. And when I moved to the country, I intentionally looked for an old historic home that was three times the size I needed to accommodate both a special use permit and a business du jour.

Over the years that space has hosted in succession and sometimes concurrently a failed antiques store, a very successful nursery school, a short-lived weight loss club, a shorter-lived gourmet society, an exhausting New York State packaged foods operation, and from 1980 to the present, the longest running public relations firm in the Hudson Valley, combined in the past six months with the office for The Home Guru Team of William Raveis Real Estate.

Lately there have been rumblings from the distaff side of my wonderful marital relationship. “I’ve lived my home life ‘above the store’ practically since Day One of my marriage,” says my wife Margaret, “and there has always been something going on other than our daily living routine. It would be nice to see how other people live for a while!”

To read the rest of this column, click here.

Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (, specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: and his blog is: To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.


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Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Bill - Yes, you have a wonderful set up. World's shortest commute.  So many are able to do work from their homes now, and I think it's great.  While I have a studio and go to people's homes, I love that I can also do a lot of work at home (and Starbucks).

Sep 17, 2014 11:29 PM #1
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

I have been working from home since 1993.   Like Debbie Gartner in comment #1,  I do have "branch offices" that include coffee shops and restaurants. 

Sep 17, 2014 11:37 PM #2
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

It might take a bit of self-discipline to work from home (whether the next room or the downstairs suite) but when it works it's a great time-saver. My commute from bedroom to coffee pot to office is just great!!

Sep 18, 2014 12:20 AM #3
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Bill - you are right that it can be good as well as not so good.  I find that I like to work at home but I need to vary that, visit clients, got to a remote office.  I guess I can't sit still.

Sep 21, 2014 09:52 AM #4
Hillary Sheperd
Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon - Scarsdale, NY
Co-Owner ~ Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon, NY

Bill ~ you bring new meaning to the word Home Guru, since you essentially work from home.  How cool.  Our family biz is necessarily in our 4,000 sft. warehouse office space, but wish we had your commute, my friend.  I hear Margaret, however, as we bring work home...just not quite as close.  Call me...definately! Cell 914-573-3134. 

Oct 09, 2014 05:47 AM #5
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