2 entrepreneurial couples deserve our thanks

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 August 2014 at 12:00 am


File photo by Tom Rivers – Joe Martillotta is pictured with Sue Holmes, who recently purchased the Crooked Door from Joe and his wife Debbie. The Martillottas did extensive renovations of the site.

File photo by Sue Cook – Jeri and Lou Becker sit in front of one of the blackboards in the Erie Canal Room at the bed and breakfast they operated for eight years.

ALBION – Two entrepreneurial husband and wife teams both pulled off major projects that bettered the village of Albion and Orleans County.

In eastern end of the village Joe and Debbie Martillotta brought back a tavern at the corner of East State and Brown streets. It was a major renovation for the Martillottas, but they were resilient in their efforts to fix up a prominent building and they did it with class.

The Crooked Door Tavern has employed about 20 people, and drawn many visitors to the county, generating sales tax and likely customers for other local businesses. The Martillottas recently sold the site and it continues under the ownership of Albion native Sue Holmes.

Just across the canal, Jeri and Lou Becker also faced a daunting project: turning a former Catholic School into a bed and breakfast. The Beckers opened the Erie Canal Schoolhouse Bed and Breakfast about seven years ago. They, too, sold their business with the site soon to open as an assisted living center.

The Beckers lovingly operated the B & B, extending a warm welcome to cyclists on the canal and other visitors to the community. They were active in the community, and were especially fond of Albion’s heritage. They hosted a Santa Claus reunion in one event that was a tribute to Charles Howard, who founded a Santa Claus School in Albion.

The Martillottas and Beckers worked well as a team, referring customers to each other. Both couples deserve the community’s praise and admiration for working so hard to build successful businesses, preserving buildings that have deep roots in Albion.

If they hadn’t accepted the challenge a few years back to fix up the buildings, there might not be businesses to succeed them at the sites. The Martillottas and Beckers have a left a legacy that should continue for years to come.