If you’ve ever taken a ride along Kearny Ave., the sad reality is that what you see today is not often what you saw 20, 15 or even five years ago. Many businesses simply come and go, and the buildings they occupied often have new tenants quicker than you can blink.
But for one business on the Avenue, time has stood still.
This year marks Bernadette Antonelli’s 30th year leading Arlington Tax and Bookkeeping Service at 764 Kearny Ave. Back in 1985 when she first opened, her only “employee” was her mom, Alice Belfiore. Antonelli never even thought that now, 30 years later, she would still be doing what she loves to do.
But she is, though this tax season, unlike the last 29, will be vastly different.
That’s because her mom, who was with her every step of the last 29 years — and who was always in the office helping her in the months leading to April 15 — died Sept. 30 at the age of 92.
It will mean a lot of people will miss Mrs. Belfiore when they come in for their tax work. It will also be a lot different for Antonelli, who enjoyed every minute of having her mom with her during tax season.
“My mom worked with me from the day I opened my business,” Antonelli said. “It was expected that she would only be there for a few years until I got on my feet. As the years went on, not only did she love working during tax season, but she became a very important part of the business.”
Most clients would always go out of their way to say hello to Mrs. Belfiore if she was in the office. And they’d ask about her when she wasn’t.
“And that’s because she got to know all of my clients. They all loved her,” Antonelli said. “She once said that if she knew she was going to be working with me for all the years that she did, that she would have learned to use the computer.”
The greatest challenge this tax season will be for Antonelli to have to answer where her mom is when asked by clients who might not know she died. But having her daughter with her to continue a family tradition certainly helps.
“She (mom) was so proud of me and all that I accomplished and now of (my daughter) Brianna for following in my footsteps,” Antonelli said. “Brianna is now an important part of the business. Although she has been helping out in the office since she was a teenager, she is now in graduate school and will receive her master’s degree in taxation in April. It thrills me that the legacy of this business will continue.”
For more information, or to set up an appointment, call Antonelli at 201-991-8888, email her at BAntonelli@arlingtontax. com or log on to www.ArlingtonTax.com.