As the featured writer for the Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce Monthly Newsletter, I have the opportunity to spotlight local businesses, people, and non-profits.
In our small town, nicknames bestowed during youth tend to carryover to adulthood. To overhear a conversation amongst year-round residents, you’d get a feeling you were listening to fictional characters in a Francis Ford Coppola movie: Big John, Butch, Woody, Little Davey, Buck, Shorty, Beaver, Pookie. Recently, I met with the co-owner of Riverfront Properties. She grew up in the village of Cape, her family well-known pillars of the community, and although she herself is an adult, is still referred to by her childhood nickname.
Jacqualine Johnson Costello, the daughter of the late Joan and Bob Gosier, affectionately referred to as Bopper by friends and family, and her husband, Jim, own Riverfront Properties.
Bopper met Jim when he was still an up-and-coming Funeral Homeowner in Alexandria Bay. Jim is originally from Utica but spent his childhood summering on the River, not far from the Cape, at Sand Bay. As a young adult, he knew no better place, than the beautiful 1000 Islands to open his Funeral Home business. At 23, he bought a small house in Alex Bay. Breaking into the Funeral business is difficult, but Jim was determined. He immersed himself in the community, worked multiple odd jobs, and built upon his small house.
In their late twenties Jim and Bopper met through mutual friends. In time they were drawn to each other over their love of the River and the Thousand Islands. It was a perfect match. Today, Jim and Bopper have established an esteemed business; and, Costello Funeral Service is the first-place families entrust with their recently deceased loved ones.
A few years back, wanting more participation in the town where she grew up, where her parents still lived, and looking to complement their income with a rental property, she and Jim spied a trailer in a picturesque spot along the river. It was an older trailer with an addition, the interior had a dated 70s motif with a Brady Bunch feel, but Bopper and Jim saw its potential. The price was a bit high for what they were willing to pay so they waited. Patience prevailed. The price came down and they purchased the trailer in 2009.
A little bit of structure remodeling and Bopper’s expertise at décor, the trailer was ready for rental the summer of 2010.
Jim and Bopper and their family enjoyed the refurbished trailer, family visiting from out-of-town stayed there too, helping a new generation form a bond to the River. And, when the trailer was not being used by family, they easily rented it out based on its location, convenience, and features.
In 2012, Bopper and Jim were kayaking on the River when they spotted a vacant cottage along the shore. Jim pointed out the possible potential of the cottage but this time, Bopper was a bit hesitant. She thought maybe Jim, a Waterfowl Hunting Guide, was just considering the locale for hunting purposes.
After convincing Bopper that he didn’t have an alternative motive, and falling in love with the location, they purchased the property. However, unlike the first property, that just needed a little fine tuning, this cottage needed some serious structural repair and updating as well as shorefront cleanup and dock repair. Jim and friends took the year to work on the necessary construction to make the cottage structurally sound . When done, Bopper used her magic to create a charming summer residence.
Jim and Bopper loved the cottage and location so that they use it to this day as their primary summer getaway, only renting it out on the rare occasion that they are not using it.
Both properties included dock access to the River, however the high winds and high waters of Spring 2019 and then again in that following Fall, caused damage to the docks and made them unusable. Plans are in the works to have those docks repaired.
Riverfront Properties, along the St. Lawrence River, are located at 32322 NY State Route 12E and 32783 NY State Route 12E. The properties are on the River that both Bopper and her husband grew up playing in, and so dearly love. They rent out seasonally. The locations and the beauty of the properties sell themselves so well, that Bopper and Jim are booked far in advance and rarely must advertise.
Today, Jim, Bopper, and their children, Robert (19), Elizabeth (17), and River (12) live in Alex Bay. They continue to serve Alex Bay and surrounding communities with the business Jim started in his twenties, Costello Funeral Service. And every chance they get, spend their down time on the magnificent St. Lawrence River.
As Bopper and I both agree, it’s nice to know in a resort area sought for large corporation development, rental properties are still owned and maintained by local folks.
“Riverfront Properties” was published in the Feb 12 edition of the Thousand Islands Sun newspaper, as well as the Chamber newsletter.