Major changes for three Oyster Bay businesses

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There will be one fewer pit stop for car enthusiasts heading to Cruise Night in Oyster Bay next summer. Obar Auto Parts, on South Street, closed for good last week. Pediatrician Dr. Greg Gulbransen, who has an office down the road from the auto parts store, said he wasn’t certain how long it had been in business, but it felt like a million years.

“I used them,” he said, adding that Obar was the go-to parts store for people who work on their own cars. It was also a hangout of sorts during the summer. “Before Cruise Night each Tuesday night, you’d always see muscle cars pull out in front of the store,” Gulbransen said. “And car enthusiasts would frequently stop there on the way to the show.”

English Country Garden Flowers Ltd.

English Country Garden Flowers, on South Street, inside Dodds and Eder, will also be closing, but not until after what its owners, Cindy and George Mudford, expect will be a robust holiday season. The Mudfords have been serving the Oyster Bay community for the past 25 years. They are the only florists in the hamlet, and their clients include the schools and places of worship.

Cindy grew up in Oyster Bay. When she and George married 34 years ago, they moved to Locust Valley, where three of their four children attended the school district.

Both have decided to retire, but said they would miss their clientele, which Cindy described as their friends. “We have the best clientele you can find anywhere,” she said. “They are friendly and kind. We have been blessed all of these years with good people.”

The Mudfords have felt privileged to witness their customers’ “circle of life,” Cindy said. “We see them from the start of their lives, birth, graduations, college, when they get married. It’s really quite amazing.”

The Mudfords plan to travel and enjoy outdoor activities, like walking their dogs, which they couldn’t do, working six days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., George said.

But Cindy admits that she hadn’t planned on closing — not just yet. When the couple learned that Dodds & Eder would be closing to relocate early next year, they felt compelled to decide. “We looked at spaces, but the expense of moving would be difficult for us to recoup what it would cost,” Cindy explained, her voice trailing off. “We would need a good amount of space, which is expensive. But you have to embrace change.”

The Mudfords are hoping to sell their business. They have a great clientele and computers, Cindy said, really everything that someone would need to open their own floral shop. It would be so much nicer to know that someone else would be taking over the business that they love.

For now, their plan is to close in January, after they have a big sale.

Dodds & Eder to relocate

Dottie Simons and Carrie Leopold, co-owners of Dodds & Eder, are looking forward to moving the landscape-and-installation firm down the road to where Bernstein’s Home Center and Diamond Fitness are currently housed, at the corner of South and Orchard streets. Construction will soon begin to combine the two businesses into one large space — 7,500 square feet — which will be slightly smaller than the current location but will be perfect for the new product they will promote — outdoor furniture.

The new Dodds & Eder will no longer carry nursery stock — plants, mulch and other garden supplies — except for seasonal and hanging baskets. It will also no longer sell propane. Dodds is the only place in Oyster Bay that carries propane, but Simons said it is a liability because only licensed employees can handle it.

Simons, of Glen Head, and Leopold, of Huntington, will celebrate their five-year anniversary as owners of the business at the end of December. They’ve worked hard to keep the store filled with inventory, which Simons said hasn’t been easy. People tend to shop at big-box stores and online these days, she said.

They have a store in Sag Harbor, too, open from March to October, where they sell outdoor furniture. The new location will be the same size as that store.

“We want to concentrate on what makes money for us,” Simons said. “And we want to reduce the overhead.”

Dodds & Eder will close in early January, and the new location will open in March. They are signing a seven-year lease, so, as Simons said, they aren’t going anywhere.