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Dan Carcio Remembered for Honesty, Fairness, and Unwavering Work Ethic

February 26, 2016 Business, Community, Obituaries No Comments
The late Dan Carcio. Photo courtesy of Carcio family

The late Dan Carcio.
Photo courtesy of Carcio family

By John Fitts 

“I thank my crew. I thank my customers. I thank my family most of all.”

Those words were recently expressed by the late Daniel John Carcio, who, after a bought with cancer, passed away on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, some 37 years after he opened Canton Village Exxon on Route 44. Prior to closing late last year, the gas and service station had been one of the town’s most enduring businesses.

Carcio lived in Avon with his wife Lynn and their two children Anthony (A.J.), Angela. He also had a son, Christopher.

“My favorite hobby was my family,” Carcio told Canton Compass during an interview shortly before his death. More than anything he said he wanted to thank Lynn and his family for taking care of him as well as his employees and long-time customers for their support and continued well wishes.

One of Carcio’s favorite family activities was boating on Long Island Sound and elsewhere.

Carcio also loved the New York Giants and spent more than 15 years as Sunday School superintendent at West Avon Congregational Church.

“I loved those kids at school,” he said.

Dan Carcio and family. Photo courtesy of Carcio family

Dan Carcio and family.
Photo courtesy of Carcio family

In Canton, of course, most knew Carcio as the man at the helm of his business, which operated as Canton Village Exxon for 28 years, before it became Canton Village Sunoco and eventually, Canton Village Gulf. But for many, it was always known as Exxon, or simply “Danny’s.”

During his time there, he became known for his customer service, willingness to fit people into his busy schedule, offering advice, safety checking cars for customers, supporting youth sports teams and more.

Linda Driggs of Canton said she and her husband were customers from the beginning. Carcio would always take time when an issue came up, no matter what his work load.

“Danny always made sure I was safe,” she said. “He was never too busy to help.”

Carcio expected honesty and hard work from his employees but he was fair and led by example, said Nate Taylor, who spent 13 years working at the station.

“Dan had high standards,” Taylor said. “It was quality work and honesty.”

Taylor was just a 19-year-old kid right out of high school when Carcio hired him part time in 2002.

“I knew very little about cars,” Taylor said. “He gave me a chance to learn on the job.”

Today Taylor runs his own car business New England Fleet Services in East Granby. Recently a parts company delivered two products but only billed for one.

“The first thought off the top of my head was what would Carcio do?” Taylor said, adding that his former boss always pointed out such mistakes to his suppliers without hesitation.

“Every day he’s an inspiration,” Taylor said. “Dan told me that he always thought of me as a son more than an employee. It meant a lot when someone you look up to says something like that. I’ll never forget that.”

Carcio worked closely with many other area businesses. One was Canton Auto Supply.

“He went the extra mile and his work ethic was incredible,” said Brian Kelley, co-owner of that business.

Kelly said Carcio was trustworthy, treated everyone with respect, was great with elderly customers and stayed calm when something went wrong.

“There was no fire that couldn’t be put out,” he and Kelly used to say.

“Sometimes things go wrong,” Kelly said. “We always worked together to make sure his customers were happy.

Gary Barnes, the other co-owner at Canton Auto Supply, said Carcio was one of their best customers but more importantly a friend. Carcio even once invited Barnes and his family to enjoy a boat ride with his own family on Lake Winnipesaukee.

“He was just really a great guy and one of my closest business friends,” Barnes said. “He was really an honest guy – a guy you could trust and always count on. We had lots of laughs, had lots of fun and did a lot of business.”

For many, the station truly offered old fashioned, personalized service.

“I was fortunate to know Dan for about 25 years, going back to when I owned a hardware store in Canton Village,” said Phil Worley, who is now executive director of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. “Dan provided old fashion, friendly service with a smile. A trip to his gas station almost always resulted in a laugh, an occasional story and a better day. Dan’s positive personality appeared to rub off on his employees, who also seemed to enjoy what they were doing. The Canton Chamber of Commerce presented Dan its well deserved Business Person of the Year award in 2013. Driving by the empty station now triggers memories of better times and a void not likely to be filled.”

Some of the cards and gifts sent to the late Dan Carcio. Photo by John Fitts

Some of the cards and gifts sent to the late Dan Carcio.
Photo by John Fitts

Canton Auto Exchange owner Jonathan Sidrane called Carcio a Mensch, the Yiddish term for a person of “Integrity and honor.”

He worked closely with Carcio as many customers wanted Danny to inspect the car they might purchase.

“They trusted him implicitly,” Sidrane said. “That says a lot in the car business. He was just a real straight, straight shooter.”

Melanie Maher remembers when she and her family, with three small children, moved to town in 1982. Carcio not only helped them out but suggested other trustworthy businesses in town.

“Danny was wonderful,” she said. “He was so nice and friendly and was always good to us.”

Like so many others, their family, in turn, did their best to support Carcio and his business.

For several years, Canton resident Mark Barca was also in the car business, with both Mitchell Subaru and Canton Auto Exchange. He also said Carcio always looked out for his customers.

“If Danny said it you had to do it,” Barca said. “That was like the gospel.”

IMG_0988Later when Barca’s Chic furniture business was located on the corner of Route 44 and Old Canton Road, he’d see Carcio on his daily walks.

“He’d always stop by the front door and always had a pleasant remark or smile,” Barca said. “It was the highlight of the day.”

Carcio graduated from Wethersfield High School in 1970 was was driving a tow truck when an empty gas station in Canton caught his eye. It took a little work but on Feb. 19, 1979, Canton Village Exxon opened its doors.

“I just watched people work on cars and always liked it so I decided to open up the station,” Carcio said.

He was also close to the Bergers, a family that owned Balmar Marine in Canton, and for a short time they also opened restaurant, known as BBC at the location that later became Chef Elizabeth.

The gas and service station, however, remained Carcio’s legacy. It was hard to close the doors, Carcio said just a couple of weeks before his death. The lease was up on the building and Carcio said it was a decision he would have likely made regardless.

“I was thinking about it,” he said. “My health situation made the decision easier.”

Some keepsakes in the late Dan Carcio's office at home. Photo by John Fitts

Some keepsakes in the late Dan Carcio’s home office.
Photo by John Fitts

Carcio’s was diagnosed in August of 2011 but he initially didn’t want too many people to know.

“I tried to keep it as quiet as I could,” he said. “I did good for three and half years.”

Even near death he didn’t want to focus on the disease, rather thanking his family and pointing to the numerous cards and other well wishes that had come to the house.

In late 2015, he posted a sign in the window of the station, that acknowledged health concerns and thanked his customers.

In part, it read, “I want to thank each and every one of you for your business and continued support throughout the years – Respectfully, Dan.”

“That came from my heart,” Carcio said. “I didn’t want to just walk away.”

“We grew a lot of friends from the Farmington Valley,” he added. “It kept me there for 37 years.”

See more here.

Dan Carcio, second from right, receives the Canton Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year award in 2013. Photo courtesy of Phil Worley

Dan Carcio, second from right, receives the Canton Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year award in 2013.
Photo courtesy of Phil Worley

Dan Carcio's message to his customers. Contributed Photo

Dan Carcio’s message to his customers. “That came from my heart,” he said.  
Contributed Photo

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