I’m dropping my MacBook off to get a new battery shortly, so I’ll probably be off the air for 24 hours. I don’t know how the world will survive without my wisdom, but if it does, come back tomorrow afternoon (IPhone should still work, but it’s also being looked at at the fruit hospital – it’s not charging).
Or not this time, anyway.
A private (non-MLS) sale in Milbrook was reported today: $2.6 million, 1 Spring Road, and I Googled the seller just out of curiosity (yes, as you’ll have already noticed by now, this is a slow day for real estate news). Turns out, he’s the proprietor of a company that sells products we’ve probably all used, heard about, or seen on TV, and that’s pretty neat; more interesting than folks who trade electrons on Bloomberg screens, anyway.
In 1962, Combe created the men’s hair color category with the introduction of Grecian Formula 16, a product that gradually dyed away gray hair. Today, Combe’s hair coloring products, led by Just For Men, own more than 70 percent of the men’s hair coloring market, a category worth with more than $140 million in sales last year, according to ACNielsen and Information Resources Inc., both market research companies.
Unlike many companies in its industry, which use their corporate names to buttress their brands, Combe has traditionally let its brands speak for themselves. In addition to Odor-Eaters, the company makes Sea-Bond denture adhesive; the anti-itch products Lanacane, Scalpicin and Vagisil; and Just For Men hair color. Though it later sold the brand, Combe also invented the acne medication Clearasil.
Combe has 621 employees worldwide, 214 of them in White Plains, where the company has had its headquarters for some 50 years. It owns factories in Illinois and Puerto Rico, and has offices on five continents.
Combe’s peers in the health and beauty aid industry, however, are companies like Unilever and Procter & Gamble, multibillion-dollar corporations that dwarf Combe’s approximately $250 million in annual sales. Rather than compete with these giants, Combe has traditionally focused on products that address problems the big companies have overlooked.
”In a day and age of increasingly large beauty care companies, they have really found a place for themselves — in some cases have even been ahead of the big guys,” said Wendy Liebmann, president of WSL Strategic Retail, a Manhattan-based consulting firm. ”Just For Men is a perfect example. They have been there in a category that is only now being taken on by the larger companies.”
The linked-to NYT article from is entirely absorbing, and recommended. I mean that sincerely, and entirely without snark, because I admire entrepreneurs immensely. Okay, “absorbing” was a pun, but really – read the article.
I was thinking (always a dangerous thing to do) and realized that I haven’t seen a Bentley or a Rolls Royce in town in ages, and wondered if that wasn’t as much a sign of the change of demographics here as the collapse of the mock-Tudor home market. Ferraris and McLarens abound, and Teslas at the extreme low end, but I don’t see any Rolls, even ones without chauffeurs.
Did the blue haired set take their cars with them when they tootled off to Florida? Have the young tigers who’ve taken their place lost their taste for Grandmother’s cars as well as her brown furniture? I’m betting they have. All I know is that the last Rolls Royce I heard of crossing our border was one belonging to 50 Cent, who came up John Street a decade or so ago looking at real estate. One of that street’s very wealthy residents (and a Democrat, I might add) called the broker of the house Mr. 50 Cent was visiting and that put an end to that gambit.
But ol’ 50 Cent’s bankrupt now, and probably not driving that car unless he’s being paid by someone else to do it, and I don’t see that anyone’s taken his place.
26 Stag Lane, after 444 days on the market priced at $3.995, has dropped $455,000, and can now be yours for $3.495. In another location, that’d be a fine price, but probably not here.
The house itself is pretty grand. It was built by the good Richard Harris (there were two – the bad one went belly-up and returned to Canada) and though it had a hard time finding a buyer, it eventually sold for $4.250 in 2007. That was a dumb price, for the buyer, as was shown when they couldn’t resell it in time to avoid foreclosure in 2012. The new owner/lender sold it to the current owners for $2.6 million in 2013 and they, in turn, spent a great deal of money bringing it back to its original condition and even surpassing it.
But that still left the house where it is, which is down a narrow, very steep, shared driveway, within earshot of the Merritt Parkway. The noise is not oppressive, but it’s there, and no one likes driveways like this one. And Stag Lane just doesn’t command a high price.
So will $3.495 do it? I have my doubts.
111 Park Avenue, Greenwich, which was discussed here last April when it was reported as pending, has closed at $5.9 million. Ogilvy had it for a year, 2010-2011 an unwavering $7.450 million, B.K. Bates had it from 2014-2015 beginning at $6.995 and ending at $6.4, Chris Finlay got it this year at $6.150 and a buyer appeared in just a couple of weeks.
You always want to be the third broker on an overpriced house, to give time and disappointment to have their way with the owner.