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Get to Know: Village Wine and Liquor's Richie Bell

PELHAM, N.Y. – Lifelong Pelham resident Richie Bell has played a major role in Pelham for more than five decades as the owner of Pelham Produce, Village Wine & Liquor , and his work with the village Recreation Department. He not only started leagues in various sports, but also coached several teams, created a senior citizen lunch program and separate recreation programs for children with special needs and high school students.

The 81-year-old Bell said he is “really grateful for how the people of Pelham treated me and all the things they’ve done for me.”

“They probably gave me more than I gave them, believe me – I appreciate that,” he said.

TDP: What is your favorite part of Pelham?

RB: "The ball fields."

TDP: What was it like when the ball field was named after you?

RB: "Probably the best thing that ever happened to me because I always worked for the kids and the Little League and any kind of sports. To get a field named after you when you’re still alive is great, so I thank the people that did it for me. It’s a wonderful thing really."

TDP: What has it been like to live in Pelham your whole life and get to know the people?

RB:" Like I’ve always said, the people in Pelham – the new ones and the old ones – we’ve been lucky for years as long as I’ve been here. It may change, but as long as I’ve been here, everybody helps everybody and you know me, I’m interested in all kinds of sports. Whenever you need anything, they’re right there helping ya. We made the fields by people that just donated a lot of time. That’s why I’m proud of the people." TDP: How are sports doing in Pelham? “It’s getting stronger and stronger. We started out with 200 kids – they’ve got 1,000 in the Little League. They’ve got hockey now, soccer, lacrosse for all the kids. We are the only town in recreation that has five schools open in the afternoon. We’ve had that for years now, so that kids can stay. That’s why I say the Pelham people are good – anything the kids want, they’re gonna get in Pelham, really.”

TDP: In your 81 years of living in Pelham, had you ever thought about leaving? “No, I’d never leave Pelham. I had an opportunity to leave two or three times. That’s one thing I turned my father down. He wanted me to go to the farm. My father and I never had a disagreement. That was the only time I saw on his face when I said, ‘Pop, I can’t come to the farm – I love Pelham too much.’ The reason I could stay here is he gave me the business, so he actually helped me stay here. If he didn’t have the business, I’d have to go with him. He took good care of me.”

TDP: What has it been like to run Pelham Produce and Village Wine and Liquor for more than five decades?

“That’s how I meet the people and talk to them. It’s wonderful. I work hard – I don’t work as hard as I used to, but I put a lot of time into it. That’s what keeps me going. I had the Little League teams, I had girls' basketball, girls' softball, I did a little bit of everything and my wife had to watch the store – because otherwise I couldn’t go. Then my family followed us. We’re lucky. I have a good family, knock on wood.”

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