Business

The Pier 1 in Commack is already promoting storewide sales. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Home decor and furniture retailer Pier 1 Imports announced on Jan. 6 that it intends to shut down up to 450 of its 936 locations “in order to better align its business with the current operating environment.”

“Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision,” said CEO and CFO Robert Riesbeck. “We thank our team of hard-working associates for their commitment to Pier 1 and to serving our customers.”

The company also plans to close some distribution centers and reduce corporate expenses, including a reduction in corporate employees. 

Pier 1 has 11 locations on Long Island. Although the company did not reveal which locations may close, stores in Commack, Huntington Station, Bay Shore, Carle Place, New Hyde Park, Riverhead and Long Beach were listed as having “storewide” sales where customers could “save on everything.” Those locations also said they could not accept store pick-up orders, “due to the unique nature of this store.” 

Stores in Lake Grove, Massapequa Park, Rocky Point and Freeport did not list sales. 

The moves had some investors wondering if a bankruptcy filing was imminent.

In response to an unprecedented number of customers visiting Department of Motor Vehicle offices in the five boroughs of New York City and on Long Island, the NYS DMV is now offering appointments for Saturday at several locations in New York including two on Long Island − Garden City and Medford. In addition, all offices on Long Island are now opening at 7:30 a.m., an hour earlier than the previous opening time. The announcement was made in a press release on Jan. 11.

“Just this week, we deployed additional staff to help with communication and customer service and saw an immediate impact,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder.

“We have seen a large reduction in the lines outside most offices, and nearly twice as many customers are receiving expedited service through Saturday appointments. We are continuing to make adjustments and hire more staff to further improve the service to our customers,” he said.

To prepare for the anticipated increase in customers, the DMV hired more than 300 new employees and are still actively recruiting new staff. Office space was reconfigured, new work spaces were added and flex space, like conference rooms, were converted to permit testing rooms to maximize the number of customers who could be served at one time. 

According to the press release, the DMV also purchased new office equipment and document authentication devices to help expedite license and permit transactions. If there is a wait, customers are being offered return tickets to come back to the office at a specific time later in the day so they can avoid waiting in the office.

The reservation system has also been upgraded and the number of reservation slots available to customers Monday through Friday was increased. 

Customers, especially those needing a permit test, are encouraged to make a reservation, which they can do on online at: https://dmv.ny.gov/reservation. Reservations can significantly reduce a customer’s wait time. To ensure customers are prepared for their visit, staff is proactively providing study materials, forms and other helpful information while customers wait to complete their transaction. Staff will also review a customer’s documentation to make sure they have what they need.  

The DMV also directs customers to use the in-office kiosks or the DMV website for any transaction that can be completed online.

For more information about DMV, visit www.dmv.ny.gov.

Macy’s in Commack is set to close this summer. Photo by Rita J. Egan

A week into 2020, retail giant Macy’s announced it is closing at least 28 stores in the next couple of months, including one in Suffolk County — the Commack store located at 2 Veterans Highway. 

The Hicksville store in Nassau County is also on the chopping block.

“The decision to close a store is always a difficult one, but Macy’s is proud to have served … the Commack community over the past 39 years,” said Macy’s spokesperson Bridget Betances in a press release on Jan. 6.

The chain plans to shutter the 210,000-square-foot Commack store this summer because its lease is being terminated by the landlord. A clearance sale is slated for May and will run about two months. Commack Shopping Center Associates has plans to demolish the building and replace it with a BJ’s Wholesale Club. Approximately 100 employees will be affected. 

Macy’s in Lake Grove, Huntington Station and Bay Shore have been spared for now.

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In an effort to encourage students to grow careers locally, the Three Village Central School District along with the Three Village Industry Advisory Board hosted the second annual career fair Jan. 6.

Close to 40 Long Island businesses were represented during the Growth Careers on Long Island event to speak with students and parents about fields such as technology, health care and trades. 

In preparation, students in grades 7-12 took a “career DNA” test analysis to reveal potential career paths that matched with their unique personalities. Based on a student’s career DNA results, they would go to color-coded tables and have the opportunity to engage with matched businesses. 

Ilene Littman, 3V-IAB coordinator and Ward Melville High School business teacher, thought the turnout for the event was great. 

“I think it is an advantage for students to know what’s available when they graduate,” she said. “We got a good turnout of businesses, and we are happy they are here.”

Michael Ardolino, 3V-IAB board chair, had similar sentiments. 

“We targeted three growth areas that are specifically on Long Island: health care, hands-on trades plumbing, electrical and different types of technology,” he said. “This is the second year we are doing this, and we are seeing that the students and parents are more engaged.”

Jake Shangold, student representative on the Three Village Industry Advisory Board, said the event gives students a chance to explore a variety of career paths.

“I hope they can come out of this event knowing what they may want to pursue in the future,” he said.

Photo from Suffolk Federal

In an effort to support the charitable work of local organizations that serve the areas of Suffolk Federal branch locations, the credit union has identified nonprofit organizations to which provide financial support. In Port Jefferson, Branch Sales Director of Retail Banking Micah Schlendorf presented a $1,000 contribution to Theatre Three in December.

“Theatre Three not only brings incredible entertainment to the community, but continues to provide educational opportunities to local students,” said Schlendorf. “We are extremely proud to be able to support their efforts.”

“We’re so thankful to Suffolk Federal for their support and generosity,” said Jeffrey Sanzel, executive artistic director of Theatre Three. “These funds will specifically go towards our educational touring program that we present in schools and community centers across the tri-state area. To date, The Bullying Project: Stand Up! Stand Out!, Class Dismissed and From the Fires: Voices from the Holocaust have brought awareness to thousands of students. This donation will assist the Theatre in continuing these efforts.”

Celebrating its 50th season at the historic Athena Hall in Port Jefferson, Theatre Three has continued to bring Broadway to Main Street and offers the community a robust variety of programming that includes Mainstage, Second Stage, Cabaret, Children’s Academy and workshops. They present a diverse portfolio of both classic and modern revivals all while providing an educational environment to all in the community. 

Pictured from left, Douglas Quattrock, Theatre Three’s director of development and artistic associate; Catherine Rodgers, Suffolk Federal mortgage loan originator and a member of Theatre Three’s Box Office staff; Jeffrey Sanzel, Theatre Three’s executive artistic director; and Micah Schlendorf, Suffolk Federal branch sales director of retail banking.

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Lance Reinheimer

Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum since February 2011, has resigned to accept a new post as director of the Suffolk County Legislature’s nonpartisan Budget Review Office. 

Among the numerous achievements of his nearly nine-year tenure, Reinheimer stabilized the museum’s finances; developed new revenue streams; totally renovated the Vanderbilt Planetarium and created a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest technology; expanded special-events programming; significantly increased attendance and memberships; accomplished wide-ranging infrastructure and restoration work on several major museum buildings; and directed the intensive, year-long review that resulted in reaccreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. 

Elizabeth Wayland-Morgan, associate director of the museum since 2016, will serve as interim executive director and assume Reinheimer’s responsibilities until the post is filled.

From left, WMHS Visual Arts Coordinator Jennifer Trettner, DGSIR CEO Deirdre O’Connell, aritst Corinne Angeand DGSIR Regional Manager Anthony DeGrotta. Photo by Lianna Kosch
Corrine Ange with her winning artwork.
Photo by Lianna Kosch

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty of Stony Brook celebrated all of the final contestants featured in the Fall 2019 Ward Melville High School Student Art Contest on Dec. 1. 

The public voted on their favorite piece of art during the month of November. 

The winning artist was Ward Melville High School senior Corrine Ange. Her watercolor piece impressed many with its vibrant colors and lifelike quality. The prize for Ange was a $500 scholarship presented by Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty’s CEO Deirdre O’Connell, who applauded all of the artists for contributing their talents and thanked all attendees for their support for making community events like this possible. 

Photo from PJCC

RIBBON CUTTING

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for Knitting Cove & Yarn’s new location in the Pen and Pencil Building at 1303 Main St., Suite D, in Port Jefferson on Nov. 21. The shop offers classes in knitting and crocheting for all skill levels and has needles, knitting supplies, notions and yarn for sale. 

New holiday hours through Dec. 23 are Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. 

Pictured from left, James Tavernese, Greater Port Jefferson Chamber President Mary Joy Pipe, owners Toni and Barry Burns, Terry Stephan and Greater Port Jefferson Chamber Director Nancy Bradley. 

For more information, call 631-473-2121 or visit www.theknittingcove.com.

Photo by Heidi Sutton

Arts and crafts retailer A.C. Moore has announced it will close all of its 145 stores, including the Holbrook and Selden locations. The 34-year-old company, which is owned by Nicole Crafts, made the announcement in a press release on Nov. 26. 

“For over 30 years, our stores have been servicing the creative community with a vast selection of art and craft materials, with one common focus, the customer,” A.C. Moore CEO Anthony Piperno said in the release. “Unfortunately, given the headwinds facing many retailers in today’s environment, it made it very difficult for us to operate and compete on a national level.”

Some good news, however, is that arts and crafts retail giant Michaels has announced it will take over 40 of the A.C. Moore locations, keeping those stores open under the Michaels brand. 

“This transaction enables us to further expand our presence in strategic markets and serve even more customers both online and in store,” Michaels CEO Mark Cosby said in the release. 

“We are looking forward to re-opening these stores under the Michaels name in 2020 and welcoming new team members.”

As of now, A.C. Moore has stopped taking orders on its online site, but previously placed orders will ship to customers. Specific store locations that are closing for good (i.e., not transitioning to a Michaels) will be listed on its website in the coming weeks. The New Jersey-based company has more than 5,000 employees across its stores, corporate offices and distribution centers.

Some Shops Report Better Sales, Others See a Dip

Outside The Gift Corner in Mount Sinai. Photo by Kyle Barr

While Thanksgiving weekend is synonymous with stuffing one’s mouth with turkey and leftovers, it has been transformed into the time when people take advantage of some of the best sales right before the thick of the holiday season. 

But beyond big box stores and online, local small businesses still shuffle for room and attention amongst giants like Amazon. 

From 2010-18, spending on Small Business Saturday had reached a reported estimate of $103 billion, according to data from American Express.

It was estimated that in 2018 more than 104 million people shopped and dined on Small Business Saturday generating a record $17.8 billion in reported spending — up from $12.9 million in 2017. 

This past Saturday, U.S. consumers spent $19.6 billion at small businesses, according to survey data from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business. 

For small businesses, everything can be a factor for foot traffic, whether it’s the economy, the weather, even construction just down the road.

Here’s what a few business owners across the North Shore had to say on how they did on the busy shopping weekend.

The East End Shirt Co., 3 Mill Creek Road, Port Jefferson — owner Mary Joy Pipe:

Pipe has been at the head of the famed custom screen-printed design shop for years, and was recently named president of the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

Outside East End Shirt Co. in Port Jefferson. Photo Courtesy of Google Maps

“We had a very good day and we were pleased with how many people came out. It was nice to see how customers were expressing their support for local businesses. 

“My business gets a lot of transient customers [from the village] but we also had a lot of locals and repeat customers come in. Sales were up a little bit from last year — we always try to offer great deals. 

“Being in business for 40 years, I think the nice weather on Saturday really helped and I think it helped other businesses in the area as well. 

“I think it’s good to show that there can be a happy medium of online and small business shopping.” 

Niche Boutique, 430-11 N. Country Road, St. James — owner Christine Mazelis: 

Niche Boutique, which was once located on Lake Avenue, moved over onto North Country Road earlier this year, opening in time for the Black Friday weekend.

Outside the new location of Niche Boutique in St. James.

“The store was offering 10-30 percent off a minimum purchase of $50. 

“We had a really nice day, with the new location we have definitely noticed the increase in foot traffic. There is definitely a different vibe in this location. I was very happy with the turnout and sales, we had returning and new customers coming throughout the day.” 

Red Shirt Comics, 322 Main St., Port Jefferson — owner Josh Darbee:

Red Shirt Comics, which opened in 2017, has been a mainstay for the comics community in the local area. Last year, Darbee said he saw a steady stream of customers walk through his doors Small Business Saturday.

Outside Red Shirt Comics in Port Jefferson. Photo by Kyle Barr

“We had Black Friday sales throughout the weekend. … Saturday went pretty poorly we didn’t see the foot traffic and sales as in years past.

“The weather might have had something to do with it, people are not going to go out as much when it’s cold. 

“We saw an initial crowd of holiday customers earlier in November. The people that did stop by [Saturday] bought a lot of books, periodicals and comic books.”

The Gift Corner, 157 N. Country Road, Mount Sinai — owner Marion Bernholz:

The Gift Corner owner Bernholz has over the last several years gone to lengths to promote her store on the Black Friday weekend. Over the past few years she reported good sales on Small Business Saturday.

Outside The Gift Corner in Mount Sinai. Photo by Kyle Barr

“We had a wonderful day. It was one of our best Small Business Saturday [events], sales were way up. “We had so many regulars and new customers come in throughout the day. 

“We have a good following [of customers] and many of them told us that they came out just to support us on Saturday. 

“People are decorating their houses for the holidays, so many were buying Christmas signs, ornaments and other festive items. We have a lot of different areas in the store so a lot of customers we are trying to find some nice gifts for their families or their dogs. 

“I think it is really refreshing that people continue to come out on Small Business Saturday and remember that we are here.”