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Carolyn and Rich Mora stand inside Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits. Rich Mora holds a bottle of bourbon made specially for the store’s 30th anniversary. Photo by Rita J. Egan

What started as an interest in wine has led to a store that has become a staple in the Three Village area.

On Nov. 30, Rich Mora will celebrate 30 years as owner of Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits. His wife of 16 years Carolyn, a retired children’s librarian who helps her husband run the store, credits its success to Mora’s passion for locating smaller production wines and different spirits customers tell him about. She said patrons, many of whom find the store through its website, come from all over including a gentleman recently all the way from Tennessee.

“We have great customers, but basically it’s Rich’s passion for fine wine and for staying his course and not selling out to big companies,” she said. “I’m very proud of him. Thirty years is a big thing. It’s all about community here.”

The exterior of Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits

Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits continues the legacy of a liquor store at the location of 280 Route 25A in East Setauket. Mora said in 1989 he bought the building from Robert Eikov, who was in his 80s at the time and also ran a liquor store. The Eikov family lived in the area for decades, and elder Eikov originally opened a cut-to-order butcher shop at the location. Three Village Historical Society historian Beverly Tyler said Eikov, along with his wife Blanche, constructed the building shortly after they were married sometime in the 1930s, and lived in an apartment at the rear of the store. Decades later, Eikov reopened his business as a liquor store.

“Robert Eikov told me that he was having trouble cutting meat due to the cold temperature and because his hands were not as flexible as in his youth, so he had to give up the butcher shop,” Tyler said.

Today the building looks pretty much the same as it did when Eikov owned it, Mora said, even including a green awning and a neon liquor sign that has been there since 1965.

The store owner said he didn’t set out thinking he would own a wine store, even though he always felt like he would work for himself. Born in Central America, he grew up in Larchmont in Westchester County, and after going to college for a while in Oregon he decided to study at Stony Brook University. He holds an undergraduate degree in physics, but while studying at SBU, he decided to take a formal wine class and became interested in the art of fine wines. He started teaching after college but the wine tasting classes stuck with him, and he began researching how to acquire a liquor license and setting up the business itself before he bought the building he is in today.

While he was studying at SBU, Mora said the area reminded him a lot of Larchmont, where he lived near the Long Island Sound. He added he always loved the water, beaches and boating.

“It felt a lot like home here,” he said.

When it comes to running a successful business, Mora said a store owner needs to constantly reinvent the business as rules, shipping laws and the business world are constantly changing.

Through the years, Mora has offered events, such as tastings, for his customers as he said the universe of wine keeps expanding, and with the increased number of spirits brands out there, interest has grown.

“This community is very responsive to that,” he said. “They like to discover exciting new wines. They like our events. They like the people from the wine business that we introduce them to.”

To celebrate the store’s milestone, the Moras recently had a bourbon whiskey specially made by Garrison Brothers Distillery in Texas. The couple tasted samples to choose what they felt best represented the store. Rich Mora described it as “a honey barrel,” and bottles are available at the shop for purchase for a limited time.

From left, Leg. Tom Muratore; partners Nick Haviaras, Peter Dilis, Corey Catechis, Gus Catechis and George Dilis of MVC Properties; and Councilman Kevin LaValle. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Heidi Sutton

Local officials, members of the Centereach Civic Association, Middle Country Chamber of Commerce, family and friends were on hand to celebrate the grand opening ribbon cutting of MVC Properties’ latest venture − New Village Plaza in Centereach − on Nov. 2.

Above, Gus Catechis, center, accepts Certificates of Congratulations from Councilman LaValle on behalf of the Town of Brookhaven and Legislature Muratore on behalf of Suffolk County. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Located at 1707-1759 Middle Country Road across from McDonald’s, the shopping center will have over 75,000 square feet of space when the project is completed over two phases. Tenants include an Arby’s, Wingstop, an AT&T store, Swolehouse, Brownstones Coffee and Pacfe Nail & Spa. Cabo Fresh, Voodoo Crab and ProHealth are soon to follow. 

Gus Catechis of MVC Properties thanked the community, Councilman Kevin LaValle, Legislator Tom Muratore and Diane Caudullo of the Centereach Civic Association before cutting the ribbon. “I just want you to know how grateful I am for all the support you gave me from the very beginning and to everyone who made this a reality,” he said.

“This special project has been a long time coming. We took something that was a blight in our area and Gus put the time in, put the money in, really giving back to the community to build this great shopping center that we have here with great brand names. It’s really going to be something we are proud of here in Centereach,” said Councilman LaValle, adding “This grand opening shows once again that Brookhaven is open for business.”

“I am always happy to support new businesses in our community, and an entire shopping center is a home run for the local economy,” said Leg. Muratore. “Congratulations to the owners, MVC Properties. We are happy to welcome them to our business community.”

Photo from Town of Brookhaven

On Oct. 29, 70 residents attended the Town of Brookhaven Youth Board’s first Brookhaven’s Got Talent student art show. 

Students enrolled in seventh through 12th grade were asked to submit summer-themed photos, paintings and/or drawings through the town’s website, and entries were accepted from late June through Sept. 27.

 In total, 19 submissions were received from 15 students. The event took place in the second-floor lobby at Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville where prints of the students’ artwork are currently displayed for residents to view. 

“The goal behind this initiative was to recognize and encourage young, talented artists in Brookhaven Town. We ended up having an intergenerational event where students were engaging with their peers, adults and seniors, sharing details about their art. It is gratifying to see so many residents coming out on a cold, rainy October night to view the students’ exceptional work and encourage their artistic talents,” said Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Councilman Michael Loguercio, Town Board liaison to the Brookhaven Youth Bureau agreed. “The Youth Board did a great job of bringing the Brookhaven community together to celebrate the students’ artwork. It is encouraging to see students from school districts throughout Brookhaven Town participate. The large turnout and positive feedback we received will certainly encourage these students to continue to pursue their artistic goals,” he said.

For more information about the Town of Brookhaven Youth Board and programs offered by the Youth Bureau, please call 631-451-8011 or visit www.brookhavenny.gov.

Photo from Karen Van Houten

Simple Gifts Productions presents “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” featuring all your favorite Peanuts characters, at Finley Middle School, 20 Greenlawn Road, Huntington on Nov. 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 23 at 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. For ages 4 and up. Tickets are $20 adults, $15 children ages 10 or younger. To reserve tickets online, visit www.simplegiftsproductions.com. For more information, call 561-9522. 

MEET ABBEY AND SARAH!

Abbey

This week’s shelter pets are Abbey, left, and Sarah, above, two sweeties who have just arrived from Mississippi and are waiting at Kent Animal Shelter for their furever homes. 

They are both approximately 2 years old and are ready for the next chapter in their lives. Both have lovely personalities and are great on a leash. As you can see from their photos, a little time spent on Weight Watchers wouldn’t hurt either one of them! With a little TLC they’ll be in tip-top shape.

Come on down to the shelter and meet them! They come spayed, microchipped and up to date on their vaccines and do not have to be adopted together.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Abbey, Sarah and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Photo from Leg. Anker's office

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker joined Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner, the Miller Place–Mount Sinai Chamber of Commerce and the community in celebrating the grand reopening of Vincenzo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, 343 Route 25A, in Miller Place on Oct. 19.

 “I am pleased to welcome Vincenzo’s to the Miller Place community,” said Anker. “I encourage residents to try its delicious food and inviting atmosphere!”

 Vincenzo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant is a family-owned Italian restaurant originally established in Port Jefferson. In 2017, the business had the opportunity to relocate to a larger space in Miller Place, while also expanding its menu and offerings. For more information, visit www.vincenzospizzalongisland.com.

Photo from Sweetbriar Nature Center

Sweetbriar Nature Center, 62 Eckernkamp Drive, Smithtown is in need of old newspapers to line the enclosures for the wild animals they are rehabilitating. They can’t use the ads or the shiny stuff, but the rest of the paper would be greatly appreciated. The New York Times is their favorite sized paper but any newspaper will do. For more information or to schedule a drop off, call 631-979-6344.

SOME ENCHANTED EVENING

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital of Port Jefferson honored three of its own at its One Enchanted Evening gala at East Wind Long Island in Wading River on Nov. 1. 

Neurosurgeon Dr. Sumeer Sathi (second from left), section chief of neurosurgery and the medical director of neurosciences at Mather Hospital, and Dr. David Shenouda (center), cardiologist with Three Village Cardiology and former medical board chairman, each received the Theodore Roosevelt Award. The Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council created the Theodore Roosevelt Award more than 50 years ago to honor those who demonstrate exceptional volunteer commitment to a member hospital and its community.

Dr. David BenEliyahu (second from right), administrative director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital and Mather’s Chiropractic Collaboration program was honored as the hospital’s Community Honoree as thanks for supporting the hospital and its programs over the years.

With them are Mather President Kenneth Roberts (far left) and Mather Chairman Leo Sternlicht (far right). The 54th annual event raised funds for the Contessa Nadia Farber Emergency Pavilion at Mather Hospital.

Photos by Stuart Vincent