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Shopping

Small business owners like Marion Bernholz, who owns The Gift Corner, above, are trying to find ways to compete with big box stores. Photo by Marion Bernholz

By Kyle Barr

For 40 minutes each morning when Marion Bernholz, the owner of The Gift Corner in Mount Sinai, opens her shop she lugs out all the product she keeps on the front porch all by herself. She does it every day, hoping the colors and interesting items will flag down cars traveling on North Country Road.

Thanksgiving day she was closed, but on Black Friday she put out her flags, signs, decorations, not expecting many customers at all, she said. Black Friday is perceived as a day for gaudy sales for the bigger stores with nationwide brands, or the Amazons of the world, though it has become just the appetizer for a weekend synonymous with shopping.

Ecolin Jewelers in Port Jefferson is co-owned by Linda Baker. Photo from Linda Baker

Instead, people flooded Bernholz’s store the weekend after Thanksgiving, and the customers kept streaming in even after Black Friday was days passed.

“We were busy on Friday, way busier than we had been since the bust, when the economy went down,” Bernholz said, beaming with excitement. “Wednesday was a spike. Friday was a major spike. It was so busy Saturday that people couldn’t find parking. There was a line out the door.”

At Elements of Home, a home and gift shop in St. James less than 12 miles from Gift Corner, the situation was different. Owner Debbie Trenkner saw Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday float by with only a small bump in sales, she said.

Though she advertised, Trenkner said that she only received a moderate boost in sales that weekend with only 27 people walking through her door on Black Friday, and only about 70 Saturday when she said she expected to see hundreds.

“After speaking to other retailers or feeling through the grapevine, all major events this year, Mother’s Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, we’ve done half the amount we’ve done in the past,” she said. “People do not shop local. Those that do are your 50-and-over crowd who do not like to order online. Younger people these days they are so attached to their phone, it’s their lifeline, in my opinion. It’s unfortunate because this is what communities are based on.”

“People do not shop local. Those that do are your 50-and-over crowd who do not like to order online. Younger people these days they are so attached to their phone.”

Debbie Trenkner

The similar local stores had polar opposite experiences during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the holiday season, though businesses overall this past Small Business Saturday, an event first sponsored by American Express in 2010, did very well though they fell short of 2016 numbers in total. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 108 million consumers spent $12.9 billion Nov. 25.

Despite the slight dip from 2016, the data shows a much higher number of consumers are making the conscious decision to shop locally on the biggest spending date of the year for small businesses.

Stacey Finkelstein, an associate professor of marketing at Stony Brook University, said in a phone interview she has used psychological and behavioral economics to inform people about marketing problems, and she said a battle between instant gratification and the desire to support local stores is being waged for today’s consumers.

“Another tension for a lot of consumers who face this dilemma layered on top of this is this ethical quandary, which is ‘I want to support businesses that are consistent with my code of ethics and the values that I have as a consumer,’” Finkelstein said.

That value-based sales pitch is important, especially when it comes to the services offered. Many local businesses surveyed after this Black Friday weekend across the North Shore agreed the services they provide, whether it’s free gift wrapping or the ability to make a custom product, or even the ability to offer hands-on help to customers trying to figure out what gift is best, are the types of factors that neither online nor most large stores can match.

Fourth World Comics in Smithtown. Photo by Kyle Barr

“I think the most important thing to do besides creating an emotional experience and offering, obviously, great service is to really think about the values of those consumers in the local town and try and tap into those local values, such as if a town is really interested in sustainability, or ethically sourced food,” Finkelstein said.

One of the biggest questions that small business owners ask is whether young people are still willing to shop local. The consensus is they are the “plugged-in” generation, but that fact can be harnessed to work in favor of small business owners.

“Social issues are particularly important for a lot of millennials,” she said. “You tend to see a lot of that. I definitely don’t think millennials should be written off. I’m big into knitting, and if you ask what’s the stereotype for knitting, for example, is that grandmas knit, but actually there’s this active and large youthful contingent of knitters that are really driving and shaping that industry in a completely fascinating way. I think what it’s about is that millennials have these ethically laden values where they want to buy things that are local, that are environmentally sustainable.”

While many stores surveyed said this Black Friday weekend was “better than average” to “great,” there were several stores that did not see anywhere near the same boost in traffic. While the weather was nice, stores that didn’t meet expectations cited insufficient support from their local governments, or locations with little foot traffic, as their main deterrents.


Reactions from local store owners

Port Jefferson—Ecolin Jewelers

Co-owner Linda Baker:

We tend to run our sales to support our loyal customers, support our repeat customers. We had 20 percent off many items in the store, not all. That hasn’t been a big motivation to shop. In our industry
either they know us or they don’t.

The village was decorated nice and we had a good weekend. Black Friday for most retailers, for independent mom-and-pop retailers, has not been a big day for us. Our business is the last two weeks of the year. I think Black
Friday is when mom and dad go to look at televisions or cars — one big
purchase. It’s not a downtown thing. I don’t compare same day to same day from years before. I think there are too many variables, whether it’s the weather
or the news. Though I’d say this year was better than last year across the board.

Mount Sinai—The Gift Corner

Owner Marion Bernholz:

I don’t think Black Friday is as big of a thing anymore. We had people coming in at 10 a.m. and I asked them why they weren’t out shopping and they would say, “Oh, we don’t do that anymore.” I think people just don’t like to rush anymore, plus all the deals are available all week long, so there’s almost no point. Maybe, eventually, people will be able to have Thanksgiving dinner with their family, that’s the hope.

Though this was one of the best Black Fridays I’ve had since the bust in 2008, I went back and I looked at the papers for how it was in 2005. I couldn’t count it all — it was like the funds were flowing like water. It’s never
going to be 2005 again.

Half the people who came in my store on Saturday had no clue [about Small Business Saturday]. We’d be like, “OK, now we’ll explain it to you. Good that you’re here, and this is what it’s about.”

Rocky Point—Rocky Point Cycle

Owner Gary Wladyka:

We didn’t advertise but had in-store deals. We had discounts on shoes and sunglasses. There were more customers that Friday because more people had Friday off.

We’re always trying to get more customers, but we’re more of a
destination shop rather than a “Let’s go take a look” type thing.

This is the beginning of the end for small business. It’s going to continue to demise with people wanting to do
everything on the internet. The way new consumers are, it’s going to be hard to grow it. We try to provide service. You’re not going to get service online.

Setauket—All Seasons at Ari’s Treasures

Owner Jeff Aston:

We have an online presence. We did very well online over the course of the weekend. The store was busy. I’m a Christmas shop, so it’s kind of the height of our season now. We were offering 20 percent off storewide, we had some 25 percent-off items, some 50 percent-off items. We definitely went along with trying to capture that audience.

We do custom sign making and engraving, and it’s a little more of a custom product. I’m not sure how Black Friday helped us with that part of the business, but overall it was a good weekend. I’d say it was comparable to last year.

People want personalization, they want customization. You have to see the expression on people’s faces when they see our work. I’ve been in the Christmas business for 40 years, and I’ve never done anything more rewarding for my customers than what I’m doing now.

Young people today push a button and they get what they want. I’ve gotten away from the similar product you will see on Amazon. The beauty of the internet is that we can put our product out online. We’re on Etsy, and for the small business person who’s creating something themselves, Etsy is the way to go.

Smithtown—4th World Comics

Manager Terence Fischette:

“We didn’t do too much in sales. We did a lot of half-price items, took out a lot of stuff we wanted to get out of the back room. We don’t really compete with any of the big stores when it comes to Black Friday. We ended up doing a lot better than a normal Friday because people are out and in the shopping mood. The weekend was kind of normal, but it was one of the better Black Fridays that we’ve had in years.

You see some regular customers, you see some new people. Comics are definitely more popular now, people see the sign and they pull over. It’s a lot more gifts and toys. Whenever a new superhero movie comes out you’ll see kids coming in who want the new Captain America or the new Thor book. Black Friday is more of just toys, T-shirts and stuff like that.

We have our own holiday sale on Dec. 16 and that’s one of our biggest holiday sales of the year.”

Smithtown

4th World Comics (Comics, figurines and memorabilia)

Manager Terence Fischette:

“We didn’t do too much in sales. We did a lot of half-price items, took out a lot of stuff we wanted to get out of the back room. We don’t really compete with any of the big stores when it comes to Black Friday. We ended up doing a lot better than a normal Friday because people are out and in the shopping mood. The weekend was kind of normal, but it was one of the better Black Fridays that we’ve had in years.

You see some regular customers, you see some new people. Comics are definitely more popular now, people see the sign and they pull over. It’s a lot more gifts and toys. Whenever a new superhero movie comes out you’ll see kids coming in who want the new Captain America or the new Thor book. Black Friday is more of just toys, T-shirts and stuff like that.

We have our own holiday sale on Dec. 16 and that’s one of our biggest holiday sales of the year.”

Northport—Einstein’s Attic

Owner Lori Badanes:

“We did great, it was wonderful. We offered a lot of in store promotions. We had an Elf on a Shelf here, we read a story to the kids and the kids got a notebook and a pencil. They got to fill out a wish list, then all the kids got to make an ornament. We had giveaways, and make your own putty on Saturday.

We started planning this in the summer, back in August. We do it every year.

We did better this year than other years — 17 percent better. It was a nice jump. One thing is that we offered some light ups for an outdoor event. The kids got a lot of things to take home. I feel we’re a community-based business, and we support our community every chance we get.”

Huntington—Cow Over the Moon

Owner Brian Drucker:

“I feel like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, definitely did better than previous years. I didn’t do any specific specials that I can think of offhand.

It was a mixture of new people and regulars coming through. The big thing about a store like this being here for 23 years is that we have a steady number of regulars, but I saw a good crop of new customers come in.

One of the things I also do is sports memorabilia, and Aaron Judge [who plays for the New York Yankees] is one of the hottest, hottest things in the world. He had one of the greatest rookie seasons ever in baseball, so we sold a bunch of Aaron Judge autographed memorabilia, some pretty expensive stuff.

It’s hard to explain … why we did well. You never can tell you know, there was just a lot of people walking around. The town  was pretty booming.”

Patty Lutz, manager of Fetch Doggy Boutique & Bakery. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Kyle Barr

As it does every day in the summer, the Bridgeport to Port Jefferson ferry lowers its huge drawbridge door to reveal a host of cars growling like they are about to stampede into the town. Instead, they file out one by one. Every car is greeted with Port Jefferson’s Main Street and its stores lined up on both sides of the road like a buffet.

Unknown to many tourists though, only a few yards from the ferry dock and Main Street, stores offer a whole host of out-of-the-ordinary services from spiritual crystals to handmade jewelry. Almost all the stores on East Main Street are owned or operated by women, and they have developed a communal sense of offbeat character. Most of the owners believe it’s what keeps them alive.

“If they want to be successful on East Main Street they have to be different and unique,” owner of Pattern Finders & Stacy’s Finds on East Main Street Stacy Davidson said during an interview. “I think at this point the stores we have now, I can’t see any of us having a problem.”

Anna Radzinsky, co-owner of The Barn. Photo by Kyle Barr

Davidson has owned Pattern Finders for 23 years, and in that time she had to reinvent herself to keep up with the times. Now her store is a boutique that sells different and unique sets of clothing, dresses, jewelry and other home items.

Many of the stores on East Main host classes inspired by what they sell. The Knitting Cove, owned by Toni Andersen and her partner Barry Burns, is one of those stores. Along with the specialty yarn offered in the shop, the store also hosts classes for experienced and beginner knitters or “knit-alongs” where customers all try to complete a design using whatever choices of yarn they want.

Breathe Inspiring Gifts sells a number of spiritual items, such as crystals, minerals, tarot cards, incense, oils and many others. A door in the shop empties into another large room where owner Jena Turner does meditation and yoga sessions every day of the week.

“Some people don’t even know this street exists — isn’t that crazy?” Turner said. “I love it, I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. Main Street gets more foot traffic because there are more tourists who know of it, but there are a lot more Long Islanders aware of East Main Street.”

One consistent aspect of daily life East Main Street stores face is they do not depend nearly as much on tourists as they do on Long Islanders, specifically the regular customers that they come to know well.

Joann Maguire, the owner of Max & Millie Women’s Fashion boutique on East Main sees her store as dedicated to her regular customers. In the 13 years she’s owned the store, she said she has learned regulars keep her in business.

“Most of my customers are local residents and what I mean by that is from the Commack area or the Hamptons,” she said. “They come out here for dinner and then they find me. And then they become regulars. I’m a destination store, not a tourist store.”

In Fetch Doggy Boutique & Bakery, manager Patty Lutz is often there talking extensively with the customers she knows well.

Susan Rodgers, owner of Susan Rodgers Designs. Photo by Kyle Barr

“Last night, I was home and it was 8 [p.m.] and a customer called me regarding their dog; their dog wasn’t feeling good, and their vet had closed,” she said. “You know what I mean, like there’s no cut out. We have hours that the store is open; but, if someone needs to talk to me and they have my number, they’re always welcome to call.”

Some of the shop owners on East Main sell products produced by hand, often in their own studios. Anna Radzinsky, the co-owner of The Barn, sells custom woodwork and signs. She also takes old furniture like wardrobes and cabinets, refinishes them and puts her own designs on them. At the same time her partner, Shawn Keane, does landscaping and completed the small garden laid into the bricks just outside of her shop.

Susan Rodgers of Susan Rodgers Designs traveled the country for 15 years selling her artwork in art shows. When eventually it came time to settle down in order to sell her work and the work of her friends, she chose East Main Street because she said it feels like what she imagined a small town to be.

“I think people are tired of things being the same,” Rodgers said. “The cookie-cutter sacrificing quality, and I think people are beginning to realize, compared to big box stores, the link to an individual person.”

Business on East Main is rarely stagnant. Miranda Carfora, a young entrepreneur, said she soon plans to open a store on East Main Street called BiblioFlames that will sell books and candles inspired by books. 

“It’s really hard for independent bookstores, but I’m hoping that since I tied in my candles into the books I’ll have more customers that way,“ she said.

Carfora fits right into the scene that exists on East Main Street. Though the future for perspective small-business owners is always uncertain, Davidson’s advice for someone opening a shop on East Main Street is rather simple.

“Be unique,” she said. “You have to be unique and have what nobody else has.”

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There was confirmation for what I have been saying over the past couple of years. Shopping has changed. Now I have never been a particularly astute shopper. When I need something, I go into the closest appropriate store and buy the item. The only time I enjoy shopping, for the most part, is when I am on vacation and feel I have the leisure to browse. Especially if I am in a foreign country, shops are a place where the clerk probably speaks English and will be inclined to chat, hoping for a sale. That way I learn about the place I am visiting and also perhaps see unusual products that may tempt me.

That said, I know something about shopping because of the newspaper business. The traditional backbone of the community newspaper has been advertising from the retail shops along Main Street, USA. No longer is that the secure source of our revenue. And why? Because the nature of shopping has changed.

Catalogs presaged the change many years ago. Busy residents could scan catalogs from different stores, pick out the items they needed or thought they needed, call a store’s 800 number and receive delivery a few days later. It wasn’t necessary to bestir oneself from the living room sofa and go out to see the product. If, when it arrived, it didn’t fit or wasn’t the right color, we could send it back, often postage paid. I used to joke that they should put a try-on room in the post office.

Then came the internet, and more specifically, Amazon. No longer do we have the inconvenience of searching through multiple catalogues. We can now indicate what we want and select from among many manufacturers the precise item we seek. Further, that item may appear at our door within 24 hours, or even the same afternoon for a slightly higher fee. Amazon has become the entire world’s bazaar.

Sometimes people venture out to a store to get a three-dimensional look at the desired goods. Yet often they then retreat to their cellphones and order the same item for less money over the internet. E-commerce is king.

This sea change in shopping has been happening gradually but now is moving at an accelerating pace. At least that is what a recent article, “Is American Retail at a Historic Tipping Point?” by Michael Corkery, in The New York Times tells us: “Between 2010 and 2014, e-commerce grew by an average of $30 billion annually. Over the past three years, average annual growth has increased to $40 billion.” The Times article continues, “This transformation is hollowing out suburban shopping malls, bankrupting longtime brands and leading to staggering job losses.” It has also shaken the money tree of daily and weekly newspapers, as evidenced by the fewer number of pages and hence news stories that newspapers can afford to publish. But we papers are only collateral damage.

“More workers in general merchandise stores have been laid off since October, about 89,000 Americans. That is more than all of the people employed in the United States coal industry, which President Trump championed during the campaign as a prime example of the workers who have been left behind in the economic recovery,” according to The Times. One out of 10 people works in retail, and the consequences of their being unemployed are as upending for society as the loss of jobs for manufacturing workers has been.

We are talking about the disappearing middle class here, folks. The small-store owners and their workers are losing their livelihoods. Shopping malls, with the exception of a luxurious few, are emptying out, and their sales staffs are being laid off. The great irony of Amazon now experimenting with brick-and-mortar stores will hardly replace the thousands of workers cut loose, and robots largely operate their fulfillment centers in huge warehouses.

There is a brilliant little business book by Spencer Johnson called, “Who Moved My Cheese?” which summarizes the current condition in first-grader detail. Retail life as we knew it, in this case the old cheese, is elsewhere. To survive in business now requires innovation, retraining and finding the location of new cheese.

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Shoppers can start their crawl with a free coffee at the Starbucks on Main Street. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Port Jefferson is trying out a new business initiative on Saturday, April 2, in which shoppers can get free drinks.

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event, called “Port Jefferson On Sale,” from noon to 5 p.m. that day. Participants can start their “shopping crawl” with a free coffee at Starbucks on Main Street and then head to any three businesses in the village, including retail and service businesses.

According to a chamber flyer, shoppers who make purchases at three different locations can bring their receipts to Schafer’s restaurant on West Broadway or to Tommy’s Place on Main Street to get a free drink. As part of the event, some village businesses will also offer their own shopping incentives, such as discounts and freebies.

Barbara Ransome, the chamber’s director of operations, said other places in Suffolk County have seen positive results from shopping crawls.

“We are trying to encourage more foot traffic for the village and get a level of economic stimulus,” she said.

If this pilot program goes well, the chamber could hold another one to kick off the holiday shopping season in December, according to Ransome.

For more information, call the chamber of commerce office at 631-473-1414.

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Developer Parviz Farahzad proposes constructing a shopping center near Stony Brook University after a year of planning. Rendering from Stony Brook Square plan

By Giselle Barkley

Residents and members of the Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook want more walking and less driving, at least when it comes to the new Stony Brook Shopping Center proposal.

On Monday, Nov. 2, the association met with residents to discuss developer Parviz Farahzad’s proposal of the Stony Brook Square shopping center. His proposal aims to improve the Route 25A corridor across from Stony Brook’s Long Island Rail Road station, which was once known as the old Gustafson property. Farahzad’s Stony Brook Square will include restaurants, a bank and a coffee shop, among other small businesses.

Shawn Nuzzo, president of The Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook, voiced concerns of residents and civic members, saying the civic had met and discussed the proposal and were contemplating long-term impacts with help from the Three Village Chamber of Commerce and Stony Brook Fire Department.

“For years, the Three Village community has been advocating for a Route 25A corridor study, with hopes of improving the area near the train station,” he said. “Without a comprehensive plan, which examines how an area functions as a whole, we end up with ad hoc planning and dysfunctional neighborhoods.”

Nuzzo said that after meeting with various neighborhood stakeholders over next few weeks, he and the civic plan on submitting comments to the town and developer.

According to Farahzad, creating the plan was a yearlong process. As a Three Village resident he said the center is something that’s “needed for [Stony Brook University … and the community]. He added that he wanted to do something that was attractive for the area.

The proposal falls under the J Business district zone, which means that the developer is allowed to build his desired plan as per a zoning change that took place in the 1990s.

Although he did not attend the meeting and is not fully aware of residents’ concerns regarding the proposal, Farahzad said he might alter the proposal to accommodate various suggestions if necessary. He also admitted that the proposal doesn’t meet the required number of 197 parking stalls. Currently the proposal caters for 139 parking spaces.

According to Nuzzo, no one did anything with the property for years until Farahzad purchased the land. The association was pushing for a plan for several years to get a sense of what that area could look like in the future.

Tullio Bertoli, commissioner of Planning, Environment and Land Management for the Town of Brookhaven didn’t respond to messages when asked to comment on Farahzad’s shopping center plan.

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Black Cherokee “Hermina” Fashion Boots ($27.99) at Target. Photo by Talia Amorosano

By Talia Amorosano

Summer is mostly over, and according to most retail stores, that means fall (and Christmas) is right around the corner.  While you do still have ample time to go back-to-school shopping, you might as well beat the rush and stock up on these style essentials before you have to race another customer to grab the last purple backpack off the shelf.

1 Statement backpack. A backpack is an obvious back-to-school essential, and I recommend it over a one-shoulder book-bag because two straps provide better weight distribution and make carrying tons of books less of a huge cramp-in-one-shoulder situation and more of a slight-overall-cramp situation (which, trust me, is preferable). Because a backpack is something that will be carried everywhere, in any weather, paired with any outfit, make sure to choose something durable and versatile. Neutral colors like black, white, beige and brown usually lend themselves to interesting patterns that won’t look out of place with most outfits, while solid bright bold colors can add a fun pop to your style without overwhelming the eye.

2 Something black, something blue, something white (condition: new). Unlike the old wedding rhyme, these items don’t really symbolize anything more extensive than a fresh start to a new school year, but hey, that’s still pretty significant. You’d be surprised by how far a few new basics will go. Black and white clothing items go great with any everyday outfit and come in handy for school concerts and formal events, while a standard pair of comfortable blue jeans will become your literal other half when you can’t find anything simple enough to offset a bold shirt.

3 Vest for success. You may be wondering, what’s so functional about a clothing item that covers approximately half of someone’s torso and leaves appendages to freeze in the cold?  First of all, you know all those long-sleeved shirts that you spilled coffee down the front of, the ones that now live in the back of your closet? Well now they can see the light of day again because a vest is perfect for selectively covering unfashionable areas of fashionable shirts. Also, just like fall, a vest represents that not-too-hot, not-too-cold weather, easy to take off and put on again and possible to layer over almost anything. It’s a true fashion essential.

Coral peaches Trans by Jansport backpack with built-in laptop sleeve ($34.24) at Target. Photo by Talia Amorosano
Coral peaches Trans by Jansport backpack with built-in laptop sleeve ($34.24) at Target. Photo by Talia Amorosano

4 The best boots. Give your flip-flops the actual boot by investing in a functional pair of boots.  Sturdy boots made from quality leather come in all shapes and sizes, at least one of which is sure to match your personal style. From cowboy to combat, ankle to knee-high, quality boots keep feet warm and dry, whether they’re accompanied by a dress or denim jeans. In this instance, quality beats quantity. These shoes are a worthwhile investment.

5 Nice sweats. This phrase may sound like an oxymoron, but contrary to popular belief, it is possible to roll out of bed and look like you didn’t just roll out of bed. A pair of nice, comfortable sweats can look stylish if done right.  Sweatpants called Joggers usually have an adjustable drawstring waist, are loose-fitting, tighten around the ankle area and come in many different styles and colors. And a long, cotton maxi-skirt is just as comfortable as old sweatpants but looks dressed up.  Finally, instead of a typical pullover hoodie, opt for a zip-up sweatshirt and pair it with any T-shirt or tank.  With nice sweats like these, you can keep yourself warm and still look cool.

If you’re not sure about what your personal style is or want to change your look, check out the “What should you wear on your first day back to school?” quiz at www.seventeen.com or the “Fall Fashion Guide” on www.Refinery29.com. Happy shopping!

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Andrew Schipper and his husband Joe are two of Kings Park’s newest business tenants after opening a “newtiques” shop on Main Street, bringing a different flavor to the hamlet. Photo from Andrew Schipper

By Rachel Siford

As customers walk into the store, they hear Pink Martini songs playing through speakers. They smell candle incense burning and see displays from around the world.

They must be in Wormhole ANDtiques.

Located on Main Street in Kings Park, Andrew Schipper opened the shop in February. The store has recently grown in popularity through his own Facebook following.

“I don’t believe in antiques, we like to call them newtiques,” Schipper said. “There is something for everyone in my shop.”

Schipper described his store as “Brooklyn hipster” and “kitschy.”

“Everything in here, I wouldn’t mind having in my own house,” Schipper said.

Schipper lived in North Carolina for 20 years and worked in interior decorating and sold his merchandise at flea markets. He is now from Glen Cove and originally had a similar store in Bellport when he first moved back to New York a few years ago. Recently, he made the move to Kings Park for more space.

Schipper said he is very interested in the global market and has products of Moroccan, Hindi and Asian design. He also carries a lot of local work.

Wormhole ANDtiques in Kings Park has lots of different types of merchandise. Photo by Rachel Siford
Wormhole ANDtiques in Kings Park has lots of different types of merchandise. Photo by Rachel Siford

His husband, Joe, is a painter and makes lamps and other fixtures too. Joe Schipper made a lamp of plumbing pipes and old telephone insulators.

“Joe is the money behind the store,” Andrew Schipper said as he described his husband, who also works as a software engineer. “It is amazing to have someone so supportive in my life.”

His eclectic mix of merchandise includes decorative plates, luggage, jewelry, “Mad Men”-era inspired goods, paintings and a variety of other things. He acquires items through estate sales and high-end boutiques.

“It really is my passion,” Schipper said. “I want to give this town a new breath of life.”

Andrew Schipper said he and his customers strongly believe in supporting small local businesses. He said he wants Kings Park to be the type of town people can walk around on Main Street and go into shops.

Schipper also said he takes pride in the display of the store.

“Everything is always very organized,” Schipper said. “You’re not going to find any of this kind of stuff at Walmart, or have this good of customer service.”

Saturday, June 20, was the annual Kings Park Day festival in town. Main Street was full of vendors and local stores displaying their products, along with many fun activities for children and live music. Wormhole ANDtiques had eight tables set up in the street, all displaying his variety of merchandise.

“It has been a lot of hard work getting this store up and running,” Schipper said. “I am here day and night.”

The store is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with Schipper staying the whole time, plus more.

In the back of the store there is a pop-up sale by Gina Louise Designs and Kerri Rowles, both Kings Park residents. These two designers and decorators display their handmade merchandise in a special section of the store.

“I want to offer nightly events and a creative outlet for local artists and talents,” Schipper said.

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