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A sharing table at Heritage Park. Photo by Julianne Mosher

By Julianne Mosher and Rita J. Egan

Give a little, take a little — sharing is caring. 

A new phenomenon that has made its way across Long Island — and now the country — is a discreet way to help those in need. 

The Sharing Tables concept, of New York and California, was started up in November by a Seaford mom and her young daughter. 

“I woke up on Sunday, Nov. 22, and me and my 6-year-old daughter didn’t have anything to do that day,” Mary Kate Tischler, founder of the group, said. “We went through our cabinets, got some stuff from the grocery store and started publicizing the table on Facebook.”

The Sharing Table is a simple concept, according to her: “Take what you need and leave what you can, if you can.”

Tischler, who grew up in Stony Brook, said the idea is that whoever sets up a table in front of their home or business will put items out that people might need, with the community coming together to replenish it.

“The very first day people were taking things and dropping things off,” she said. “It was working just as it was supposed to.”

When the table is set up, organizers put out anything and everything a person might need. Some put out nonperishable foods, some put toiletries. Others put toys and books, with some tables having unworn clothing and shoes. No one mans the table. It’s just out front, where someone can discreetly visit and grab what they need.

“Since there’s no one that stands behind the table, people can come up anonymously and take the item without identifying themselves or asking any questions,” Tischler said. ”Some of our neighbors are in a tough time where they can’t pay their bills. I think the Sharing Tables are really helping fill those needs.”

And they’re popping up everywhere. In just three months, the group has nearly 30 Sharing Tables in New York, with one just launched in Santa Monica, California.

Mount Sinai

From clothing to toys, to food and books, Sharing Tables, like the one pictured here in Mount Sinai, are a way to help in a discreet and anonymous way. Photo by Julianne Mosher

On Sunday, Jan. 18, a Sharing Table was put outside the Heritage Trust building at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai.

Victoria Hazan, president of the trust, said she saw the Sharing Tables on social media and knew that the local community needed one, too.

“It was nothing but good, positive vibes,” she said.

When she set up the table with dozens of different items that were donated, people already started pulling up to either grab something they needed or donate to the cause.

“Some people are shy,” Hazan said. “What’s great is that you set up the table and walk away. There’s no judgement and no questions asked.”

What’s available at the tables will vary by community and what donations come in.

“The response from the community blew my mind totally,” Hazan said. “This was the right time to do this.”

St. James

Joanne Evangelist, of St. James, was the first person in Suffolk County to set up a Sharing Table, and soon after, other residents in the county followed.

The wife and mother of two said it was the end of the Christmas season when she was cleaning out drawers and her pantry. On the Facebook page Smithtown Freecycle, she posted that she had stuff to give away if anyone wanted it, but she would find sometimes people wouldn’t show up after she put something aside for them.

“So, I put it on a table outside — not even knowing about the group or thinking anything of it,” she said, adding she would post what was outside on the freecycle page.

Joanne Evangelist stands by her table in St. James filled with food, cleaning supplies and more. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Tischler saw the Smithtown Freecycle post and reached out to Evangelist to see if she would be interested in setting up a Sharing Table. The St. James woman thought it was a good idea when she heard it. While Evangelist regularly has food, toiletries, cleaning products and baby products on the table, from time to time there will be clothing, toys and other random items. Recently, she held a coat drive and the outwear was donated to Lighthouse Mission in Bellport, which helps those with food insecurities and the homeless.

She said she keeps the table outside on her front lawn all day long, even at night, unless it’s going to rain, or the temperatures dip too low. People can pick up items at any time, and she said no one is questioned.

Evangelist said she also keeps a box out for donations so she can organize them on the table later on in the day, and the response from local residents wanting to drop off items has been touching.

She said helping out others is something she always liked to do. 

“I was a candy striper in the hospital when I was younger,” she said. “I just always loved volunteering, and I’m a stay-at-home mom, so, honestly anything I could do … especially with the pandemic.”

Evangelist said she understands what people go through during tough financial times.

“I’ve used a pantry before, so I know the feeling,” she said. “I know the embarrassment of it.”

Northport

Lisa Conway, of Northport, and two of her five children, Aidan, 16, and Kate, 14, set up a Sharing Table after their garage was burglarized on New Year’s Eve.

Conway said her children, who attend St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, were looking for a community outreach project. She had seen a post about the Sharing Tables on Facebook and was considering starting one, but she was debating how involved it would be.

Then the Conway’s garage was burglarized where thousands of dollars of tools were stolen, an electric skateboard, dirt bike and more including a generator that was taken from the basement. The wife and mother said the family felt fortunate that the robbers didn’t enter the main part of the house.

Conway said after the experience she realized that some people need to steal to get what they need and decided the Sharing Table would be a good idea.

“They can come take what they need without having to steal from anyone,” she said.

Her children have been helping to organize the items they receive, and every day Aidan will set everything up before school and clean up at night. He said it’s no big deal as it takes just a few minutes each day.

Aidan said there have been more givers than takers.

“People are a lot more generous than what I expected them to be,” he said.

The mother and son said they have been touched by the generosity of their fellow residents. Conway said she’s been using the Nextdoor app mostly to generate contributions. She said she started posting on the app to let people know what they needed for the table. One day after a posting indicating they needed cleaning supplies for the table, they woke up to find the items outside.

The family has also received a $200 Amazon gift card to buy items, and another person bought them a canopy to protect the table. 

Conway said every once in a while, she will be outside when people are picking up items. One woman told her how she drove from Nassau County. Her husband was suffering from three different types of cancer, and he couldn’t work due to his compromised immune system. She told her how they had to pay the bills first, and then if there was money left over they could buy food.

Another day Conway went outside to see that someone had left gum and mints on the table.

“I just was so touched by that,” the mother said. “They wanted to leave something they didn’t just want to take, and that’s all they had.”

Conway said it’s a learning experience for her children to know that there are people on public assistance who can’t use the funds for items such as paper goods or cleaning items, and there are others who are struggling but not eligible for any kind of assistance.

“My youngest one is 9, and even he can’t believe when he sees people pulling up,” she said. “He’s not really in the helping phase but I love that he’s seeing what we’re doing.”

Aidan agreed that it is an important learning experience. He said before he wasn’t familiar with those who had financial issues.

“It’s not good to know that there are people out there with financial issues, but it’s good to know that you can help them,” he said.

Conway said the Sharing Tables came around at the right time as she was suffering from “COVID fatigue,” and it changed her outlook on life.

“I feel like my faith in humanity has been restored,” she said.

How you can help

Tischler said that if people would like to donate but cannot get to a Sharing Table, there is an Amazon wish list on the group’s Facebook page. Items ordered through the site will be delivered to Tischler’s home, where she will personally deliver to the Sharing Tables across Long Island. Addresses for locations are listed on the Facebook page.

“It’s been such a whirlwind,” she added. “I have to stop and pinch myself and take stock of what’s happening.”

Bellerose Elementary might be closing in Northport School District. Photo by Lina Weingarten

Members of the Northport-East Northport Board of Education discussed their opinions and preferences surrounding the district’s proposed future plan, ultimately approving a motion to implement one of the scenarios in the 2021-2022 school year. 

In a Dec. 3 virtual board meeting and workshop, the board unanimously approved a motion to implement Adapted Scenario A for the upcoming year — which involves closing Dickinson Avenue and Bellerose Avenue elementary schools. According to the Northport-East Northport district website, it also converts the remaining four elementary schools to grades K-4, and both middle schools will house grades 5-8. The high school remains the same, with grades 9-12.

“The priority throughout this entire process, going back over a year ago now, was to maintain the diversity and excellence of the educational program, and that includes class size goals,” Superintendent Robert Banzer said at the meeting. 

The front of Dickinson Elementary School. Photo by Lina Weingarten

Scenario A was developed in consultation with the SES Study Team, which began in June 2019, and reviewed by the Community Advisory Committee. Since its inception, Banzer said, the district heard from nearly 1,900 participants within the community, after asking what priorities the district should consider throughout their planning. 

“I do want to thank everybody for your participation in this process and giving us and the board the opportunity to hear from you,” he said. 

According to the district, the savings that could be saved from utilizing Scenario A would be between $5.2-6.6 million. 

The board also decided that the Brosnan building will continue to house administration unless a guaranteed buyer purchases the building, which would generate significant funds. 

This planning process was implemented to create a “roadmap” for future decisions surrounding the district in a cost-effective way but will continue to benefit students and members of the community. 

The district also noted on their website that many factors influenced the decision to implement the Future Study — primarily declining enrollment and the pending LIPA settlement.

They stated that since 2014, district enrollment has declined significantly from 5,748 students in the 2014-2015 school years, to 5,138 in the 2019-2020 school year. The decrease of 610 pupils equates to a -10.6% change over the past six years. 

According to the district’s website, the LIPA suit settlement, agreed upon by the Town of Huntington Board in September 2020, will result in a reduction of LIPA’s tax payments to the district from $86 million to $46 million over the next seven years. This settlement will result in an increase in property tax payments for community home and business owners. The Future Study will help to mitigate this increase. 

Peter Goldstein, staff pharmacist at Jones Drug Store in Northport. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Amazon says it can save people money on their medications, but local pharmacy owners say there’s a big problem with that: There won’t be that human element customers get from a pharmacist behind the counter if they order from behind a computer screen. 

This week the online retailer announced new pharmacy offerings to help customers purchase their prescription medications through Amazon Pharmacy — a new store on the website that provides an entire pharmacy transaction through an Amazon account. 

Mike Nastro, owner of Fairview Pharmacy in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“People like their community pharmacy,” said Mike Nastro, owner of Fairview Pharmacy & Homecare Supply in Port Jefferson Station. “I take care of the specialty patient populations that require intimate service — hopefully that will sustain me.”

Amazon Pharmacy states that by using a secure pharmacy profile, customers can add their insurance information, manage prescriptions and choose payment options before checking out. Amazon Prime members will receive unlimited, free two-day delivery on orders through the online shop.

But this announcement isn’t new, according to Nastro.

“They’ve been talking about this for a while,” he said. “It’s going to hurt the industry a lot. It may hurt the chains more initially, but it’ll hurt the entire brick-and-mortar industry.”

Two years ago, Amazon purchased PillPack, an online pharmacy startup, in a $753 million acquisition. 

“As more and more people look to complete everyday errands from home, pharmacy is an important and needed addition to the Amazon online store,” Doug Herrington, senior vice president of North America Consumer at Amazon, said in a statement. “PillPack has provided exceptional pharmacy service for individuals with chronic health conditions for over six years. Now, we’re expanding our pharmacy offering to Amazon.com, which will help more customers save time, save money, simplify their lives and feel healthier.”

Local pharmacies might be in danger with Amazon’s new pharmacy service. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Nastro said that there are many benefits with personal pharmacy service like privacy and face-to-face communication.

“We keep people out of the hospital by intervening, and by knowing the person and seeing what medications they’re on,” he said. “It’s an important role, and if that’s obliterated it will have an adverse effect on the medical industry.”

Peter Goldstein, a staff pharmacist at Jones Drug Store in Northport, said in the 30-plus years he’s been in the industry, Amazon will not be able to help patients like he and his colleagues do.

“I will put my service against any mail order or Amazon any day,” he said. “We know the patients, especially in the community. We know their family history and there’s so much that goes into it, that quite frankly people will miss. What will you do if your insulin gets sent to the wrong site?”

Goldstein noted something like storing medications at the required room temperature is an issue if it ends up sitting in a mailbox. 

“It’s personal touches that we take for granted,” he said. 

And one of those personal touches is quick delivery that Nastro’s store has been doing all along.

“We’re not there in two days,” he said. “We’re there in two hours.”

Michael DeAngelis, owner of Village Chemists of Setauket, said his family has owned their store since 1960. DeAngelis and his father saw the changes in pharmaceutical care throughout the years although this is a whole new level. 

Michael DeAngelis, owner of Village Chemists of Setauket. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“We managed to survive Genovese, Eckerd, Rite Aid and now Walgreens,” he said. “[Those stores] even sent people here to solve a problem or order something they couldn’t get.”

While COVID-19 has conditioned people to stay indoors more, DeAngelis said contacting a pharmacy store is a different experience.

“If you call the Village Chemists, you will not get a machine that makes you listen to an endless menu,” he said. “You will get a human being who will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.”

These local pharmacists want people to know they are here for them and will be, despite the larger competition coming their way.

“Community pharmacists are really your advocate,” Nastro said. “With Amazon, what you’re not going to have is that personal service. It’s not just buying goods — we both have medication — there’s a service that comes with that medication and that service keeps people out of the hospital. It keeps people alive.”

File photo

Suffolk County Police said two North Shore residents were shot and injured outside an East Patchogue bar early Saturday morning.

Police said a man was escorted from El Buen Ambiente, located at 466 East Main St. in East Patchogue, following an altercation with another patron. The man retrieved a handgun from his vehicle and began shooting, striking two bystanders outside the bar at approximately 1:30 a.m, Oct. 24.

A 39-year-old Lake Grove man, who was shot twice in his legs, was transported to Long Island Community Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. A 26-year-old Northport man, who was struck once in the leg, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The shooter fled in an unknown direction.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this incident to call the 5thSquad at 631-854-8552 or to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

A Hampton Inn will turn the old Huntington Town Hall into a boutique hotel. Rendering by Huntington Village Hotel Partners LLC

Plans are moving forward, adding two new boutique-style hotels to the Town of Huntington — the goal being to bring people to both Huntington village and Northport.

An artistic rendering of what the proposed hotel and restaurant at 225 Main Street in Northport Village may look like. Photo from Kevin O’Neill

George Tsunis and Rosario Cassata, developers with Huntington Village Hotel Partners, worked alongside the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency to approve a plan that will remodel the old Huntington Town Hall building into a Hampton Inn & Suites.

Anthony Catapano, executive director of the IDA, said the 110-year-old historic structure has become a vacant space over the last 10 years, so utilizing the property into something that can bring business downtown, he thinks, is exciting.

“The area has a tourism aspect,” he said. “The new owner is experienced in hotel operations and will be able to manage it. I think it will be a successful endeavor and a plus to downtown Huntington.”

Located at 227 Main St., the outside facade will not change.

“The 80-room hotel will be built in the back, and the front will be meeting rooms,” he said. “It will still keep its original look.”

Catapano added that the empty building is accruing $60,000 each year in property taxes, so the inn will bring plenty of incentives, and people, to the town.

“It will encourage visitors to use the amenities in the village,” he said. “The hotel itself will become a destination.”

Catapano said the construction process will take about 18 months.

“Originally it was set for the second quarter of 2021, but because of COVID it’s looking like it will probably spill into 2022,” he said. “It’s starting to gear up. Hospitality and the hotel business have been hit hard because of the pandemic.”

As of right now, workers began gutting the space and cleaning up asbestos. Catapano said the building’s developer is looking forward to bringing a change to the village.

“He’s very eager,” he said. “He’s from Huntington and wants to make a positive impact.”

Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinnaci (R) is supportive of the boutique hotel.

“The addition of a hotel will bring a much-needed dimension to the overall downtown Huntington experience,” he said in a statement.” With a concert venue right in the center of the village, along with the numerous shops and restaurants, visitors can now have a place to stay for a mini-vacation right here. This is great for the local economy and will be sure to make Huntington even more vibrant in the years to come.”

A little more than five miles away in Northport, a smaller hotel is being built.

Developed by John W. Engeman Theater owners Kevin O’Neill and Richard Dolce, a 24-room hotel, Italian steakhouse and bar is being developed at 224 Main St. right across the street.

“Northport is a beautiful harbor town,” O’Neill said. “People who come and visit here will ask ‘Where is the local inn?’”

The Engeman Theater brings roughly 110,000 people to the village every year, which obviously didn’t happen in 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis. 

O’Neill said construction also needed to be halted when the pandemic hit.

“We’re building later than I wanted,” he said. “We’re hoping for a fall 2021 completion.”

At the end of 2015, he purchased the building across the street from his theater. His goal was to bring “a combination of an old beautiful building with something modern inside.”

Now that people are starting to get more comfortable, O’Neill said construction
has resumed.

“The inn will be a way to get people here on a year-round basis,” he said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

Although, compared to the old Huntington Town Hall hotel, it will be built completely new, he said, but the Northport Hotel will have “real old-world charm.”

“There used to be hotels on Main Street 100, 125 years ago,” he said. “I want it to feel like it’s 100 years old, with modern amenities.”

Parking meters in Northport have been covered to provide free parking in Northport during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parking meter fees have also been waived in Huntington Village. Photo by Bruce Adams

Huntington officials have made some adjustments during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parking meter fees in Huntington village are being waived until further notice to assist the restaurant and business communities. The town will continue enforcement of handicap, fire zone and other safety-related parking violations that interfere with traffic patterns or line of sight.

Huntington Town Hall is closed to the public, and this week’s planning and zoning boarding meetings have been postponed, along with traffic court.

Residents are asked to use the white mailbox outside the main parking lot entrance to Town Hall labeled “Town Hall Mail Only” to drop off mail or paperwork. There is a black mailbox to the right of the main entrance to Town Hall labeled “Tax Payments Only” to drop off tax payments. 

All playgrounds and bathrooms at town parks and beaches are closed until further notice. Parks remain open but all permits for play on town fields are canceled through March 31. Crab Meadow Golf Course and Dix Hills Golf Course are closed until further notice. The town will reevaluate March 27.

The town Senior Center’s Home Delivered Meal Delivery program will change starting Tuesday, March 24. The last day for single hot and frozen meal delivery was Monday, March 23.  Starting March 24, five frozen meals will be delivered on Tuesdays only, and the Senior Center has stopped taking new signups for the program. 

The Senior Center’s Congregate Frozen Meal pickup program will change starting Tuesday, March 24. Five frozen meals will be available for collection at the Senior Center on Tuesdays only for registered seniors between 12:30 and 2:00 p.m. Employees will bring the frozen meals outside. There will be a car lineup for registered seniors to be checked in. 

All Huntington schools remain closed.

Northport

Parking meters in Northport have also been covered to provide free parking.

Town Hall is closed with only essential staff on-site. Much village paperwork can be found and completed online at www.northportny.gov.

The Northport-East Northport Public Library will remain closed until further notice. All late fees are suspended. Residents can return items using the outside book and media returns drop box. 

All Northport-East Northport schools are closed until further notice.

District Attorney Tim Sini (D). File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Several individuals from all over Long Island, including Selden, St. James and Northport, have been implicated in multiple labor crime violations.

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini (D) joined Suffolk police along with multiple New York State officials from the labor and insurance departments to announce their arrest.

Sini said, collectively, the charged crimes involve the theft of more than $250,000 in employees’ wages and benefits, nonpayment of more than $58,000 to the state Department of Labor for unemployment insurance fund contributions and nonpayment of more than $133,000 to the New York State Insurance Fund for workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Paul Gilistro, 58, of Selden, and his company Goldstar Installation Services Inc. are each charged with a scheme to defraud in the first degree and willful failure to file a true certified payroll.

From 2016 to 2019, the defendants, formerly doing business as The Floor Worx of Long Island, allegedly misclassified 12 employees as independent contractors to avoid paying the statutory prevailing wage on public works jobs performed throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties. The DA said, during that time period, Gilistro allegedly regularly falsified the sworn certified payroll records he submitted to reflect the job classifications and wages the employees should have received.

“Here in Suffolk County, we will not tolerate the exploitation of workers or our taxpayers by greedy corporations and business owners,” Sini said. “Not only will our efforts protect workers and taxpayers, they will also prevent these bad businesses from gaining an unfair competitive advantage against legitimate, law-abiding businesses.”

Alan James, 70, of St. James, and his company APJ Restoration Inc. were each charged with fraudulent practices against the state insurance fund in violation of New York State workers’ compensation law.

An audit by the NYSIF revealed evidence that between August 2017 and August 2018 the defendants allegedly failed to report more than $450,000 in revenue to the NYSIF in order to avoid paying $68,613.69 in policy premiums that would have otherwise been assessed.

Richard Hall, 57, of Northport, and his company Regal Contracting Inc. were each charged with a scheme to defraud and willful failure to pay prevailing wages in an amount less than $25,000, a misdemeanor in violation of state DOL law. In addition, Hall and Triangle Enterprises of Long Island Inc. are each charged with fraudulent practices against the NYSIF in violation of New York State workers’ compensation law.

In the summer of 2018, Hall and Regal Contracting Inc. allegedly failed to pay $7,400 in benefits to the Laborers Local 66 Benefit Fund for multiple workers on five different projects. In December 2018, Regal canceled its state insurance fund policy. Hall then incorporated Triangle Enterprises of Long Island Inc. and allegedly fraudulently omitted his ownership of the company on its application for workers’ compensation insurance. Regal Contracting allegedly owes more than $28,000 in unpaid unemployment insurance fund contributions to the DOL and allegedly owes more than $48,000 in unpaid workers’ compensation premiums to the insurance fund, therefore making Hall ineligible to take out a new policy.

Napper Tandy’s in Northport hosted its annual St. Baldrick’s Day event March 7 where participants shave their heads to raise money for childhood cancer research.

Barbers from various locations, as well as those provided by Eastern Suffolk BOCES teacher Luke Mahoney, were on hand to do the shaving. The day also included Irish step dancing by the Mulvihill-Lynch Studio of Irish Dance, raffles and entertainment by Redmax Events. In addition, more than 100 knit hats were donated by knitters from St. Anthony of Padua R.C. Church in East Northport. The event drew people from all over.

Bob Nolan, who lives in Croton-on-Hudson, said it was his fifth year shaving his head, adding he feels every little thing helps.

Gary Norman, of Long Island City, has been shaving his head for 15 years. He said he was in the hospital with his own battle against cancer, and when he saw the children, it broke his heart.

Northport’s Betty Reidenbach has been shaving her head for 15 years after a friend introduced her to the event, and she said she knows children who have been affected by cancer. 

Tommy McEneny, who lives in Northport and will turn 4 years old on St. Patrick’s Day, said he shaved his head to help other children.

Lynn Kenny, lead event organizer, said there were approximately 96 shavees and at press time the event had raised more than $100,000 with donations still coming in and being counted. She said Northport High School held an event the night before where they had 99 shavees. At press time, the high school event was up to $70,000. She said it was the first time the school held a St. Baldrick’s event.

“I’m so proud of our town and their continued commitment to help us in the fight again childhood cancer,” Kenny said. “In the years that Northport has held St Baldrick’s events, we have raised $6 million. Northport really is a small town with a huge heart.”

Additional reporting by Lina Weingarten

The Northport Tigers hit the ground running against Westhampton for the overall Section XI title game. The team was leading from the start to finish, beating the Hurricanes 72-45 March 5 at Ward Melville High School.

Senior Danielle Pavinelli led the way for the Tigers with three triples, four from the floor and a pair of free throws for a team high 19 points. Kerry Dennin, a senior, followed with 13 as did sophomore Sophia Yearwood. Teammate Sophia Bica netted 11 and senior Kelly McLaughlin banked 10.

Northport retakes the court for the Class AA Long Island championship round to take on the Nassau County champion at St. Joseph’s College March 15. Tickets are $10.00 at the door or $8.00 on line here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

Game time is 4:00pm.

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Stacey Wohl, center, with her daughter at her shop Be(Cause) Lifestyle Boutique in Wading River. Photo from Wohl

By Leah Chiappino

Local entrepreneur Stacey Wohl has moved her store, Be(Cause) Lifestyle Boutique, which first opened Nov. 22, from its original East Northport location to Wading River Square. Despite the change in location, it still has the same mission, to give people with disabilities a chance at employment.

In 2015, Wohl opened Cause Cafe in Northport, a restaurant that employed people on the autism spectrum, with the help of her parents, Susan and Gerald Schultz. Her interest in doing so was taken from her own two children, Brittney, 22, and Logan, 20, both of whom have autism.

Wohl says the business struggled because of the lack of a nonprofit being able to subsidize the rent. Her children were unable to work in the kitchen as the environment could get chaotic, and it grew very loud. 

“When you own a business, you have to do everything, and I am not a chef,” Wohl said. “It was a very large undertaking that we weren’t prepared for.”

Despite putting her best efforts into it, Wohl was forced to shut down the restaurant when it was not able to sustain itself and personal tragedy struck. In 2016, Cause Cafe was featured on the Rachel Ray Show, which sent Wohl on a cruise with her children and parents. Two days into the trip, her father had a heart attack while dancing with her mother on the ship and passed away. 

When the family returned home, Wohl closed the doors, as she felt the need to care for her mother, who was mourning the loss of a husband of 55 years.

Wohl’s first love is fashion, having been a showroom salesperson, fit model and boutique owner in her 20s, so she opened Be(Cause) Lifestyle Boutique in East Northport. However, tragedy struck again when her mother passed away three weeks later. Wohl relocated to Wading River after her daughter got accepted to a day program in Abequogue.

“I saw the need for a place like this,”
Wohl said. 

The front of the store has a coffee bar with repackaged baked goods to take home, complete with inspirational coffee mugs for sale. The back of the store is filled with apparel and gifts that mostly come from women-owned companies and charitable causes. There is local artwork for sale as well as her own coffee brand. 

“I want the store to be a place where people go to buy a gift, and not just feel like they are doing something for charity,” Wohl said. 

Recently the business has been struggling. Business boomed over Christmas, but after the holidays business slowed down. 

“I only sold one $3 dollar cup of coffee today,” Wohl said. However, she affirms the community has been very supportive. Wohl hopes that people will make the store their go-to place to grab a cup of coffee and is even looking to expand to have art classes and job training. She is also hoping to make a clothing line from her former fashion background. 

“I lost that part of myself in [dedicating myself to my children] for the past 20 years.”

The boutique is located at 6278 Building A, #2 along Route 25A in Wading River and is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 5.p.m. Online ordering is also available through the boutique’s website at www.becauseboutiquecafe.com.