By Ellen Frankman
Josh Estes decided when he entered college that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. Estes is now 18 years old, has just completed his freshman year at Hofstra University, and is the owner of Hampton Culinary, a kitchen equipment and supply store that just opened in the former BookHampton space on Main Street in Sag Harbor.
Hampton Culinary had its grand opening on Thursday, July 4. The store is stocked with nearly every kitchen implement imaginable, from spatulas to glassware to pots and pans.
“I’ve been involved in the restaurant business my entire life,” said Estes, who says he spent a good part of his childhood in East Hampton. “I wanted to take my family’s knowledge of commercial kitchens and bring that to Sag Harbor.”
Estes believes the Hamptons are missing what his store offers, a one-stop-shop for kitchen utensils, paperware, plasticware, and small appliances. Hampton Culinary also takes special orders on products and appliances they don’t carry in the store that can be ordered to size and delivered to residences across the East End. If you’re looking for a 36-inch Viking range, Estes says he can get it.
“The towns don’t have many supermarkets and there are mostly convenience stores out here,” said Estes, who explained many customers would otherwise have to travel further to purchase the products he sells. “And we have the means to get anything for the kitchen.”
Estes also believes that many East End residents, both local and seasonal, enjoy being in the kitchen, largely because of the fresh produce and seafood that is produced locally and readily available.
“Out here people love to cook,” said Estes. “And we are cooks, for cooks.”
Hampton Culinary also maintains a commercial business, selling to restaurants everything from utensils to large-scale appliances.
“We’ve already been in touch with Muse, Sen and The Cuddy,” said Estes, who hopes to soon sell to all of the restaurants in Sag Harbor. He hopes to create working relationships with local businesses that are advantageous to both parties.
Having a commercial mindset has also encouraged Estes to keep prices low.
“There is no need to price gouge out here,” said Estes. “We have really competitive prices for normal people.”
Estes also hopes to one day expand Hampton Culinary so that there is a store in every town in the Hamptons, making it the go-to destination for all things kitchen-related. He also plans to keep the store open year round.
And with such an early start, it’s not impossible. Estes largely credits his family for the success he’s found in starting a business at such a young age.
“My mother gives me all of the training and tools that I need,” said Estes. “She tells me when I do things right and when I do things wrong. She is the little voice at the back of the store. It’s absolutely amazing to have that kind of encouragement from your family.”
But Estes insists that Hampton Culinary is entirely his business, achieved of course with family support.
“We start young in this family,” he said with a smile.
Hamptons Culinary is located at 20 Main Street in Sag Harbor.