by Andrew Rudansky
With its long name and store windows full of nautical themed oddities, Our Gig Two Whatever! has been a curious fixture on Main Street since the early 1970s. For decades, long-time owner Kevin O’Malley could be spotted sitting outside of his nautical gift shop in his trademark directors chair, in a way being as much a part of Main Street as the windmill down the road.
“Everyone knew him,” said Kevin O’Malley’s wife Denise. “He was an icon on Main Street, and in the summer time there would be two directors chairs, one would be for myself and one would be for him.”
However, with the untimely passing of Kevin last October, there was a chance the long time Sag Harbor storefront could have boarded up for good, leaving one less mom and pop store in Sag Harbor.
That was until Denise and her two daughters, Veronica and Shannon, took it upon themselves to keep Our Gig Two, Whatever! running after Kevin’s passing. Now after going through a complete interior renovation, the three ladies are determined to not just keep the store running, but have it prosper.
The store had been closed since January of this year, while the renovations took place, with a grand reopening scheduled for Sunday, April 1. This date was chosen as it was the birthday of the late Kevin O’Malley.
For decades Our Gig Two, Whatever! was notable for its dark interior and rustic feel, appearing like an ancient antique shop.
When the store originally opened in 1972, Kevin’s mother, Veronica O’Malley, primarily sold clothing, jewelry and women’s accessories.
The store’s name came from Veronica O’Malley, who named the business after her boat, the Our Gig. She added the word Whatever! to the name because of the large assortment of “whatever” she had in the store.
The store changed its inventory away from apparel when Kevin took over managing the store in the late 1970s.
“[Kevin] slowly drifted away from clothing and jewelry, and towards a brass, nautical theme,” said Denise. “I guess to flow with the village.”
“Gray,” was how Denise described the store before the recent renovation. “[Kevin] was never into changing anything with the store, he liked everything the way it was, he had his comfort zone.”
By contrast the new renovations make the store much brighter, giving it a much more inviting feel. The O’Malleys hope this brighter, more open store front will in turn attract more casual window shoppers.
By design, the new renovations give the store an appearance like the hull of a boat, complete with a long, narrow floor space and dark hardwood floors.
Denise said, despite the overall look of the store, she didn’t want to change the spirit of the store too much. In keeping with this, Our Gig Two, Whatever! will still be selling the model boats, model planes, brass pieces, nautical maps, barometers, weather vanes, oars, clocks, spyglasses and assorted pieces the store has kept in stock for decades.
“I am not going to change any of the merchandise, maybe add to it,” she said. “The business was successful for 35 years, there is no reason to change the merchandise.”
Denise said among items she plans to add to the current merchandise is handmade jewelry. She also said she is going to add scarves, candles and gift cards.
“I think the store is probably going back to a more feminine feel; but I still want to stay with that rustic, nautical feel,” she said.
One of the greatest drivers of the business in the past 35 years has been the store’s unique window displays, said Denise. For years the windows of Our Gig Two would be filled with the small wooden boats, maps and weather vanes.
“The window display was always very important,” she said.