By Tessa Raebeck
While most retail stores in East Hampton and Southampton board up their windows for the winter, leaving a desolate Main Street for the local population, in Sag Harbor many stores are not only staying open, they’re also offering great deals for the year round community.
The sale signs are popping up across Bay Street and Main Street, with some stores offering as much as 75 percent off select items.
“It’s just a nice way to give back to locals,” says Kim Keller, the manager at Urban Zen on Bay Street, which is offering 50 to 75 percent off select items through March.
Giving back is at the foundation of the Urban Zen business model, which is centered around a “soulful economy,” as Keller calls it.
Haitian crafted goods are for sale at the store through the Haiti Artisan Project. Started by owner Donna Karan following the earthquake that shook Haiti four years ago, the project returns 100 percent of the proceeds from the items to Haiti.
The luxury items at Urban Zen range in price from $20 for “Haiti hearts,” or handmade heart-shaped rocks, to $7,000 for a crystal chandelier handcrafted in Haiti.
In addition to the Haiti Artisan Project samplings, Urban Zen has a variety of pieces from across the world, ranging from handcrafted belts made in Brooklyn by designer Jason Ross to leather jackets made by hand using the best materials in Italy.
“Obviously,” said Keller, “this store could not survive if it weren’t for our summer clientele. Like everyone around here, that is our business.”
Keller added that about two-thirds of the store’s business is conducted from June to Labor Day, but staying open in the winter – and having sales – is Urban Zen’s way to support the local community.
Although most locals may not be stopping into Urban Zen for a $895 cashmere dress from Italy, sales make it tangible to “collect” items by buying one or two pieces a season.
“They’re beautiful,” said Keller, wearing a cashmere sweater, scarf and hat, of the clothes at Urban Zen, “they last forever and go with everything.”
The men’s and women’s stores of Flying Point Surf Boutique on Main Street are similarly thinking of Sag Harbor’s year round community this winter, with sales of 15 to 50 percent off on all summer items.
“It’s basically to bring people in during the winter and help the locals out,” said Loreto Vignapiano, manager at the Flying Point Women’s store in Sag Harbor.
Vignapiano said after realizing last season that a lot of customers were coming into the store looking for summer clothes to wear on tropical vacations this time of year, they decided to put on a winter sale.
Until the new spring gear comes in in March, all swimwear and summer clothing in the women’s store is half off and flip-flops are buy one, get one free.
At the men’s store, board shorts, Reef sandals, and “pretty much all summer clothing” is half off, according to manager Bethany Semlear. Rashguards and tee shirts are buy one, get one free. The store is also offering 25 percent off wetsuit tips, 20 percent off body and boogie boards and 15 to 20 percent off sunglasses.
A few blocks down Main Street at Satori, a women’s boutique, owner Jessica Kenny is offering 30 percent off all clothing, excluding accessories, bras, hats, scarves, gloves, jewelry and some leggings, as part of its end of the season sale.
Kris Kim, a Satori employee, said there is also an ongoing selection of items for 50 percent off in the back of the store.
Traditionally less expensive than its luxury counterparts, Flashbacks is, as usual, offering items for $10 on a sale rack displayed outside the storefront.
An end of season sale of up to 75 percent off items at luxury boutique Life’Style ended last weekend.
A winter promotion at Calypso for 60 percent off of all sale merchandise also ended Monday. With the new collection having just arrived in store, however, manager Jennifer Lucey expects another deal is just around the corner.