Tag Archive | "business"

Montauk’s 7-Eleven is Highest Grossing in the Nation

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A patron enters the 7-Eleven in Montauk Thursday afternoon.

A patron enters the 7-Eleven in Montauk Thursday afternoon. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Selling boogie boards and beer can turn quite a profit – in Montauk, that is. Opened in 2010 despite protests from vocal residents, the Montauk 7-Eleven is the chain’s top-grossing store in the United States.

Of 7,800 locations nationwide, the four most profitable are all in Suffolk County, with the East Patchogue, Southampton and Farmingville stores following behind Montauk. Sag Harbor’s 7-Eleven earned the 11th spot. Of the top 10 locations by sales in the country last year, eight were in Suffolk County, according to 7-Eleven Inc. There are 208 stores on Long Island.

“It’s a Long Island thing,” franchisee Chris Stephens, who runs the stores in Montauk and East Patchogue, told Newsday. The East Patchogue and Southampton locations have fought for the top spot in recent years, but this year, Montauk’s summer sales helped the store to secure first place.

“You really target what’s needed from the community and people who’re here,” Mr. Stephens said of his business model. The Montauk store is flush with St. Patrick’s Day gear in March and stocked with sunblock, beach umbrellas and water guns in the summer. Beer is popular year-round and animal hats are a constant.

Although the Dallas-based company declined to give an exact number, Mr. Stephens said he has annual sales in the low millions, selling about $100,000 in beer and $50,000 in coffee monthly. Last summer, the store sold 250 boogie boards.

Despite the evident popularity of Suffolk County 7-Elevens – or perhaps because of it – some year-round residents have been vocal in their opposition to the chain, first in Montauk and now in Amagansett. Plans to build a franchise in a commercial building to the east of the Amagansett IGA were delayed last week when the East Hampton Town Planning Department rescinded the project’s building permit, calling for further review.


American Beer Giant Anheuser-Busch Purchases Long Island’s Blue Point Brewing Company

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By Tessa Raebeck

Long Island’s first microbrewery, Blue Point Brewing Company has been purchased by the American beer giant Anheuser-Busch. Founded in 1998 in Patchogue by two beer-loving friends, Mark Burford and Peter Cotter, Blue Point retains its tagline as “Long Island’s Brewery,” but is now on tap at bars across the country, brewing some 60,000 barrels a year.

On February 5, it was announced that Anheuser-Busch InBev, the country’s largest brewer and the supplier of its top-selling beer, Bud Light, as well as Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, has agreed to buy the Blue Point Brewing Company.

The deal will help Blue Point expand while allowing Anheuser-Busch to capitalize on the growing popularity of craft beer, the announcement said. Blue Point will continue to operate out of Patchogue and to sell its local brews, including the popular flagship Toasted Lager, as well as Hoptical Illusion, Blueberry Ale and Toxic Sludge.

“Together, our talented brewing team and Anheuser-Busch will have the resources to create new and exciting beers and share our portfolio with even more beer lovers,” Mr. Burford said in a statement.

“As we welcome Blue Point into the Anheuser-Busch family of brands, we look forward to working with Mark and Peter to accelerate the growth of the Blue Point portfolio and expand to new markets, while preserving the heritage and innovation of the brands,” Luiz Edmond, the President of the North American branch of Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a statement.

The move will allow Mr. Burford and Mr. Cotter to spread their business philosophy, already well understood on Long Island: “Good people drink good beer.”

Aquaponic Farming, Rooftop Garden Proposed for Sag Harbor’s Page at 63 Main

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By Tessa Raebeck

Hoping to join the growing farm-to-table food movement on the East End, Page at 63 Main has proposed a greenhouse that would employ aquaponic farming and a rooftop garden to enable the restaurant to grow its vegetables on site.

Aquaponics is farming that combines hydroponics and aquaculture in a symbiotic environment. Through hydroponics, plants are cultivated in water and aquatic animals (in this case fish) are raised through aquaculture. Aquaponics allows the water from the aquaculture system — filled with nutrients from fish by-products — to be then fed into the hydroponic system to fuel the growing plants.

Attorney Dennis Downes represented Gerard Wawryk, one of the owners of the Main Street, Sag Harbor restaurant, at a Sag Harbor Planning Board meeting Tuesday.

The building currently has a footprint of 3,860 square feet, an area the project would not alter. The building’s front portion is two stories, the middle section has a one-story frame and masonry structure and the rear section has two stories. The restaurant occupies the building’s ground floor and the second floor houses a residential apartment.

Although the footprint would not be changed, the proposal would add 835 square feet of space to the existing second floor (which does not currently meet the full footprint) which would be added over the one story middle portion of the building and serve as a seeding area. A partial 481 square foot third floor over the rear potion of the building would serve as a greenhouse and the second story roof would house a garden.

“There is no change in parking or change in sewer,” Downes said Tuesday, adding that water in the tanks would not be going into the sewer as board members had previously wondered.

The plan was first introduced to the planning board in a work session November 26. At Tuesday’s meeting, Downes asked the board to adopt a resolution to send a 30-day letter for lead agency status and to allow the demolition of a gable roof.

Downes said renovations to the kitchen, which did not require approval, are underway and the applicants want to “put a solid roof on top of it that they can then incorporate it into a new building at a later date.”

The board adopted the resolution for lead agency status and entertained a motion to send a memo to building inspector Tim Platt allowing the demolition of the gable roof.

Planning board member Greg Ferraris asked Downes for documentation from an expert verifying the plan, in fact, has no effect to waste management and Downes replied he would have the sewer flow verified.

Doppio East to Open Sag Harbor Spot in Former Madison & Main Location

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By Tessa Raebeck

Known for artisanal pizzas and authentic Italian cuisine, Doppio Artisan Bistro will be opening a new location in Sag Harbor this spring, at the 126 Main Street spot previously occupied by Madison & Main.

The restaurant, Doppio East, will offer a raw bar, small plates and pizzas fresh from the dining room’s new brick oven.

As roommates at Fordham University, executive chef Louis Barresi and partner Thomas Pescuma dreamed of opening a restaurant together. While Pescuma worked in financial services, Barresi and his brother Joseph founded Doppio Artisan Bistro in Greenwich, Connecticut three years ago.

Following the first restaurant’s success, the duo joined with Harry Armon, Pescuma’s partner in a financial consulting firm, to found The Timeless Hospitality Group. The group opened Doppio Huntington in April 2013 and a French bistro, Barrique Restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut, two months later. They bought a Hudson Street location in New York City in the fall and are opening Doppio NYC this month.69928x471

Their latest venture into good food, Doppio East is a casual bistro set to open as early as March. Having visited the area every summer, Pescuma “got the urge” to open a location on the East End.

After purchasing the space occupied by The Paradise last year, Madison & Main co-owners Michael Gluckman and Eric Miller performed extensive renovations to the building’s interior. Pescuma said the new owners plan to keep many of the layout changes, such as leaving the bar by the restaurant’s front entrance. A brick pizza oven will warm the room from the back left corner.

Not yet finalized, the Doppio East menu will have many of the Italian staples from the restaurant’s other locations, with added seafood options and a full raw bar. It will feature pizzas, 10 to 12 piattini (small plates), appetizers, soups, salads, Panini, meat and seafood dishes, and, of course, pastas. All Doppio East dressings, breads and pastas will be made in house.

Coming straight from the brick oven, the selection of 10 to 15 artisan pizzas will include the signature Doppio pizza: butternut squash puree, mozzarella di bufala and pancetta finished with the finest extra virgin olive oil.

Large groups at Doppio typically order several pizzas and small plates. Ranging in price from $6 to $25 at the Huntington location, the dishes include: Clams Al Doppio, top neck clams, fresh herbs and panko bread crumbs; Polenta E Funghi Al Tartufo, a mixed wild mushroom polenta with truffle oil; and Polpo Alla Griglia, a “very popular” char-grilled octopus dish with fennel, arugula and citrus.553135363

The fresh pastas are done “Carpaccio style,” Pescuma says, meaning the house made pasta is baked in tinfoil and hand rolled. In addition to classic dishes like fettuccini Bolognese and meat lasagna, Doppio offers high-end dishes such as Pappardelle al Ragu D’Agnello, or house made pappardelle with braised lamb shank ragu, and Fusilli in Cartoccio, which features hand rolled pasta, porcini mushrooms, baby heirloom tomato, truffle oil and mascarpone cheese and is “the biggest seller as far as pasta goes,” according to Pescuma.

On bread baked in house, the Fiorentina Panini has skirt steak, caramelized onions and melted Gorgonzola dolce, while the Salsiccia Panini is filled with sweet Italian sausage, broccoli rabe and fresh mozzarella.

The partners are looking forward to adding several new dishes to the Sag Harbor menu; including a new chicken Chianti and at least one lobster dish.

“The plate size, despite the name, is actually pretty big,” Pescuma says of the piattini, adding that they may scale the size down and lower the prices for the Sag Harbor spot, although nothing has been finalized.

Doppio East plans to have regular live music and nightly bar specials on drinks and small plates and is “definitely going to be open year-round,” Pescuma said, adding the venue is ideal for private events.

Doppio East is opening this spring at 126 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, visit timelesshospitalitygroup.com.

Cash Mob To Strike Sag Harbor

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By Claire Walla

So, you wanna be part of the Cash Mob? Here’s all you gotta to know:

You’re going to spend $20.

So will dozens of your friends.

You don’t know where you’re going to spend this money.

And you won’t know until minutes before you actually do.


Ok, despite how it may sound, Cash Mob is actually a concept that refers not to illicit black-market activities, but to an international movement meant to spur commerce on a hyper-local scale.

The idea stems from a movement called Flash Mob, which brings a large group of people to one particular destination for some pre-planned, yet seemingly random event for a brief period of time before quickly dispersing.

“It’s about bringing together a group of community members en masse to descend upon a local business — with cash,” explained Cash Mob East End organizer Laura Houston, “the idea being that when we come together as a community, our $20 can have a big impact on a local business.”

The element of surprise is an integral part of the Cash Mob experience, which will take place for the very first time this Sunday, May 6 in Sag Harbor Village. All participants — with $20 in tow — will gather at the Sag Harbor Windmill at precisely 3 p.m. with no knowledge of where they’ll be going from there.

After a brief introduction, finally, the name of one Sag Harbor business will be revealed, and the mob will migrate accordingly.

It’s not difficult to imagine the benefits such a mob would bring to the business. With roughly 100 people expected to show up, that’s at least $2,000 spent in one place in the span of two hours.  But, Houston continued, the long-term benefits exceed this singular act.

Not only will neighboring businesses see more traffic, but community members will get the chance to meet and converse. (Houston said local efforts have already come together to make Cash Mob East End a reality: freelance graphic designer Jill Kampf designed the event logo, and Montauk Printing and Graphics donated “Cash Mob East End” stickers.)

The event is more a celebration than a shopping spree, Houston continued, inviting participants to come with “spirit” in addition to cash. Houston said participants are encouraged to dress-up and make Cash Mob-inspired posters, like this one from Cash Mob Charlotte: “Give ‘Em All Your Cash!” or this simple design from Cash Mob Lakewood: “Mob Boss,” the words creatively scripted with bullet holes for ‘O’s.

“I really hope someone sings me a song,” Houston mused.

She said mobbers will get major points for creativity, because, in the end, the person with the most spirit will receive a gift certificate for dinner for two from Muse Restaurant, which just opened in its new location on Main Street Sag Harbor. And it is to Muse where the mobbers will head immediately after spending their $20 for an after party of sorts with hors d’oeuvres and drink specials.

Houston first learned of the movement from a New York Times article published last December. She said it sounded easy to organize, and she liked the fact that it promoted both local commerce and community involvement.

“I thought it was inspired and simple,” she explained. “I mulled it over for a couple weeks, then I thought: this is something we should do here!”

The first official Cash Mob was organized by Andrew Samtoy, a lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio on November 16, 2011.  Since then, the movement has spread to 45 U.S. states (including Washington D.C.), as well as nine other countries, from Canada to South Korea.

Houston immediately called Samtoy, then got in touch with Terri Hall, a teacher in Southampton, who organized the first Cash Mob Bellport in January of this year.  Through conversations with Hall and by scouring the “suggested rules” on Samtoy’s Cash Mob website, Houston said she picked a business that fits the Cash Mob profile: locally owned, gender neutral and within one block of a locally owned “watering hole’ (in this case: Muse) where the after party will be held.

Houston — who works as an ad sales associate at The Sag Harbor Express — already spends a great deal of time with local shop owners and said she knew how helpful it could be for the business community.

“Working in sales, I spend a lot of time getting to know our local businesses,” she said. “This is just another way to support a community that continues to give the Hamptons the flavor of being home.”

To learn more about the event, visit Cash Mob East End’s Facebook page.

The Years Have Changed the Pharmacy Business

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Biz Sag Pharmacy

By Emily J Weitz

When Barry Marcus, owner of the Sag Harbor Pharmacy, first got into the pharmacy business 50 years ago, it was a very different world. He typed up the labels for prescriptions on his typewriter. He compounded cough syrups and made suppositories out of cocoa butter right there in the pharmacy. He ground up the ingredients for prescriptions with a mortar and pestel before spooning them into capsules.

“Now they come from the manufacturer already done,” he says. “Now you can’t make a prescription without a computer. It’s all automation. It’s a lot faster, and it gets you a lot more information. But I liked the old days. I’m from the old school.”

Maybe that’s exactly why when Barry Marcus and his business partner Stan Weiss took over the business a decade ago, they kept the legacy of the Sag Harbor Pharmacy, founded in 1859, alive.

“This is the original building of the Sag Harbor Pharmacy, since 1859,” says Marcus. “We are only the eighth or ninth owners of the store.”

That longevity is attributed to “the supportive community. Sag Harbor Village is a wonderful town and we love being here. I guess all the other owners had the same feeling.”

Mr. Marcus bought the Sag Harbor Pharmacy after he “retired” from the pharmacy he owned in Elmont, Long Island for 36 years.

“I was looking for a country store,” he says. “When the Sag Harbor Pharmacy came up in 2001, I decided to call my old friend Stan and see if he wanted to join me.”

Stan and Barry had met in 1960, on the train on their way to orientation at pharmaceutical school. They were close friends, but after school they went their separate ways. When Barry approached him about going into business together, “He said yes, and now here we are.”

But Marcus and Weiss are in a different business than the one they entered into 50 years ago, 18 years old and starry eyed. Along with the advent of computers, another monster force has drastically changed the pharmacy business: insurance companies. Where people used to come into the pharmacy and pay cash for their prescriptions, now they pay a co-pay.

“All these insurance plans came out where they controlled how much money you would get on each prescription. Years ago, when it was cash, you could sell something for $7.95 and make more than you would on a $50 one now because the insurance companies decide what profit you get, and it’s a very small amount. What we really pick up on is from the front of the store.”

Speaking of insurance, it’s impossible to think about anything related to health care and not wonder how it’s been affected by Obama’s healthcare reform.

“We don’t know how much it will affect pharmacies yet,” says Marcus. “But any time the government gets into it there will be more controls, which means less profit for everyone… We are hoping that the volume of prescriptions will increase if more people become insured. But the jury’s still out.”

Pharmacies saw a similar shift during the Bush era, when a Part B insurance plan was added to Medicare, providing prescription coverage to seniors. “Seniors on fixed incomes were filling their prescriptions more because it was more affordable.”

Still another major factor in the changing face of the pharmacy business is the mail-order and online prescription services. It’s not only the prescription you lose from that customer – “You lose that customer who comes in for a prescription and buys that tube of tooth paste,” says Marcus.

And then, of course, there are the big box stores. It’s difficult for small business owners to compete with giant corporations like Walgreens or CVS. To do so, they bank on “service. We try to accommodate our customers. The chains carry fast moving items. We carry everything. We get to know everybody by name and we get to know what their wants and needs are,” says Marcus.

But it’s not only the way they do business that has kept the Sag Harbor Pharmacy from suffering the same fate that family-owned pharmacies across the country have suffered. It’s the community.

“When CVS tried to come in a few years ago,” recalls Marcus, “the community came up with savesagharbor.com. They have helped to keep us in business as an independent pharmacy and they support us by shopping here. We are very fortunate to be in a town where everybody, not only our customers, but everybody wanted us to stay in business, to keep this town the way it is. This village is unique. It has a certain charm. It’s like a Norman Rockwell town.”

After all the changes that have come to pharmaceuticals, does it even resemble the business that young Barry and Stan entered into 50 years ago? Enough for Barry to pause for a contemplative moment and then say with confidence, “I’d do it again. I love pharmacy, and I speak for Stan too. It’s rewarding. You meet all these people that become family to you. You get to know everyone’s personal lives, their children. It’s wonderful.”

As Marcus and Weiss celebrate their tenth anniversary as owners of the Sag Harbor Pharmacy, they are signing a new lease and looking forward to the next ten years.

“I just hope they don’t go by as quickly,” Barry says. “I’ll get too old.”

A New Wave of Village Fashion

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Rash of clothing stores set up shop in Sag Harbor By Marissa Maier Heller_bbbalsam_4280

When Dee Clarke opened her women’s fashion and accessories store D.J. Hart on Main Street in the 1970s, the accountants of Sag Harbor — there were three at the time — told her she would soon be out of business. But nearly 33 years later, Clarke has proved these financial advisers wrong. D.J. Hart (34 Main Street) is not only still open but is thriving, Clarke remarked in an interview, adding that her store even stays open until midnight in the summer months. As a veteran Main Street shopkeeper, Clarke has seen the economic tides of Main Street ebb and flow and has managed to stay ahead of the shifts. And recently Clarke, as well as many others, have witnessed a new cycle of entrepreneurial activity in the village. Over the past few months and years, fashion-oriented businesses have been mushrooming up in all corners of Sag Harbor. From Lauren G (112 Hampton Street near Sag Harbor Elementary School), to Marie Eiffel (2 Bay Street) and the countless new Main Street digs — like Collette Designer Consignment (Main Street Shopping Cove), Matta (Main Street Shopping Cove), B.b. Balsam (83 Main Street), Sean (76 Main Street), Dreaming of You (150 Main Street) and Pailletts (Main Street Shopping Cove) — a veritable apparel storm is brewing in Sag Harbor. Clarke attributes the change to many factors — from increased tourism to the local restaurants attracting a clothing-conscious clientele. Many of the new Sag Harbor business owners cited a deep appreciation for the ambiance of the village and its proven year round appeal. “I lived in Sag Harbor for over 15 years. I love Sag Harbor. It’s a great town with really interesting people,” noted Sean Cassidy, owner of Sean, a men’s clothing store on Main Street. “I [was] looking for a few years for the right spot.” Shelter Island resident Barbara Balsam, proprietress of the new avant garde clothier B.b Balsam, decided to open her fourth location in Sag Harbor on a “fluke,” she said. After spending roughly 20 years visiting the village in the winter for some sightseeing and dinners at The American Hotel, Balsam established her Sag Harbor operation at the end of August of this year. “[The village] has a ton of charm but it was like an old kind of charm and it also had a lot of sophistication. It just appealed to me and I liked the businesses in the town,” Balsam remembered of what initially drew her to set up shop in Sag Harbor. “The stores are beautiful, but I bring something else to the town.” Balsam, in addition to many of the new guard in Sag Harbor, noted the stylistic niche her store fills. She tends to stock a limited number of certain items, which are often made by an obscure brand. “I carry brands you aren’t going to find in Bloomingdales,” Balsam remarked. “My store is [like] a constantly changing art gallery and we will have a new show every month.” At her third location, Cristina Gitti, the founder and designer of Matta, brings the shoppers of Sag Harbor her take on traditional Indian silhouettes, as well as a smattering of home goods, accessories and textiles, said store manager Theresa DiScianni. While Gitti supplies her wares to other fashion stores, DiScianni added, her merchandise is all made by her own craftsmen in India instead of a third party. The result is a modern, yet authentic looking selection of pieces marked with the design thumbprint of Gitti and the flavor of India. Danielle Gisiger, owner of Pailletts, said she often hears from clients that her merchandise is very different from what is offered in the rest of the village. Featuring many one-of-a-kind or limited run pieces, Pailletts’ aesthetics are often off the beaten path like a pair of swimming trunks featuring President Obama’s mug which were popular this summer. While many store owners are quick to note the year round and lively atmosphere of Sag Harbor and the niche they fill within the village, others added that the comparatively low rents of the village also fueled their decision to open here instead of elsewhere. Sean store manager Vincent Brandi pointed out that a few years ago Cassidy had a location in East Hampton but he had to shutter it once his lease became prohibitively expensive. Of the new wave of downtown businesses, Clarke theorized, “I think it is inevitable given the enormous rents in Southampton and East Hampton.” Clarke, like many in the village, owns the building from which she operates her shop and also leases another commercial space to Flying Point Surf and Sport as well as a few apartments. “I think owner occupied buildings is important. We are people who take this very seriously. This is our livelihood. It’s not a joke,” Clarke noted. “We do not charge too much for rent for an apartment or store and therefore we have full occupancy and happy tenants.”

The Road Ahead

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The new village zoning code might be one of the most important pieces of legislation ever to pass through our village hall. It has the capability to determine the future of our village – what it will look like, who it will cater to and how it will evolve. Because of the code’s importance, we encourage community members of every creed to attend the January 29 public hearings.

One of the reasons our village is so beloved is because it still serves its many different residents. It caters to the second home clan who seek refuge from Manhattan on our Main Street. It serves the active close-knit local community as well through our series of ‘mom and pop’ shops, where you are bound to run into at least one person you know. This is a delicate balance, to serve members of a community that is populated by people who come from all walks of life.

The one thing we do share, though, is that we all have a vested interest in what happens to this village that we call home.

These hearings were established for the whole community. We are glad to see those dedicated people who continue to attend these hearings, but wish that a more varied sample of the village was present. We want to hear from the middle class residents who feel priced out of our Main Street or from the business owners who are confused by the code or still on the fence about it. The hearing is your time to inform yourself of the code and have your voice heard.

So, on Thursday, January 29, at 5 p.m., we hope to find you at in the Municipal Building ready to listen, learn, and share.