Tag Archive | "Flying Point Surf & Sport"

Flying Point Sets Up Shop in Greenport

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The Flying Point Shop in Greenport

By Stephen J. Kotz

Flying Point Surf and Sport, a mainstay of both Sag Harbor and Southampton’s main streets, has established a foothold on the North Fork, where it recently opened a new store at 405 Main Street in Greenport.

The new shop, according to owner Mark Zucchero, is similar to the other five stores he already owns, which means that it is stuffed to the rafters with everything from surfboard wax and decals, to board shorts and t-shirts, to wetsuits and surfboards and paddleboards.

Since Greenport has a public skateboard park just down the block and around the corner from the new store, Mr. Zucchero said the new store focuses a bit more on skating than his other shops, with everything from short, plastic Penny skateboards from Australia to the long boards some kids use for basic transportation.

“It’s up and running and it’s been good,” he said of the new shop. “They don’t really have a store there for the skaters and surfers who live that lifestyle.”

For a casual shopper, a visit to one of the Flying Point stores is a bit like stumbling into a virtual catalog. There’s a reason why the shops are stocked with every model of Ray Ban sunglasses, swimming suits, sport shirts and Van’s skate shoes, not to mention a wide variety of surfboards and wetsuits in every size and style.

“It ties up a lot of the bottom line, but with the internet, customers have so many choices that if you want to survive you have to have a wide variety of prices and colors,” Mr. Zucchero said. “I’m not dealing with another surf shop. I’m dealing with a person who is sitting at home in front of a computer pressing buttons.”

For that same reason, he keeps his stores stocked Wiffle Ball sets, pool floats and toys, as well as toy shovels and pails for the beach. “It can’t be all apparel,” he said. “The beach is why they are here. “You gotta remember what brought them here. Why everyone is coming here is because it is a magical place. Everyone wants to escape the city.”

While his customers might be hoping to get out of the city, Mr. Zucchero said he is all about preserving Main Street as a shopping destination.

“You gotta be part of the community,” he said. “You can’t just come in and pop it up an shut it down a couple of months later. You gotta be in it for the long haul.”

He also believes that hiring young people helps build stronger communities. “All my help is local he said. “I take  ’em young. A lot of people won’t talk to them until they’re 18. I’m thinking abbot the future of America.”

The Greenport shop is being managed by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Chris and Stacy Rule, and just as he does on the South Fork, Mr. Zucchero says he plans to hire local help.

Mr. Zucchero was born and raised in Hampton Bays. A former owner of the Life nightclub on Route 27 just east of Southampton, he opened his first surf shop on Main Street in Southampton in 1995.

“It’s been a long run,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of ebbs and flows.”

He eventually bought the building on Main Street in Southampton that was the former site of the Southampton Hospital thrift shop and moved his flagship store there. He maintained his other shop, however, and stocked it heavily with eyewear and other accessories.

Mr. Zucchero expanded into Sag Harbor, where he now has two shops on Main Street, one with a everything from flip-flops to tow ropes and another, the Flying Point Boutique, which focuses on women’s clothing and swimsuits. He also has a small shop next to the Bridgehampton Florist on that hamlet’s Main Street.

The shopkeeper said he was not finished expanding and would love to some day open a shop in Malibu and perhaps one in New York City.

But don’t count on a store opening in East Hampton anytime soon.  “You don’t think I’d like to have a store in East Hampton?” he said. “Unfortunately, I don’t sell $800 Prada board shorts. That’s a lot of board shorts to pay $400,000 for rent.”

Staying Busy in the Warm & Cold

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Temperatures soared this week and as residents of the East End became wistful of spring’s near arrival, trickles of second homeowners came out to enjoy the Hamptons’ natural beauty, and of course, its main streets.

For many business owners, this was the beginning of the end of a harsh winter marked by blizzards and quiet streets.

While Sag Harbor has not been subject to the same shuttered store syndrome as neighboring East Hampton, business owners like BikeHampton’s David Krum and Flying Point Surf and Sport manager Steve German said this week that savvy, creativity and initiative was crucial to keeping their stores open year-round.

Krum’s love of bicycles rode him from a career as a professional bike racer into the business of selling bicycles, racing gear and accessories at Main Street, Sag Harbor’s BikeHampton, which he has owned for 10 years.

The Montauk native said generating business in-season is not an issue; but during the winter, when people are not generally thinking about outdoor activities, it can be a struggle.

“The way I stay in business is I sell on eBay,” said Krum, adding that other stores have picked up on the same off-season tactic.

Krum said in addition to selling bikes and gear from BikeHampton’s stock, he also helps customers sell their outdated products on eBay, with Krum taking a percentage of the profit.

“It’s always summer somewhere,” he said. “I needed a way to make it through. Not many people are thinking about bikes out here in the winter.”

Krum also hosts regular sales during the off-season. With spring and peak cycling season just around the corner, BikeHampton customers can enjoy 10 percent off tune-ups and anywhere from 10 to 50 percent off merchandise.

On his way towards being a master in bicycle fitting, Krum also boasts professional bike fitting services and is able to build a custom bike based on height and weight, and also any health issues like knee or back problems, which can make each bike a perfect fit for his clients.

Krum said he also tries to ensure every price point can be hit at BikeHampton.

“We sell everything, from the least expensive to the most expensive road bikes,” he said. “And you will get the same kind of custom fit from us, whether you are spending $800 or $10,000.”

Next door, at Flying Point in The Harbor, the Sag Harbor branch of the Southampton-based Flying Point Surf & Sport, manager Steve German said providing shoppers with a variety of products, at a variety of price points, is the key to the business’s year-round success.

“We cater to everyone,” said German. “From mothers to fathers to kids. A lot of our store is geared towards the teens, but we also have merchandise from Tommy Bahama and Quicksilver that are for the more mature customer.”

Founded in Southampton in 1996 at a County Road 39 storefront, which still operates seasonally, Flying Point Surf & Sport quickly grew to open a year-round Main Street, Southampton location. Three years ago, it absorbed Sag Harbor’s Island Surf at 34 Main Street. In addition, the business boasts Flying Point Surf Boutique, also on Main Street, Southampton and the Flying Point Outlet in Water Mill.

Last year, German said the company expanded the Sag Harbor store to include the Flying Point Sunglass Boutique, selling everything from Christian Dior and Tom Ford sunglasses to Ray Bans and sports eyewear.

“The location has been very key,” said German of Flying Point’s success in Sag Harbor. “Here we see the marina traffic and day trippers in season and there is also a year round clientele.”

In addition to apparel for men, women, teens and children – from bathing suits to graphic tees, fleece outerwear, jackets and sweatshirts, hats and board shorts – Flying Point also carries an array of accessories. Shoppers can find jewelry, toys, wallets, watches and more, while searching for the perfect surfboard, skimboard, wetsuit or skateboard – the mainstays of the business.

German started out working in corporate for Body Glove, and opened the first Quicksilver store on Prince Street in Manhattan. Having a family, though, brought him to the East End. Before coming to Flying Point, he ran Main Beach Surf & Sport.

German said the company has branched out into the Internet, hosting a blog and keeping clients updated on social networks like Facebook, and he attributes the year-round success of Flying Point to its diverse stock.

“We try to cover all the price points,” said German.