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New Businesses Burst Forth

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web_New Businesses Open 5-22-12_2565

By Emily J Weitz

In a seasonal town where the rent is ever rocketing skyward, the faces of Who’s Who on Main Street are always changing. This year, we’ve lost some old faithfuls, from Java Nation to Marty’s Barber Shop to the Sag Harbor Cleaners and Vincenzo’s Pizza, but new businesses have already set up shop, looking to create a name of their own on Main Street.

In the big yellow building at the foot of town, where many restaurants have come and gone, Matt Giuffrida has brought his Muse. After his success in Water Mill for the past five years, Giuffrida is planning on becoming a mainstay in Sag Harbor.

“I have an eleven year lease,” says Guiffrida. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Giuffrida installed a giant fish tank in the middle of the restaurant, around which creative dishes and elaborate cocktails are served. Even though he loved his place in Muse, he always wanted to be in Sag Harbor.

“It’s a tight knit community,” says Giuffrida. “And the vibe is different than anywhere else. It’s more relaxed, and everyone seems to be in a better mood.”

For other changes in the culinary landscape, Pepalajefa will step into the space that was once the cleaners. Selling gourmet food and European take-out, this spot will provide many meals to be eaten on the picnic tables at the end of the street.

When the ice cream shop on Main Street closed its doors, it looked like Big Olaf would gain a monopoly on the town’s sweet tooth clientele.  But Yummylicious, a frozen yogurt shop around the bend from Superica, will offer a spectrum of healthier choices.

Marie Eiffel, who started her women’s boutique on Shelter Island a few years back, expanded to open a store in Sag Harbor last year. But because of her rapid success, she spent the winter moving to the Cove, right in the belly of town.

“I am growing tremendously,” she says. “I am growing really fast. I think it’s because of how people feel in the store, and because of word of mouth.”

With her flowing, lightweight dresses and chunky, funky jewelry, Marie Eiffel has become a staple of fashion on The Rock, and is looking to see what she can do here in the Harbor.

Speaking of the Cove, Matta took their presence right into the spotlight, moving storefronts to Main Street. Their recognizable glittery wallpaper and breezy scarves are still the same, though.

This made room for Duck and Weave, a new store owned by Robin Saidman. He specializes in meticulously tailored shirts, made in the garment district in Manhattan from fabrics imported from Japan. He calls his shirts “excruciatingly pleasant to wear.” In his shop, Saidman will host not only a full line of these shirts, but also a visiting shop unto itself. Pachute, a women’s boutique in the city, will be moving in with Saidman to round out the offerings at this little shop in the Cove.

“Basically, I’ll be selling everything except for shirts,” says Sharone Komoroff, Pachute owner. “Women’s dresses, jeans, accessories.”

Across the way from Duck and Weave, construction has been heavily underway. In the old Java Nation location, SagTown will open as a way to satisfy the caffeine fixes of anyone who wanders up that way.

Out of the Cove and down on Bay Street, the Sag Harbor Florist got a new roommate this winter: made, owned by Eleni Prieston, offers artfully constructed crafts and jewelry. Prieston is a jewelry maker herself, so in addition to showcasing her own wares she hopes to offer a haven for makers of all kinds.

“I encourage people to shop with intention,” she says. “It’s recognizing the elements and qualities that make everyday objects meaningful pieces of art.”

Towards the top of town, a little interior design hub is solidifying. With two new high end shops, clients have access to the most decadent furniture and fabrics from all over the world.

JanGeorge offers full design services, exclusive window treatments and lighting, custom made shutters, books, and antiques.

“We combine Italian design with French antiques,” says Netherlands-born co-owner Jan Oostdyk. He and his partner George Rutgers already have a successful shop in Key West.

“We’re excited to be in Sag Harbor,” says Oostdyk. “It has a similar feel. It’s laid back, the people are friendly.”

Across the street, in an immaculately renovated building, Natasha Esch and Matt Coffin have opened Monc XIII. With antique and vintage furniture and accents for the home, Esch describes it as “a store for all things home”.

“We have vintage and antique furniture from the 18th century to mid century,” Esch says, “mixed with a tightly curated selection of accessories and table tops sourced from all over the world.”

With each item in the store hand-picked, there are too many special pieces to mention; but particularly noteworthy are the pair of English oak benches from the 1930s, a chartreuse mid-century leather Chersterfield sofa, Deborah Ehrlich glassware, Frederic Malle candles and perfume guns, and work by French ceramist Gilles Caffier. A line of Coleman coolers and thermoses hand-wrapped and stitched in leather from the company Sol y Luna round out the collection.

While a couple of old businesses have closed, new ones have picked up right where they left off. The Marty’s Barber Shop sign and the barber pole remain, but Marty’s on Main Street closed its doors this year. Two new salons open in town this year to fill Marty’s shoes. One, Salon 66, will be in the same location, with a new swanky mannequin in the window. The other new salon, Scarlet Rose, is opening on Division Street next to Murph’s.

After the Sag Harbor Bike Shop disappeared, the town was in need of all things cycle, and Sag Harbor Cycle has stepped up to the plate, occupying space at 34 Bay Street.

Finally, a new art gallery has opened on Main Street — though owner Robert Hooke is not new to town. He moved from above the Grenning Gallery on Washington Street, but now has opened a space at 150 Main Street. Hooke is a sculptor himself, and while he plans on showcasing his own work, he will also show other artists.

“The gallery is sculpture only,” he says, “which is unusual. And the focus will be contemporary figurative, although I intend to show a few abstract pieces… Collectors will have the opportunity to view the human and animal form with various interpretations and in different mediums.”

From art to exercise to beauty to food, another season brings with it a wealth of new businesses, changing the face of Main Street.

A Partnership in Fashion

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Robin Saidman of the new Duck & Weave store in Sag Harbor on Thursday, 5/10/12

Robin Saidman of the new Duck & Weave store in Sag Harbor on Thursday, 5/10/12

By Emily J. Weitz

Robin Saidman didn’t really plan to open a small business in the Cove in Sag Harbor. But when the space opened up between Marie Eiffel and Fingers and Saidman noticed the way the light hit when it spilled through the windows, he saw an opportunity. By a small stroke of grace, he happened to meet his business partner Sharone Komoroff, a few days later. Komoroff has her own shop in the city, Pachute, where she carries clothing and accessories for women. With her experience in both retail and fashion and his passion for fabrics, Pachute and Duck and Weave joined forces.

“Sharone has a whole retail collection,” says Saidman. “Partnering with her brought me from 0 to 60 in two weeks.”

Most of the time, someone who sells shirts by day might choose the off-hours to pursue a passion like photography. For Saidman, the opposite is true. His art has been showcased extensively, but it’s only now that he’s allowing himself to delve into his passion for fabrics and clothing.

“I am obsessed with fabric and shirts,” he confesses.

He’s traveled all over the world, capturing the faces and landscapes of different cultures on film. But everywhere he’s gone he’s also noticed the rich materials. He spent a lot of time in India and Senegal in particular.

“It was no big deal there to take fabrics to a local tailor and get a shirt made,” Saidman says. “That was the original idea for this business, but it’s morphed.” He motions to the rack of shirts, a soft rainbow of muted colors hanging delicately on their hangers. “These are perfect shirts, with an ethnic flavor,” he says. “My influences include contemporary fashions like Rag and Bone, Hartford, and 45 RPM.” (45 RPM, he explains is a code name for “I’m really hip”).

Saidman’s obsession with shirts began early.

“In London [where he was born and raised], shirts always had detached collars,” he says. “Businessmen would have one collarless shirt and then get five different collars, and wear the same shirt every day of the week, just changing the collar.”

As part of the counterculture back then, Saidman would wear collarless shirts as a statement.

So what makes the shirts in Duck and Weave worthy of a fetish? What is the element that takes something from a nice article of clothing to an obsession?

Saidman believes that it’s just the right combination of materials, and the process. He gets his fabrics from Japan, and the shirts are made in the garment district in Manhattan. His shirts are 99% cotton with just a touch of polyester.

“The polyester gives it that crinkle,” he says. “That gives it the effect of seersucker. They’re lightweight shirts, great for a hot and sticky day. These shirts are excruciatingly pleasant to wear.”

Before he found a retail space, Saidman was making shirts wholesale. At first he worked with three local shops: Gloria Jewel, Urban Zen, and Isa.Lon. He was making a few hundred shirts at a time, and thought, “Why not make another hundred?” That was how he started thinking about opening his own store.

For Komoroff, who has been coming to Sag Harbor to stay with her in-laws for the past decade, her success in the city made her start thinking about bringing her business out East. She actually had this exact space in mind, but she was in Israel when a man she didn’t know, Robin Saidman, signed the lease. She sighed, deciding it wasn’t meant to be.

“I let it go,” says Komoroff, “and then my friend Annette, who used to run Urban Zen, put us in touch. She said it would be great for us to benefit from each other. So I called Robin the next day, and within the first two minutes it felt comfortable. I took the Jitney out the next day.”

Komoroff’s mother-in-law, Audrey Orell, is co-owner of the Sag Harbor branch of Pachute, so it’s going to be a lot of cooks in the kitchen. But Komoroff adores Saidman’s shirts, and won’t be selling anything to undercut his wares. The same is true for Saidman.

“I’ll sell the same things I sell in the city, minus the shirts,” says Komoroff. “We’ll sell dresses, jackets, jeans, and jewelry. My stuff is just for women; his is for both.”

As a team, they hope they’ll be able to serve the community comprehensively.

“The idea is that Duck and Weave is hosting Pachute,” says Komoroff. “We’ll see how it goes for the summer and hopefully it will work out. It’s really like two businesses in one. That’s how it will start, and we’ll see what happens. I would love to see it turn into something that lasted past the summer.”