Tag Archive | "Wainscott"

Residents Make Noise About East Hampton Airport

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By Amanda Wyatt

As East Hampton Airport seeks to install a permanent, seasonal air traffic control tower, a number of East End residents are once again bringing the issue of airport noise to the forefront of that discussion.

Last Wednesday, roughly 60 residents turned out for a public hearing at the airport on an environmental assessment of the proposed control tower. And although the assessment does not cite noise as an area of concern, it was a high priority for many of the attendees.

According to Peter Byrne, senior airport planner at the Hauppauge-based firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., the hearing was part of a formal process under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Byrne gave the audience an overview of the 26-feet, four-inch tower, which would be functional for roughly 16 hours a day between May and September.

From an enclosed glass cab, air traffic controllers would use a high frequency radio to communicate with aircraft owners. The tower would also come equipped with “a steady burning, red obstruction light,” he added.

Nonetheless, the majority of commenters at the hearing aired their grievances not about the tower, but about noise pollution generated by the airport in general.

Airport noise has been an issue debated in East Hampton and beyond for years, but became increasingly controversial last summer, when one of two recommended helicopter flight paths was eliminated, rerouting all helicopter traffic over Jessup’s Neck in Noyac.

Residents of the hamlet, along with North Sea, Sag Harbor and other surrounding areas, have reported a major increase in noise as a result. For the last year, those residents have been joined by government officials like Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, Congressman Tim Bishop, Senator Charles Schumer, New York State Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., among others including members of civic organizations, in calling for a comprehensive strategy to address helicopter noise stemming from the airport before another busy summer season begins.

At the same time, the environmental assessment discussed at last Wednesday’s meeting does not include Noyac or the surrounding area as being one impacted by the control tower. Bridget Fleming, a Southampton Town councilwoman who serves as the liaison to Noyac, asked that the area of study be expanded to include these locales.

The study “does not note anything about the concomitant increase in noise over Noyac, North Sea and the Sag Harbor area,” said Fleming. “The presence of the tower has a very real impact on those areas and the areas that are outside the study area.”

For Kathleen Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition, the control tower “offers safety, but it also increases capacity.”

Patricia Currie, a fellow Quiet Skies member, said, “Increased capacity is noise.”

Theresa Caskey, who traveled from Mattituck on the North Fork to give her testimony, said planes on their way to East Hampton were waking her up early in the morning.

Tom MacNiven of Wainscott added that holding a hearing mid-week was a problem for many second homeowners in the area and that it had not been properly publicized.

For some residents, the hearing was a chance for some show-and-tell.

William Reilly of Sag Harbor held up a stack of notebooks that recorded the “hundreds” of times he had called to complain about noise over the years.

And Elena Loreto, president of the Noyac Civic Council, played a tape of helicopter noise she had recorded at her house last weekend.

“Welcome to my backyard,” she shouted over the sound of choppers. “This is my Saturday and Sunday.”

Noyac resident Gene Polito, on the other hand, questioned the accuracy of the environmental report.

“Apparently, the report you put together is flawed from top to bottom,” he said, adding “noise pollution is environmental. Air pollution is environmental. Everything related to the airport is environmental.”

Jeff Bragman of East Hampton, who called the control tower “a sales pitch by the airport lobby,” lambasted the fact that the hearing was moderated by “a couple of suits from Hauppauge.”

“This hearing is everything about why we need local control instead of FAA control,” he said, eliciting applause from the audience.

But Gerard Boles of East Hampton, an aircraft owner and president of the East Hampton Aviation Association, offered a different perspective.

“With the amount of traffic that we have in the summertime, the control tower proves to be beneficial,” he said.

While he said it was “not a panacea, it is not the solution,” he believed that “all in all, a control tower is positive, even for noise abatement.”

A draft of the environmental assessment is available on the Town of East Hampton’s website, www.town.east-hampton.ny.us. The airport will continue to accept written comments on the subject until 5 p.m. on May 13.

Larry Cantwell Tapped as Independence Party Candidate for East Hampton Town Supervisor

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The Independence Party has tapped East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell as its candidate for East Hampton Town Supervisor this fall.

Two weeks ago, Cantwell announced he would seek both the Independence and Democratic parties endorsement to seek the top seat on the East Hampton Town Board in elections this fall.

According to Independence Party chairwoman Elaine Jones — who made the endorsement announcement on Monday afternoon after screening candidates last Tuesday — “experience was clearly the most impressive quality among candidates this year.”

“Larry Cantwell received the nod for the Supervisor spot,” said Jones and vice chairwoman Pat Mansir in a press release issued late Monday. “He carries with him the peaceful demeanor needed to bring consensus and unified forward-thinking among people. And his more than 30 years in public service is a testament to the success of his approach.”

Cantwell screened with the Independence Party along with Zachary Cohen, who was the Democratic candidate in 2011, narrowly losing to incumbent Republican Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. Wilkinson has chosen not to seek another term, and Nancy Keeshan, the town’s planning board vice chairman, once rumored to be the front runner for the Republican nomination, has withdrawn her name from contention.

“I am proud to have their nomination,” said Cantwell on Tuesday afternoon.

Republican Committee chairman Kurt Kappel has maintained his desire the party run its own candidate. When asked about the potential for a three party endorsement for supervisor, Cantwell said his focus was now on securing the East Hampton Democratic Committee’s endorsement.

That committee is expected to host its convention on May 15.

“My approach is one step at a time,” said Cantwell. “I am very pleased to have the Independence Party nomination because I look forward to being a consensus builder and leader in East Hampton. I think the Independence Party has shown a willingness to reach across party lines. Over the years, especially recently, they have endorsed candidates from different parties and I think the town is looking for someone who can reach across the aisle.”

The Independence Party has also endorsed Fred Overton and incumbent Dominick Stanzione for town board — candidates that have already received the endorsement of the Republic Committee.

Overton is stepping down from his long time position as town clerk this year. Stanzione is seeking a second term on the town board.

“For the last 48 years, Fred Overton served this community as a volunteer with the Springs Fire Department,” said Jones. “He has run his own business, was our town assessor for eight years and for 13 years has been the town clerk. In all of his positions he has been presented with difficult and confidential situations that were handled with finesse and genuine kindness. He us unflappable.”

Jones cited Stanzione’s ability to work with others and think independently as a board member as the reason for his endorsement.

“More importantly, he has been able to flourish under pressure when he has had to battle to be an independent thinker,” said Jones. “Dominick has stood up to politics and made decisions based on what is good for the people and the environment. He deserves four more years.”

The party also endorsed Carol Brennan — also supported by the Republican Committee — to take Overton’s seat as town clerk, and Joe Bloecker — a town trustee — for assessor. Bloecker also has the support of the Republican Committee.

Carl Irace, an East Hampton attorney who has won the Republican Committee endorsement and served as the assistant town attorney from 2010 to 2012, earned the Independence Party endorsement for town justice, and Stephen Lynch has been supported for another term as superintendent of highways.

Diane McNally, Stephanie Talmage Forsberg, Sean McCaffrey, Nat Miller, Steven Lester, Tim Bock, Brian Pardini, Brian Byrnes and Dennis Curles have the party’s support in the town trustee race.

“The Independence Party is committed to achieving the best government the town can possibly offer,” said Jones and Mansir. “That involves candidates from both parties working diligently together toward the best approaches and innovations for our town. The Independence Party, itself, will work endlessly to achieve these goals.”

Voters Approve $24 Million Beach Renourishment Plan for Sagaponack and Bridgehampton

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Oceanfront property owners in Sagaponack, Bridgehampton and Water Mill approved a referendum on Saturday night that will allow homeowners and the Town of Southampton to spend $24 million to replenish eroded beachfront. A beachfront only made worse by Hurricane Sandy’s impact this October.

According to Southampton Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer, Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato and Deputy Town Attorney Kathleen Murray between two erosion control districts in Bridgehampton and Sagaponack 75 ballots were cast in favor of the project and 49 against.

Only residents within the two erosion control districts were allowed to vote in the referendum.

According to Jennifer Garvey, with Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s office, 202 homeowners were eligible to cast votes in the referendum which will allow voters to pay for the beach renourishment through special taxing districts. One hundred and twenty four residents turned out to cast ballots in the referendum vote Saturday.

The project will encompass six miles of contiguous shoreline, including 141 properties, five of which are beaches owned by Southampton Town. The town will foot $1.5 million of the project to cover the cost of renourishment on its beaches.

“Today’s referendum marks the culmination of two and a half years of collaboration with our ocean front property owners — a group of constituents who first approached the town with an interest in forming a special taxing district in order to jointly pursue more efficient and cost-effective measures for protecting their properties,” said Throne-Holst.

The Southampton Town Board will serve as commissioners of both erosion control districts and will have to issue a $24 million bond to finance the project, which will be repaid by homeowners and the town over a 10-year period.

According to the town, properties within the two districts have an assessed value of $1.8 billion.

The project will entail dredging 2.5 million tons of sand from two areas one-mile offshore and replenishing the beach with that sand. It is expected to start in late spring or early summer, and will take about two months to complete.

“As individual property owners, many of us have been investing tens of thousands of dollars on an annual basis to rebuild our dunes and protect our homes from the impacts of erosion,” said Alan Stillman, a long-time Sagaponack property owner and member of the Sagaponack Beach Erosion Control District Advisory Board. “A systematic solution offers much greater protection and value. That is what we proposed — and have now approved.”

“From the start, we approached this undertaking like a business,” said Jeff Lignelli, a Bridgehampton property owner. “We researched numerous erosion protection measures and costs, and ultimately chose an award-winning coastal expert to design a renourishment project — the option we felt was the best fit for the area because it matches the look and feel of the existing beach, which was critically important to us. When the project is finished, the beaches will basically look like they did 30 years ago — much wider.”

The South Carolina-based firm of Coastal Science and Engineering led by Dr. Tim Kana designed the project.

First Coastal Corporation of Westhampton is the local permitting partner.

“Votes like this are always nerve wracking, but we are just thrilled the residents felt it was important enough to spend their own money on this,” said Aram Terchunian, with First Coastal Corporation, on Tuesday. “This is historic, particularly in the wake of what happened during Hurricane Sandy.”

Terchunian and Garvey said that now the project will move into the permitting phase, which was already pursued while awaiting the results of Saturday’s referendum.

Terchunian said both the New York State Office of Coastal Management and the New York State Office of General Services have already signed off on the project. It still needs approved from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corp of Engineers.

While Terchunian praised homeowners for being willing to take on such a project, he added he believes the state and federal government will need to take a bigger role in beach renourishment in the future.

“These are levels of government getting huge benefits in the form of sales and incomes taxes in the regional and national economy tied to our beaches,” he said. “Beaches produce so much income on so many different levels we need to see they are protected.”

Whether or not this project will benefit from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy remains unclear. Beaches in both Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, having already contended with significant beach erosion, were hammered by the fall storm, whole stretches of beach literally washed away.

“We are pursuing that and the town is pursuing that very aggressively,” said Terchunian.

In fact, after Hurricane Sandy, the town board fast tracked this proposal after seeing the coastline and structural damage caused in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The board voted unanimously to approve the proposal and a referendum on the project on November 27.

“I think this plan would have won the support it needed even before Superstorm Sandy, but what was initially a more proactive project became urgently needed following the storm,” said Throne-Holst. “Fortunately, these property owners were already well into the process of securing the needed support and permissions for their proposal, so it’s likely they’ll have a wide, protective beach within the year.”

“The beaches are a crucial part of our local economy and way of life, and the properties within these BECDs [Beach Erosion Control District] also comprise a major portion of our tax base. I think this is a remarkable public/private partnership that will greatly benefit both the property owners and all of our town residents, and I’m proud to have been a part of making it happen,” she said.

From Tehran to the East End

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The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Inc. (ARF) announced yesterday that two dogs have been rescued from the outskirts of Tehran, Iran and have found a new home at ARF in Wainscott.

The rescue was coordinated by the Humane Society International (HIS) in a response to a ban on all dogs in cities and suburbs of Iran.

According to an article in the Washington Post, while dogs were increasingly becoming popular companions in Iran, they were frowned upon as being a Western influence and unclean in the eyes of Shiite rulers.

Responding to their popularity, Iranian government officials have proposed banning dogs in all cities and suburbs and as a counter measure animal shelters in Iran began working with groups like the Humane Society to find homes for Iranian dogs in other countries.

Two have now found their way to the East End of Long Island.

According to a press release issued Tuesday by ARF, international travelers from Iran delivered the dogs — Lampic (below) and Narin (above)— to the ARF Adoption Center last week, although hundreds more dogs await rescue in Iran.

According to ARF, both dogs are young, large, lanky female mixes and are in quarantine in the adoption center’s medical wing. Both will undergo full medical exams and will need time to acclimate. One of the dogs, Lampic, has no vision in one eye, although ARF officials said otherwise they are healthy. Once they have undergone their quarantine, they will be ready for adoption.

Immigration Case Worker Available on East End After Change in Federal Immigration Law

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In the wake of a new federal immigration policy, announced last Friday by President Barack Obama, Congressman Tim Bishop announced this week that his office has a full time immigration caseworker available to assist young people in New York’s First Congressional District seeking temporary legal status.

Interested constituents are encouraged to contact Leah Sullivan at 631-289-6500.

Under the immigration policy which President Obama implemented through an executive order, effective immediately some young people brought to the United States as young children will be eligible for relief from deportation and will also be eligible to work for two years, after which they can apply to renew that permit.

“I voted to pass the DREAM [Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors] Act in the House, and I support the President taking Executive action to give young people who came to America as children a chance to legally contribute to our society,” said Congressman Bishop in a press release issued on Monday morning. “This is a positive development for fairness in our immigration policy and my office stands ready to help young people who want to pursue relief from deportation and the ability to work legally in the United States.”

According to the new policy, in order to be eligible for relief, individuals must have come to the United States under the age of 16, have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to June 15 when the order was passed, currently be in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces.

Felons are not eligible, nor those convicted of a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses or those who otherwise pose a treat to national security or public safety. The policy caps eligibility for those who are under the age of 30.

More information is available at http://timbishop.house.gov/uploads/FINAL%20Web%20Text%20FAQ.pdf.

Wainscott Fire Claims One Life

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By Claire Walla


A blazing fire last Friday, February 10 in Wainscott claimed the life of William Bauer, 78, according to the Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad.

The Bridgehampton Fire Department was called out to the Cozy Cottages Complex at 395 Montauk Highway in Wainscott to respond to a fire at Unit 11 shortly after 6 p.m. First Assistant Fire Chief Gary Horsburgh, who had been at the intersection of Sagg Road and Route 27 when the call went out, was the first to arrive on the scene.

“It was totally engulfed when I got there,” Horsburgh said.

He wasn’t able to estimate how long the fire had been burning prior to his arrival. In his 13 years on the force, he added that it was the largest fire he’s seen in Wainscott. After an estimated 40 fire fighters arrived on the scene, he added, and they “knocked it down in about 15 minutes.”

According to Horsburgh, the fire was called in to emergency services by Bauer’s stepson, who had been living with the 78-year-old man and allegedly returned home from work to see the amber flames. Only after the Bridgehampton Fire Department extinguished the blaze did they discover the then unidentified man in the residence, who was declared dead at the scene.

His identity was officially reported on Monday, February 13.

Although there were others on-site at the time of the fire, Horburgh said no one else had been in the building at the time of the blaze.

East Hampton Town Police Detectives are working with the Suffolk County Police Homicide and Arson Squads to determine the exact cause of death and the origins of the fire. However, East Hampton Police referred all calls to the Suffolk County Homicide Department, which — as of press time — had not responded to calls.

Cozy Cottages is run by Hamptons Escape Management, Inc., which runs “private luxury recreational vacation properties” in East Quogue, Southampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor and East Hampton (Wainscott).

The Cozy Cottages management team issued a statement about the incident on Monday, February 13.

“We at Cozy Cabins are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred last Friday night. We sincerely thank the East Hampton Town Police Department and the first responders of the Bridgehampton Fire Department for their prompt response and courageous acts of containing the fire to one cabin and immediately gaining access to it to control the incident and safeguard all others,” it read.

In addition to extinguishing the flames coming from Cottage 11, Horsburgh explained that fire fighters doused neighboring structures with water to prevent the fire from potentially leaping into other areas.

The statement issued by Cozy Cottages continued, “We hope that this will cause people to refrain from smoking in bed, as it can lead to the greatest loss.”

According to Suffolk County Police, the investigation is continuing.

East Hampton Town Supervisor’s Budget Lowers Taxes, Sells Poxabogue

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The tentative budget submitted to the East Hampton Town Clerk by Supervisor Bill Wilkinson on Friday raises spending by 2.5 percent — but it also cuts taxes.

The $65.6 million budget shows a 0.2-percent tax cut for residents of the town who live outside the villages of East Hampton and Sag Harbor and a 9.4-percent reduction in taxes for town residents who reside within those villages.

“With the 2012 tentative budget, like the 2011 adopted budget, we continue our sensitivity to the tax burden on town residents and limit spending to the greatest extent possible,” wrote Supervisor Wilkinson is his budget message. “Our 2012 tentative budget decreases tax rates for those living inside and outside our incorporated villages. Spending increases slightly, due primarily to employee benefit cost escalation and in part to money needed to eliminate the $27.3 million deficit created by the previous administration.”

In his budget message, Supervisor Wilkinson goes on to note that in the last 20 months, town government has been “restructured,” merging the Harbors and Docks Department into the Police Department. There has also been a “streamlining” of Human Services, brining ordinance enforcement, the building inspector, fire marshal and animal control under one Public Safety department, and the establishment of a Finance Office representing finance, information technology, human resources, the tax receiver and purchasing.

These changes, he wrote, have helped reduce spending and maximize how town personnel are used.

Supervisor Wilkinson said discontinuation of the leaf pick-up program coupled with the closing of the town’s Recycling Center on Wednesdays has resulted in $700,000 in annual savings.

The tentative budget also maintains funding levels from 2011 for the East Hampton Daycare and Learning Center, the Family Service League, the East Hampton Food Pantry, Phoenix House, the Montauk Youth Association, the Springs Youth Association, Project MOST, RSVP for Seniors and the Pediatric Dental Fund.

The tentative budget also includes the sale of East Hampton Town’s portion of The Poxabogue Golf Center to Southampton Town. A resolution authorizing that sale, for $2.2 million will be offered at Thursday night’s town board meeting.

On Tuesday, during a town board work session, Supervisor Wilkinson said that in addition he expects the town will receive about $200,000 in owed revenues from the golf center.

Supervisor Wilkinson added that he was told East Hampton residents would not be charged differently from Southampton Town residents for the use of the golf center as a result of the sale. Deputy Supervisor Theresa Quigley explained that the town had done what it hoped to accomplish – prevent the close to 40-acre course from being privately developed. The Town of Southampton originally purchased the property with Community Preservation Funds (CPF), which will protect the land from future development, she said.

In 2004, East Hampton Town purchased half of the golf course for $3.25 million alongside Southampton Town in an effort to preserve the recreational use of the land. It could not use CPF monies for the purchase, explained Supervisor Wilkinson on Tuesday, because the property lay outside the town.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Wilkinson did not say how much debt the town still owed on that purchase, but estimated with the sale to Southampton, East Hampton Town should about break even.

The East Hampton Town Board will meet tonight, October 6, at 7 p.m. The town board must approve a final budget and send it to the state by November 20.

“I am proud of this 2012 tentative budget because it builds on and continues the management and financial disciplines introduced in the 2011 adopted budget and places the town in a stronger position as we move forward,” said Wilkinson in his budget message. “Over the next several months I will be introducing, and the town board will be reviewing, a three-year capital improvement plan and budget that will address plant, equipment and the future infrastructure needs of the town.”


That Tangy Taste of Summer

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By Claire Walla


Invoking the cool, laid-back aura of the film to which its amber-colored label pays homage, “Pete’s Endless Summer” line of sauces and rubs suggests the idea that barbeque is just as satisfying as surf.

“Some of the best times and memories have happened during the summer and often involved a great barbecue or dinner,” Pete Ambrose explains on the company’s website. A native of the East End, he goes on to suggest that much of the flavors he’s now captured in bottles and jars are reminiscent of the times he spent barbecuing right here on the beach (mentioning Napeague by name). But they’re also concoctions he’s been perfecting over the years through the endless number of hours Ambrose himself has spent in the kitchen.

Having catered large events through The Seafood Shop in Wainscott for the past 20 years, Ambrose said creating a line of sauces and rubs has been in the back of his mind for a long time.

“It’s been a desire of mine for about 10 to 15 years,” Ambrose explained in an interview. “It’s finally become a reality.”

The tri-colored label, featuring a man at the grill in black silhouette, graces containers filled with such specialty condiments as Apricot Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, Ginger Teriyaki Marinade, Wasabi Aioli, Seasoning Sea Salt, the über-popular Rib Ticklin’ Rub and Ambrose’s signature Endless Summer Rub.

“All good rubs have a lot of the same basings: brown sugar, paprika, celery root,” Ambrose explained; and Pete’s Endless summer is no different. However, each item in the East End-inspired line of rubs and sauces does have at least one key ingredient that separates it from your run-of-the-mill condiment. For example, Ambrose pointed to his Apricot Chipotle BBQ Sauce: “Apricot is something people wouldn’t necessarily use as a sweetener.”

The flavors are, in part, a byproduct of the palette Ambrose has developed over the years, harking back to his boyhood. (Ambrose actually began working at the Seafood Shop in Wainscott at the age of 14.)

“I think anyone who works for me has brought something to the table,” Ambrose said of the flavors he’s created. “A lot of my staff comes from Mexico and other parts of South America,” he said, which has influenced Ambrose to use such tangy spices as chimichurri and hot peppers.

Ambrose said the line has found much success; he typically has about 40 cases of each item on order every four weeks. “We sell about 80 to 100 cases of barbecue sauce each summer,” he added, explaining that the apricot chipotle sauce has been a big hit. But the road to getting these recipes “shelf stable,” as Ambrose put it, wasn’t exactly quick and easy.

“It’s taken a while to get this going,” Ambrose explained. He set to work building a line of sauces and rubs about eight or nine years ago with a business partner. However, the partnership dissolved, and it was about five years before Ambrose set out to get the elements of the project in order once more. Not wanting to see the dream fade away, Ambrose hired a consultant to help get his business plan in order.

“We always had a great product, we just needed the help getting it out,” he said.

In the end, instead of paying to get his line of products into local stores and supermarkets, Ambrose said he went with Plan B: farmers’ markets. Much to his pleasant surprise, Ambrose said the tactic proved fruitful.

“Retail rent is very expensive in the Hamptons,” which essentially nixed the idea of selling the sauces and rubs on supermarket shelves, he said. Plus, “it’s hard to test a product on someone else’s shelf.”

So he took his line to the weekly farmers’ markets in Amagansett, East Hampton and Montauk.

“The markets are very low-key and relaxed,” he explained. “You’re also face-to-face with your customers… and people can be very chatty.”

Not only have farmers’ markets given Ambrose an opportunity to fully describe his product — even tempt hungry shoppers with free samples — but he’s been able to get customer feedback.

“You can’t monitor [your product at] retail shops that way,” he said.

Word of mouth has already brought orders from New Jersey and Connecticut; Ambrose also said he’s hoping to expand the company’s reach geographically and get the products into markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn beginning this fall. Not to mention making them available for purchase online, which Ambrose hopes to achieve in the coming months.