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Oct 1, 2014 11:33 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

'Survivability' Shop In Bridgehampton Aims To Help Prepare For Disasters

Oct 1, 2014 11:33 AM

In the event of a natural disaster, Survivability Services International in Bridgehampton has the tools for survival—medical kits, flashlights and batteries, goggles, industrial coolers, tactical clothing and armor, binoculars, even jumbo containers of freeze-dried meats, vegetables, fruits and dairy products with a shelf life of up to 25 years.

The company also sells shotguns and automatic rifles and holds three federal firearms licenses permitting the manufacture and sale of ammunition, as well as the sale of automatic weapons under the National Firearms Act. The shop is also permitted to repair guns and offer various types of defensive training.

This little shop is not a gun store—it is, rather, a “tactical supply store,” according to its three co-founders, Frank Dalene, Matt Kochanasz and Nick Samot, all of Wainscott.

The owners said Survivability Services is geared toward people working in law enforcement and the military, their friends and family members with licenses to purchase ammunition, and also to members of the Maidstone Gun Club in East Hampton. Their clientele also includes people who simply want to stock up for a worst-case scenario.

“We’re not a gun shop. We’re not your typical outdoor sporting goods store,” said Mr. Dalene, who is also the president and CEO of the Bridgehampton-based construction company Telemark, as well as the director and treasurer of the Peconic Institute, a nonprofit focusing on sustainable natural resources.

While spearheading the Peconic Institute’s Climate Resilience and Recovery program in 2010 with Chairman Nay Htun, a research professor at Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus, Mr. Dalene came to the realization that Long Island—especially the East End—would not fare well in a hurricane or other natural disaster. He decided to join forces with neighbor and family friend Mr. Kochanasz, an East Hampton Village Police officer, and together they merged their expertise into the creation of a store based entirely on the survivability of not just average citizens but also members of the law enforcement and military communities.

“[Survivability is] a military term that a lot of guys use who’ve been at war and have been in all sorts of gun fights,” Mr. Kochanasz said. “They always talk about your survivability and how training and being prepared for it increases your [chances]. That’s really where the name came from. Really, this was born from the idea of helping clients surviving man-made and natural disasters.”

The duo opened Survivability Services International in June 2013 with the help of Mr. Samot, another family friend and also an officer in the Sag Harbor Village Police Department. The business secured contracts with the local police departments, enabling it to bid on and supply equipment, and officers can purchase approved equipment with their allowed budget at a 20-percent discount.

“In preparedness you save lives, you save costs to society, you decrease the time in recovery, and all of that culminated in this idea,” Mr. Dalene said. “That has been a big center of what the store is about: It’s just about being prepared. That is our focus, and that is what we really want to be known for. The focus on guns is not where we are at.”

Tucked away along an industrial strip on Maple Lane in Bridgehampton, the business is housed in a modestly sized carpeted shop. The walls are lined with shelves of clothing and racks of camouflage bulletproof vests, pants, hats and backpacks, accompanied by a small selection of mounted guns. Hanging up on a wall behind the counter is a black flag with a skull and crossbones improvised with guns.

“We don’t do any advertising. We’ve stayed pretty quiet,” Mr. Dalene explained. “But we have nothing to hide, so we can speak freely. We really don’t want to be associated with the entire debate that’s going on today, and whether guns are evil or not. We really don’t want to be caught up in all of that. We want to focus on survivability, and along with that comes guns and ammunition. It’s a part of that. Especially when you’re supplying law enforcement and military.”

The owners said one of their ultimate goals is to help create a hardened Emergency Operations Center on the East End, as the nearest one now is in Bethpage.

Mr. Dalene stressed that preparing for natural disasters given the geography of Long Island, is important for many different reasons. Not only would it be near impossible for East End residents to safely evacuate the area, but hundreds of multimillion-dollar properties would be ruined, leaving people not only financially burdened, but without homes as well.

“We can’t just sit here like the folks in New Orleans and wait for the yellow buses to come, because the yellow buses are going to be underwater,” he said. “We need to take care of ourselves.

“Our mission is about survivability,” he continued. “If it increases survivability, yeah, we’re going to do it.”

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I hope he has a robust online store - there is no way that business model can "survive" in the hamptons, especially with the rental rate.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 9:02 AM
Yes indeed. Just in case those nasty German saboteurs return to Amagansett or there is an assault on Pumpkin Town. Sounds like some boys want to play cops and robbers. Can't think of a less-needed store on the East End.
By harbor (411), East Hampton on Oct 3, 14 9:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
Some of us are a bit diluted, mixed in to the "Anglo" population
By smacw (240), New York on Oct 3, 14 3:16 PM
Tough sell around here until you need them!! Good luck Guys! Hope it works out.
By Spikeland67 (25), Sag Harbor on Oct 3, 14 10:28 AM
Automatic weapons? Really! Sold to who?
By lazymedic (100), southampton on Oct 3, 14 11:35 AM
Is this for when the gov't comes take away ma freedumz?

And what, no zombie survival kits? pfffft. What a joke.
By johnj (1019), Westhampton on Oct 3, 14 11:36 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Oct 3, 14 4:25 PM
Automatic weapons? I think the author needs to re -read their notes and see that should probably read semi-automatic. And kudos to them for trying to create a business in this tough climate.
By Preliator Lives (431), Obamavillie on Oct 3, 14 12:21 PM
If they are NFA licensee, then they can sell automatic weapons, but of course, since the early 70's those can only be sold to government agencies.

By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Oct 3, 14 4:28 PM
Well they did say they want to serve the law enforcement community and they were exempted under Cuomo's unSAFE Act. Still it is an interesting idea, everyone needs to try and carve out a niche for themselves.
By Preliator Lives (431), Obamavillie on Oct 6, 14 6:55 AM
Actually, this is a brilliant location for this type of store. i can easily envision the uber elite dropping 10 or 20 grand on a visit for emergency supplies!
By Zorro (66), Southampton on Oct 4, 14 1:26 AM
Yep, and heard Ralph Lauren is introducing designer cashmire camo, and Louis Vuitton has in the pipeline custom aligator skin backpacks with plenty of room for grenades and the latest smart phones. Simply must-have items.
By lazymedic (100), southampton on Oct 4, 14 9:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
The second amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear arms, exercise your rights people!! A well armed populace is a deterrent to tyranny. Without sufficient firepower we are all potential victims of an over reaching government. I wish these business owners success in their endeavor.
By bigfresh (4590), north sea on Oct 4, 14 2:35 PM
2 members liked this comment
As these guys still in business? I hope they were able to make it in this economy. Does anyone know?
By DanielCahill (1), on Oct 21, 15 10:20 AM
power tools, home improvements, building supplies, Eastern Long Island