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Jan 16, 2019 9:36 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Closing Of Southampton Village Stores Raises Concern For Some

Valerie Revere, the owner of Twist in Southampton Village, is closing down the shop after 17 years. GREG WEHNER
Jan 16, 2019 10:48 AM

Two more popular year-round stores in the heart of Southampton Village have recently closed, or are planning to close, raising concerns about the cost of doing business in the Hamptons and the impact of online retail and pop-up shops on permanent brick-and-mortar stores in the villages.

The seasonal nature of Southampton Village is nothing new—stores open when the population is highest in the spring and summer and close during the off-seasons. When that kind of going and coming happens, concerns arise and gossip can run rampant. But the recent trend has people concerned.

After a 17-year run, Valerie Revere, the owner of Twist on Jobs Lane, recently announced that she plans to close down the shop by the end of March—and she is not alone. The clothing chain Vineyard Vines, just a few doors down from Twist, shut the doors of its village store on January 5 after being open for nearly nine years.

“The cost of doing business is very high in the Hamptons,” Ms. Revere said. “The overall foot traffic and the length of season, over the years, is less. The cost of business is higher. And with less business … the gap becomes bigger.”

Ms. Revere said one of the reasons she was closing her store was that she didn’t want to sign another lease agreement for two or five years. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the shop,” she said. “I think, at this point, I want to take a step back and spend time with family and friends, and also enjoy the beautiful place I live.”

Prior to opening Twist, Ms. Revere worked as a fashion industry buyer. She focused on fashion for teenagers and kids, or “tweens”—youth between 7 and 12 years of age—which is a term she said she used before anyone even knew what a tween was.

Ms. Revere said she always wanted to open a fashion boutique of her own, so she quit her job and moved to the Hamptons to open her own store: Twist.

A portion of Twist targets the tween population, because that’s what her background was in. Twist sold clothing and fashion accessories, and even had a gift wall that had lip balm, journals, art pen sets and facial masks. Parents would visit Twist while their children were away at summer camp to put together gift boxes.

When Ms. Revere announced that her shop was closing, she invited many of her customers to come and get the best deals at 70 percent off.

“They said, ‘No! You can’t close,’” Ms. Revere said of her customers, adding that it was bittersweet, but that they understood her predicament.

A big reason Ms. Revere is closing the shop, she said, is the high cost of rent. While she would not say how much rent has gone up over the 17 years she has operated, it has taken a toll on her ability to operate a store in Southampton Village year-round. But so have the internet and pop-up retailers, she said.

The Morley Agency in Southampton manages the building Twist is located in, and when contacted on Tuesday, a representative declined to comment.

Multiple calls to representatives of Vineyard Vines seeking reasons for the store’s closing were not returned. On the front of Vineyard Vines was a sign that read: “Thank you for all your support. This location in Southampton, NY, is closing on January 5, 2019. But don’t worry! We’ll still see you online at vineyardvines.com.”

The Vineyard Vines location in East Hampton Village, according to the company’s website, will continue to operate on a seasonal basis.

Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving said on Tuesday that he was concerned to see stores like Twist and Vineyard Vines pack up and leave, but he understands.

The mayor pointed out that online retailing and the competitive nature of stores in the village make it difficult to operate a store year-round. On top of that, rents are very high, he said, and they continue to go up. Some landlords and property owners even make the stores pay the property taxes on the building they are located in, Mr. Irving said, making it difficult for shop owners to succeed unless they own the properties where their shops are located.

Some spaces are being marketed for pop-up stores, a situation that also poses a risk to the stores that operate year-round. Mr. Irving said stores that come in as pop-ups are being offered incentives from property owners to pay licensing fees instead of rent.

While the village cannot do anything to entice companies to stay open or property owners to lower the rents, Mr. Irving said he would like to see all the stores that remain in the village year-round get some sort of benefit, although he declined to say what that benefit might be. “I think we can do that,” he said.

Still, the trend in the village is nothing new, and has been seen in villages across the East End throughout the years.

“It’s a general trend, and every year, for as long as I can remember, people go, ‘Oh my God, all the stores are closed.’ And when spring comes, all the stores get filled again,” Mr. Irving said.

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Thank greedy landlords and Jeff Bozo
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 7:40 AM
2 members liked this comment
You mean "thank rational economic actors and capitalism"
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Jan 17, 19 12:01 PM
Thought East hampton was bad. Have seen stores vacant year round. But, that has been the trend of Southampton Village I can remember.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 9:34 AM
Hard to believe an article about store closings would not include Brooks Brothers - a relatively well known operation that is also gone - no ??
By villavecchio (6), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 10:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Look at Manhattan. Whole blocks on Madison Avenue are vacant. Retail is dying, slowly but surely.
By Jolly Roger (31), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 11:18 AM
It's worse than anyone might imagine. Blue Duck was forced out by a greedy landlord who saw it as a way to limit competition for his own business. For those of you who don't already know, HSBC Bank will be permanently shutting their doors in Southampton Village in March. I fear we're beginning to look like Monticello, NY and other places that USED to be tourist spots. And some say our economy os doing better ... I question their rationality.
By jediscuba (71), Suthampton on Jan 17, 19 11:41 AM
2 members liked this comment
I fear you are very, very right. The inevitable is already happening. Landlord greed, high property taxes, ecommerce AND the Millennial's paltry retail buying habits are the meteors that will finally kill the dinosaurs. Sadly, brick and mortar retail stores in towns and villages is over. Southampton Village Officials who take the position that, "Oh, it's a natural cycle of seasonal ups and downs" will be in for a shock when the Village is no longer a viable place for tourism. Banks, real estate ...more
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Jan 19, 19 11:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
While these are sad stories, there is nothing going on in Southampton that isn’t going on in a lot of America. Retail evolves. Barnes & Noble killed the neighborhood book store, then Amazon killed Barnes & Noble. Bricks & mortar stores will keep dying because its cheaper and easier to buy most goods online. That’s capitalism. As is a “greedy” landlord’s right to price their property however they want. Eventually, capitalism will sort them out too. It wouldn’t ...more
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 11:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Economy is changing, brick and mortar stores will be quaint tourist stops; towns with no souls, just corporate store fronts. Can't blame the landlords if stupid people are willing to throw stupid money a you; take it.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jan 17, 19 12:08 PM
2 members liked this comment
I don't understand this mayor. Instead of just watching the village dry up, why not propose plans to stimulate the village downtown. How about change zoning so apartments can be built in a logical places? How about getting the arts institutions on the same page? A solution to the septic situation for wet space in the downtown area? There are a myriad of things the village can do now to seed for the future. How about just a positive attitude?
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 12:29 PM
It appears this Mayor may have went to the same school as Mayor Romanosky. He sat on his hands while the Parrish Art Museum was driven out by a handful of people. Ditto for the Chamber of Commerce. The SH Association cares little about downtown. What ever happened to the sewer project?? The reality is that there are people that are happy with the status quo in the Village, of course they do not rely on it for their income.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 3:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
A Sewer is not the magic bullet here. Costs will just keep going up and drive what few year round stores remain.
By JM11968 (71), southampton on Jan 18, 19 11:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
Long live Fudge Company, Herricks, Corwin Jewlers, Second Nature, Silvers and many other locally owned and operated businesses!!! : )

I still miss Porembas : /
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 12:32 PM
Last straw was the closing of Brooks Brothers. If they don’t return as a substantial anchor and attraction the village is doomed. Absolutely no foresight by village and landlords. Pathetic!!
By mexicokid (21), brooklyn on Jan 17, 19 12:42 PM
“Good” job by the Press for not mentioning closing of Brooks Bros.
Editor really on the ball!!
By mexicokid (21), brooklyn on Jan 17, 19 12:45 PM
According to Supervisor Schneiderman it is our "moral imperative" to provide housing for the undocumented workers who toil at the large estates of rich people in Southampton and Easthampton. These stores would make great housing alternatives for them -- close to the public schools and close to the hospital for their free education and free healthcare. Buy them with the fund that was used to buy the movie theater in Sag Harbor. Governor Cuomo should be invited to the dedication of this real estate ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jan 17, 19 1:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is what you get when you have a stupid village board, and a planning commission worried about height restrictions. Clueless
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 17, 19 1:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
As mentioned above - Sewer district so you can have more bars, restaurants, cafes, apartments etc. This businesses are not going to be replaced by online stores. They bring foot traffic and life to a village. - Unfortunately the ship sailed a long time ago on blocking offices, no one needs an empty real estate office in the middle of Main St.
By SHResident (59), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 2:02 PM
I don't believe we need more bars and restaurants in our village. Apartments are fine.
By ArturoBandini (30), on Jan 18, 19 7:21 AM
As a merchant for 26 years we absolutely need more restaurants!
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jan 18, 19 2:44 PM
Either way - you would need a sewer district. But we do need businesses that can't be replaced by internet. We don't need offices. We need things that bring foot traffic.
By SHResident (59), Southampton on Jan 19, 19 8:33 AM
It seems to me that this will take care of itself. Landlords have to charge high rents to pay their mortgages and make the buildings profitable. If businesses cant afford the rents the buildings will remain vacant and the property values will decline. Eventually they will be sold for an amount that reflects their income potential and the reduced rents will allow businesses to return and make money. This is a correction that is long overdue.
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Jan 17, 19 3:26 PM
I agree with all of that, except one bit: in the online shopping world of the future, many/most of these properties wont be in retail. Some will survive: liquor stores, ice cream parlors, restaurants, convenience stores, luxury goods..things that are Amazon proof or part of the tourist experience. But I suspect that most of these retail store landlords will have to repurpose their properties to find their highest future value.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 4:37 PM
2 members liked this comment
Sounds like a utopian idea however that's not going to happen!
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jan 18, 19 2:47 PM
Place a very high price on your storefront, drive the businesses out and then deduct the cost of that overpriced rent from your tax. 15,000/month x 12 = $180k taken off your annual income tax. Not a bad gig. Rent out smaller places you own for less money, then keep the storefront empty & priced too high. You then get to keep all your profits. It’s a well known racket.
By btdt (449), water mill on Jan 23, 19 6:10 PM
Why all the "greedy landlord" talk. I guess people want landlords to lose money. If they have vacant buildings then they will lower the rent and businesses will come back. That's how the market works. But so many people want government control of everything. Communism is coming.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Jan 17, 19 4:41 PM
Let’s start making Jobs Lane an attraction for people by turning it into a pedestrian mall with NO VEHICLE TRAFFIC, and allow bicycles again. This progressive and Green idea is very successful in many great cities and towns including Burlington, Vermont, Old Town, San Diego, Old Sacramento, California, NYC Times Square and Miami, Florida among others. Those places are thriving and vibrant cultural destinations. It can begin tempoarary as a pilot test with support from cities that have successfully ...more
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Jan 17, 19 5:17 PM
So where would the surface parking lots be for this pedestrian mall? Property is too valuable to use it for free surface parking in the summer. A paid parking garage maybe but a multistory garage would be hailed as the next coming of the apocalypse by many.
By Baymen87 (135), Lugoff, SC on Jan 21, 19 7:50 AM
Some commenters have suggested adding wet use establishments (i.e. restaurants). Will that make Southampton a year round vibrant community? Will more people shop/eat in the Village all year round because a few more restaurants are added? I don’t think so. Take note Village of WHB mayor and trustees as you want to burden all WHB taxpayers with approximately $23 million in Main Street & Sewer Projects (pending grant and Town funding awards)—projects you’re not allowing a vote on ...more
By st (129), westhampton beach on Jan 17, 19 5:59 PM
1 member liked this comment

Popping Up in The beginning of the Season and Rolling Up when the season is over is ruining the streetscape for retail, sorry to see these stores closing
Retail is more challenging than ever, WHB is a little different than other towns in the Hamptons , we don’t have a designer anchor store, we don’t have name designer or corporate owned stores , we don’t have a lot of restaurants open Year round , we are all Mom and Pop , mostly locally owned businesses
From your ...more
By Shock (48), on Jan 17, 19 8:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
Christmas 2018 was a sign of things to come. People won't shop in a town with no cute spots to sit down and eat a reasonably priced meal.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jan 18, 19 7:22 AM
When you try to do business in a place that makes you jump through hoops just to open and couple that with runaway school taxes, this is what you get. Everyone is quick to say "greedy" landlords without knowing the tax burden that is continually put on commercial properties. Simple math. Look at the tax bill of some of these spots. When you have to come up with a couple a grand a month just to pay taxes, not to mention insurance and maintenance, it has to come from somewhere. The antiquated zoning ...more
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jan 18, 19 8:01 AM
Why don't you ask the landlords how much tax they pay when the stores are empty. It's not nearly enough for them to pay, so they let them sit empty until another tenant comes in, even if it takes years.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Jan 18, 19 8:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
I agree with those who believe landlords are not necessarily being "greedy." Commercial rents are tied to a return on investment, and if the return on investment is reasonable from rents charged, then the landlords are just dealing with the reality of purchasing buildings for $3-5 million from what in some cases were previously local owners. Of course, we don't know what the ROI is for each current landlord is which is why we don't know if they are really being greedy or not, but market rates in ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Jan 18, 19 9:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
M2 as of Jan. 14, 1999: 4.39 trillion dollars

M2 as of Jan. 7, 2019: 14.5 trillion dollars

That's right folks. Ten trillion dollars printed out of the clear blue sky, almost entirely passed to the "investor class". Go figure someone can ask a million for an acre.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 21, 19 8:17 PM
Where are the shoppers coming from? The time for affordable housing came and went.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 18, 19 10:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
Look you just have to face facts; all you quaint little towns and villages are dead and gone. Local government has failed everyone, period. I myself no longer shop locally, no stores carry what I want or need. The people they cater to are not the people who live here. The "Hamptons" charm is wearing off and this place is just going to be another tourist dump as is used up. Time passes everything by.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jan 18, 19 11:00 AM
We really can't support year round restaurants in the village. Putting in a sewer system to support a main st, jobs la and windmill la businesses is not for the year round residents. Most residents can not afford to frequent these restaurants.
Maybe we are coming full circle and becoming a Summer Community again???
Having Coopers Beach in the top ten beaches and Agawam Lake #1 polluted lake we are going in the wrong direction. The mayor doesn't want to address the lake side residents ...more
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jan 18, 19 12:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree with you, knitter. WHB can’t support year round restaurants either, and it’s even less on a main thoroughfare than Southampton. If business was so profitable year round, why wouldn’t the restaurants already in WHB stay open all the time? Starr’s, Post Stop, Dee Angelo’s, Mambo—all closed for much of the year.

If the WHB mayor and trustees want to put in a sewer system the right thing is 1) all taxpayers who are expected to pay for it vote on ...more
By st (129), westhampton beach on Jan 18, 19 2:01 PM
Dog bites man...
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Jan 18, 19 4:15 PM
Quit shopping online!! Some say it's easier, cheaper, but I say it's just plain weird. I think the last thing I purchased online was six years ago... and the product was recalled a year later. That did it for me. I say just quit cold turkey, because in the end, it's not really about the savings. It's an addiction.
By pigroast (100), East Quogue on Jan 18, 19 11:48 PM
Empty storefronts are the proof that it's greedy landlords. The places are empty because rents are too high and they aren't being lowered to what the market will bear. Landlords would rather have no tenant than a cheap tenant. "The rent is too damn high!"
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jan 19, 19 8:01 AM
Oh Boy, Y'all make me laugh!!! You just do not understand facts of life in the Hamptons!!! All of my growing up years in my home town (Southampton) was spent with covered up windows on Jobs Lane and the south east end of Main Street. Even my grandfather closed his butcher shop (Ashmont Market) and he and Gram went south with his customers!! The Facts of Life, kids. If the "rich" people aren't there to buy the stuff the smart owners close up for the winter.
Besides what are you doing there? ...more
By summertimegal (97), southampton on Jan 19, 19 11:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
It’s always the ones who leave who think they know the most. That’s because they resent having to leave. You have every right to hold a grudge. It’s a great place to live.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jan 20, 19 7:08 AM
How can it be a great place to live when generations cannot find work and are forced to leave? We dont leave our family farms which have been owned in some cases a hundred years or more because we wanted to. We grew up, went to college and were forced to find work taking us and our new families out of NY. Keep your head in the sand, its too late to save LI it was a forgone conclusion 30 yrs ago. The middle class has been squeezed out.

Its a great place to live if you don't have to start ...more
By Baymen87 (135), Lugoff, SC on Jan 21, 19 8:01 AM
2 members liked this comment
The difference is that way back when there were not a lot of people here year round relative to today. Or at least the demand for more people wasn't here. Instead, you have many people who commute in and out rather than living here, and it's long past time that our communities support growth and smart strategies to help support that increase to convert some of them to year round residents. Since 911, we have seen a much larger influx of people, year round, and year round second homeowners, but the ...more
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Jan 19, 19 5:44 PM
1 member liked this comment

The year round population in 1990 was about 45,000.

We're now at about 58,000.

Per the 2010 census:

The median income for a household in the town was $53,887, and the median income for a family was $65,144. Males had a median income of $47,167 versus $32,054 for females. The per capita income for the town was $31,320. About 5.3% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.2% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 21, 19 8:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
As business owners we need to take some responsibility here and stop waiting for town hall to fix everything. We need fresh ideas and interesting attractions. I agree making Jobs lane a no car zone over the summer would be a great thing to try. THATS exactly what I am talking about. The market is always changing with the consumer. If you stay stead fast to the old ways you will go out of business. News Flash: Brick and Mortar CAN compete with the internet- that why amazon opened physical locations. ...more
By Corwin1879 (40), Southampton on Jan 20, 19 10:35 AM
Westhampton Beach taxpayers: Tomorrow Suffolk voters head to polls to decide on $390 million in sewer projects (Brookhaven, Babylon, & Islip).

Note: 1) Taxpayers are voting on the projects; 2) Planning and construction costs are completely covered by federal and state grants; and 3) 7,000 properties will be connected, and your taxes pay for annual operations and maintenance because you can connect your own property to the sewer system.

Phase 1 of the WHB Sewer Project wants to ...more
By st (129), westhampton beach on Jan 21, 19 8:03 AM
Compared to Sag Harbor and more recently Greenport - Southampton village has an extremely limited selection of food & drink establishments. As such, the retail window realistically ends at around dinner time, when even visitors leave the village to dine and evening socialize elsewhere.

Part of this is due to Southampton's old money, matronly mindset. But a more practical reality is the village's under-equipt utilities on Main St, Jobs Lane and Windmill Lane. Specifically, the lack of ...more
By Peconic Dolphin (9), Southampton on Jan 21, 19 9:22 AM
2 members liked this comment
Totally agree!
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jan 23, 19 10:59 AM
Jobs Lane business model: Google “Church Street Marketplace” In Vermont the town Main Street that banned cars in favor of a year-round outdoor pedestrian mall success story.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Jan 21, 19 7:17 PM
The key words in your post are “Year-round”. The structural problem here in the Village is that locals have been priced out, and the year-round resident to support such an idea is scarce these days. The mall you cite is in the center of Burlington, a vibrant city, with an equally vibrant university.
Little is mentioned about the closing of the College, or the Courts being moved to Hampton Bays. Both were a tremendous blow to the Village as they provided year-round business to the ...more
By gusef (53), Southampton on Jan 22, 19 8:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
I have to agree. Our problem is lack of population year-round. And also the reputation of being expensive keeps a lot of the locals from supporting the village or even exploring. Sad! I feel the powers that be, at no fault of their own have no answers, so they blame it on the fact that we are a resort community and this is the norm. But, when anchor stores start leaving we lose consistency and continuity. We don't have enough year round business and resort business now too as that is dwindling, ...more
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jan 23, 19 10:58 AM
The Government is NEVER the solution. Particular our local governments.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Jan 21, 19 7:58 PM
People are the government.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 21, 19 8:20 PM
Change the Village code to allow the greedy landlords to build an additional floor for accessory apartment(s). They can charge the greedy overpriced store owners less money for rent since they'll be getting extra rental income. Then the greedy store owners can lower their prices so the year-round locals will be more inclined to shop in the village. And the people who rent the accessory apartments will village shop, and walk, and sit on benches, and make it more lively.

Still need better ...more
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on Jan 23, 19 1:55 PM
Look what's happening to malls across the country. Big box lookalike anchors are dead - Sears, Macy's, JC Penny are going, going, gone! Malls are reinvented themselves. Now with specialty retail, high-end dining and activity based experiences driving traffic. Gyms, VR studios, bowling, go-karts, rope courses, wall climbing, escape rooms and trampolines are replacing Sears. Yes to bars and restaurants, yes to specialty retail and yes to museums, gyms, fun spots for kids and adults. Yes to apartments. ...more
By jowamba (7), Southampton on Jan 23, 19 8:21 PM
As we’ve learned from AOC, we will all be dead in 11 years, 11 months and about 3 weeks anyway.

Let’s just all get along.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jan 26, 19 1:20 PM