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Apr 13, 2016 1:41 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Deli Owner Challenges Westhampton Beach Village's Decision To Run Beach Concession Stand

Joe Grady questions the village board. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
Apr 13, 2016 1:41 PM

The owner of a Westhampton Beach deli is questioning the village’s decision to operate the food concession stand at Rogers Beach this summer rather than lease the space to outside vendors, as has been tradition.

At a Village Board meeting last Thursday night, April 7, Joseph Grady, the owner of the Hurricane Deli on Montauk Highway, who has operated the concession stand in the past between Memorial Day and Labor Day, stated that the board was overestimating the amount of money it would clear by roughly $60,000, while also noting that there is not enough space or equipment at the beach pavilion to make or store food on site.

“I don’t understand why the village would get involved in the food service business when you don’t have enough of an outlet to use what you make,” Mr. Grady said referring to how he, or any other business owner who would have won the bid to lease the concession space, could always sell their prepared foods at their respective establishments if there’s a stretch of bad weather this summer. “There are a lot of variables that you are not understanding,” he added.

According to Village Board member Charles Palmer, the village expects to take in $160,000 by running the concession stand this year—a figure that he described as “conservative.” But the anticipated revenue does not account for the fact that the village must purchase equipment to run the stand, pay a chef and absorb other one-time expenses.

As part of next year’s $10.1 million budget, which was adopted at the same meeting last week, the village has set aside approximately $8,000 to buy a new refrigerator and fryer for the concession stand.

The village has also hired Michael Harpaul, the chef at the Westhampton Beach Middle School, to run the stand this summer. He will make $24 an hour, the same as the village’s beach managers and head lifeguard, according to Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore. His total salary will be capped at $13,056, and he will not get benefits.

Traditionally, the village has always solicited sealed bids from local delis and restaurants, awarding the contract to the highest bidder. In the past, the winning bids have ranged from $9,000 to $14,000, according to the mayor.

Ms. Moore said she first suggested that the village take over the concession stand several months ago, explaining that she now has the support of her fellow board members. The village, she continued, should be able to make substantially more money if it takes over the operation instead of collecting rent.

She noted that the plan is to invest in new equipment this year, meaning that the village should see greater profits in subsequent years once those initial start-up costs are absorbed.

As far as food options go, Ms. Moore said the menu would include staples like chicken fingers and French fries, while also offering some more high-end fare, like lobster rolls. The concession will be open whenever the beach is open, meaning on weekends only from Memorial Day until June 25, and seven days a week after that through Labor Day.

But Mr. Grady, who has won the bid to run the stand in the past, insisted that the village does not have the proper facilities in place to take over its operation. He also noted that vendors typically prepare foods, such as salads and side dishes, in their own commercial kitchens and then deliver the items to the stand every morning. Mr. Grady also pointed out that the stand currently lacks refrigeration units, which is why vendors traditionally store perishables in their own commercial facilities.

He also stressed that he thinks the projected $160,000 figure is overinflated, noting that, most summers, his company was able to clear about $90,000.

The exchange continued to escalate when Mr. Grady told board members that they lack the experience to run a successful concession stand. He then added that he had tried to schedule a meeting with Village Board member Brian Tymann prior to last week’s vote, but that never happened.

Mr. Tymann reminded Mr. Grady that his door is always open and that the business owner never bothered to schedule one with him.

“When was the last time you called me?” Mr. Tymann asked when Mr. Grady pointed out that he wanted to meet with him. “Did you call me to set something up? I am here anytime you want. I am not chasing you down. I sit with many people in this audience when they want to sit down with me—get in touch with me sometime sooner.”

As for the mayor, she said that this summer’s menu will be simple, while adding that the village is more than capable of running the stand.

“I think you’ll be surprised by the outcome,” Ms. Moore said while addressing Mr. Grady. “We are looking forward to it and it will be well done.”

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This is ridiculous. Makes no sense for the village to become involved in the food business. If there is a problem with the way the place has been run, then look for a new provider that has competence in running concessions. But then these are the people that wanted to hire a police commissioner for a six person department. I guess its another case of local patronage politics.
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Apr 13, 16 8:27 PM
Now the Village is in the restaurant business? Crazy. Lets see the figure at the end of the summer. When is this Mayor up for re-election? She needs to go!
By realistic (472), westhampton on Apr 13, 16 9:31 PM
To understand why this is such a stupid idea one need look no further than the debacle that occurred several years ago when Southampton Town thought they could run the food concession at Poxabogue. Sounds like someone on the board is a wannabe restaurateur.
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Apr 13, 16 10:49 PM
Hmmmm, we have the same problem in Southampton. Ours is a matter of a board member's family member chosen over the person who has run the concession at Coopers for 6 years VERY successfully. This represents a major financial loss to this person as I am sure it does for the gentleman in Westhampton.
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Apr 13, 16 10:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
Not to mention the chosen is NOT a local resident!
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on Apr 20, 16 2:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
I struggle with this philosophically. You let companies bid for the exclusive right to use the facility and sell at Rogers. That monopoly has value. On one hand using Village assets and being granted a monopoly has a value. On the other that fixed cost to do business has to be recouped and either prices are higher or value is lessened. Fixed costs eat into margin.

In all events, the Village should not run it. It is not a core competency or even in their mission. A government's mission ...more
By Hambone (514), New York on Apr 13, 16 11:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree. This is a for-profit venture. Government should not be business to make $$$$$$.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Apr 14, 16 8:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds like a board members kids need a summer job. Next town picking up residential garbage, phones, lights???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Apr 14, 16 9:39 AM
Will they follow the same ridiculous rules and regulations they put on other privately owned establishments? Doubtful. This will cost the taxpayers money. They really have no expertise at all. What a joke.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Apr 14, 16 11:17 AM
What is the health department's stance on this?
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Apr 14, 16 1:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
What is the Village is going to do with the unsold lobster salad during a rainy spell? The Village should not be in the food service business. It is a lose-lose for everyone.
By Luv da beach (5), Remsenburg on Apr 14, 16 3:59 PM
The other factor that everyone is missing is that Hurricane Deli pays Westhampton Beach taxes..so we are helping to finance a business that will be our completion..Hmmm
By JoanGrady (2), on Apr 14, 16 7:30 PM
Sorry...competition not completion
By JoanGrady (2), on Apr 14, 16 7:31 PM
Wait till the Health Dept. gives them all the regulations they must comply with and stops in to see if they are being done right. They may regret this decision, it is not as easy as it looks.
By plplpj (8), westhampton beach on Apr 14, 16 8:04 PM
Roger’s Beach is an extraordinary Village asset to be managed to the best advantage of the entire Village. By law, the bids for the concession stand cannot be limited to only local businesses. By bringing the concession stand in-house, the operation will truly be local. And the plan is to source the beverages and some food items from within the Village.

To suggest that business interests have not been considered during the last two years by me and the Board is not true.
-Movies ...more
By Mayor Moore (10), Westhampton Beach on Apr 17, 16 12:59 PM
Your comments are cosmetic Mayor Moore. As an elected Mayor we expect you to bring benefits especially since you doubled your salary as soon as you got elected. The Village has no reason to be in the food business. Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the engineers report on the sewer district is a waste of tax payer money and you will be held accountable when this whole deal pans out. If you have info the feds will pay the whole bill then put sewers throughout the whole Village. Come clean ...more
By realistic (472), westhampton on Apr 17, 16 9:06 PM
I hate reading generalizations and false statements.
1. Mayor Moore simply put her salary back to what it was before Teller reduced it. I believe he reduced it to just under what he was allowed to make while receiving social security, but perhaps he did it out of the kindness of his heart. I'm not to say, only he is. Regardless of why he did it, Mayor Moore put it back to $25,000 with no raise this year. I'm sick of hearing this weak criticism of her. At $25,000 she makes about $13 an hour, ...more
By briantymann (31), westhampton beach on Apr 18, 16 7:17 AM
I forgot one other thing - I'm not sure what you don't understand about the map and plan for the sewers - for the hundredth time I have to explain this: We paid $71,000 for the map and plan of the sewer district. Part of that work is to figure out the costs and available grant money. Those things CANNOT be figured out without a map and plan, as the cost is based on the design details and the grant money is dependent on the design details and the outcome of the water quality studies that will indicate ...more
By briantymann (31), westhampton beach on Apr 18, 16 7:27 AM
No its not "clean enough" especially since the $71,000 is just the beginning of the taxpayer funds. Hundreds of thousands more will be needed. Still cant believe there is "no idea" how much this will cost when you are looking to an architectural firm whos experienced in this area and there have been other sewer districts built recently plus pumping stations. Secondly the idea the sewer district will bring business to the town is incorrect for the reasons I've stated before. Thirdly and to stick ...more
By realistic (472), westhampton on Apr 18, 16 8:11 AM
BTW I do give you and Rob credit for sticking up for the business owners and not being afraid to say so.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Apr 18, 16 8:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
stupid! guess we will have to see who works there to see where this brilliant idea came from...
By LI native (127), LI on Apr 18, 16 12:13 AM
I would also like to say thank to Rob & Brian For finally speaking the truth about their view. as I said the village is now using residents taxes & business owners taxes to fund a FOR PROFIT venture in direct competition with the village businesses they govern. that is the real problem not that the hired a co-worker of the beach manager to run their entity or that its sour grapes on my part that I did not get the beach concession. As a business owner in the village I am all about having competition ...more
By JosephGrady (1), on Apr 18, 16 7:29 PM
1 member liked this comment