Small business on the East End is the foundation and glue that holds the Hamptons together. However, the struggle to compete with the corporate giants who can afford to pay mammoth rents is threatening the security of small business owners.
In April, Barry Adelman of Outdoors Amagansett started a petition (now at almost 1,000 signatures) including a few local celebrities who added their names to the list in support. Adelman’s lease is not being renewed after 15 years on Main Street in Amagansett and he is trying to see what he can do to stay just where he is.
Isn’t there room for everyone? Well, if you’re one the thousands of Hamptons vacationers and homeowners, you would say – absolutely! In fact, small Mom and Pop and family-owned businesses add to the charm and quaintness that is so valued in the Hamptons.
Freddie Stollmack, President and Founder of Weatherproof Garment Company, and supporter of small businesses sat down with me recently to talk about the launch of a major initiative, the Weatherproof East End Project, he is starting on behalf of Weatherproof to help shed some light on this important issue. Weatherproof, the iconic apparel manufacturer is lending its support to small business owners on the East End. They will help campaign to keep local proprietors stay afloat in today’s tough economy.
Stollmack has been a regular in the Hamptons since he was a child. With fond memories of his time spent in Montauk horseback riding at Deep Hollow Ranch, swimming at the original Surf Club and strolling down the Main Streets in Amagansett, East Hampton and Sag Harbor one important fact remains, his love of the Hamptons.
It’s apparent why Stollmack is at the forefront of this movement and his commitment and passion is growing with each step. “I enjoy coming out to the Hamptons because of the wide cross section of things to do and places to go. I’ve stayed at the Maidstone in East Hampton as well as The Sea Breeze Inn in Amagansett and have equally enjoyed my time,” Stollmack told me. I frequent places like Mary’s Marvelous in Amagansett and John Pappas Cafe in East Hampton. What Stollmack and Adelman brought attention to, is embraced by many.
Stollmack has high hopes for a kick-off event scheduled to take place the beginning of July (date TBA) at the new, second location of Mary’s Marvelous on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. Mary’s Marvelous is a small business founded in 2002 by Mary Schoenlein that has grown over the years due to its popularity. The anticipation of Schoenlein’s second store is perfect timing and a wonderful platform for a fun-filled affair. The Weatherproof East End Project is the first step in creating additional awareness of and support for our local small business owners to prosper and stay in our communities for years to come.
While some of the most elegant and influential businesses have made their way to the Hamptons, the towns remain occupied with down-to-earth charming boutiques, eateries and specialty stores. In a recent government report, statistics show that small business employs about 50% of all private sector workers and stimulates economic growth. Sometimes less is more, and small business represents just that. With everyone working together, large and small, there is room for all.
Nina Churchill Director of Lexington Clothing Company in East Hampton, Charlotte Klein Sasso of Stuarts Seafood Market in Amagansett and John Pappas of the John Pappas Cafe in East Hampton are in favor of small business entrepreneurs. “One of the nice things about the Hamptons is that there are still family-owned businesses. We support each other year-round and personally know many of our customers on a first-name basis. Of course we all have to evolve with the times and offer something new. It’s about honoring the past while keeping up with the future,” Sasso shared.
With the momentum just beginning, there is much promise for the Weatherproof East End Project’s campaign to make a difference in the future of small businesses on the East End.
Freddie Stollmack is a hugely successful businessman who founded Weatherproof in 1991 and helped propel the company to be one of the leading domestic outerwear companies in the world. Today, they are the choice of our beloved New York Yankees and continue to lead the industry in superior clothing and outerwear.
For the latest updates and more information on how you can make a difference, please log onto www.weatherproofeastendproject.com