On my first day of work at Dan’s Papers, I asked my fellow summer editor Stephanie De Troy where I could find the nearest Starbucks. To my surprise, the only local Starbucks she knew of was in Bridgehampton; there aren’t many chains and franchises out here, which allows for more small businesses to succeed. I’ve come to love the Hamptons Coffee Company, as well as places like the Village Gourmet Cheese Shoppe, Tate’s and many other great places in the Hamptons. There’s still the occasional fast food joint, but for the most part, the Hamptons are filled with unique and wonderful mom-and-pop shops. And there’s always room for more!
Starting a new business in this economic climate is tricky, no doubt, and finding the proper space—or any available space, for that matter—can often prove to be a challenge. “[Finding commercial property] is something that is getting a little more difficult,” says Town & Country Commercial Real Estate agent Hal Zwick, “versus a few years ago where we had a great supply in inventory, and now it’s greatly decreased. If you would have driven on 27 East two years ago, you would have seen more for-lease signs and there’s very few pop-ups left.” Zwick notes that there are “no available commercial properties in Sag Harbor or Bridgehampton. But there are still some ancillary places on the outskirts of some of the villages.”
Zwick explains that both buyers and sellers are not as quick to move as they used to be. “The landlords are being more cautious, especially with dealing with mom and pops,” he says. “And believe me, the landlords go out of the way to accommodate the smaller businesses. People couldn’t pay the rent, they just left. Basically, you have to show the landlords that you have the money to start, and the money to get through the winter.”
But it’s not all bad. “I do have businesses for sale. I was showing two food services this morning, one yesterday and I also have inquiries for leases in East Hampton. The economy is better, basically the market is…it’s all about negotiation. It’s between landlord/tenant and buyer/seller.”
If you’re undeterred by the riskiness of starting a business in the Hamptons (especially in August as the summer winds down), check out these listings:
1 Montauk Highway, Southampton: This new construction has an 11,000 sq. ft. ground floor, 2050 sq. ft. second floor and a 2,000 sq. ft. ground-level warehouse. The location is prime, where County Road 39 meets Route 27. It’s well-suited for retail, and is for rent at $175,000 per year.
56 Hampton Road, Southampton: This village property is 1,800 sq. ft./100×18 rectangular. There’s great window visibility. It has a large basement that’s in good condition, and there’s plenty of parking on the street and in village municipal lots. It’s for rent at $66,006 per year.
221 Pantigo Road, East Hampton: This fully renovated restaurant building seats 100, including 16 outside. The property comes with all equipment, fixtures and furniture including a catering van. It has 2,700 sq. ft. interior and the outdoor dining deck. Just east of East Hampton Village, this spot is visible on Montauk Highway. It’s for sale at $1.95 million.
5 Goodfriend Drive, East Hampton: This sports/health club space is located right outside East Hampton village and has a 7,000 sq. ft. tennis court that can be converted into a gym with a lobby and men and women’s locker rooms. It comes with a private parking lot, and is in a private cul-de-sac. It’s for sale at $1.95 million.
For more information on any of these listings, contact Hal Zwick at Town & Country Real Estate at 631-324-8080.