Love Lane—the heart of the North Fork universe—is a bastion of local businesses whose chiefly female owners give their all to the stores of Mattituck’s small-town shopping mecca. The quaint commercial paradise, bookended by the Main Road facing North Fork Saddlery and Pike Street’s Blue Sage Day Spa, is an ever-evolving and at the moment, it’s absolutely chock full of news.
Perhaps the biggest news coming out of Love Lane is that Cecily’s Love Lane Gallery is for sale. Cecily Jaffe became the veritable grand matron of Love Lane 20 years ago as the first female business owner of the bunch, but Jaffe is now searching for the right buyer to take over her business.
“I want someone who is an entrepreneur—a go-getter,” Jaffe said on the subject, adding she would remain nearby as her successor developed his or her “Love legs,” despite plans to travel. “I would even stick around for a few months to help them out as they get oriented or consider a partnership, for a time, but I would want to eventually be bought out.”
The circle of Love will be continued by the likes of such shop owners as Kate Altman and Carolyn Iannone, who have now been at the helms of their respective businesses, Altman’s and Love Lane Kitchen, for more than a year and Joanna Mazzella, whose chic women’s fashion boutique, Mint, celebrates its 10th Love Lane anniversary at the end of May. Mazzella called the flagship store of her blossoming Mint boutique chain, which recently added its fifth location, stylistically “contemporary and trend-driven” with “something for everyone.”
Love Lane will also soon be the site of the East End’s newest farmers market, according to Village Cheese Shop’s Rosemary Batchellor, who said the new weekly market will be located on the grounds of the Mattituck Florist. Batchellor said possible purveyors include Browder’s Birds, the certified organic free-range chicken farmers who recently made headlines as the owners of Long Island’s very first mobile slaughterhouse.
But in the coming weeks, news of organic eggs coming to Love Lane takes a backseat to that of the Easter variety as deliveries roll into The Love Lane Sweet Shoppe, revving up for the impending rush of sweet-toothed sales associated with the April holiday. Sweet Shop owner Jackie Wilsberg said she could not have handled bagging hundreds of pounds of jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and eggs if it weren’t for the help of her two daughters, Chelsea and Ashley, the latter of whom will soon deliver her own little Easter Bunny. “Ashley’s due before Easter and believe me, she’s my right hand, but that’s okay, we’ll be fine,” Wilsberg said of losing her manager just before a major chocolate holiday. “This will be my second granddaughter, so hopefully one day those two little girls will be working at the shop and grandma can take a little time off.”
The Love Lane Sweet Shoppe not only specializes in high-end candies, but in creating custom Easter baskets.
“Some people will call ahead and put a monetary value on the basket or make requests based on a child’s age, and then they’ll come in to pick it up,” she said. “Other people will bring their own baskets in, pick what they want and we’ll fill it for them.”
Wilsberg said the unique touch the Sweet Shoppe puts on their Easter baskets, which include unique toys and other non-edibles that won’t often be found elsewhere, comes from a desire not to offer customers the “same old, same old” found in box shops.
“In our store, we try very, very hard to provide things that you’re not seeing in the mass, giant stores,” she said of offered items like rock candy, Astro Pops and Bonomo Turkish Taffy.
“Parents love to introduce to toys and candies that they played with or enjoyed as children,” said Wilsberg. “Why bother coming to me if you can’t find something different, exciting and new—or even nostalgic.”