Forty-six years ago an artisanal storefront opened its doors in the quaint town of Greenport. At the time, the seaside village streets were lined with glass blowers, knitters, artists, and the like, making it an idyllic place for husband-and-wife team Jaap Hilbrand and Mary Ann Zovko to open Doofpot.
“We liked Greenport at the time because there were a lot of artists that lived and worked here,” Zovko said of when the store opened its doors in 1973. “We had a cultural resource center. There was a thriving young community of artists.”
The name, Doofpot, is derived from the Dutch, meaning a conical pot with a lid on top. Its purpose? So people could remove the coal from a fireplace or cookstove and put it in the doofpot to cool down and reuse.
So why name a storefront selling pottery, plates, décor, jewelry, and other tidbits spanning several eras in a small Long Island town a Dutch word? Hilbrand had experience importing candles and copper from his home in Holland — products that were in high demand at the time.
Their second Doofpot location, in Palm Beach, which was opened 26 years ago, sold all its contents in May. The lease on the Greenport space is up at the end of September, so the couple thought the timing seemed right. The official closing date is October 15.
“It’s a nice progression, a journey toward another direction,” Zovko said.
Customers will undoubtedly miss such a familiar place with a friendly past. Perhaps even more than the worldwide items sold from Portugal, Spain, England, Greece, and the large, unique selection of Italian ceramics and Murano glass.
The pair, who worked for Trans World Airlines — Hilbrand, as a service manager, and Zovko, as a flight attendant — back in the prime days of flying, will be back persuing old habits. Zovko toured the skies for 36 years between the couples’ own jet-setting adventures.
“I know there’s definitely a lot of women still interested in the jewelry, so I’d like to continue with selling that in the future,” Zovko said. “How I’m actually going to do it, I’m not really sure.”
Doofpot is located at 302 Main St, Greenport. Call 631-477-0344 for more information.