BY DRASHTI MEHTA
Former band member and IT specialist turned business owner Ben Vengroff recently celebrated the grand opening of his bookstore Red Jacket Books in Westhampton Beach.
The business initially began online in July 2020, and after positive reception, Vengroff started searching for locations to open a store. Between the pandemic, a decade working in the family business and much of his family moving to Florida, Vengroff decided it was time to pursue his dream.
“I had to make a decision, [if] I wanted to move away, or start something else,” he says. “It was just really scary with everything going on. You start to see all these terrible things in the world and how short life is and it’s too short to not do what you love and be as happy as possible.”
While the bookstore may have been a long-time coming, the name comes from a frequently worn red jacket purchased in California. After a tree fell on his house during a summer storm in 2019, destroying his belongings, he came to see the jacket as lucky.
“I was hanging out with a friend on a Sunday … a day I usually would’ve been home and who knows what would’ve happened,” he recalls. “I think it’s lucky and people sort of recognized it – even if they were calling it ugly – but that’s sort of what you want in a logo, is something that people remember.”
Red Jacket Books is currently home to more than 3,000 titles and various genres from classics and historical fiction to nonfiction and a section designated for kids. Vengroff hopes to keep expanding in line with customers’ preferences and also stocks books by local authors.
“Coming from a local band, seeing your stuff right next to the big guys, it’s pretty cool when you go into a store and see that, so I wanted to do that for other people,” he says.
Red Jacket Books is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 77D Main St., Westhampton Beach. For more information visit redjacketbooks.com