Businesses Fresh and Local


Downtown Sag Harbor is awash with fresh faces this summer. As you walk down Main Street in the heat and humidity don’t be surprised to find a brand new store tucked in amongst more familiar facades — equally welcoming and air-conditioned. And as village residents continue to battle the attempted invasion of nationwide chains, it should be nice to note many of these new stores fit in with Sag Harbor’s small town, “Mom and Pop” charm. Most of the storeowners even live locally.

Salons are in no short supply in Sag Harbor, especially with three new spaces opening in the area this year. A dream came true for Erica McSweeney on May 1 when she opened her own Harbor Salon at 75 Main Street, between Kites of the Harbor and Land Shark. Born and raised in Sag Harbor, McSweeney knew she only ever wanted to be in her hometown. Wanting her salon to be centered in village life, McSweeney has decorated the space with photographs of the area, and she offers discounts to Sag Harbor volunteers and business district employees.

Xavier Merat, who has worked in Sag Harbor for years in several venues on Main Street, opened the Salon Xavier on Memorial Day weekend. The salon is located on Bay Street in a studio space that once held the Flashbacks Home furniture store. Merat has partnered with the Juicy Naam, a holistic juice bar in East Hampton, offering packages promising inner and outer beauty. Also new is the Beach House Day Spa on Division Street, owned by Kate Mullane. Mullane has hoped to create a small oasis of relaxation, offering full spa services, a place to relieve oneself of stress. Her salon, as well as the two others, offers a full line of organic beauty products.

Another addition to Main Street is Blue, a clothing boutique owned by Rowlanda Blue Stephanos. An equestrian show jumper, Stephanos first opened a store in Wellington, Florida before relocating to the space in Sag Harbor on the corner of Madison Street and Jermain Avenue, and recently moved again to a more central location on the corner of Main and Long Island Avenue, next to Weekend Warrior. The store opened in May, and offers women’s clothing and accessories as well as a men’s line. Also displayed in Blue is the local artwork of Shelli Breidenbach, whose themes focus on beaches and horses. Stephanos currently resides Sagaponack and is enamored of Sag Harbor. 

“It’s a great town,” she said. “I just love this area.”

Lisa Perry also sang Sag Harbor’s praises, speaking from within her store on Main Street next to The American Hotel. A resident of North Haven for 10 years, Perry is a designer whose clothes are featured in stores from Harrods in London to chains in Greece, Italy, and Russia. Perry’s Sag Harbor store focuses on “great design,” primarily that of the 1960s. Products in the store include dresses, bags, jewelry, bed sheets, and various accoutrements and books on design. 

“Sag Harbor is our town. I think it’s the most charming Hampton,” exalted Perry. “I love that it’s a community of artists. People have been coming in to look at the items and really getting nostalgic.” 

Perry also noted Sag Harbor’s vibrant nightlife, 

“There’s always activity,” she said. “The town really comes alive at night.”

Just across the street, another new clothing store has opened its doors below Java Nation. LABL, owned by locals Rob and Mary Lynne Hess, is a street wear store bringing New York City fashions to the Hamptons for reasonable prices. The store had a successful grand opening on July Fourth weekend and has joined forces with local youth arts organization Arts 4 Collective. The brainchild of the Hess’s two children, Pierson alumni Kirsten and Dave Hess, LABL will display the work of young local artists.

Urban Zen, a retail store owned by Donna Karan, opened this Memorial Day at 4 Bay Street. Urban Zen was initially a foundation started by designer Karan to promote “well-being, preserving cultures, and empowering children.” There are currently two retail spaces, in Sag Harbor and Manhattan, selling apparel, home décor and more. The proceeds from the stores go directly to the foundation. 

“Sag Harbor was our first choice,” said store manager Annette Azan. “We have been welcomed. It’s been amazing.”

Several new eateries have also come to town. Restaurateur Ed “Jean Luc” Kleefield has renovated Main Street’s Mumbo Jumbo and has opened the Grappa Wine Bar in its stead. The restaurant will serve a full menu of Italian dishes, and, of course, will be one of the few wine bars on the South Fork. Also coming soon is the Amber Bakery, owned by local Amber Kopcza, a caterer with over 20 years of experience. The bakery will be located on Long Island Avenue, where once was East End Computers. Michael Cavaniola, of Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop, has opened a complimentary wine store just next door to his Division Street cheese lover’s paradise. Specializing in wines that go well with cheese, Cavaniola’s Wine Cellar is situated in the historic Umbrella House.