By Rachel Bosworth
Shopping on the South Fork can evoke visions of ladies who lunch, puppies in purses, and designer wallets with cards of the black and gold variety. With summer pop-ups and high-end fashion houses lining the Main Streets of the villages, Hamptons shopping is a luxury primarily only afforded to the wealthy. This experience however has become routine in a place that is anything but. Newtown Lane in East Hampton, however, has a newcomer on the block that offers that aims to offer a rare authentic feeling of a good find.
Antique, salvage, and consignment shop, Hampton Gather, opened this past August as the result of years of hunting and discovering items across the United States, and even overseas, from owners — architect Erica Broberg Smith and kitchen designer and contractor Scott Smith. Both are successful architects from East Hampton and owners of Erica Broberg Smith Architect and Smith River Kitchens. “Hampton Gather was a natural extension of the two other businesses,” Ms. Broberg Smith said. “[We] began offering interior design about a year ago, so the antiques and salvage items from Hampton Gather began as our own little resource, which we now share with the public.”
Rather than follow the trend of curated designer stores that are merchandised with precision, the couple opted for an un-styled look that inspires the feeling of a true treasure hunt. The “curated chaos” allows customers to wander the store, sift through items, while affording them the same great thrill of discovering an item the Smiths have had in their years of collecting. “We hunt and shop anywhere we are,” said Ms. Broberg Smith. “This summer we were camping out West in Montana, Utah, Arizona, and my favorite, Wyoming. We found all sorts of Americana… we have met so many lovely, interesting people.”
Ms. Broberg Smith told the story of one experience in Buffalo, Wyoming where she met a career waitress that had opened her own antiques business. She recalled the waitress saying antiques are about people and history, something she now embodies in her own shop. Aside from the look and feel of the store, another aspect that Ms. Broberg Smith hopes really makes Hampton Gather standout among the crowd is that many of the items are reasonably priced, some as low as $10. Ms. Broberg Smith calls it a total rarity in the Hamptons retail landscape.
The consignment portion of the shop has been quite a pleasant surprise, with items coming in daily, she said. The shop either buys items directly from the client or sells on their behalf. “I knew that East Hampton could use a shop like this,” Ms. Broberg Smith said. “But the ongoing enthusiasm from the community has been overwhelming and wonderful.”
Ms. Broberg Smith enjoys items that have a salvage or industrial style thanks to her career as an architect with work on many historical homes and pre-war apartments on her résumé. Her and her husband had collected many items through various projects they have worked on, and have also offered these same style of items to their own clients, such as salvaged warehouse lights used as part of projects with Smith River Kitchens.
When you ask the Smiths what their current favorite items are, you get a feel for how diverse the shop’s offerings really are. As an outdoor aficionado, Mr. Smith is enthusiastic about styles such as American Indian art, antique fishing baskets, and a current item on sale, a pigeon carrier from WWII. Broberg Smith is a fan of metal-punched signs made by an artist in Upstate New York. “My favorite one days, ‘Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. Coco Chanel.’ So true!” she said.
Hampton Gather is located next to Erica Broberg Smith Architect and Smith River Kitchens at 94 Newtown Lane in East Hampton. For more information, visit hamptongather.com or call (631) 527-7171.