Written by Gary Simeone Saturday, 28 September 2013 00:00
Blaise Rafino and his wife, Diane, have been very busy this summer catering to their faithful customers at Duffy’s Bait & Tackle Shop in Glenwood Landing. The couple, married for 42 years, are community mainstays in their 58 Shore Road store at the corner of Scudders Lane—one of the last bait and tackle shops still in business on Long Island.
“We have a lot of families who’ve been coming to us for years and they bring their children, and when their children grow up, they come to us,” says Diane. “Right now it’s snapper season so we have a lot of the local kids buying bait.”
Duffy’s, originally on Shore Road in Glen Cove, was owned by Thomas Duffy. The Rafinos took over the store in 1984 and stayed in Glen Cove until 1999, when they moved to the current location. Next year will be their 15th anniversary in the community.
“Tom had that store for over 40 or 50 years,” says Blaise. “I used to work in the wholesale bait business in Brooklyn and catered to the Duffy family on occasion. When he retired we bought the store from him.”
Like many businesses on Long Island, Duffy’s was affected by the economic standstill caused by Hurricane Sandy. Luckily the store did not suffer any major damage.
“The water from Hempstead Harbor came halfway up our street but fortunately did not reach us,” says Diane. “When we came back we were lucky enough to still have our heat and electricity, which was something we didn’t have at our
home in Huntington.”
The most challenging time for the Rafino family, which includes four children, was in 2008 when an electrical fire gutted the entire store. The couple was forced to do business in a makeshift trailer set up on the perimeter of the property.
They operated this way for months while the store was rebuilt from the ground up.
“What amazed me the most was that the customers who we’ve served over the years rushed down to help us through the whole ordeal,” says Diane. “It showed a true spirit and loyalty, and we are lucky enough to still be here.”
Duffy’s sells everything from rods and reels to popular baits for fresh and saltwater. They even repair rods and reels on site. The store is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.