Bradley Morrison of Morrison's Antiques and Collectibles sees the hamlet of Oyster Bay as being on the upturn. It is becoming a destination place because of its thriving antiques and collectibles stores. He said of his antique store at 128 South Street, "This is a new venture for me but my family has been involved in it for years. I'm learning new things every day and I've had a good response from the residents. I think Oyster Bay will become a destination area with all the antique and consignment businesses here - just by having all these different shops in the area."
Mr. Morrison said, "It makes it easy for customers to walk around the hamlet and peruse the shops. We try to give them the best experience possible. And maybe while they are here they will have something to eat or remember they need something at the drugstore. First, they have a reason to be here and then, they can experience all the other great things available."
Mr. Morrison said the majority of his client flow comes by word of mouth as the other antique and consignment shops in Oyster Bay recommend each other. "People like it. It's like going on a treasure hunt going from one store to another: and I send them to the others. The Melillo Foundation Thrift Shop is the newest, it's on West Main Street across from Raynham Hall Museum. There's Vangie's place Second Impression 'N' Tiques at Townsend Square, Next to New is on Spring Street and West Main Street; the Attic Door is on East Main Street and there's a new antiques store further down the block, close to Christ Church," he said.
Vangie Kohn of Second Impression 'N' Tiques, said, "We don't carry the same merchandise so it is kind of nice. It's not like having a Bloomingdales next to a Macy's, everything we have is very different. If they can't find something in my store, I always refer them to the other stores, even suggesting which one might have what they are searching for."
Mark Tiberio of the Attic Door Furniture store is another son following in the family's business. His parents Bruce and Jean are the owners. Mark said, "A lot of our customers make the rounds throughout the town. We take all kinds of furniture on consignment. We've been in the business just over 30 years. It was started by my grandmother in the late '60s and we've been here ever since." He's hoping for the town to continue to improve.
Before becoming involved in the antiques business Brad Morrison was on the road. He doesn't mind the change. "Now that I'm doing it, I don't mind it. I sit in front of the computer for hours, tracking consignments in the store. I do a spreadsheet to tell what's sold and when. The consignees like it. It's more complex doing the inventory this way but for me it works. I use the computer for everything business related. I even use it to make letterheads," he said.
For the past five years he was in sales and service calling on Home Depot stores in the northeast, building up a company with his uncle. "It wasn't going in the direction I wanted and I decided I had had enough. I took a step back and took time off," he said. But that working experience has honed his skills. "Working for a huge retail merchandiser and having an entrepreneurial spirit - we went from three men to 70 guys in that five years, but it was not going where I wanted to be. Today, I learn something every day and want to hone in with service to the customer. We need return business. And, it's a family business. My father [Bryan Morrison] and grandmother [Thomasina] are working here as are my younger brothers."
There is a synergy between the family's businesses. With his father's business Trading Places, he said they can provide double services. "If someone's moving quickly, we can sell the house and if they leave things behind, we can sell those items too," he said.
Bryan Morrison said at the recent Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce meeting, that his business Trading Places has a Senior Program. "We only charge seniors 2 percent interest when selling their homes. The normal commission is between 4 and 5 percent. It's an exclusive listing. We can sell the house and everything in it. People on a fixed income shouldn't have to pay 4 percent," said Mr. Morrison. He spends his time between his homes in Syosset and North Carolina where he is building homes.
Brad Morrison is pleased with the new Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce. "I think they are very positive too. I see a lot of good things, a renewed enthusiasm with everyone getting involved with the chamber. There are a lot of wonderful business people who are pouring out a lot of time to get Oyster Bay back to where it should be," he said.
He sees the upcoming Health Fair as a big plus for that. "The Health Fair will be bigger and better. My father is working on adding an antique area. There is a new director for the Tuesday car shows, Paul Racino. He is heading up the shows this spring."
He said the last Business After Hours held at Il Piatto was terrific. "There are a lot of positive attitudes here: there was a great response, a great turnout. People are really getting on board with the chamber. I think it's going to be a turnaround year for Oyster Bay," he said.
As for the Carousel, Mr. Morrison said, "It's a big debate and I am neutral about it. My father (Bryan Morrison) doesn't like the carousel and says put it somewhere else."
Brad Morrison remembers Beekman Beach and TR Park from growing up in Syosset. He remembered how Beekman Beach was hidden: tucked behind the Jakobson's shipyard.
Bryan Morrison is against a carousel in Theodore Roosevelt Park. He said, "TR said no carousel, no beer. TR started the national park system, he was a conservationist. People in Centre Island probably don't want to hear the sound of the carousel drifting across the harbor. Who is going to run it? It doesn't belong on the beach, absolutely not. Would they put it on Sagamore Hill? They have so much land there it would be a great place. Kids get bored easily and it's a very historic place. A carousel would bring kids and parents and it would be a great destination for them."
Mr. Morrison added "I have a Sagamore Hill plate over my fireplace in North Carolina,"