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There’s Still a Great Variety of Items at Buckingham Village

Buckingham’s Variety Store is reinvented as Buckingham Village

Something old has become something new as Buckingham’s Variety Store has reinvented itself into Buckingham Village. It is located at 36 Audrey Avenue in downtown Oyster Bay. Walter Imperatore, of Renaissance Property Associates, LLC, who manages the Oyster Bay real estate for owner Charles Wang said, “It is a new concept for the store. It’s been an idea in the back of our minds for a while. Recently, it seemed to us that there were a lot of little businesses that wanted to open up locally. Think Long Island First was the first. They were recently joined by Chef Fran’s Kitchenware. Now we have these different store owners with their own products sharing space.”

He said there are a lot of places doing it, but under the radar. J.C. Penney is doing it. Go into a bookstore and you see a Starbucks. Walmart is including Kentucky Fried Chicken, a bank and an eyeglass place. “It’s not far-fetched that we are doing a hamlet version here,” said Mr. Imperatore.

The site already includes Hope for Long Island, run by the North Shore Community Church that sells gently used clothing and knick knacks.

“We can fit a lot into that store and still have a reasonable amount of the original ‘variety’ of things people look for. I think we have a lot of those fun things that say we want to have fun.” he said.

They still have the basic items Buckingham’s Variety Store was known for, but he added, “We can’t have things that will sit around for four or five years.

“But who would know that lampshades sell so well. I can’t figure out why some things sell as well as they do. Are they having parties and putting the lampshades on their heads? We’ll have to begin putting them in the party section soon!”

“And don’t forget the candies and the cards,” he added. The two offer the most amazing selections. “It’s like being a kid in a candy store. Remember Turkish Taffy? And they have the old licorice, and other amazing stuff.

“And the greeting cards are fun. They are not like the standard card. These are fun and different cards.

“I always like that about the store,” he said thoughtfully.

Local Managers

The store is run weekdays by Jamie Dick, in-house manager, who is daughter of the late Dr. James Dick; and by weekend managers Claire and Chris Bellerjeau.

Ms. Dick said she hired Brian Thompson to work with her in the store. “His mother and my sister Margaret (Pookie) were great friends growing up. I met his mother, Lou-Ann Thompson, in a deli and asked what Brian was doing. He was working with my son James, and I asked Brian to work here. We’re all Oyster Bay High School graduates!”

FYI: Brian is a senior at OBHS and will go to NYIT after graduation. He was the stage manager of the OBHS production of Footloose the musical, that took place on March 30, 31 and April 1.

Another small business venue at Buckingham Village is Think Long Island First, run by Eva Rumprecht and Jolanta Zamecka. They sell lovely handmade items including pottery, woodworking, knitted and crocheted items, photographs and more.

They also are featuring Aran Island sweaters that are knitted by retired school teachers. That is very convenient for Jolanta since she is the grandmother of Stefan, 11 months old, the son of her daughter Monika Rynowiecka. Her daughter Karolina Zamecka is a young entrepreneur and owns her own business, Regal Carriage Inc., that rents out horse-drawn carriages for special occasions.

Happy with the Hamlet

Mr. Imperatore is happy to see the hamlet turning a corner. “Walk around,” he said, “and you will see less empty stores.” Last year they added new tenants with Sweet Tomato; the Spotted Owl; and after Bonnie Boisits left Chase Edwards Gallery and went to work in Sag Harbor - that location at 15 East Main Street became Grayson Castles.

Soon the building behind the Oyster Bay Railroad Preview Center at 102 Audrey Avenue (north) will be occupied. It is entered via the small parking lot next to Town Hall West, and is nestled in a courtyard-like area. It will be a second location for John Castles of Grayson Castles – John will have a studio there, where he can do his creative work.

“If you go into Grayson Castles at 15 East Main, you will see old things, and things that look old but are created by John. My daughter is an Alice in Wonderland fan and I found a large size Alice in Wonderland watch there. If he doesn’t have it, he will find it or make it for you.

“I’ll give you a dollar if you don’t see something you like,” said Walter.

“Overall, it’s really nice. It’s been a bit of a trip to see how things are turning out, especially with the different events happening. I had a blast at the Chocolate Fair’s Wine and Chocolate event at The Homestead. There were also events at the local dance studios. There were over 40 participants involved in organizing the events at different locations.”

There’s a lot new in this little old hamlet!

News

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, Long Islanders taking mass transit may find themselves caught up in the mad dash of the holiday rush. But on the Oyster Bay line, riders are lucky in that they don’t experience the same level of stress over parking as some of the busier lines do.

“The Oyster Bay station never seems to get that crowded, but we’ll see what happens during Thanksgiving holiday when a lot of people come to visit families. I don’t think I’ll have a problem commuting, though,” says Michael Miniero, an Oyster Bay resident who regularly commutes to work on the LIRR.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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