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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

The Oyster Bay community paid tribute to award winning journalist Marie Colvin at Oyster Bay High School on Saturday, Oct. 11. The school library was officially dedicated in her name and a portrait of the journalist who died on the frontlines in Syria in 2012 was proudly displayed at the entrance of the library. The event was put together by members of the Oyster Bay class of 1974 who held their 40th class reunion over the weekend.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dennis O’Hara gave a short speech in honor of Colvin’s name. Nassau County legislators Judi Jacobs and Donald MacKenzie also gave speeches, along with Colvin’s sister, Catherine Colvin, and Donna Fiore-Houman, who helped coordinate the event. Both were members of the class of ‘74. Founding dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, Howard Schneider, also gave a small speech at the end of the ceremony.

Some people deserve a long obituary: in a way, it is a tribute to the number of people’s lives they have touched, so for Dottie Brandt, it is a given. A long line of mourners stretched down the street from the Francis P. DeVine Funeral Home, in Oyster Bay, where Dorothy R. Brandt, known to everyone as “Dottie,” was laid to rest, soon after her death on Friday, Sept. 12.

Dottie was a beautiful woman that age couldn’t change. When your warmth, spirit and love come from the inside, it keeps the outside looking bright and fresh. Dottie was always smiling, full of energy and always willing to help people.


Sports

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.

The Diane Whipple Foundation with the cooperation of Manhasset PAL, Manhasset School District and St. Mary’s High School Athletic program has announced a premier College Division I Women’s Lacrosse Scrimmage day on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Competing in this great event will be Columbia, Fairfield, Michigan, Sacred Heart, Stonybrook, UCONN, UMASS, and USC.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com