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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

This holiday season, Oyster Bay will once again be home to unique, homemade, scrumptious confections from The Chocolate Lady, in the form of a mobile chocolate boutique set up at Buckingham Variety Store on Audrey Avenue. She arrived on Sunday and plans on staying throughout the holidays, and possibly longer.

“I have been developing this concept for the last year and a half and am excited to be coming home to Oyster Bay for this year’s holiday launch,” says Lee Perrotta, aka The Chocolate Lady, who had her shop across the street from Buckingham’s for about five years before she was forced to shut her doors on Christmas Eve in 2012 due to excessive water damage at the rental space.

The Raise The Roof Concert, held at Christ Church on Nov. 9, was an intergenerational event to benefit the Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay’s seniors.

Board member Suzanne Paolucci explained the center’s wish to get iPods for the seniors as a source of musical therapy. She brought the idea to the center from a talk by social worker Dan Cohen, the founder of Music & Memory. He has produced a film, Alive Inside, that tells the story of music as being restorative. Music is like therapy for the elderly, in particular for those with dementia, as it has been shown to awaken memories of happier times in life, when energy and enthusiasm were boundless.


Sports

Long Island Lutheran High School senior Samantha Horton of Oyster Bay signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Siena College and compete on the Girls Division I Lacrosse Team in the goaltender position next year. Samantha will be receiving a full athletic scholarship. Horton is pictured with her family.

On the weekend of Nov. 8, the Oyster Bay High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams traveled to the State University of New York at Canton just a few miles from the Canadian border to compete in the New York State Cross Country Championships.

Alex Tosi became the first Bayman since Joe Jazwinski and Justin Nakrin (2008) to become All-State, placing 16th with a time of 16:53. Most runners ran about 20 seconds slower than their Bethpage times because of the muddy conditions on the course. Tosi’s time was basically equivalent to his best Bethpage time, as he powered through the toughest parts of the race. He led the Baymen to a seventh place finish in the Class C race, an improvement from their 11th place finish last year, which ties the highest place at the New York State Championships of a Baymen team since 2009.


Calendar

Annual Turkey Trot

Thursday, Nov. 27

Turkey Detox Workshop

Friday, Nov. 28

East Norwich Holiday

Sunday, Nov. 30



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
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