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New Year, New Beginning For Chocolatier

With a new location, the Chocolate Lady boutique will survive

The holidays were not festive for business owner Lee Perrotta. On Christmas Eve, Perrotta, owner of The Chocolate Lady, noticed a plumbing problem in the basement of the building on Audrey Avenue where her store was located. The problem was so bad, it forced her to shut down her business. A week later, she found herself moving out of the space she had occupied for more than four years, because it was inhabitable.

“I had no water to make chocolate with. My life is upside down, my home is upside down, my clientele is displaced,” says Perrotta. “There were no holidays for me.”

The displacement comes right in the peak of chocolate season, which Perrotta says lasts from October through May. A staple of the Oyster Bay community since she opened shop, Perrotta knows her customers likes and dislikes and says she is heartbroken over the loss of her shop.

“These people are my family, my friends,” she says of her customers.

She says her landlord refused to rectify the plumbing problem and even told her to fix it herself. As a result, Perrotta has lost the prime location on Audrey Avenue. 

“People are in shock; I have been told there were people crying outside of the store, and I have had customers calling me crying and wondering what happened,” Perrotta says.

“I’m deeply saddened by the recent closing of The Chocolate Lady in Oyster Bay, for several reasons,” says Kathryn Prinz, of FootPrinz Reflexology & Massage Therapy and Prinz Music Studio, Oyster Bay. “The Oyster Bay hamlet business community has lost a one-of-a-kind destination business; the patrons of The Chocolate Lady will no longer get to enjoy Lee Perrotta’s wonderful chocolate creations; and I’m especially sad for Lee, who put her heart and soul into this business she loved.”  

Because she cares so much about her customers and does not want to lose the base, she is doing what she can to keep the continuity. She is looking to secure temporary space at Buckingham’s, and to also rent out space in a commercial kitchen where she can make her chocolates.

“It’s great that she’s staying in Oyster Bay,” says Walter Imperatore of the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce. “She has been embraced by the community since she opened shop. She has a good product and it is good to have someone who is that involved stay in the community.”

Perrotta, a trained chef and chocolatier, has written cookbooks, teaches, lectures around Long Island and has also done chocolate tastings. Last year she brought the first chocolate festival in Oyster Bay on Valentine’s Day. Because of her networking, her business has drawn tourists to Oyster Bay, in addition to the walk-in traffic. A lot of her business comes from repeat customers and corporate orders, and she says she does not necessarily need the boutique for income, but loves what it has to offer her customers and cherishes the personal relationships she has created. 

Despite the setback, she has no intention of losing her business, and has considered opening “pop-up” shops around town, like the one she has in Dodds and Eder. Additionally, clients can order her chocolates by phone or online at www.chocolateladyboutique.com.

“I am the Chocolate Lady, and I will continue to bring amazing chocolate to Oyster Bay.”


News

“Visitation is up 300 percent,” said Harriet Gerard Clark, Raynham Hall Museum director.

“Two-thirds of them come because of reading the book by Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution, and seeing the series ‘Turn’ on A&E,” added Tom Valentine, docent, who keeps the list of visitors. Soon the series will include the story of Robert Townsend of Oyster Bay who was known as Culper, Jr. when he was a spy for George Washington.

Alex Sutherland, director of education, nailed his definition. “He was the most important spy for George Washington because he had the perfect cover. He was pretending to be a Loyalist and writing for a Loyalist newspaper and befriending British officers at his coffee shop in downtown New York while secretly collecting information.

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Sports

Hard work paid off for local athletes Christine Grippo of Locust Valley, Kelly Pickard of Oyster Bay, Bernadette Winnubst of Locust Valley, Steven Quigley of Bayville, Catherine Soler of Oyster Bay, Maria Elinger of Oyster Bay, and Armand D’Amato of Oyster Bay Cove, each of whom won awards in a field of some of the best triathletes from all of Long Island and beyond in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, held in and around Oyster Bay’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Grippo earned top honors in the women’s 30-34 age group with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Pickard (1:17:39) scored first among the women in the 35-39 age group. Winnubst scored in 1:38:48 to earn third place honors in the Masters Athena Weight Division. Quigley earned the second place award in the Masters Clydesdale Weight Division in 1:23:23. Soler (1:29:12) scored 5th among the women in the 20-24 age group. Ehlinger (1:39:23) was the 4th place award winner in the women’s 55-59 age group. D’Amato (1:42:44) earned top honors in the 70-74 age group.

Ice Dreams, an Olympic Ice Show starring 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Brown and aspiring local skaters, is coming to Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sept. 20.

Isabella Skvarla, 13, Julia Tauter, 12, and Chiara Vlacich, 12, all of Oyster Bay, Julia Forte, 12, of Locust Valley and Riley Stein, 11, of Bayville will be skating in the world class show to celebrate the opening of the best figure skating facility Long Island has ever seen.


Calendar

Art In A Meadow

Saturday, Sept. 13

Bayville Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 13 - Sunday, Sept. 14

Hurricane Preparedness

Tuesday, Sept. 16



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