Between the annual arrival of the ospreys and that of the tourists, a gathering takes place in Greenport that has come to mark a local kick-off for the season ahead on the North Fork.
The free event, held this year on Thursday, March 28, was started by Shelley Scoggin as a birthday party for her health food shop, The Market. To mark the 30th anniversary three years ago, Scoggin approached local vintage shop owner, Liz Sweigert of The Times Vintage, about adding a fashion show to the evening line-up, which this year includes roughly 20 North Fork models in self-chosen outfits from the second-hand shop, food provided by Scoggin, and wines by Cutchogue’s Coffee Pot Cellars.
“This year’s theme is called, ‘Hanging By a Thread,’ because you can’t deny that everybody is struggling a little bit in the winter,” Sweigert said of how the boom-and-bust cycle on the Twin Forks can be a hard ride for year-round business owners. “The winter just drags on and we’re all just hanging in there,” she said.
The Times Vintage is currently expanding its record collection — and has also begun to consign a line of working pre-1960 vintage radios — as the thrift store rides the same mercurial wave Sweigert said must be surfed for any village business to remain bustling in the quieter months.
“Eventually, we want the front space to feel more like a record shop and be centered around music,” said Sweigert. “We were getting so many people coming in buying records and there’s no real record shop in Greenport, so I think there is a need for that.”
For her part, Scoggin said she has been fostering a cooperative environment within The Market with Clarke’s Gardens, providing customers with grab-and-go flower bouquets, as well as offering gallery space this season to local artists Nadira Vlaun and Kristian Iglesias, who are totally on board with Thursday’s thread-focused theme.
“I’m going to have a lot of one-of-a-kind mobiles and hanging pieces,” said Vlaus. She moved to the area with her husband from Brooklyn in 2006. “We have two children and in ninth and sixth grades, so we’re trying to keep everything alive and moving forward. We’ve had friends come and go and we’ve kind of stuck it out. We’ve had lulls where it’s like, ‘Where did everybody go?’ but the families that have emerged seem like they’re here to stay,” she added.
This is music to the ears of someone like Scoggin, who said she’s thrilled to still have locals around to visit her shop, which is open seven days a week, on more than just weekend days.
“I’ve moved several times within the village, but I’ve been in this spot for 12 years and it’s nice to see new, young artisans doing cool things,” she said. She said the children of local restaurant staff frequently buy smoothies and support her business before going to work. “They’re great kids — they’re the age bracket that this fashion show is about. In fact, most of them will be in it or will be working and able to pop over,” she said.
“I appreciate being able to hang on, because everything around us closes for the winter or closes for three days a week or closes for this month or that month. It’s really a message about being part of a community I feel strongly about; that’s the heart of this party.”
“Hanging by a Thread” will be held at The Market, hosted by The Times Vintage, at 44 Front Street, Greenport from 6 to 8 PM. For more information about the stores, visit www.themarketgreenport.com and www.thetimesvintage.com.