One chapter ends, another begins in Westhampton Beach

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Main Street in Westhampton Beach will soon look vastly different following Friday’s shuttering of one longtime retailer, and this Sunday’s closing—at least for the immediate future—of another village fixture.

On Friday, the owners of Intimate Boutique, a lingerie and clothing store open in the village for the past 33 years, shuttered its doors and transported their remaining merchandise to their other shop in Georgetown, South Carolina.

“They’re professional bra fitters. It’s so different from going into a department store,” said longtime customer Brette Haefeli, referring to the owners of Intimate Boutique, Beth Killen and Rebecca Nafus. “They know how every bra works.”

And this Sunday will mark the final day that Terry Lucas will own and operate The Open Book, a small bookstore located on Main Street in the village for the past decade. Ms. Lucas is now in final negotiations to sell her business to Jocelyn Maningo of East Moriches, a former employee of The Open Book.

If all goes as planned, Ms. Maningo will most likely take over Ms. Lucas’s lease for her Main Street shop, according to Ms. Lucas. Ms. Maningo said Monday that she plans on keeping The Open Book name and will re-open at some point in the spring.

“I’m planning on keeping Terry’s goodwill and will follow through with her legacy of the store,” Ms. Maningo said.

Ms. Lucas, who has owned The Open Book for 10 years and is also a lawyer, will start working as a librarian at Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton Village following her final day at her shop. She recently earned her master’s degree in library science from St. John’s University is selling the shop so she can spend more time with her children, Rachel, 17, and Sara, 12. Both are students in the Westhampton Beach School District.

“Terry left a wonderful legacy that, hopefully, will be kept by the [new] owners,” said Barbara Robinson, a part-time Westhampton Beach resident and longtime customer of The Open Book. “Terry had a real personal touch. She’s always been interested in everyone in the store.”

As Ms. Maningo looks forward to beginning a new chapter in Westhampton Beach, Ms. Killen and Ms. Nafus—the owners of Intimate Boutique—are officially closing the books on their store. On Friday, while packing a moving truck with their remaining merchandise, Ms. Killen explained that they decided to close their Westhampton Beach store due to a significant drop-off in sales that began in late summer.

“We were talking about it all through the fall, but we knew for sure we were going to close right [around] New Year’s,” Ms. Killen said.

Ms. Killen and Ms. Nafus have owned their other lingerie shop, also called Intimate Boutique, for about seven years. Ms. Killen added that running both locations was too much of a drain on their time.

In addition, two other women’s clothing stores in Westhampton Beach—Koala and Mustique, located at 130 and 132 Main Street, respectively—will soon consolidate under one roof and relocate to the store at 110 Main Street that was just vacated by Intimate Boutique. The new Mustique will open in April, according to owner Nadine Hampton.

Ms. Hampton explained that she wants to take over the space formerly occupied by Intimate Boutique because it will give her more room for merchandise. She emphasized that the move is an upgrade for her, adding that customers who usually frequent Koala will now be able to browse Mustique’s offerings as well.

“It’s going to be a big musical chairs,” Ms. Hampton said, referring to all of the changes taking place on Main Street.

Though Intimate Boutique is now a memory, Ms. Lucas said she hopes that The Open Book will continue to be seen as a “friendly neighborhood bookstore” once Ms. Maningo takes over the business. “I always tried to be accommodating to people,” Ms. Lucas said. “Everyone who works here reads a lot; We give good advice about presents.”

Ms. Maningo emphasized that she intends to keep Ms. Lucas’s legacy alive. Still, she plans to give the shop more of an art gallery feel, explaining that the works of local artists will be on display inside the store. “We’ll feature more local authors,” Maningo added, referring to another tradition started by Ms. Lucas.

Ms. Lucas has hosted a number of books signings at the store. She has held two such events for Jodi Picoult, an author originally from Nesconset who has written 15 novels, in 2001 and 2002. The shop has also hosted a book signing for Ina Garten, who owned The Barefoot Contessa food shops in Westhampton Beach and East Hampton, in 1999. Sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, better known as Dr. Ruth, also made an appearance at The Open Book in 2002.

The bookstore has also fostered a dedicated group of young readers. Ms. Lucas said she has always made sure that she has a wide range of high-quality children’s literature in stock, adding that she often held many events geared toward children.

“We’ve had Harry Potter parties for the release of several books,” Ms. Lucas said. She noted that The Open Book also hosted a party in 1999 that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the release of the first novel in the Madeline series.

Glenn Dorskind, an English teacher at the Westhampton Beach Middle School and a fan of The Open Book, said he hopes that the bookstore will continue to serve as a location where teenagers can socialize after school. “The Open Book is really the only place where 
kids are welcome to hang out, where they feel comfortable,” Mr. Dorskind said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Killen said she is taking some comfort in knowing that she and her business partner had a very successful run in retail for more than 30 years in Westhampton Beach. Ms. Killen said the key to their success has been constantly changing the type of merchandise that they sell.

“We went from just lingerie to lingerie and kid’s clothing, to lingerie and women’s clothing,” said Ms. Killen, noting that they added the popular Vera Bradley accessory line about eight years ago.

On Friday, while Ms. Killen and Ms. Nafus were packing up their remaining merchandise, Edie Whiting of New York City lamented the closing of Intimate Boutique.

“Beth has exquisite taste and knows how to put clothes together,” said Ms. Whiting, adding that she frequents small stores when they offer quality customer service. “She has a sophisticated clothing style, she makes her own jewelry. I’m going to miss her so much.”

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