Come June 14, Amagansett’s Gone Local, a Main Street staple for the better part of the last decade, may no longer be so local.
Business owner Susan Seitz-Kulick said this week that her landlord, Pat Trunzo, had informed her that she had about a month to get out, in order to make room for a new tenant, Innersleeve Records, which currently has a location across the street.
Ms. Seitz-Kulick said she was shocked to hear the news two weeks before Memorial Day, after spending thousands of dollars to fill her store with merchandise. There’s currently a sign hanging up on the storefront that reads, “Gone Local is Moving. Where?…We don’t know! Our landlord decided to give us 30 days to get out.”
“People have been incredible,” Ms. Seitz Kulick said on Memorial Day. “I mean, there is, without exaggerating, 25 to 50 people a day that have come to my store that are like ‘This is our fave store, we can’t believe, you know, that you’re leaving and we want to know where you end up, because it’s such a great place.’ I’m shocked. To me it’s been just everything. Other than my family, this place is everything to me.”
Gone Local carries everything ranging from fudge to photographs. Much of the merchandise is produced by local artists and craftsmen, including pieces by Ms. Seitz-Kulick herself, such as a dollhouse-sized replica of the Montauk Lighthouse. The store is adorned with colorful, handmade signs of various East Hampton Town hamlets. Local flavor can be spotted in each corner, ranging from an “I know Eddie Ecker” sign, to hand towels with local hamlets on them, nautical charts used as wallpaper and superimposed with drawings of the Montauk Lighthouse, paintings, pottery and more.
Ms. Seitz-Kulick, who did not have a lease with Mr. Trunzo and was renting month-to-month, is currently searching for a new home. When reached on Memorial Day, Mr. Trunzo said he gave Ms. Seitz-Kulick as much notice as possible. He said he informed her of the new tenant the day after everything was finalized.
“It’s certainly unfortunate, but you have to understand we gave her as much notice as we had,” Mr. Trunzo said. “We didn’t know we had another tenant that was going to rent the space until they signed on the dotted line.”
Ms. Seitz-Kulick disputed that account, saying when Mr. Trunzo informed her and her sister Nancy Nagel that they had to move out, he told them that a new tenant had been in the mix for months.
Mr. Trunzo said Ms. Seitz-Kulick was a few months behind on her rent, but Ms. Seitz-Kulick said that wasn’t true. Mr. Trunzo also said he tried to get Ms. Seitz-Kulick to sign a lease, but “she never seemed willing to do that.” Ms. Seitz-Kulick countered that she never pressed for a lease because Michelle Trunzo, Mr. Trunzo’s wife, was a former partner in the store and a good friend of Ms. Seitz-Kulick. She said they were going to revisit the matter of the lease sometime in the future, after plans to divide the space into storefronts and apartments were put into motion. But those plans never materialized.
“I was there under the understanding that, stupidly, I know, I should have gotten it all in writing and had a lease,” she said.
“I mean, these are people that I’ve known my whole life and I believed what they told me.”
Ms. Seitz-Kulick said she was amazed to receive so much feedback on the news.
“I just didn’t realize it’s meant so much to other people,” she said. “They’ve been incredible. People don’t realize out here, because they picture it as a town that people with money flock to, they just don’t realize what a small hometown place it is until something happens to someone. They have been amazing…. People I don’t even know, they just have been incredible.”