A decades-old flower shop that has been a staple in Riverhead for a generation expanded its presence last month by adding a second location on East Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.
The Riverhead Flower Shop Southside opened its doors at the end of last month, bringing with it the hamlet’s only flower shop, Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce President Stan Glinka said.
Prior to the arrival of the Southside flower shop, Mr. Glinka, who is running for the Southampton Town Board this November, said Hampton Bays residents had to drive elsewhere to pick up flowers.
Shop owner Peggy Kneski said she was well aware of the shortage of flower stores in the area, because a great deal of the orders she received at her Riverhead shop came from Hampton Bays.
“There’s nothing there between East Quogue to Southampton and [Hampton Bays] really is a type of community like Riverhead—year-round, working class, blue-collar people,” Ms. Kneski said. “That’s who we want to serve.”
Because her original store attracted so much business, both from Hampton Bays residents and their friends and family who live out of town, Ms. Kneski said she wanted to keep the same name to build upon her store’s reputation.
She hopes the new shop, which also sells jewelry, teddy bears and will eventually feature the gourmet candy sold at the original location, will attract working-class customers while tapping into floral needs of local churches, funeral homes, schools and other businesses.
“We’re not looking to make a million dollars and we aren’t looking for the ‘Hamptons’ clientele, because we don’t believe that’s what Hampton Bays is all about,” Ms. Kneski said.
The Riverhead Flower Shop has been in business since the late 1970s, Ms. Kneski said, and she purchased it in 2010 after spending the previous several years selling flowers wholesale from her home and working at another floral shop in Riverhead. She owned and operated a flower shop of her own, The Cotton Patch, in Riverhead until she sold it in the mid-1990s.
She said owning her own business gave her the ability to spend more time with her three children and her father, who died last year.
Mr. Glinka said the flower business can fluctuate depending on the season and other factors, and he said he wouldn’t be surprised if there were periodic dry spells for the new business.
Still, he said that as the only flower shop in town, and its proximity to the King Kullen supermarket, should help it succeed, pointing to the anticipated foot traffic. He added that the store is a positive addition to the Hampton Bays business district.
“It was kind of like a finishing touch, and I was also happy to see another storefront filled instead of sitting empty,” Mr. Glinka said. “It’s a very a nice addition to the business district.”
Ms. Kneski’s niece Lauren Zilnicki, who has been running many of the day-to-day operations at the Hampton Bays shop, said she and her aunt have been making their presence known by handing out sample flower arrangements throughout the business district.
Ms. Zilnicki said the store has received positive feedback from customers so far and the other businesses in the area have been warm and accommodating.
“Everyone in the community has been very nice and welcoming,” she said. “It kind of feels like we entered a little family here in Hampton Bays.”