Amid rows of brand-name retail stores and globally recognizable franchises sits what seems to be one of the last mom-and-pop stores on Main Street in East Hampton.
White’s Apothecary, formerly White’s Pharmacy, now under the direction of Diana Ross, the marketing director for Nyco Chemists, which now owns White’s and operates beauty and cosmetic stores out of Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights, unveiled its face-lift at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday afternoon. But despite its new look and semi-new name, Ms. Ross said the store’s local vibe hasn’t changed at all.
“People want to come home to someone who cares for them, and where everyone knows their name” said Ms. Ross. “There’s something to be said for that.”
Nyco bought the store last August from longtime owner Vincent Alibrandi, who still works at White’s as the pharmacist.
“I knew the store was iconic,” said Ms. Ross. “I’ve been in the beauty industry for 40 years, and everybody knows White’s. We were looking for another location in Brooklyn, but when this came up, it just felt right.”
The store’s interior makeover, said Ms. Ross, was inspired by the “homey” feel of a person’s kitchen. “I do a lot of entertaining,” she said, “and when I cook at my house, people are always congregating by the island in the kitchen. We tried to bring that idea to the store and make it feel like you’re standing in someone’s kitchen.”
The bright white cabinetry and open-space concept, she added, allow for that feeling. “People are coming in, like, ‘It’s so … pretty!’ It’s probably the most beautiful store I’ve been involved in,” she said.
The store, which also sells typical drugstore items, is primarily focused on cosmetics and beauty-related products, said Ms. Ross. White’s now offers four new makeup lines, including Smashbox, Santa Maria Novella, Nuxe and Fresh. “We’ve been listening to the consumer,” she said. “Last year, I spent most of the summer talking to people and stopping them on the street, asking about what particular brands they’d like to see here.”
The store offers facials, makeup consultations, and services by a licensed esthetician, as well as nutritional advice, health seminars and yoga. “The seminars are on everything from menopause to empty nesting, and how to transition in a natural way, and how all of that plays out physically,” said Ms. Ross.
And the cosmetic industry, she added, is no longer just for women. White’s sells an array of male beauty products from cleansers to toners to shaving creams.
“In my career, very early on, there were very few male skin care products,” said Ms. Ross. “Now, it’s like men of all ages come in asking questions. We’ve done brows and facials on men—it’s a whole new world of beauty.”