The smell of fresh bread from Hampton Sourdough in Calverton welcomed customers as they entered the Eastport General Store on a recent Monday. The store is bright, with white walls and shelves filled with a variety of items, from pickles to toys.
The store, located at 510 Montauk Hwy., held a grand opening on Oct. 23.
“The turnout for the opening was great,” said owner Amber Otto, 35, who grew up in Montauk and now lives in Eastport. “We used Instagram to promote and some of my local vendors were promoting us, so it was nice to see everyone come and support us.”
The location had been vacant for years.
“As a year-round resident, I saw Main Street fading over the past couple of years as other businesses left town and empty storefronts multiplied,” she said. “I really wanted to do something to help bring fresh energy to Main Street. Eastport has so much potential — natural beauty, historic architecture and quaint charm reminiscent of Cape Cod or the North Fork – a hidden gem.”
Renovations for the store were completed within two months, and Otto said many people were curious to see what the place was all about.
“Everything happened so quickly,” Otto said. “I think a lot of people saw that things were happening with this building and they would come by to check what was going on since it had been empty for so long.”
Otto dreamed of opening up her own business from a young age.
“I would sell vegetables on the corner of our street in Montauk village and I’ve wanted to have my own store ever since,” she said. “I’ve worked for retail, interior design and construction project management, but I was always scared to leap myself.”
Otto was intrigued by the idea of a traditional general store as a way to harken back to a simpler time and to have the flexibility of offering a little bit of everything for the local community.
Since Otto didn’t need to be in the office during the coronavirus, she spent more time in the local areas. This is when she started to plan out the general store.
“I gained some perspective and started to plan which products I would want in the store,” Otto said. “It made sense to me and went off in my head like a lightbulb.”
Eastport General Store
510 Montauk Hwy.
Eastport, NY 11941
Featured photo: Amber Otto, 35, of Eastport, runs the new Eastport General Store.