Just in time for the holidays, the Blue Duck Bakery Cafe opens its doors in downtown Riverhead.
According to owner Nancy Kouris, the soft opening will begin starting on Monday.
"We're still in the process of getting things done -- we're waiting for our chairs," she laughed. "But the bakery case is full, and the fresh bread and coffee are all ready."
Kouris hopes to unveil the new cafe menu on Friday, with a grand opening set to follow in two to three weeks. "So we can get any kinks worked out and have the new enthusiastic staff trained and ready to go," she said.
In he was planning to set up a third location -- there are two other Blue Duck Bakery sites in Southold and Southampton -- on East Main Street.
The Riverhead Industrial Development Agency officially approved the Blue Duck Bakery and Cafe on April 2 as the second tenant to occupy the three separate retail spaces at 309 East Main Street; Ralph's Italian Ices opened in April and is right next door.
The Blue Duck will outfit 2800 square feet of space with the assistance of an approved sales tax exemption for building materials and equipment.
Earlier this year, the IDA approved a request for assistance by property owners Mirah Max, LLC, to renovate a 6500 square foot, vacant building that existed on the site and to create three new and separate retail spaces, to attract new, small businesses to the area.
To facilitate the process, the Community Development Agency provided approximately $15,000 from the New York Main Street Program, a reimbursement program administered by the New York State Office of Community Renewal.
Ike and Richard Israel, Mirah Max principals reduced the building footprint, set back the façade, and exposed the original brick fascia to create a new entrance to the three storefronts.
IDA Executive Director Tracy Stark-James said because the building is in a designated urban renewal area, assistance was offered to the developer through sales and mortgage recording tax relief and by temporarily holding an assessment for five years -- allowing for more reasonable startup costs. Businesses renting the retail spaces are also eligible for sales tax exemptions to help out the shops with equipment.
The goal is to bring new small specialty shops and an influx of jobs into downtown Riverhead. The Blue Duck Bakery and Cafe expects to offer 12 to 15 jobs; Ralph’s Italian Ices will need 20 employees by the end of their second year.
“That’s a lot of jobs in a little space for our local families,” said Stark-James. “This is a fantastic example of how public and private partnerships can assist in attracting unique retail operations to our downtown. The larger buildings that currently subdue most of Main Street don’t foster quaint, unique businesses that are naturally and mutually cohesive to a strolling, downtown neighborhood district, which we are striving for.”
The IDA’s mission is to attract new businesses to Riverhead and to help existing Riverhead businesses expand their operations and remain in Riverhead.
"We're very excited," Kouris, who lives in Aquebogue, said in February. "We really believe in the downtown area.”