With the news last week that by the end of the month, neighboring business owners on Love Lane said they are heartbroken — but at least a few still have faith that their unique North Fork shopping district will remain as quaint and mom-n-pop as ever.
owner Jackie Wilsberg said she would greatly miss Model Nails’ owners Patrick and My Nguyen, who moved into the Love Lane space in 2000.
“They are definitely a staple business on Love Lane," she said. “It’s a nice, convenient place.”
But Wilsberg said she was confident that another privately owned business would take over.
“There’s just no room for chain stores here,” she said.
But cellular communication giant did set up a retail shop in a space in the octagon building on the corner of Love Lane and Route 25 in early 2010, but traffic through that store was not enough, and the business moved just shy of a year. The space remains vacant.
“Two empty retail locations on Love Lane — that’s not good,” wrote one North Fork Patch reader, commenting on the impending move of Model Nails, adding that a tasting room like the , currently located in Peconic, would fit in well on Love Lane.
Winemaker Studio’s owner Anthony Nappa said that he’d love to be on Love Lane, but he said he doubts he could sustain a successful year-round business there.
“We’re always thinking about the next thing, and I do love Love Lane — how can you not?” he said. “It really is one of the only spots out here with a strong retail and commerce presence. But ultimately, it’s really difficult to survive anywhere out here because of how seasonal it is and how high the rents are.”
Nappa added that he thought that Model Nails was able to do well at that location because of a loyal year-round clientele and a friendly family-run atmosphere. But, landlords, he said, need to realize how tricky it is to achieve that sort of success on Love Lane or in other North Fork business districts.
Despite the current and impending vacancies, Rosemary Batcheller of said she still believes that Love Lane is as vibrant as it’s ever been, with the going strong and the recently opened offering up unique custom food items and service hard to find locally.
Also, father and daughter business team Sal and Danielle Lascala successfully relocated last October from a block away from the Love Lane location into a space formerly occupied by boutique shop La Ferme de la Mer.
“After 10 years here, I think Love Lane in now in a renaissance,” Batcheller said. “I think Model Nails is Jamesport’s gain and our loss, of course — I was sad to hear that. And people do like to stop into from time to time in the shopping center, but mom-n-pop is here to stay on Love Lane.”