New Owner, Same Old Fashioned Feel at Arcade

David Akcay is bringing back the "glory days" of the Arcade department store.

Like most kids that grew up in Greenport, the Arcade was an integral part of David Akcay’s childhood and, like many of his neighbors; he couldn’t bear the thought of losing the iconic department store.

“One day I came here and the door was locked,” Akcay remembers. “I asked around and heard that the store was closing. I thought, ‘It can’t close. I won’t let it close.’”

So began the newest chapter in the history of a Greenport mainstay.

Originally opened in 1898 on Main Street and relocated to its current location in 1928, the Arcade department store was a central fixture of the village and, to some, its heart and soul.

“The Arcade was such a huge part of Greenport,” Akcay said, “and when it went away, a part of the village died. I wasn’t going to let a part of my village to die.”

Former owner Bob Paquette, of East Marion, had kept the Arcade going for more than 15 years, even as the pressure from Riverhead’s big box stores continued to grow. In the end, however, Paquette felt he could not compete and closed the Arcade in 2010. He later re-opened the store as the short-lived One-Eyed Bob’s Clearance Center & Discount Emporium. Eventually, he put the store up for sale.

Akcay quietly re-opened the store last month, with only the remaining stock for sale. He plans on using the off-season to bring in new stock and the charismatic Greenport High School graduate, now in his late 20s, isn’t naive about the tough road ahead.

“It wasn’t working and that’s why (Bob) closed the Arcade,” Akcay admits. “While on paper it may look great, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Akcay is hanging his hat on what he calls “the convenience factor,” hoping that local residents, as well as the summer tourist trade, can make the business a success.

“No one wants to drive forty minutes to Riverhead for one or two items when you can get what you need here in town,” he said. “With gas prices so high, it makes no sense to go to Riverhead and waste all that time and money, unless you’re planning to spend hundreds of dollars.”

It doesn’t hurt that retail is in Akcay’s blood. His family owns J.B. Liquors on South Street in Greenport, and previously owned a local gas station. In addition, while in college in Florida, Akcay worked in car sales.  

Akcay says that his goal is to bring the Arcade back to its glory days and offer a little something for everyone and, while he hesitates to give an exact picture of what that may look like, stock will be based on customer feedback.

“We’re going to be responsive to the needs of our customers,” he explained. He plans to do so by keeping a watchful eye on what customers want and provide it to them. “One aisle at a time, the Arcade will grow and change based on those needs.”

joann deangleo August 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Great news, Thank you David! I have shopped there in the past and will continue to in the future.
Helen Hart August 28, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Thanks for preserving this community treasure! Best of luck David!
ronny diamond September 03, 2012 at 01:31 PM
is this really going to happen? there haven't been any signs of change all summer.
Jenn September 18, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Great news! I have such fond memories of Arcade. My Grandfather was manager for many years. I spent a lot of time there. My favorite part of going there was the gumball machines.
ROBERT W. BLEI September 23, 2012 at 05:20 AM
My wife and I were there on Saturday, September 22, 2012 during the annual Maritime Festival in Greenport ... Sadly, over half of the store was devoid of merchandise ... I overheard the new owners saying that they are planning to reopen sometime in late Spring of 2013 with the shelves restocked ... However, they were making no moves to clear out the old stuff in the store ... I am in retail, and if you want to clear out the junk, you cant leave it marked at the old pricing and expect to sell any significant amounts of it ... I would have bought four three packs of Amity Sport Socks, but they still wanted to get the full price of $6.99 each pack ... I would have given them $5.00 each pack for them but no more than that ... They can sit with the stuff and die with it ... To be unrealistically high priced under any circumstances if what caused the place to fail under the last management ... If they continue in that vain, we may soon see the permanent end to the Arcade within another year ...


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