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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.”

Jeanette LaMothe August 27, 2012 at 10:38 AM
The old saying goes, "you don't know what you have until its gone." Thanks David for giving the Arcade and the people of Greenport a second chance. Good luck and God bless you.
Linda Williams August 27, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Wonderful news!! I spent a whole lot of time as a child there. I can still remember the smell and old sqeaky wood floors. That was 40-50 years ago! Great memories. I wish David much sucess!!
Lauretta Rackett Rahmes August 27, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Many good wishes for success Dave! The Arcade has given me a lot of good memories as I was growing up. One of my favorites--penny candy!
Frank T August 27, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I recommend staying open later on summer nights when the town is busy. We tried to shop there a couple of times and the store was closed.
Dan's Bike Rental Greenport August 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Stock 26 inch and 700cm bike innertubes, also bike locks. I get calls for those all the time. Once you have them let me know & I'll refer people to you. Dan's Bike Rental Greenport
thatgirl August 27, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Arcade fulfilled a terrific range of needs for us, whether it was a 3-pack of white t-shirts, a laundry rack, a kitchen gadget or some candles, we knew we could find what we wanted, and at a reasonable price. It's closing left a big hole in the Village. One can never go wrong seeking feedback from shoppers. Hats off and best of luck, David!
Charlotte meyer August 27, 2012 at 04:24 PM
So glad to read this! was sad yesterday because the store looked like it was closing, greenport needs a good general store for basics and hardware and sumner fun things like the one in shelter island that has a little bit of everything just like the old 5& 10! Can't wait to see the forthcoming changes Orient neighbor, Charlotte meyer
Judy Cochran August 27, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Wahoo!!! I've missed the Arcade so much!!! I do a lot of crafts, jewelry and knitting. To have this here in Greenport saved me a trip to Michaels. Please bring back LOTS of bulky yarns and jewelry making findings. Don't ever change the wooden floors!!! Can't wait!!!!
Mary Morgan August 27, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Good luck Dave! You are so right, I hate driving all over for sewing and mending needs, beach stuff, etc. Offer a speical frequent shoppers perk card and giver perks, and you will have many loyal customers, new and old.
Mary Lombardo August 28, 2012 at 12:42 AM
I too was sooo glad to have the Arcade reopened. It was always a favorite place of mine in town to shop. I especially liked to buy nice kitchen curtains and the heavyweight plastic tablecloths that you can purchase on the rolls by the yard were always a great item! I too think that staying open a bit later in the summer months is a good idea!
Karen Lee August 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM
this is very very good news; I'll shop there every chance I get
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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