Shopping Scoop: You Can Find It All in Ocean Beach
By Carrie Ann Salvi
While you may find a place or two to browse in Fire Island’s other communities, locals and seasoned visitors know that Ocean Beach is where to find everything you want and need, as well as things you didn’t know you needed.
Style for miles and decades is right off the main drag at Kenny Goodman’s gallery. His many handmade signature pieces represent the best of the beach set in sterling silver for any body part. From classic flower necklaces and anklets to eternal wave and surfboard charms and guitar pic key rings, all those who own a piece treasure their ‘Kenny’s. “Some get their first at three years old,” Goodman said, and the test of time has proven that the quality and durability withstands the active outdoor lifestyle of any age. “Nothing is like a Kenny piece,” said Leah Tashman, a lifetime local resident and musician and fan/helper of the renowned artist and sculptor. You can peruse his works off season or from home on his website too.
Hanalei and Kula’s is a hidden treasure to visit by the tennis courts, and don’t wait until you are on the ferry line to leave. The fortunate following of owner Lynnette Vitale’s signature scents cannot wear anything else, and she even has a delicious blend that repels mosquitoes, but bodycare is just a small sample of the Island chic offerings there. “It’s a lifestyle store,” said Vitale, with low to high-end somethings for everyone. Hand picked clothing and accessories await all ages, and much is hand made. You can feel and smell the quality of the leather fringe bags and clutches, and the boutique also boasts Turkish towels and bedding. “There is no store like it,” said long time local Lauren Davis, who works there because she loved the atmosphere so much. “Women walk in, douse themselves in amazing scents and walk out feeling like a goddess,” she said. They adorn themselves in unique “Boho-chic” items ranging from casual to elegant, from lacy lingerie to silk hoodies and suede coats. One-of-a-kind finds are scooped up so quickly that Davis warned “If you find something you love, you better grab it.”
Women’s fashions from head to toe and over the shoulder, in many of her favorite brands, can be found at Salty Stitch, right across from the ferry basin. According to employee Kate Gibbs, “There are designers not found anywhere else in town,” and when asked about the most popular, she pointed to the ultra casual chic line of whites and beige garments and shoes and said, “We sell a lot of Free People.” You can buy a new bathing suit while looking at the water, and there are still racks of this season’s popular one-pieces. Back-to-school staples, fall sweaters, jeans and backpacks are also on hand for summer visitors who would prefer not to leave the Island to shop in a mainland mall. The sidewalk sale planned for the 20th and 21st of August will offer some sales on this season’s goods, and you can stay tuned to new items on their Instagram page @saltystitch.
Everything you could need for rain or shine activities can be found at Kline’s Fire Island, and they also have the Island’s largest selection of flip flops, beach bags, hats and clothing of all kinds for men, women and children. “I am always reasonably priced,” said owner Matthew Lindberg. Beyond the fabulous Fire Island gear viewed in their window displays, all styles and tastes can be found inside his expansive and air-conditioned retail space. They stay open for the later evening browsers too. Sporting goods abound there, as do arts, crafts, books, games, toys, and souvenirs.
From blenders to barbeques, everything for the beach house can be found at Ocean Beach Hardware, just walk straight south when you get off the ferry. Sharing a building with Dana Wallace Real Estate, they rent and sell all of the popular wheeled items, with wagons and bicycles in all sizes and colors, and owner Steve Annicharico said, “My prices are compatible with online stores.” In addition to traditional electrical, plumbing, pool supplies, and housewares found at hardware stores, he has what is needed for Island life, or he will get it if he doesn’t. “We sell Weber grills and Charbroils and propane, so basically we have all your grilling needs except the food!” he said. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas there too, and the necessary accessories such as bike bells, baskets, and locks. Bicycle and screen repairs are also offered, and for do-it-yourself homeowners, he has all of the essentials needed from spring plantings to fall cleanup.
Speaking of planting and grounds maintenance, Ocean Beach Community Garden Center has the herbs, shrubs and trees needed, and if you’re shopping for someone to do it for you, they can take care of that as well. With two locations in Ocean Beach, one is focused on the flowers and greenery to adorn the property, and their outdoor lifestyle gallery shop in the middle of town has the complements. Owner Ian Levine offers Adirondack chairs and outdoor décor there, and keeping with tradition, he welcomes works by dozens of local artists as well as his own photography. Creative collections for all price ranges include jewelry, pottery, lamps, paintings, ornaments, candleholders, magnets and more.
Ocean Beach Surf and Sport sits waterfront on the east side of town, a source for paddleboard, skim board, surf boards and boogie boards. They also rent and sell kayaks and beach cruiser bikes and accessories well as everything a fisherman needs for their fresh catch and salty lifestyle. From Fire Island Hookers tanks to the actual hooks, lures and crab traps, it is a one-stop-shop for all things fish. Fishing poles for all start out small enough for first timers and there are life jackets for the little ones too. The clean and well-lit shop overlooks the bay where renters can enjoy a paddle or throw a cast.
Islanders with a taste for fresh filet of fish, shrimp, lobster, clams, or oysters head to the east end of Ocean Beach too. Matty’s Gourmet Market is on one side of the building, while diners enjoy food service and view bayside at the marina and restaurant. Not just the hot spot for underwater delights, Matty’s also caters to foodies with high quality and natural cheeses, vegetables, meats and marinades. Stop in to try their seafood salads, fresh baked breads, decadent desserts or grab natural sauces and seasonings such as Himalayan salt and coconut oil. The gluten-free will rejoice in their pasta and snack options, too.
Be sure to walk to the west end of Ocean Beach too, because The Pantry is the town’s most extensively stocked grocery store with all of the edible essentials, body care and housewares. The shop’s wide aisles display thousands of items typically found in a supermarket or drug store. Scott Hirsch knew the need and opened the shop in addition to his restaurant, Island Mermaid. “The shop is guest-centric, everything they need is here,” he said, adding that he is happy to accept special orders too. Guests are greeted with fresh flowers each morning, courteous staff all day, and welcomed to open house accounts. Those running for the ferry appreciate the grab-and-go iced coffee and egg sandwiches, and those here to stay love to shop for fresh produce, dairy products or steaks for the grill. The deli is packed with delicious salads and sandwiches, and the freezers with familiar favorites including gluten-free options. The Panty also happily delivers throughout Ocean Beach and a few surrounding towns with a call to (631) 583-SHOP.
Open till 2 a.m. on weekends in season, the Mermaid Market is convenience at its best overlooking the ferry terminal with tasty conventional take out food and drinks. Spiked Seltzer, cold beer, and even cigarettes and lottery tickets are available there too, as well as a large selection of refreshing thirst quenchers for those needing to hydrate. Relief for over-doers also awaits behind the counter as well as other essential over-the-counter options from batteries to bug spray.
The shopping options don’t end on Labor Day weekend either! Many stores stay open post season for late-season renters and daytrippers, and many offer end-of-season sales that are not to be missed!