There’s More to Sweet ’Tauk

Located on South Etna Avenue just west of Naturally Good, the little shop is chock full of holiday gift items
Deborah Aiza of Sweet ’Tauk, in her new retail space, has turned life’s “lemons” into more than just lemonade. Janis Hewitt

   Sweet ’Tauk, a brand already known for its many flavored lemonades that were sold in farmers markets and in two dozen retail shops from Montauk to Bridgehampton last summer, has leased a shop in Montauk and expanded its inventory for the holidays to include the work of local artisans.
    Located on South Etna Avenue just west of Naturally Good, the little shop is chock full of holiday gift items, among them scented soaps made by the Southampton Soap Company, Amagansett Sea Salt, holiday-decorated cookies, wool hats, T-shirts, Christmas tree ornaments (some made from wine corks), bunches of fresh rosemary tied with red ribbons, and framed art and fish prints, one of which is of a large, exquisitely detailed squid. Prices range from $3 for the ornaments to $3,000 for the squid.
    Deborah Aiza, who has lived in Montauk for two years after moving from East Hampton, is the owner. She began tinkering with flavored lemonades in the summer of 2011, when she was “downsized” from her job in retail and found herself at a standstill. “I was in crisis mode, figuring out what to do with my life,” she said.
    A friend suggested the flavored lemonades. Ms. Aiza began making them using the kitchen in the shop she now rents — back when it was Michael’s, a food joint that moved on. “Life gave me lemons and I went from there,” she said.
    When she learned the lease was available, she signed on and got in touch with people she met while making the rounds of the farmers markets, including the one in Montauk, and invited them to sell their work from the shop.
    “I put out the feelers and it happened like this,” she said, snapping her fingers. “Everything in the shop has been created by someone who lives here.”
    On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, she opened, promoting “Handmade for the Holidays.” The result, she said, has been phenomenal.
    “I thought it would be fun and give me something to do. But then it took off and I thought, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll even break even.’ As it went on I thought, ‘Wow, I might even make money on this,’ ” she said, smiling.
    A side benefit from running the shop has been the opportunity to meet the people of Montauk. “I found what I was looking for, a sense of community. I can’t believe how busy it is out here; it’s busier than in East Hampton.”
    And, yes, she will continue to sell her lemonades in flavors that include blackber­ry-ginger, watermelon-cucumber, peach-Thai-basil, and cantaloupe-lem­on verbena. She will be open on weekends through Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment during the week. She can be reached through her Web site, sweettauk.com.
    Ms. Aiza will hold on to the shop next summer. In addition to the flavored lemonades, she plans to sell popsicles, ice cream, and other sweet treats.