Vintage Pink Hits Montauk

A new store in the village
Julie Aster Miller and her mother, Chicky Aster, have opened Vintage Pink in Montauk. Janis Hewitt

    Like a brightly colored Easter egg, Vintage Pink, a new store in Montauk, is not hard to find. Tucked away on South Edison Street on the edge of the post office parking lot, it is chock-full of interesting items, bubbling Buddha fountains, and bamboo stalks in vases.
    Owned by Julie Aster Miller and her mother, Chicky Aster, the store is difficult to miss because of its vivid pink color, which Ms. Aster Miller pointed out was approved by East Hampton Town’s architectural review board. As you step inside, two little dogs, Teddy Bear and Bamboo, may well rush to greet you.
    The women opened the store on March 24, the day before the Montauk Friends of Erin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. “The feedback has been amazing,” Ms. Aster Miller said. “The store has energy to it, and it feels really good to hear that from people.”
    They chose the color, which is actually labeled autumn red, because of a bright pink mansion in Connecticut that was open to the public and easily found by the many who flocked to it, Ms. Aster Miller said. She tried to find out the exact color but the mansion’s caretakers wouldn’t give out that information. So through trial and error she replicated it.
    “I felt this place was invisible before. But it’s not invisible anymore,” she said.
    Chicky Aster’s favorite color is green, so the walls inside are a deep sage green with white trim. Outside, a pink bench sits next to a water fountain, and the small building is surrounded by a white picket fence. For 36 years, Ms. Aster owned Chicky’s Antiques in Flushing, Queens. Her husband died in September and, rambling around a big house, she found herself lonely. It was the store that kept her going.
    She agreed to move to Montauk as long as she could run a store, she told her daughter. But nevertheless her customers weren’t too happy about her leaving, she said. “The house didn’t have a hold on me, but leaving the shop has been hard.”
    For more than a year, Ms. Aster Miller had been looking for a cottage in which to open a store. When the space once occupied by Latino Express, a money exchange enterprise, became available, she jumped on it. And with pink being her favorite color, it moved in, too, in the form of a pink computer, pink buttons stuck to the cash register, and pink stools overlooking the glass jewelry counter, where customers can sit while browsing through the earrings, necklaces, brace­lets, charms, and other items under lights. Oriental music plays softly while incense fills the shop with a spicy aroma.
    The two women scour estate sales and have purchased china pieces, including Wedgwood and Lenox. There are also vases, candles, books on yoga and Buddhism, floral wingback chairs, shelves, wood frames with pictures taken by Ms. Aster Miller (a photographer by trade), raffia bags, and framed botanicals. Asked if a display case was for sale, Ms. Aster Miller said, “Everything in here is for sale.”
    There are trinkets galore, tin boxes, little cases, wallets, mermaids, and small Buddhas. Prices range from about $7 to $250 for one of Chicky’s antiques. “Besides antiques, we’re trying to sell new stuff that looks vintage,” Ms. Aster Miller said. “We’ve been told we’re the only new-age shop around with an Eastern influence.”
    The prices are reasonable and the shopkeepers hope for a good turnaround. “We want people to come back in six months and find a whole new inventory,” Ms. Aster Miller said.
    The shop is open Thursdays to Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours in season.