New Ways to Shop Montauk

Kathleen Doran and Anthony Dooley have opened the Salt Box in Montauk. Janis Hewitt

    Walking into the Salt Box, a new store on South Elmwood Avenue in Montauk, is like finding a hidden treasure under the sea. There is jewelry made from beach finds, tables and shelves of weathered driftwood, and T-shirts displayed in frames made of fish pallets like those found on the docks, all against a backdrop of muted colors.
    “Montauk is foggy, so our colors will not be tropical,” said Kathleen Doran, known as Cat, who owns the shop with her business partner, Anthony Dooley.
    The pair is hoping the shop will be a hangout spot and have filled it with a cozy couch and a clutch of books to encourage that. Half the space is an art gallery, where they hope to feature the work of emerging artists; the other side is retail space where hand-blown glassware reflects the sun streaming through a window with southwest exposure.
    Ms. Doran and Mr. Dooley are both professional photographers and inspire each other’s work. Ms. Doran photographs weddings and other events. Mr. Dooley uses some of her photographs to silk-screen onto T-shirts that he sells under his Squid Ink label. He is also is a freelance video producer and has worked for ESPN and filmed other large sporting events. Mr. Dooley also owns a T-shirt store in Rincon, Puerto Rico.
    Their inventory will include a lot items made from recycled materials. “We like to reuse. It’s cool when you can take trash and make it into something special,” said Mr. Dooley, pointing out a rack of jewelry appropriately designed under the label Hunter/Gatherer that is made from shells, bits of beach glass, a sterling silver deer head, and other found objects.
    The Salt Box is officially opening today and will be open daily. And, yes, it sells salt, albeit little tins of a fancy sea salt mix.
    Farther west on South Elmwood is Norahs, another new store that sells mostly women’s clothing, a lot of it designed with comfort and the beach in mind. There are embroidered shirts, jeans, ankle-length dresses, sundresses, and floaty tops, all of it with a bohemian vibe, according to the store’s owner, Sharon Kerr.
    Norahs is Sharon spelled backward, said Mr. Kerr, who also owns a shop on Job’s Lane in Southampton. She came up with the idea years ago when Oprah Winfrey visited the Southampton store, fans trailing behind her. (Ms. Winfrey’s production company is named Harpo, Oprah spelled backward.) Ms. Kerr said she remembers thinking, “I want that, I want a following,” hence the backward spelling.
    It was her vendors, she said, who led her to open in Montauk, a place she had visited only several times. “They all said, ‘Go to Montauk,’ ” she said, adding that she found there was a void in the hamlet of stores selling a contemporary line of women’s clothing. Ms. Kerr had what she calls a soft opening last weekend during the Montauk Music Festival and will be open daily starting this weekend.
    Also new to Montauk is a whole bunch of furniture that has been stripped, painted, cleaned, and waxed by Marian Cooke of Second Story Consignment, at the docks. Ms. Cooke has just opened her third branch in the same building and filled it with the furniture that she bought at estate sales and auctions in Florida and hauled up to Montauk in three tractor-trailer trucks.
    She opened her first store in 2005 as a consignment shop that sold clothing, jewelry, glassware, home furnishings, candles, women’s bags, and more. She opened the second store across the way in 2007, selling home goods like crocks, bed linens, quilts, wool rugs, Tiffany-style lamps, and framed botanical prints.
    The new store downstairs is filled with pine hutches, lamps, wrought-iron outdoor sets, wicker furniture, and comfortable couches. She said she tries to make it easier for people to not have to leave Montauk when they need furniture or lighting while setting up their summer rental or new house. “What I’m offering is quality old furniture that has been reborn,” she said.


<