The Golden Eagle, a local institution that has long provided fine-art supplies, children’s art supplies and toys, fun and unusual gifts, and year-round art instruction for adults and children, will close its doors on Sept. 30.
Elizabeth Dow, an artist and designer who is director of the Applied Arts School for the Arts in Amagansett, will take occupancy on Oct. 1. The Golden Eagle’s owners, Nancy and Tom Rowan, are seeking a new location for the store, which they have run at 14 Gingerbread Lane in East Hampton since 2001.
The store’s principals were shocked to learn that their lease was not renewed, Ms. Rowan said on Monday. “A customer came in about two weeks ago and informed my manager that the space had been rented to someone else,” she said. On June 26, Ms. Rowan said, Ken Wessberg, the building’s landlord, confirmed to her that he had rented the space to Ms. Dow. “I don’t know why I was never told,” Ms. Rowan said.
Last fall, Ms. Rowan said, Mr. Wessberg offered a new lease at terms the Rowans could not meet. She made a counteroffer, which she said Mr. Wessberg accepted. “I was assured several times throughout the winter that that amount was adequate and he was satisfied. That was it, until this customer came in two weeks ago,” she said. “I ordered inventory for a year, some of it. Now I have two and a half months to sell it.” As of press time, Mr. Wessberg had not responded to multiple messages seeking comment.
The Golden Eagle has four full-time, year-round employees and several part-time employees, Ms. Rowan said, “as well as art teachers and a huge community of kids, artists — people that depend on the store.”
Ms. Dow told The Star on Tuesday that she learned of the store’s availability through the real estate agent who is selling the building she currently leases at 11 Indian Wells Highway in Amagansett. “I was not aware of the plans for the store to close,” she said of the Golden Eagle. “I’m an artist, so I hate to see any art store close.”
The building at 14 Gingerbread Lane will become a showroom space in which Ms. Dow plans to display a variety of designers’ textile collections and provide interior design services. “There will be an architect on board joining us there, as well as featuring some one-of-a-kind artisan works and antiques,” she said. “I also plan on moving my wallcovering production studio there and am hoping to include the ceramics studio that currently exists. We’re also going to have a gallery component as part of our showroom. We would like to carry on with the tradition of giving artists a space in East Hampton, and in that location.”
As for the Golden Eagle, “We are going to try our hardest to find another place and reopen,” Ms. Rowan said. “We all love what we do here, and I really feel the community needs something like this in this area, year round.”
“I wish the Golden Eagle the best,” said Ms. Dow, “and hope I can be as much an asset to the community as they have been for so many decades.”