Java Spat Riles Roaster’s Regulars

Shop’s closing seen as front in war between Bohemia and new Hamptons
Andres Bedini and his daughter Aniela, right, in Java Nation, a Sag Harbor coffee roaster he runs with his wife, Cheryl. The shop has lost its lease, and the Bedinis are looking for a new location. Carrie Ann Salvi

    After 17 years roasting and serving  coffee from their shop in Sag Harbor, the proprietors of Java Nation were notified by certified letter on Dec. 9 that they must vacate their rented premises by Jan. 31. The reasons behind the unexpected news are not fully known, although the space will, in the future, be rented by a local businessman associated with Collette Designer Consignments, a neighboring boutique in the Shopping Cove off Main Street.
    The Sag Harbor Express ignited something of an online firestorm when it reported two days before Christmas that the new tenant will create another coffee shop in the space, gutting it and renovating it to create what the current tenant was quoted as calling “a new upscale environment.”
    According to Andres Bedini, who runs Java Nation with his wife, Cheryl, the cove’s landlord, Bruce Slovin, has offered little by way of explanation. The Bedinis, who have had a month-to-month arrangement for the last four years of their long run, say they were assured by Mr. Slovin, “If you pay, you stay.” They say they have paid, but were not offered the chance to stay. They added that the business celebrated its busiest summer, fall, and holiday season on record; they are disappointed that they have only a few weeks to find an alternative location.
    The Bedinis say they believed they had maintained a good landlord-tenant relationship over the years, even having employed members of Mr. Slovin’s family. The only negative comment the couple said they could recall from Mr. Slovin was when, they claim, he remarked on the clientele he noticed during a visit when a few landscapers had stopped in for coffee. 
    Tisha Collette, who was elsewhere reported to be the holder of the new lease, said on Tuesday that there has been a lot of misinformation circulating, and that she has received hate mail as a result. She clarified that the new tenant is her husband, Shane Dyckman, who negotiated the rental agreement after learning that the landlord was intent on removing Java Nation. She said that Mr. Slovin had previously been in negotiations with another coffee company, based in New York City.
    In online comments posted on New Year’s Eve on The Sag Harbor Express’s Web site, Mr. Dyckman said that the anger directed at him and his wife is misplaced and that he is not a big-city interloper, as some may have inferred. He has lived in Sag Harbor his whole life, volunteering as a firefighter, operating a surf school, and raising children. He added that he and his wife employ more than two dozen residents through their various businesses.
    In addition to running Flying Point Surf School and Collette Designer Consignment, the couple have recently opened a boutique on Hampton Road in Southampton that offers consignment home furnishings and men’s clothing.
    Ms. Collette has had issues with the aroma and residue of coffee beans roasting that drifts on the air out of Java Nation. On Columbus Day weekend, she called the police about the situation, but there was no apparent course of legal action. The Bedinis say they tried to accommodate Ms. Collette by roasting off- hours whenever possible, but that the high demand from their wholesale customers — including local restaurants such as Tutto il Giorno, Dockside, Armand’s, and Breadzilla — sometimes made this impossible.
    “We are not doing anything wrong,” Ms. Bedini said. “We are meticulous about the maintenance of the roaster. It was made in California with the strongest E.P.A. standards, and we have never failed any inspection.”
    The backbone of Java Nation’s success, she said, is roasting, not serving lattes and espressos. “It is the reason our coffee is so good,” she said. “It is the reason people come here, and it is the mainstay of our business. Roasting also helps to manage the fluctuations in coffee prices.” Ms. Bedini glanced at the large menu above and added, “In 17 years, the coffee price has only gone up 60 cents.”
    Tuesday’s interview with Ms. Bedini was interrupted frequently by customers who wanted to voice their dismay. “I don’t want them to go,” said Mike Stern. “I have been coming here since I was 5 years old. I am getting choked up, it sucks.” Ms. Bedini greeted her customers by their first names. One sat knitting, another taught a child about planets on a computer; a police officer stopped in for his daily cup.
    John Monteleone, one habitué, expressed his opinion that the conflict was a result of classism. “Sag Harbor was a passionate town of artists,” he said. “It’s disgusting that landlords and businesses think they can buy it up and throw us out. People forget what founded this town. This business took years to build. . . .”
    What now? “We will go to another space, ideally in Sag Harbor, and roast coffee,” Ms. Bedini said.
    And, indeed — with the recent closings of Whalers Cleaners & Tailors, Vincenzo’s Pizza, Bikehampton, and other longtime stalwarts — the vacancy rate along Main Streetis at an all-time high. “There are plenty of spaces available,” she said. “We know exactly what we are doing.”


Comments

I see the issue purely as Bruce Slovin's greed. Plain and simple. Bet he's not involved with the Chamber of Commerce or contributes anything to the town. Sag Harbor is not like "Bohemia" as the author writes; Sag Harbor is a special place, defined by it's heritage, and enforced by like minded store keepers. Kicking out the coffee place was wrong.
Events like this change the personality of a Village. It is the people that grow these businesses and make them a part of their social day.
And so begins the Hampton-ification of Sag Harbor.
So sad. Sag Harbor is changing. I cannot imagine another "upscale" coffee shop. What does "upscale" coffee look like, anyway? We already have two expensive coffee shops on the street and a Starbucks, which is raising its prices, nearby. Good luck to Ms. Colette and her new endeavor. She sells $13,000 Hermes bags in her consignment store so I guess she prefers "upscale" coffee and pastries to go along with those prices. I hope we locals are "upscale" enough for her.
Hmm. Ms. Colette moved in next to the coffee roaster and then called the police about the smell coming from the ...(wait for it) ...coffee roaster. And she is surprised that locals are calling her out for her arrogance. Trying to dodge our annoyance by saying that it's not her taking over the space - it's her husband - is weak. Sorry. Thanks for playing. Jay, what are today's parting gifts? ...And identifying her husband as a longtime resident of Sag Harbor is important. Let's not be so quick to assume that rude and self-centered people only come from somewhere else. Some of them were born here. Truth hurts.
Collettes will get hers eventually, because some other shark will come by and eat her up. She is not the top of the food chain, only a bottom feeder. So be positive and support Andres and Cheryl. To be honest I do think they are to blame some what. But still Java Nation is still my 3 year old daughter favorite place to hang out and mine too.
So sad that landlord greed and shortsightedness is turning Sag Harbor into Just Another Hampton. "Upscale" is not what made Sag Harbor the desirable place it has been. In fact, "upscale" is the very thing that will kill the goose that laid the golden egg here. Sag Harbor became a special place because it offered a unique mix of businesses that could not be found anywhere else in the area. Now these businesses are being driven out by absentee landlords who don't care a whit about preserving the goose. All they want is their share of the golden egg. Good luck with that...there's not much egg left.
Sad sad sad, greed greed greed, Sag has truly become a town for the 1%. I can just imagine the overpriced, needless crap to be offered in the forthcoming shop!
First of all,how can SHANE DYCKMAN have lived in Sag Harbor his whole life if he himself has listed on Facebook as having graduated from HAMPTON BAYS HIGH SCHOOL????..In addition to that information ,Mr Dyckman lived on Main Street in Southampton in an apartment above Sant Ambros for 5/6 years before he met and married his wife..He just joined the Sag Harbor Fire Department recently..Hum, wonder why!!!! ...I think its pretty sad that JAVA NATION has been circumvented out of they're space by fellow business people who know whats its like to put bread on the table for your family out here in LALA land East!!!!But then again, when you don't have to buy inventory for your ridiculously overpriced used designer clothing thrift shop and what seems to be for many of they're consignors, a question of what the items truly sold for, its only natural for people like this to be apathetic to someone else's loss and I guess its easy to step on and over people to get what you want with no accountability to the suffering they've caused...Its Vulgar!!!!Just like the merchandise they sell and the attitudes inherent in their characters or lack there of...Anyway....We all know they are FULL OF BEANS!!!Spread the word!
"upscale" is the LAST thing sag harbor needs. It's bad enough we lost the wonderful Harbor Deli to the Golden Paear which I wouldn't step a foot in nor will I be stepping into this so called upscale coffe shop. As a 4 th generation Sag harbor native I am truly disgusted by what these people are trying to do to our middle class working village.
Someone may want to confirm this but I'm pretty sure Java had a month to month lease going at the time of which the landlord chose to give them the boot. Upscale or otherwise - Sag Harbor doesn't need another coffee shop but one might look at coffee shops as one might look at gas stations on all four corners of an intersection. That said, may all those involved be faced with the future's that they deserve.