Q: Did you grow up on the North Fork?
A: Not year round; I was what they call one of those ‘summer people’ for 60 years. When I was a little girl we rented out in Greenport in place called Breezy Shores. We used to have a little song that my uncle penned; it was ‘Beautiful Bountiful Breezy Shores/ There’s gnats at night but that’s alright/At beautiful bountiful Breezy Shores. "
Little unheated cottages that stick out into the bay… it was in Brick Cove. Then my aunt bought property in Cutchogue on a little dirt road, and we started going there when I was 8. That's where I still live. Even after I was married my wonderful husband, our four children and now my granddaughter spent/spend our summers in Cutchogue.
It's a place where cousins and second cousins become best friends. My husband and I always knew we would retire to Cutchogue and we became full time residents in 2008.
I grew up in Brooklyn for 30 years, went to Briarcliff Manor for the next 30 and now I live in paradise for the next 30…
Q: Why the North Fork for your next 30 years?
A: It’s just that calm; you always feel like you’re coming home. It’s quaint. Now I’m surrounded by people who I knew since I was 8 and cousins who I knew forever; now they’re my neighbors. It's a beautiful place.
I love watching the sunrise over the bay and the sunset over the sound.
Q: Did you come here to start a store?
A: No. When I first moved out here professionally I was in the school system; I worked as a teaching assistant. That’s what I’d done in Briarcliff for 25 years. Here I did it for a year. I worked in Special Ed, and my job was to help the student become independent. Come June I’d succeeded so I was out of a job.
I had some retail experience in Briarcliff, I worked in a cute little shop called Wondrous Things, but I wasn’t thinking about retail until, well, I answered an ad.
Q: An ad?
A: My summer sister—I met her when I was 8 and she was 10—she moved out here with her husband in 2005/ 2006. She sadly passed from breast cancer in 2007 so we never got to spend our golden years together. Visiting her grave a couple years later, sitting in the cemetery that day, reading the Suffolk Times I saw an ad seeking help at Bauer’s Love Lane Shoppe. I answered it and started working here.
I loved it, It was a great fit. It was a great way to meet other people in the area and those people visiting the area. I became good friends with the owner Lauretta Bauer. She retired and I took over in September 2013. She certainly had established a beautiful place.
What a great opportunity to leave one day as an employee and return the next day as the owner, same keys in hand. Something I never thought would happen, but something she made possible.
Q: Bauer’s is on Love Lane, which is its own unique niche. What’s Love Lane like?
A: I guess people on Facebook talk about Throwback Thursday, but Love Lane is like that every day. People greeting each other on the street, whether they’re getting their mail, getting a cup of coffee, people being friendly without getting crazy about it. It’s not like it’s Disney. It’s just authentic.
Shopkeepers sweeping the sidewalk, turning over their closed sign—all the shop owners work in their shops. And actually, most of them are women which is interesting. The flowershop, the cheese shop, the candy shop, the yarn shop, the vineyard shop, the pet store, the saddlery, the book store, the art gallery, the clothing boutique, Love Lane Kitchen. Orlowski Hardware is the man on the block, as is the barber and the soon-to-open Ammarati Deli.
Q: A few years back the Suffolk Times did a profile and found a dozen of the nineteen businesses were owned by women. What’s your spot on Love Lane like? Tell me about Bauer’s.
A: I describe it as an old fashioned department store crammed into one little spot. I like that a gift from my shoppe, whether it’s $5 or $200, is wrapped with the same care and I think people always feel good when they buy a gift there.
We have a little bit of everything; a baby department, candles, crystal, Vera Bradley, Crabtree and Evelyn, Beatriz Ball, scarves, hats, sunglasses, jewelry… lots and lots of jewelry, cards, wine glasses, wine accessories, a little bit of everything.
Like they say, everything you want, nothing you need. It’s a Browsery. You are very welcome to come in and browse. We even have vintage items that will remind you of grandma perhaps or be perfect for your North Fork cottage.
What we sell best is our customer service. It’s important that people feel comfortable; you want a suggestion, you don’t want a suggestion, it’s fine. It’s good.
Q: Have you changed Bauer’s much since you took it over?
A: There’s a continuity to it though people have noticed a couple of changes. Introducing new items for people to see. I’m making it my own, putting my thought into what people would like.
I put a lot of thought into gifts I give and I’m putting the same care into choosing what I sell. I personally shop for what’s in my shoppe.
I want people to leave wanting to come back. Not just to Bauer’s, but to the experience of the North Fork. If you go into the shop across the street and they don’t have it, they may send you to me, and I do the same. That’s the community of Love Lane. It’s a year round destination.