The Internet may have replaced the local newsstand as the place where villagers gather to shoot the breeze and get all the latest gossip but the owners of on Main Street in Port Jefferson are giving it another try.
The village has seen its share of similar stores come and go over the years from Darling’s newspaper shop back in the day to , which closed last year.
In March, The Port Shop opened in the same space as Cliff’s. Last summer the storefront briefly served as the home of , a boutique relocated from Brooklyn that closed almost as quickly as it opened.
Serendipity had a lot to do with the latest incarnation of the local newsstand.
Owner Aysun Atmaca came to Port Jefferson a few months ago for coffee at as she often does and spied the “For Rent” sign in the window at 126 Main Street.
“She wanted a business and was contemplating different ideas,” said Moine Evciman, Atmaca’s cousin who also works in the store.
Atmaca tossed around other ideas like possibly opening a hot dog stand before finally settling on a newsstand.
“She thought this is what the town needed most,” Evciman said.
Building owner Lou Della Rocco also told her that Port Jefferson still needed a newsstand when she approached him about renting the store. It was also the easiest type of business to open in the village with the least restrictions, according to Evciman.
With no previous retail experience Atmaca learned on the fly what she needed, asking advice from friends and researching on the Internet, which Evciman said “does wonders” when you’re starting your own business.
Barbara Ransome, director of operations for the , said she’s already made several trips to the new store since it opened and invited the owners to join the Chamber. She observed that the type of business just seems to fit into that particular storefront.
“The size of the store lends itself to a newsstand,” Ransome said.
Atmaca spent two months getting the approximately 600 square foot space ready to open.
“It was a lot of work,” Evciman said. “All of it is brand new in here.”
The new coat of paint really brightens up the interior, which was a dark green, according to Evciman. At first, they had to open without hanging out a shingle, so to speak. "The Port Shop" sign took the longest to get approved by the village's Architectural Review Committee and then it had to be manufactured and installed.
Just like when she decided that the village needed a newsstand and convenience shop downtown, the market also helps guide what she sells inside the store. People have been asking her when she will install a Lotto machine (she has to be open for two weeks before she can get one) and other items.
Some requests are very specific.
“Two women who work on the ferry asked if we carry Dramamine,” said Evciman.
Ransome said that even though people do get most of their news off the Internet the newsstand still serves a need in the marketplace. Transients, boaters and tourists staying at Danford’s might want small items like suntan lotion, sunglasses, magazines, paperback books and convenience items while they’re vacationing.
“What’s the first thing people look for in an airport?” she said. "Books and magazines."
If people can’t find something they want in the store, just ask and Evciman said that they will consider carrying it.
“They say that the customers dictate what you sell,” she said.