Less than two years after it opened, Consignment Galore on East Main Street downtown will close its doors next month as the owners open a new store, tentatively titled The Black Whale, in Aquebogue.
Co-owners Danielle Gisiger and Michael Mahon will downsize to a smaller location next to the Meetinghouse Deli on Main Road due to lackluster business in Riverhead.
“Downtown didn’t have enough traffic for that kind of huge store,” Ms. Gisiger said. “The overhead [cost] was infeasible, especially to keep it maintained during winter. We’re moving on to a smaller place.”
Consignment Galore opened in November 2013, taking the place of the shuttered Red Collection as downtown Riverhead’s consignment shop. It was the second store Mr. Mahon and Ms. Gisiger opened together after their boutique, 73 Main, was absorbed into the consignment shop.
The Black Whale will conduct a soft launch before formally declaring itself open on Aug. 15. Similarly, Consignment Galore will shut down on the same day after a soft closing involving some discounts.
Mr. Mahon said he will then sell whatever inventory is left after the closing at auctions away from Long Island.
Because of the new store’s position on Main Road, the owners hope it will attract a bigger customer base.
“This location here is on the main drag for everybody that goes to Greenport and wineries,” Ms. Gisiger said.
The Black Whale will be less than one-quarter the size of Consignment Galore —about 1,600 square feet compared to 8,000 square feet — so Ms. Gisiger said the two will be more “selective” about what items they offer.
Mr. Mahon listed clothing, figurines and crystal vases as examples of items that will not be sold in the new store.
The new location will emphasize items such as gardening sets or “air chairs” for a summer-specific customer base, particularly since Ms. Gisiger expects a good chunk of business to come from peak-season travelers on their way farther east.
“Not your typical summer things like blow-up mattresses — other stores have those,” she said. “Stuff for people who just bought a little cottage somewhere or want to spruce up their garden.”
Both owners also noted they want to focus on mid-century items such as furniture since those are currently in fashion.
“All these things come in waves,” Ms. Gisiger said.
The owners did not go through a lengthy planning process for the move, however. Mr. Mahon learned from a friend that the new space was available for rent, and within a matter of weeks, they decided to change so that they could do better business.
“The decision was presented to me, and I said, ‘maybe that’s the solution,’” Mr. Mahon said. “It’s a retreat … I don’t have any employees, and I need a store that I can run.”
They expect the biggest challenge to be attracting customers to stop by, so Ms. Gisiger will spruce up the exterior with flowers and a sign to draw interest.
On Thursday, she was painting the empty space a modern mix of orange, blue and grey. She and Mr. Mahon are doing simple renovations themselves.
“We decided not to go crazy,” Ms. Gisiger said. “You’ll see — this will be packed with furniture and mirrors and art and jewelry.”
“As much as we’d love for downtown Riverhead to be revived, it wasn’t there for us enough to sustain the business,” Ms. Gisiger said.
But in her eyes, the future is bright.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s our third adventure in Riverhead.”
Captions (Photos by Chris Lisinski):
First photo: Danielle Gisiger, pictured, will formally open her new store next to the Meetinghouse Deli on Aug. 15.
Second photo: Consignment General is more than four times as large as the new store, so the owners will be “selective” about what they sell.
Third photo: The new store shares a parking lot with the Meetinghouse Deli on Main Road in Aquebogue.