Hi. I’m Howard Waldman. I’m the proprietor of Jamesport Country Store. We’ve been here for 45 years. I was living and working in Manhattan and my mother wanted to leave her job, so we decided we would open this store. She opened it in 1973. My mother passed away in 1983 and we had a young lady running the store. I retired from my job in 1989 in New York and came here full time.
I was a funeral director for Frank E. Campbell’s in New York City. We did the funerals of all the celebrities. It’s kind of an interesting background. I had an apartment in the city and we had a little beach house here. I got married in 1978 and raised a family out here. I joined the fire department in 1977 and I’m still an active fireman. A typical day is I get here at about a quarter to 10. I’ve been setting up the store for over 45 years — putting things out front. I always did that, displayed things out front. People would go by and they would see what merchandise I carry. It was attractive and, hopefully, people would come into the store.
We like to carry local artisans’ merchandise, things that are made here on the North Fork. We also mix it in with some vintage things. I travel all over to buy vintage. I’ve been as far as Wyoming. [The store] has changed — it’s taken on my personality. I love people. I can’t wait to get down here to work. I meet interesting people from all over the world. This store has definitely been a big part of my life — 45 years of my life here and I don’t regret any of it.
People ask me if I’m ever going to retire and I say ‘No, I’m just very happy being here.’ People come in and they say, ‘I hope you don’t close the store,’ or ‘I hope you don’t sell the store’ and I say ‘I’m going to be here as long as I can be here.’
‘The Work We Do’ is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview