Blue Duck Bakery eyes Riverside for production plant

TIM GANNON PHOTO | The Blue Duck Bakery is expected to open its third location in June. The bakery will be located on East Main Street in Riverhead.

Blue Duck Bakery staffers are anticipating a June opening for the chain’s downtown Riverhead location, and bakery owner Keith Kouris says the company is also working on getting a new production plant up and running in Riverside, the News-Review has learned.

The new bakery will be located in the same re-faced building as the Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices store that opened last week.

“We’re crossing our fingers about the June opening,” Mr. Kouris said Friday.

The production center would be located at the Riverside Enterprise Park, which is being planned by Southampton Town on the site of the old Flanders drive-in theater property off Route 24.

As of now, there are a few small businesses operating at enterprise park buildings, but it is mostly empty land.

Blue Duck Bakery has operated a store in Southampton Village for 13 years and another one in Southold for almost four years.

“We’ve been looking at Riverhead for the last two years,” Mr. Kouris said. “We see the activity going on there. We love that spot. It’s near the aquarium and there’s a lot of people there.”

He said the company was originally looking to build a production plant in Riverhead, but couldn’t find a big enough site, which is why he ended up targeting Riverside.

The Riverside Enterprise Park is also planned to become a hamlet center in the future, according to Southampton Town’s plans for the area. Mr. Kouris said Blue Duck Bakery plans to have a retail store in that hamlet center when it opens, and will probably have an outlet store there prior to that.

The production center, he said, “is a few months away.”

Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices and Blue Duck Bakery both are in a 6,500-square-foot former auto parts building that’s been renovated by owners Richard and Ike Israel into a retail center. The building has room for one more tenant.

The Israel’s company, Mirah Max LLC, received tax incentives from the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency earlier this year that hold the property tax assessment on the building at its current rate for five years, with an option to review it after that. The company also will get sales tax exemptions on contruction materials associated with the project, and a mortgage recording tax exemption, according to Tracy Stark-James, the executive director of the IDA.
While the IDA incentives apply to the whole building,  Mirah Max must get each tenant approved separately by the IDA before the tenant can qualify for tax incentives (in order to ensure tenants meet IDA criteria), Ms. Stark-James said.

Blue Duck Bakery’s lease was approved at the April 2 IDA meeting. The store is expected to create 12 to 15 new jobs.

The Mirah Max building also received a $15,366 grant from a New York State Main Street Program earlier this year, Ms Stark-James said. The grant money allowed the Israels to reduce the building footprint, set back the façade and expose the original brick fascia to create an attractive patio-entrance to the storefronts, Ms. Stark-James said.

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TIM GANNON PHOTO | The Blue Duck Bakery owners are planning to build a production plant at the Riverside Enterprise Park, above, just a short drive from downtown Riverhead.

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