My name is Lyn Cooperman. I’m the owner of North Fork Craft Gallery located at The Shoppes at East Wind in Wading River.
North Fork Craft Gallery caters to local craft artists. We have over 100 Long Island craft artists based here and if it’s not a local craft artist, it’s a fair trade craft from an artist in Thailand, Ecuador or Peru.
Everything we carry is handcrafted. We also have a selection of vintage crafts. That’s one of my passions. I like to share that with my customers.
My friends will tell you that I’ve been talking about doing this for 35 years. I started my career working managing big box retail stores, so 50,000-square-foot stores with 200 employees. Even back then, all I really wanted is a 500-square-foot store with interesting things.
When I learned about The Shoppes at East Wind, I knew it was the location for this. It’s become a family-friendly destination. We celebrated our two-year anniversary in November.
I know this is called The Work We Do but this really is not work for me. For the first time in my life I don’t wake up in the morning and say ‘Oh gosh, this is what I have to do today.’ I can’t wait to get in.
Every day is different. In the morning before I open I meet with artists. I’ll take in new artists and meet with them and talk about their goods and talk about pricing.
Mainly, it’s just making sure that the shop is shopping friendly and that the displays are inviting and the merchandise constantly rotates and that there’s new things for people to see.
In November, we expanded and are now the exclusive retailer of The Beginning North Fork apparel. It’s great for tourists to take back and remind them of Long Island.
My favorite part I think is really working with the local artists and sharing their stories with my customers. That’s what I find is really unique about the shopping experience. It’s not just come in and look around, it’s come in and learn about the artist and hear about their process and hear about their background. People love hearing those stories.