As Hampton Bays continues to reinvent itself, another piece of the hamlet’s history is for sale.
For six decades, the single-story building at 2 Ponquogue Avenue in the center of town has been home to Carl & Jack’s, a venerable discount retailer, which within its comfortable wood-paneled confines, features brands like Carhart, Keen and Caterpillar apparel, and is beloved by the local fishermen and builders who account for the majority of its business.
The property was recently listed exclusively with Town & Country Real Estate for $1.395 million ($1,083 per square foot). Annual property taxes are currently $5,800.
Founded by the late Carl Greenberg, Carl & Jack’s has been owned and operated continuously by three generations of the Greenberg family since 1957. Carl’s granddaughter, Tammy, continues to work in the store today. The family, which according to their representative, prefers not to speak to the media, has been a Hampton Bays fixture for as long as most locals can remember.
“It’s a little sad to see Carl & Jacks on the market,” notes Tom Crowley, a local resident whose family history in the hamlet dates back to the 19th century. “The store was an institution for baymen—and it still is now. My father knew [Carl’s son] Jack, and I remember him from the store when I was a kid. Obviously, you can’t blame the family for selling, especially if the younger generation doesn’t want to keep it going. But it would be great if it was sold to someone who wanted to continue running the same type of business.”
Located just one storefront south of the busy intersection of Ponquogue Avenue and Montauk Highway and bordered by restaurants, salons and the entrance to a multistore shopping development anchored by King Kullen, Rite Aid and Starbucks, the 1,288 square-foot space sees as much foot traffic as any location in Hampton Bays.
It’s fronted by two-hour on-street parking directly in front of the building with a municipal lot nearby. The space is ideal for a single business, but could potentially be split to house two separate retail stores, according to B.B. King, Town & Country’s listing agent.
“There has been tremendous interest in the property. We’ve already had thousands of inquiries online and by phone,” notes King.
King, who represents multiple commercial and industrial properties across the East End, points out that in addition to its iconic past and prime location, part of the building’s intrinsic value stems from the fact that Hampton Bays skews more heavily toward full-year residents than most of its neighboring communities.
The Bays’ commercial district, which runs primarily along Montauk Highway, is also unique compared with its tonier neighbors to the east and west. In a sense, the potential sale of Carl & Jack’s epitomizes the state of a hamlet that seems to be perpetually in transition.
“I love the main drag the way it is,” says Jerry Anthony, a semi-retired builder. It’s got everything I need. There’s a great hardware store, a music store, an auto parts store… and it’s got Carl & Jack’s. I bought my waders there, and I probably bought four pairs of Keen boots from them over the last five years. It’s a loss for the town. It’s a little piece of history that’s going away,” Anthony says.
But hamlet residents like Anthony also understand marketplace dynamics.“Would I like to see some more upscale stores and restaurants, more places to walk to, somewhere to sit and have a nice breakfast? Yeah, I would–as long as the locals don’t get priced out. I think Hampton Bays is still trying to figure out what it wants to be over the next 10 or 20 years.”