Stony Brook: The Story of a Successful Downtown

Stony Brook: The Story of a Successful Downtown

From the moment you take the turn off Rte. 25A on Long Island’s scenic north shore, on to Main Street, Stony Brook Village, you’re immediately cast into a place where time seems to stand still.

A mix of trendy shops, restaurants and services make it the kind of place that draws in visitors from around the world, yet the hamlet focuses enough on the needs of the residents to give it an everyday vibrancy that most downtowns would admire. It is so unique that the American Institute of Architects used to host their annual conferences in Stony Brook to study what is recognized as the first planned business community in the U.S.

There are no sprawling, big box stores, instead there’s a sense of community. The Village Center businesses serve the area in a number of different ways and at almost every turn, seem to take pride in going the extra step, encouraging residents to live and shop local. Even a trip to the local post office, which offers greeting cards, packaging materials, gift cards and passport services (appointments made online), is special. The hand-carved wooden eagle, with a 20-foot wing span has been flapping it’s wings atop the post office every hour on the hour since 1941. There’s a walkable character to Stony Brook Village not typically found in the sprawling suburbs of Long Island.

“It’s all small businesses here; Stony Brook has a home-y feel where everyone treats you like family,” said Brian Barton, owner of TEB North Country Gas.

Stony Brook’s TEB North Country Gas is known as being a full-service gas station, with a country-style store featuring snacks, LOTTO, coffee and antiques and memorabilia from the community. They even sell healthy duck food for visitors to the local Mill Pond (don’t feed bread to birds!), along with fresh and/or live bait and tackle. (They’ll be happy to share where the best fishing spots are too). Penny’s Car Care on-site, works on domestic and imported cars, offering complimentary pick-up and drop-off for residents, full diagnostic services; repairs and inspection. Going the extra step, the shop also offers bike rentals to visitors and residents by the day or two hour intervals. TEB Bike Rentals offers a selection of bikes at competitive rates for individuals or groups. Call for information: (631) 675-9056 or (631) 364-9647.

Keeping Stony Brook Beautiful

Cervo Designs, in business for over 20 years, recently came into the Stony Brook community and offers architectural and interior design services for residential and commercial applications, specializing in kitchen, bath, closet and vanities. The firm, which has worked on major jobs for large-scale developers (including 700 kitchens recently in Miami), also offers individual homeowners personalized design and construction services. Uniquely, the firm imports kitchen cabinets from a long-established Italian kitchen supplier. It also offers home staging (and de-cluttering) for individuals and real estate brokers.

“The trend now in home design is to combine modern and old designs; natural looks with industrial,” said Andrea Cervo. While customers might see materials in big box home improvement chains, when they are investing in their home they should look more toward ‘buying for the future,’ for longer-lasting design. (631) 346-9600.

Village Florist and Events, will make the perfect bouquet for your loved one along and carries gift items and cards. Amanda Haggquist-Lamariana, principal, also offers wedding and event services, from parties to ceremonies to receptions. Village Florist provides everything from bouquets and boutonnieres to wedding ceremony décor and more and is house vendor at several local venues including Three Village Inn, Old Field Club and others. (631) 675-1300 or (631) 467-0385.

“The sense of community here is so nice; it’s not like a strip mall or big box store,” Haggquist-Lamariana said. “There’s a lot of charm, and people walking around, and a lot of niche businesses. The view here is the best.”

If you’re planning a special event, a theme party, a wedding or want to update your interior design, Open House Country Flowers and Interiors in Stony Brook can provide it all. Nancy Munch, founder, offers complete on or off premise wedding planning and event staging services, from the flowers to the seating and linens, to everything else including make-up, photographer, limo service and guest room blocks. She works to take the guess work out. Separately, she works with clients to find their home style, whether traditional or modern, and acts as a consultant in all phases of home remodel. “Mistakes can be costly when renovating, from the furniture to the paint color and window treatments,” she said. Even as she’s worked with celebrity clientele, she also works with local residents and organizations. (631) 751-0112.

Michael Macrina, architect, in Stony Brook Village specializes in new builds and renovations, completely transforming the look and feel of a home. The firm has worked with clients throughout Long Island offering home design, as well as workplace and office. (631) 686-6585.

Everyday Services Going The Extra Step

Roseland School of Dance brings 35 years of experience teaching dance, from children 12 months old to adults. They specialize in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Tumbling, Lyrical, Hip Hop and Pointe, as well as adult exercise program consisting of Barr-Ex, Tap-Ex and Zumba. Also available to students is a Student Teaching Program, and Girl Scout Troops can earn their Dance Badge.  Teachers also visit preschool and day care centers for free with Music & Movement Classes for Little Ones. (631) 675-6343.

Other important services in the Stony Brook Village Center include Water Edge Dental, which again offers more than family dental services. Dr. Rocco Morelli, here, also offers cosmetic and restorative options and sports and sleep appliance therapy. (631) 751-0099.

W.L. Wiggs, the Village Center optician, has the latest in glasses designs including prescription and non-prescription Ray Ban, Maui Jim, Kaenon, Wiley X frames. Uniquely, W.L. Wiggs also creates prescription motorcycle and ski goggles. Walk-ins for eye exams are welcome. In addition, as a special service to the community, New York State Department of Motor Vehicle vision screening for drivers’ license renewal is now offered. Call (631) 751-2801.

While many hamlets have their own dry cleaners, Harbor Cleaners in the Village Center does much more than same-day dry cleaning and laundering. At very reasonable prices, the shop provides custom tailoring, hemming, leather cleaning and preservation of wedding gowns, and storage for residents. Demonstrating concern for the community, Harbor Cleaners uses environmentally-friendly solvents. (631) 751-0106.

Mill Creek Agency in the Stony Brook Village Center is celebrating 25 years of service to the community. The agency, known for its personal service, offers business and personal insurance, including workers compensation, commercial auto and business owner/general liability in addition to boat, yacht, recreational vehicle home and auto for residents. (631)751-4653.

Health, Wellness and Beauty

KAH Premium Physical Therapy and Fitness in Stony Brook Village Center emphasizes individual treatment hands-on physical therapy for sports, pre- and post-operative rehabilitation, arthritis, neck and back pain, under the direction of Kimberly Harris, DPT.

KAH also offers wellness programs, personal training and gym memberships, under KAH Fitness. Designed to help patients maximize their mobility after therapy, or to serve as part of a healthy life style program, these consist of on-site supervision by a physical therapist or a certified personal trainer. One-on-one sessions are also available by appointment. (631) 751-6680.

“After I went to Stony Brook University, I knew I wanted to have a practice in a community like this,” KAH’s Harris said. “There’s such a positive vibe here.”

She said that “it’s a great location because you can drop someone (a child, spouse, parent) off here and then walk to get coffee, do shopping or go down to the water.”

Or, just nearby Blue Salon and Spa offers more than just hair care. It is a full-service salon and spa that offers Hydrafacial packages, Novalash extensions and Lightstim skin energizing treatments. Massage treatments include Aromatherapy, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Amma and Pre-Natal. (631) 751-0822.

For men Village Barber, under new ownership offers old-fashioned service, haircuts and hot towel shaves, and uses the Pinaud line of men’s aftershave, powder, gels and lotions. They specialize in mustache and beard trimming and shaping. They also offer children’s services (in a specially crafted chair with antique horsehead) including a charming ‘First Haircut’ certificate with hair lock.

Three Village Society for Lending Aids for the Sick is located at Knoll Top Road. Their cadre of volunteers loan residents of Setauket, Stony Brook, and Old Field several types of medical and post-surgical equipment and devices, at no charge. (631) 751-0500.

“We offer wheelchairs, walkers, commodes, shower seats for loan up to three months,” said Vicki Bellias, president. “We also take donations of certain (hard goods) items and welcome volunteers from the community.”

Mental health is recognized as being just as important as physical health with issues spanning relationship and self-esteem issues to bipolar disorders, alcoholism, phobias, panic disorders, depression and anxiety. The key is finding a care provider you are comfortable with.

There are several mental health care providers in the Village Center. J. Robert Quilty, Ph.D., P.C, at 139 Main St., Stony Brook, works with a range of people from adults to geriatrics; individuals and couples on issues affecting their mental well-being. (631) 751-4873. Samuel R. Taube, R.C.S.W., works with area residents providing children, adolescents, and adults psychotherapy and psychoanalysis services. (631) 751-5191. Sharon Doyle, MS, RN, CS, NPP is a female health care provider mental health clinical nurse specialist offering Psychotherapy/Psychoanalysis services. (631) 689-6720.

Long Island Adolescent and Family Services (LIAFS) is a not-for-profit agency offering residential and other services to youths in need. Services include casework and mental health counseling, medical and dental care, independent living skills training, education and recreation, in addition to support for families in need of assistance. (631) 444-4400.

“There’s a very close-knit feel to the community here,” Valerie Kopetic, executive director at LIAFS said. “There is definitely a great network of services.”

Long Island Center for Cognitive Wellness (LICCW) in Stony Brook uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to identify and change thought patterns that have negative influences on behavior. The team also uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which is effective for individuals who struggle with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-injurious behavior, borderline personality disorder traits, and other issues. Individual therapy, group therapy, family skills workshops, phone coaching are all employed. (631) 675-6992.

Probably one of the most difficult decisions a couple can make is getting a divorce, but New York Divorce Mediation in Stony Brook strives to lessen the impact. A specially trained mediator can help you mutually identify and resolve issues related to a separation and divorce, including division of property and debt, child support and health insurance. (631) 827-5570.

Stony Brook Village Center Management Office is located at 111 Main St. and serves as the primary contact for all matters and questions relating to the shopping district. Village-wide gift certificates are also available for purchase. Call (631) 751-2244.

Always be sure to check the schedule of events at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) Cultural Center in the Village Center for special events and exhibits.

The services provided in Stony Brook are for the community benefit. While Stony Brook Village Center was built on a rich sense of history, offering a sense of identity and comfort in an historic and scenic setting, key in its success are the merchants and service providers who take a keen pride in the amenities they offer.

More information at Stony Brook Village Center.

By Kristen Matejka