January 03, 2007
To Grow, She Goes . . . Tate's Bake Shop Expands West
One component of a much-beloved Southampton business is moving out of town.
Although Kathleen King, owner of Tate's Bake Shop, assured the Southampton Town Board last week that her retail shop would remain firmly ensconced in its current location at 43 North Sea Road, another portion of her business is heading west.
Plans are in place to move the facility where baked goods are made for distribution from Mariner Drive in Southampton to East Moriches.
The reason, said King, is simple: space. Currently, Tate's Wholesale Bakery, LLC, has been manufacturing homemade cookies in a 5000 square foot building since 2001.
In order for her business to continue to flourish, King said she needs room to expand. When seeking a new facility, she was looking for at least 15,000 square feet; the East Moriches location would offer 31,000 square feet.
"That's the only reason I chose to leave," she said.
King also said the new westerly location would have "better access to labor," something in Southampton "which is difficult, as you know."
In the quest for potential workers, employers "have a bigger draw to pull from, the further west you go. And those employees don't have to deal with traffic. Coming into Southampton has become very difficult," she said.
The proposed move would allow current employees to remain in close proximity to their current residences in order to avoid displacement from their positions.
The relocation of Tate's Bakery from its current location to the Town of Brookhaven's Empire Zone needed town board approval and a public hearing, therefore, was mandatory. "We're just trying to facilitate your relocation so that you can grow," town supervisor Skip Heaney said to King. "We wish we could accommodate you here."
Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi said businesses could remain in town in the future in the proposed redevelopment of Gabreski Airport, where an Empire Zone exists.
Heaney said Suffolk County has an Empire Zone, principally located at Calverton Airport in the Town of Riverhead. The county shifted a number of development rights to Gabreski Airport and to Wyandanch in the Town of Babylon. The Town of Brookhaven has its own Empire Zone.
Gabreski Airport, agreed Heaney, would be conducive to "that kind of use," with a cookie company located there in the past.
Nuzzi said he believes Gabreski Airport has great potential as an area for town businesses to remain local. The location could prove beneficial to employers who might want to hire from areas west and not face traffic woes endured by those heading east in the morning rush, he said.
Other businesses are looking to expand but want to remain in town — Gabreski Airport, could mean the solution, said Nuzzi.
As for King, a lifetime Southampton resident who began baking and selling cookies when she was 11 years old at her father's North Sea farm, her cookies have become a part of local legend.
Chocolate chip, she said, is the hands down favorite among fans. "Nothing even comes near it," she said.
As for a secret recipe, there is none. "We just use high quality ingredients and provide a very consistent product," she noted.
King has no plans to relocate her retail space and plans to spend most of her time in the retail shop.
"It's really nice to be such a core part of the community," she said. "The retail store is definitely staying. This is home."