Having worked in commercial real estate in Manhattan for 12 years, Jessica Cunha was looking to try something new. Her family moved to Bay Shore almost two years ago and she ended up meeting Ryan Flynn from local eatery Salt & Barrel. One night they spoke about their love for Bay Shore and all the passionate entrepreneurs opening restaurants, coffee shops and bars in the area. Flynn told her, “I wish you would open a business here,” and that was all it took.
“Bay Shore already has an incredible reputation as a restaurant destination, but it seemed to be lacking the same attention among retailers and boutique owners,” said Cunha. “My hope with opening a boutique was that if I do well and other stores see that, it could attract other retailers to consider Bay Shore.”
Cunha spent months researching products, visiting trade shows and chatting with local business owners to learn as much as she could about her new venture. Her goal was to highlight smaller brands and emerging designers, both local and international.
She found an empty garage on Gibson Street and worked with Et al. Collaborative co-founder and partner Manu Garza to transform the 400-square-foot space. To keep the store feeling open and organized, skylights, sliding doors, tile panels and custom metal shelves were added. Before long, lifestyle boutique WKND Outpost was open for business.
“People walk into the shop and describe it as feeling like they are in another place,” said Cunha who officially opened the space last July. “So far the list includes: Montauk, Hamptons, Brooklyn and California.”
The extensive inventory is just as hip. Visitors can mix and match vegan and non-toxic nail polish from B’Living and browse handmade, boho-chic jewelry from Long Beach native Ashley Mastrorocco. There are also home goods like books, blankets, pillows, coffee mugs and barware. Party planners and foodies are in luck with items like chocolates, craft cocktail mixers, roasted coffee beans and loose leaf teas.
And for the fashionistas of the group, popular apparel items include the original Robert Moses shirt—a collaboration with local photographer Erica Eisele, whom Cunha found on Instagram—and the “bae” shore sweatshirt.
“As a small boutique I like the challenge of creating products that really speak to my customers. I started the [hometown apparel] line for a chance to be creative and celebrate my community.”
WKND Outpost is located at 52 East Main Street Garage, entrance on Gibson Street.