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Fine Jewelry in a Fine Spot

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 13:01
Richie Winick has long had a house in Montauk, but it was only when a storefront serendipitously opened on the hamlet’s main drag that he decided to open a Montauk outpost of Winick Fine Jewelry.
Tom Gogola

Richie Winick likes to say that his newish Montauk fine jewelry store on Main Street offers an eclectic range of merchandise for sale between $200 and $200,000 — and up to $2 million or more if you want to order something from his New York City store. It’s a price range reflective of the hamlet’s seaside-meets-suburbia affect, with a bunch of recently arrived billionaires thrown in to the mix. 

Winick Fine Jewelry opened in March next door to Becker’s Hardware in the space that, until February, housed the Montauk Print Shop. White’s Liquor Store occupied the space before that, and 771 Main Street, Mr. Winick noted, was at one time the site of the Montauk Post Office.

“The location is great,” Mr. Winick said during a recent interview after Labor Day weekend, which found him in a state of “getting my head together” after catching the Lauryn Hill show at the Surf Lodge the night before. He lives with his family in a tidy Ditch Plain house in Montauk, his kids go to school here, and he enthusiastically raved about the multigenerational character of his Montauk client base.

Mr. Winick has been selling jewelry and gems in Montauk for 25 years, he said, catering to a mainly locals clientele that includes surfers and lots of fishermen. Diamonds are always a popular gift item — but in these parts, diamond jigs are also a girl’s best friend.

Mr. Winick and his wife, Sandra, a designer, formerly plied their fine jewelry at shop counters in partnership at a downtown business that burned down some time ago. Mr. Winick said he figured he wouldn’t do anything business-wise locally for at least a few years. Then he got a call from a real estate broker who told him about the space opening across from the Shagwong restaurant on Montauk’s main drag and leapt at the opportunity, which he described as “serendipitous.”

His shop occupies the front of the building, Becker’s owns the back, a collaborative split-sale that “made a lovely story,” Mr. Winick said. The store features many one-of-a-kind pieces, some of which date back to the Victorian and Edwardian periods, along with bracelets and other items that speak to an Art Deco aesthetic. And there’s a big safe where all the jewelry goes at the end of the day.

“Stores don’t just turn over downtown,” Mr. Winick said as he recounted opening his shop, which also features a selection of books and vinyl albums curated by Bob Melet of Melet Mercantile. “Bob vibed out the store and made it very cool.” Customers can come in and hang out awhile on a wooden bench, buy a copy of J.G. Ballard’s “Crash” or a Talking Heads album, and maybe even drop $45,000 on a gem-flecked bracelet.

Mr. Winick is a local with UpIsland and New York City family and business roots. He grew up in Hewlett. His family opened their first jewelry store in Little Italy in 1954, before migrating to New York City’s Midtown Diamond District in and around 47th Street, where Manny Winick and Son has operated since the mid-1980s.

His Montauk store offers a range of jewelry designed with weddings in mind — wedding bands, bridal gifts, and the like — so much so that “we could be ‘the Montauk Wedding Shop,’ “ he said, and it’s mostly locals, not summer visitors, who come through the door. “I’d say 65, 70 percent of our business is with locals,” said Mr. Winick. “It’s not just the new money — people don’t realize that Montauk is its own world, and it’s a big world, and a lot of people do quite well here. To be the family jeweler in Montauk is really a great, fun thing.”

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