Growing small businesses
Bayport-Blue Point library director Mike Firestone (left) with first-grader Lily Stensaker and Curious George.


Growing small businesses


BAYPORT—The Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce held its 12th Community Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Bayport Flower Houses on Montauk Highway. 

The event gave small businesses in the community an opportunity to showcase their products and services. While no sales transactions took place, product sampling and business card exchanges could be seen all around. 

Bayport-Blue Point COC treasurer Seth Needleman was very happy with this year’s turnout. “It was great,” he said, adding that at a certain point in the evening, you couldn’t move without bumping into someone. In that environment, more often than not, it was someone you knew.

Karl Auwaerter, co-owner of Bayport Flower Houses, was quick to give Needleman credit for organizing the event, and laughed while adding, “I just provide the venue.”

Bayport Flower Houses, which opened in 1932, began as a wholesale carnation grower, selling to the New York City market under the management of Maria and Paul Auwaerter. More than 80 years later, the flower shop is still under the management of the Auwaerter family. The business’ focus has since changed from wholesale carnations to the current retail model. 

“Small business is the backbone of this country,” said Needleman, owner of The Fish Store on Montauk Highway. Needleman was hesitant to say whether he feels small businesses are struggling financially in this day and age, adding that his business always slows down around this time of year. 

“But, I do think it’s tough, especially here on Long Island,” he said.

The Fish Store, which opened in 1978, also provides informational tours of their facility to schools and various youth groups. Tours include everything from demonstrations of fish cutting to viewing local fresh products.

The historic Bayport Aerodrome Museum was also present at last week’s event, as was the Bayport-Blue Point Library, which has a bond vote coming up later this year. 

The Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk recently accepted a $3.65 million offer from the Bayport-Blue Point Library to convert the decades-old St. Ursula Center convent, on Middle Road in Blue Point, into a 28,00-square-foot library. 

The bond vote will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bayport-Blue Point Library on Blue Point Avenue. 

Register to vote at the Bayport-Blue Point School District Office (189 Academy Street, Bayport), Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The last day to do so is Friday, Nov. 30.