LoveShackFancy founder and creative director Rebecca Hessel Cohen is serving...

LoveShackFancy founder and creative director Rebecca Hessel Cohen is serving up more than a little romance at her brand new 2,250 square foot Sag Harbor flagship. Credit: LoveShackFancy

The retail scene is boiling hot in the Hamptons this summer, and for some businesses, it’s been challenging to even find a location to set up shop. Empty storefronts are a thing of the past as the pandemic spurred the great migration of city folks to the East End, leaving few open spaces.

“It’s a crazy year,” says Hal Zwick, commercial real estate director at Compass in East Hampton. “One store in East Hampton rented in a day. We rented one in Amagansett in an hour.” 

Of note, says Zwick, is the return of prestigious brands — some of fashion’s biggest and most luxurious names — Valentino, Prada and Cartier (to name a few) — all have taken spaces in East Hampton. “The increased population in the Hamptons is basically exclusively high-income households who are here either year-round or for multiple days/weeks … they like to shop brick and mortar,” says Zwick.

There are, indeed, stores aplenty to entice residents and vacationers alike and they’re not all the pricey sort. At Saltwater Long Island, a “coastal living store” in West Hampton (we’re talking lots of graphic tees, shorts and even beach towels) owner Joe DeMarco says, “I’m stoked for the season. I think people are super excited to get out there and just enjoy life.”

And as opposed to the past couple of years, store owners are encouraging mingling via special events that include trunk shows, cocktails and more to celebrate new freedoms. At Matriark, a boutique in Sag Harbor, where all women’s brands are sold, events such as these will be hosted throughout the summer. Owner Patricia Assui Reed believes the time is right. “People are ready to go back to their regular routines,” she says. And Nordstrom, the famously service-oriented department store, is bringing many of its treasured conveniences to a pop-up at the Jitney Terminal in Southampton just to make people feel at home.

So many stores, so little time. Here’s a sampling:

Macrae Skye in Amagansett

Macrae Skye is now open in Amagansett.

Macrae Skye is now open in Amagansett. Credit: Jim Cafaro

It’s the first brick and mortar location for children’s ethically-made, sustainable clothing line, Macrae Skye, known for pajamas so cozy and comfy that sometimes kids refuse to take them off. Beside the jammies, there are adorable styles for girls and boys ages 2-12 including dresses, quilted bomber jackets, skirts, jumpsuits, joggers, shorts and tees — many in bold colors with delightful prints created by illustrator Emily Taylor in collaboration with Kim Slicklein, the brand’s founder and designer. This season, along with the new store, comes a new and appropriate addition to the lineup, kids’ bathing suits. Slicklein is on a mission to help change the apparel industry and while she hopes to provide parents with fun, stylish clothes for their kids, she is also intent on reducing waste and ultimately helping those in need. To that end, she created Tomorrow Skye, the nonprofit arm of her business, where gently worn clothing from all brands are redistributed. Currently, she is partnered with largest national network of abuse shelters, WIN (Women In Need) as well as some local partners including The Safe Center, The Retreat and Brighter Tomorrows. Get something lovely when you visit the shop like this darling pintucked elephant print dress, and while you’re at it, consider doing a kid’s closet cleanout to donate for families in need. 

INFO: 136 Main Street, Suite 2, 631-267-5999, Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily, macraeskye.com

rag & bone in East Hampton

rag & bone is open in East Hampton.

rag & bone is open in East Hampton. Credit: rag & bone

Hail rag & bone, a brand famous for its effortless, urban vibe that is both a bit edgy and totally wearable. Here, the 3,000-square-foot-store (once the Theory outpost) will be open year-round and offer clothes for men and women along with accessories. Known for jeans in all sorts of silos — skinny, slim, boyfriend, relaxed — there will also be a selection of dresses in denim, solids and summery florals and more. Gents will delight in the breezy but classic linen crew necks, relaxed-fit blazers and easy jeans in vintage washes. There’s even a butterfly print camp shirt — a casual standout. Find shoes galore including on-trend women’s sandals and the coolest sneakers for both sexes some of them in retro styles. To complete the looks, the brand’s bags, sunglasses and even unusual fragrances (one, called “Genmaicha” is described as green tea, matcha, rice-infused with a floral and nutty aspect). Shown here, the model wears a linen blazer ($550), ‘liquid’ high rise straight jeans ($295), shirred leather sandals ($375) and acetate sunglasses in a butterfly silhouette with 100% UV protection ($229).

INFO: 46 Newtown Lane, 631-246-3193, Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.t to 5 p.m., rag-bone.com

Matriark in Sag Harbor

Simply walking into Matriark will, well, buoy your spirits. 

Simply walking into Matriark will, well, buoy your spirits.  Credit: Matriark

Simply walking into Matriark will, well, buoy your spirits. To celebrate this season (the shop is a couple of years old), owner Patricia Assui Reed has decked-out the charming Victorian house in vintage electric pink buoys. The happy exterior goes right along with Reed’s mood. “I think there’s definitely an optimistic vibe out there.” Here, find expertly curated fashion, accessories, beauty products, art and decorative objects all by women-owned brands. And, yay, bring on the events (finally) including trunk shows. First up, on Memorial Day weekend, Leret Leret where you can personalize lush, cashmere sweaters with hand embroidery. Moving on, a cocktail party on June 24 (5 to 7 p.m.) for artist Blair Borthwick. And, there’s much more to follow throughout the season. Prices range from $50 for a pink, ‘CEO’ emblazoned sweatshirt by Radical Girl to $165 for spiral earrings by Arqvo to $895 for a silk charmeuse evening dress by Voz. Reed’s support of women doesn’t stop at the store door. For every purchase here, she donates $5 to i-tri, a program that empowers adolescent girls through triathlons. Reed says, “The idea is if you can go through something that hard, you can go through anything.”

INFO: 133 Main St., 631-919-5577, Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, matriark.com

LoveShackFancy in Sag Harbor

LoveShackFancy founder and creative director Rebecca Hessel Cohen is serving...

LoveShackFancy founder and creative director Rebecca Hessel Cohen is serving up more than a little romance at her brand new 2,250 square foot Sag Harbor flagship.  Credit: LoveShackFancy

LoveShackFancy founder and creative director Rebecca Hessel Cohen is serving up more than a little romance at her new Sag Harbor flagship. Here, find Cohen’s mega-dreamy fashion confections for women (honestly, if Netflix’s “Bridgerton”were set in today’s world, this is what they’d be wearing), along with girl’s clothing and home décor including bedding, tablescapes and the prettiest beach towels. Shoppers will be beckoned by signature pastel pink awning and cafe tables from the outside, but knocked out by the charm factor inside where three enchanting main rooms include walls adorned with hand-painted trellis, the brand’s beautiful wallpaper, vintage furniture pieces sourced from Paris and hanging up above, flowers and heirloom chandeliers. Of her new spot in town, (the much smaller shop was formerly on Main Street) Cohen says, “This store is our most epic yet.” A big-bowed barrette is $45; a large floral-printed beach towel is $125; a cotton eyelet cropped cardigan, $215 and a dramatic, frothy, tiered maxi is $895.

INFO: 3 Madison St., 631-808-3995, Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., loveshackfancy.com

Frances Valentine in Southampton

Frances Valentine opened its doors in Southampton on April 15.

Frances Valentine opened its doors in Southampton on April 15. Credit: Frances Valentine

Happy, happy, joy, joy — Frances Valentine opened its doors in Southampton on April 15 with its signature collection of caftans, tunics, cigarette pants and cloud-like-comfortable sandals in vibrant, upbeat hues and prints. In addition to the togs and footwear, find lovely sun hats, smart beach bags, jewelry and home décor items, along with a new beachy category for the brand — umbrellas, chairs and pool floats. The 550-square-foot space has a midcentury vibe grounded by colorful vintage rugs. Prices range from $28 for charming cotton wine bags; jewelry starts at $58; and raffia totes are $228. At the higher end find one-of-kind vintage-inspired apparel pieces for $689.

INFO: 42 Jobs Lane, 934-222-0049, Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (extended in the summer), francesvalentine.com

Nordstrom Local in Southampton

Nordstrom Local is accepting used clothing and shoes which will...

Nordstrom Local is accepting used clothing and shoes which will be directed to Housing Works. Credit: Nordstrom

Out east for the summer? Nordstrom plans on joining you. Not only have they wrapped an entire Hamptons Jitney with store graphics (you can’t miss it) but says Jamie Nordstrom, chief store officer at Nordstrom, Inc., “This summer we look forward to offering more convenience and connection with our Hamptons customers who will be able to access Nordstrom core services …” To that end, an 850-square foot new Nordstrom outpost of sorts dubbed Nordstrom Local popped up right at the Jitney Southampton Terminal offering many of those services for which the ever-accommodating store is famous. You can: Place your orders at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack and pick up there (for select items, next day pickup); take the drudgery out of returns and just drop the ‘didn’t work’ stuff off here; get alterations as a Nordstrom fitter will be on site each week to make sure you get the tailoring you need with hems, sleeve adjustments, simple repairs and more; and finally, if you’re bringing a gift to your hosts, get it wrapped in Nordstrom’s 100% recyclable gift wrapping, complimentary for Nordstrom purchases, $8 for others. Nordstrom Local is also accepting used clothing and shoes here which will be directed to Housing Works, and along the same lines asking folks to drop-off their empty beauty packaging — the company is aiming to recycle 100 tons of cosmetic packing by 2025 as part of their Nordstrom BEAUTYCYCLE program. Oh yes, and along with all the services there will be some grab-and-go items for sale here as well. 

INFO: 395 County Road, Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday-Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., open May 27-Sept. 7, nordstrom.com

Saltwater Long Island in Westhampton Beach

Saltwater Long Island is open daily Memorial Day through Oct. 1.

Saltwater Long Island is open daily Memorial Day through Oct. 1. Credit: Saltwater Long Island

Father and son duo, Buddy and Joe DeMarco, opened this “coastal living” store in West Hampton Beach last summer, a satellite to the one they own in Huntington Station, and it was a hit. Says Joe, “We were looking for a nice location in a family friendly town and thought it was a great fit for our lifestyle brand. We’re all about family and community. And we got a great start last season.” This time around, there’s even more merch in this sunny space with soaring ceilings. “Everything is exclusive, we don’t sell anybody else’s brand and it’s all developed and manufactured by us from scratch,” says Joe. There are graphic tees with Hamptons-inspired designs, versatile quick- drying shorts that can go from beach-to-boat-to golf, performance long sleeves shirts with built in UPF50+ sun protection, cozy hoodies, outerwear and hats — much of it unisex along with children’s sizes. Included in the mix are a few accessories such as beach towels, tote bags and even a fish logo bottle-opener key chain. Cute surfboard stickers go for $1.84; trucker hats are $30; vintage short sleeve tees are $39.99, shorts $99.99 and great, down packable jackets (for when the weather gets cool) are $159.99.

INFO: 83C Main St., 631-998-0900, Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily, open Memorial Day through Oct. 1 (and then on weekends), saltwaterlongisland.com