The pandemic hammered retail businesses, but in its wake one Glen Cove couple has grown their passion project into a brick-and-mortar storefront.
“At the end of the first summer of COVID we were like, what can we do just to pass time?” said Adam Siegel at his retail store, The Shoppe by Trubee Hill, at Village Square in Glen Cove, on Wednesday. Hunkered down with time on their hands in 2020 they turned to the internet. “Ian and I have always loved candles, so we taught ourselves on YouTube how to make candles.”
Siegel said he and husband Ian thought they might make some gifts for their friends.
“Never in our wildest dreams [had] we thought it would be a business,” Siegel said.
His husband agreed. “We were spending a lot of time at home,” Ian Siegel said in an interview. Feeling unproductive and watching a lot of Netflix, “we just wanted to do something, like a hobby.”
They launched on Facebook with a video in 2020 and started getting orders.
“We started to realize, wow, maybe this could turn into a business,” Ian Siegel said. “Maybe this could be something one day that could support us, and that’s the goal actually we’re working towards.”
By the summer of 2022 they were selling 400 to 500 candles a month online, to other stores and at the Deep Roots Farmers market in Glen Cove, Siegel said. Holiday season sales are expected to be higher, he added.
When the store opened in July next to a Chase Bank branch, it was the second business to do so in the Village Square mixed-use development. According to landlord RXR Realty, a pharmacy and a Mexican restaurant plan to open in the square as well this winter. The development contains 146 rental apartments, a 16,500-square-foot public plaza and 15,600 square feet of retail space.
In addition to candles, the store sells Glen Cove- and Long Island-themed home goods and specialty food items.
Siegel’s roots are a mix of New England and military-base childhood in Okinawa, Japan. He said he worked in fashion as a buyer for department stores Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's. He moved to Glen Cove in 2018 to be with his husband and said he worked at a coffee shop until the pandemic shut it down for much of 2020.
Ian Siegel said he has spent his life on Long Island, first in Roslyn and then Glen Cove. He served as a deputy county executive for parks, museums and preserves under former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and is now a project manager for a real estate developer in Brooklyn.
While Ian Siegel commutes to his day job, his husband gets to the store at 7 a.m. to make batches of candles in the back, accompanied by their French bulldog, Jean-Luc, named after Jean-Luc Picard, the “Star Trek” character played by Patrick Stewart.
“All our candles we come up with the name first and then we go, ‘What would that smell like to us?’ ” Siegel said. Some are straightforward, like “Autumn Apple,” but others like “Horrible Ideas” or “Sweater Weather” are products of the couple’s imagination and experimentation.
The experimentation with fragrance stops when “this smell is what we envisioned it to be and it becomes a candle,” said Ian Siegel.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
The Shoppe by Trubee Hill opens in Village Square in Glen Cove in July 2022
Customers will find candle scents such as “Autumn Apple,” “Horrible Ideas” and “Sweater Weather”
The store also sells Glen Cove- and Long Island-themed home goods and specialty food items