As part of this week's Town Focus: Ronkonkoma series, Erin Geismar will be conducting quick interviews of everyone from community leaders to everyday people on the street.
Occupation: Owner, Agnew & Taylor Hardware, Lake Ronkonkoma
How long have you owned the store? 1984, so that’s 27 years.
And how long have you lived in Ronkonkoma? Since 1978.
How has it changed in that time? It’s becoming more transient. People travel more.
When I came here we didn’t know what a computer was.
And your store is somewhat of a community staple, isn’t it? Yes, this is a historic building. It’s a historic landmark in Brookhaven. And we’ll stay exactly the same. We have creaky wood floors and we’ll keep creaky wood floors, and there will always be a dog in the store as long as I’m here.
How does it feel to be such an important part of the community? It’s a good feeling. The town revolves around the store. We’re at the main intersection here.
I’m told that according to this area’s new land use plan, all other buildings are going to use yours as a model. Yes, they’re saying that. They even had someone come out here and measure the building because from now on there can’t be any buildings taller than Agnew & Taylor.
What do you think about that? It’s great. This building is a part of the community. When people go anywhere they pass by this store, and when people are giving directions they’ll say ‘You have to pass the old hardware store,' or, 'You have to pass Agnew & Taylor.’ We’re a reference point.
And as a resident, what do you like about Ronkonkoma? It’s centrally located. If I want to go to the city, it’s not that far. If I want to go out to Montauk, it’s not that far. And I love all the different seasons.
How would you define the character of the community? There are a lot of old timers here that have been here for a long time and there’s an influx of younger people moving into the area. There are some people that were born in the area and never left. I have one customer who was born in the house where he lives now, and he’s in his late 80s.