Tisbury’s Main Street blooms with new businesses

Tisbury's Main Street shows signs of spring growth, with new businesses filling once empty storefronts. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

In addition to the usual sights and sounds of spring, Tisbury’s Main Street is blooming with new businesses. They include a tableware and home goods store, children’s boutique, hair salon, watch and scrimshaw shop, and resale boutique. Two new eateries are poised to open next month.

And on Friday, May 25, an old favorite, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, opens in its new location in the former Bowl and Board building, across the street from its longtime home.

Two new businesses will debut Saturday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:45 am will launch the opening of Juliska, a shop that will specialize in tableware and home goods, in the space occupied by Bramhall and Dunn for years.

This will be the second retail location for Juliska’s founders and owners, David and Capucine Gooding. Their flagship store is in Stamford, Connecticut.

Marketing manager Lauren Arrigo said the Goodings had “fallen in love with Martha’s Vineyard.” They had been looking to find the right retail space, and after they learned that Bramhall and Dunn closed last December, Ms. Arrigo said, everything fell into place. Robert Cropper, who worked at Bramhall and Dunn, has been hired as Juliska’s new store manager.

Juliska’s two main product lines are mouth-blown glass made in the Czech Republic and ceramic tableware made in Portugal. In addition to those, Ms. Arrigo said the Vineyard Haven store would also carry a new line of pressed glass items, along with linens and flatware. The store’s inventory also includes non-Juliska products, such as pillows and throws, and jewelry, accessories and cookbooks.

“The store is unique to Martha’s Vineyard and the Island community,” Ms. Arrigo said. “It won’t be the same as our flagship store.”

The second floor will serve as an outlet, she added, where retired items and overstocks will be sold at deeply discounted prices. Call 508-562-4010 or email retail@juliska.com.

Also at 10 am, Saturday, Kimberly Biggs will open Bibi’s Baby & Kids. Her store features furniture, bedding, lighting, and decorative accessories for children’s rooms, from infants to teens. Ms. Biggs will also sell clothing for boys and girls, from infants to age 12, including baby layettes, and christening, communion and special occasion outfits.

“The space worked and it was the right timing for me,” Ms. Biggs said of the former Tyler and Tallulah shop site. “My store is a perfect fit with what was there before, and it’s a great location on Main Street. I love that it was a children’s boutique before, because I think people will already be familiar with and looking for that type of business being in that location.”

Ms. Biggs ran a similar store in Chatham, New Jersey. Two years ago she and her three children moved to Martha’s Vineyard, where her parents live. “Everyone has been welcoming and helpful,” she said. Call 508-696-7500 or go to bibisbaby.com.

Biba, a new women’s clothing store, will have a “soft”opening from 11 am to 5 pm on Saturday through Monday. Similar to owner Barbara Blatt’s Southampton and Palm Beach shops, Biba features easy to wear, simple travel pieces. Manager Christie Knoff said inventory is still arriving and the store would soon be open seven days. Call 508-696-4877 for more information.

Fooding on Main Street

Opening next month, owner and chef Jean Dupon plans a new café, La Cave du Grenier, on June 6. It is on the first floor, beneath his restaurant, Le Grenier, at 96 Main Street. Mr. Dupon said Chef James McDonough, the chef at the Beach Plum Inn for 16 years, will be at the helm at La Cave.

For the first two weeks after the café opens, breakfast will be served from 7 am-11:15 am, and lunch from 11:30 am- 3:30 pm, Mr. Dupon said. Snacks will be available for purchase all day.

Once everything is up and running, Mr. Dupon said he would start serving dinner. An application for a beer and wine license is pending. Call 508-693-4906.

Also in June, MV Chowder Company and Sharky’s owner J.B. Blau plans to open a “chowder shack” at 18 Main Street.

“We expect to be open in June, and we will be offering chowders to go, hot and also refrigerated to take home, along with prepared salads, wraps, lobster rolls, etc,” Mr. Blau said in an email to The Times. Call 508-560-1932.

Recently new biz on the block

A few new businesses opened in Vineyard Haven before winter gave way to spring.

Around the corner at Center and Main Street, stylist and owner Beth Buehler opened BB Salon on February 1. Ms. Buehler and hairstylist Corey Marolf provide all types of hair services for men and women. Kimberlee Bowen offers makeup services.

“The salon also includes a small studio space for private parties, which provides an ideal setting for brides to get their hair done with their bridal parties for their wedding day or other groups that are getting ready for special events,” Ms. Buehler said. BB Salon is open Tuesday through Saturday. Call 508-693-2312.

On April 7, Rubin Cronig opened AquaNaut at 76 Main Street. The shop features watches made by Vineyard Time, one of two watchmaking companies he owns, as well as knives, both utilitarian and collectible, and scrimshaw-decorated accessories for men and women. Mr. Cronig said AquaNaut offers items at every price point, from $15 and up, and 80 percent of them are made in the U.S.

He started his other watch-making company, Rubin Douglas, as a high school project when he was a student at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School. While Rubin Douglas features a line of high-end customized watches created and assembled locally, Mr. Cronig said Vineyard Time watches are in the mid-price range, comparatively, because they include both machined and handmade parts. They also are hand-assembled, and the dials are handmade.

“I wanted to find something at a price point that could be a reach price point for a non-collector, but an easy price point for a collector,” he explained.

Although most of Mr. Cronig’s business is wholesale, he said he decided to open AquaNaut as an Island venue for Vineyard Time, and also for scrimshaw, to keep alive the memory of his good friend and business associate Tom DeMont, who died last December.

Mr. DeMont, a scrimshaw artist and owner of the now closed Edgartown Scrimshaw Gallery, carried Mr. Cronig’s watches in the gallery and made scrimshaw watch dials for him.

The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday. Call 508-687-9865.

In mid-April, Ashley Gilbert opened a new boutique, Free Bird Market, at 29 Main Street. She describes it as a “boho-chic resale marketplace, selling band name and vintage apparel, accessories and home accents.” Ms. Gilbert also displays and sells artwork by her and other local artists in the shop.

The shop is tucked away between Midnight Farm and Main Street, in the space formerly occupied by Riley’s Reads children’s bookstore.

“I always loved that space,” Ms. Gilbert said. “As soon as it became available, I thought, I have to get it.”

Before she and her husband and two children moved from Connecticut to the Vineyard in 2010, Ms. Gilbert created a distinctive line of wooden handbags sold in boutiques in the U.S. and Europe, a business that evolved into wall art and home décor. She also ran a shop.

“I went in a totally different direction,” Ms. Gilbert said of her current venture. “I get bored quickly, and with this kind of shop, the inventory changes every few days, and that makes it fun.”

Free Bird Market is open Wednesday-Sunday. Call 203-727-4823 or email a.kgilbert@yahoo.com.

Ann Nelson, who owns the building where the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore operated for 40 years, could not be reached for comment regarding her plans.