The high season is over, and many observers agree that main streets were bustling — in all three down-Island towns. The question is, how did some of our freshmen stores find their first season here on the Vineyard?
Thankfully, three of our newest additions — Kissmet in Edgartown, Slip 77 in Oak Bluffs, and Juliska in Vineyard Haven — were kind enough to share their first-season impressions.
Recep Dinli, owner and operator of Kissmet, a unique Turkish-inspired store that offers items such as handmade ceramics, furniture, rugs, Kilim (tapestry woven) bags, and home décor, was very effusive about his first season on the Vineyard.
“It was a wonderful year and we felt very welcomed,” he said. “People thanked us for bringing all these flavors and not being another tee-shirt shop, which was exhibited by our having to ship all over the country this past season. One of our most popular items, the Kaftan Boot, sold over 300 pairs, while our lights did very well — people really enjoyed them. They came back for a second and sometimes third lamp. The Kilim Bags were also very popular.”
Mr. Dinli also shared his favorite moment: “My favorite thing this summer season was being able to share our Turkish customs with new people we have met here.”
He is also already looking forward to next season: “I am most excited about meeting new people who will become our friends next season. We were very blessed that our many customers this year have been talking so positive about us that new people come in daily.”
Jessica Lyon, co-owner of Slip 77 in Oak Bluffs, was also very enthusiastic about the clothing boutique’s first season. “It was a really great summer for us,” she said. “I think it turned out better than we expected, and we got really great feedback. I don’t think there really was a downside as it was such an excellent summer and with the help of great weather from the moment we opened on Memorial Day weekend we were really able to enjoy being part of Oak Bluffs.”
Slip 77′s location turned out to be their favorite part of their freshmen season. “[It was] the positive feedback from the town itself, as we had numerous year-round people of Oak Bluffs stop in to share their positive comments and really made us feel part of the community,” Ms. Lyon said.
In regards to their most popular items and what is in store for the future, Ms. Lyon was quick with her response. “The HIHO clothing line from the Virgin Islands was by far our most popular line. It is primarily island wear, linen wear, and beach cover-ups that fit a lot of different body types, hence its popularity. As far as what we will carry in future seasons, well, we are moving toward carrying our own line of Slip 77 that will cover all products, not just tee-shirts and sweatshirts. We will also be carrying a lot of new brands as we have learned more about what people want so that we can tailor our selections to the community and the shoppers that come here.”
Veteran Main Streeter Robert Cropper manages Juliska, a home goods store specializing in tableware located on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Mr. Cropper was extremely pleased with the first season’s success.
“We did very well. We opened Memorial Day Weekend with a running start and continued with a very strong July and August,” he said. “September was a little off and then now, mid October to mid November, tends to be the slowest time of year. This of course being my experienced opinion as I have been on Main Street since 1997, having worked in this building when it was Bramhall & Dunn, to Bongo next door, and even having opened the original Café Moxie in 1998 with Tina Miller.”
Looking forward to the holiday season, all three businesses will remain open. Juliska is currently preparing to set up the store for the holidays, and they they already have a small enticement for early shoppers.
Mr. Cropper has some tips for you as well: “We are going to have a lot of holiday items for the home, not just Juliska products but a lot of different things,” he said. “It is also the time of year in which we decide which items we are going to retire and then they go to sale at half price. Our red and green selection titled Ruby & Garden Green is now all half price and they are perfect for the holidays.”
For more information, call the store at 508-562-4010 or visit juliska.com.
Slip 77, located on Lake Street across from Jim’s Package Store, will also be open on weekends through the holidays, with many great sales. Ms. Lyon reminds everyone, “We still have some summer stock, and buying out of season is when you will get the best deals. Also our Slip 77 tee-shirts and sweatshirts are very popular, and they are in stock and make great gifts.” Slip 77 will be closing after the holidays to shop for their new lines before they reopen in April. Call them at 508-687-9975 or visit slip77.com.
Finally, Kissmet will also be open through the holidays, but you might not catch Mr. Dinli himself in the store when you visit, as he will be traveling up and down the East Coast hosting trunk shows with his rug line. He will ensure that the store is open each day and stocked for your holiday shopping. Kissmet will then close in January for a short break so that Mr. Dinli can visit his family back in Turkey before he returns to open with many new items. For more information, call 508-939-4527 or search them on Facebook.