Meet Your Merchant Plus
Sponsored Content from advertisers in the business directory.

Point B team, left to right: Ezra Sherman, Guinevere Cramer, Valerie Hart, Kristin Buck, Wendy Harman, Win Baker, Cheri Mason.
 Meet Your Merchant Plus is sponsored content. *

Point B Company History

It was a gutsy move, opening a new real estate company during the toughest economic crisis in decades.

Point B Realty Owner/Principal Broker, Wendy Harman.
Point B Realty Owner/Principal Broker, Wendy Harman.

In April 2009, Wendy Harman employed her passion for people, property and professionalism, creating Point B Realty.  Wendy’s faith in Martha’s Vineyard as a magical place, coupled with her commitment to bringing a new set of skills, values and technology to the marketplace paid off:  Today Point B is one of the Island’s top real estate services providers, proving that discerning clients appreciate people who love what they do and do it with unparalleled dedication.

“I thought I was so smart starting my own real estate company but the market crashed within the first thirty days.”

 

A Business Built on Dreams and Talent
Like most businesses conceived by individual entrepreneurs, Point B Realty is the product of Wendy Harman’s dreams and acumen.  A Seattle native, she spent many weekends as a child touring open houses with her mother, who was, as Wendy recalls, “a true real estate and home decorating addict.”  This fascination with all things architectural must have been genetic, as these early forays ultimately translated into Wendy’s own desire to explore every facet of the real estate industry.

“I liked to draw house plans and read decorating magazines as a kid,” she explains. “Real estate lets me pull together so many aspects I enjoy – architecture, history and design as well as the legal and finance aspects of the business.”

Earning a business degree in marketing, Wendy began her career in sales and was soon promoted into a position as a corporate marketing and branding specialist for a regional food company in Seattle.  Employing both her creativity and innovative spirit, she was named Creative Director, spearheading a total redesign of the company’s image and packaging.

“I can trace my entrepreneurial drive to my branding experience in Seattle,” Wendy observes.  “I was considered the maverick, re-gentrifying a brand that had remained almost untouched from the 1940s.”

Wendy brings this love for branding and her commitment to creating a satisfying experience for the consumer to Point B Realty.   And, like so many visitors who eventually become residents, Wendy’s 1992 vacation to Martha’s Vineyard resulted in a dramatic change of course.

“I chose the name Point B for two reasons:  Martha’s Vineyard represents a destination and real estate is also a process, getting from Point A to Point B.”

Vacation Destination to Cherished Home
It was the summer of 1992 when Wendy and a friend randomly chose the Vineyard as a vacation spot for recreational biking.  An inveterate traveler, she had long maintained a policy to never revisit the same destination twice.  “My motto was: The world is big place and there are so many exciting places to visit and experience. Why go back to the same place twice?”

“But I was smitten,” she recalls.  “So I came five summers in a row, made friends and developed a complete network on the Island.”

By June of 1997, Wendy had taken a sabbatical from her corporate job in Seattle and was able to spend a full month on the Vineyard, launching a consulting practice. It was then that she realized that the Island had become her new home.  So she bought a piece of land in Katama and built a house the following year.  In the meantime, she indulged her long simmering entrepreneurial spirit and spearheaded several new ventures, including a Vineyard lifestyle magazine and a travel guide and destination service.  As her publishing business became more Internet based, Wendy enthusiastically embraced new technologies.  And that house she had built in Katama? By the time she sold it in 2002, she had tripled her investment.

Re-bitten by the real estate bug, Wendy earned her real estate license in 2006 and went to work for an Edgartown brokerage.  Specializing in the vacation rental market, she singlehandedly quadrupled the number of properties the company represented.  She left in the fall of 2008 with ideas to open her own real estate brokerage.

“We want to stay small, independent, and focused on quality.”

Overcoming challenges with innovative strategies
If timing is everything then opening Point B Realty in the fall of 2008 should have been calamitous.  “I thought I was so smart starting my own company,” Wendy says, with a chuckle. “But the market crashed within the first thirty days.”

Despite the market downturn, she leased a retail storefront in downtown Edgartown in April of 2009 and filled it with furnishings and art, doing her best to replicate the real estate firms she had admired in metropolitan areas and envisioning a soothing, comfortable environment for the Island’s well-traveled clientele.

“It was a risky move,” she reflects.  “Almost no one in the business had any kind of storefront.  It was a big investment.”

While the recession posed hefty challenges for even the most stalwart of agencies, it proved to be what Wendy looks back on as the acid test for her business model.

“I was a one-person shop in the beginning,” she says.  “And starting in a down market, I had to be resourceful.”

Using her successful vacation rental business as a foundation, within five years Wendy has built Point B into a dynamic twelve-person operation, with six sales agents and six support professionals offering a unique team approach.  Backed by a staff of administrative and marketing specialists, all agents handle both rentals and sales, providing seamless service to clients, many of whom transition from vacation tenants to homeowners.  And each agent works as part of a team, combining complementary skills for every unique client situation.

“We’re one of the only firms in which agents are responsible for both rentals and sales,” Wendy explains.  “It allows everyone to prosper and encourages our clients to enjoy ongoing relationships with the same staff.  Having a team of corporate support staff who specialize in specific areas also gives Point B agents a sharper focus on clients and their individual needs.”

The company prides itself on providing clear representation to clients in every transaction as well.  As advocates of the designated agency model, Point B clarifies what has traditionally been a perplexing question to many consumers:  “Who is my agent really representing, the buyer or the seller?”  Point B agents never represent both buyers’ and sellers’ interests in a single transaction, ensuring that an individual’s needs are met ethically, confidentially and with transparent fiduciary responsibility.

“I read the Harvard Business Review, not novels.  It keeps me fresh, forward-thinking.”

Top-notch talent, today’s technology
Point B’s highly experienced staff puts cutting edge technology to work for every client.  Embracing the paperless office concept, the company offers the convenience of electronic document signing, expediting the signing, management and storage of contracts, moving all parties toward closing quickly and efficiently.

In-house state-of-the-art video and photography services help present listings in their best light possible.  Finally, armed with iPads in the field, agents can shoot photos, take notes, review listings of comparable properties and share information with clients almost instantaneously, a significant benefit to buyers and sellers, particularly those whose primary residences are off-Island.

But as invaluable as technology can be, real estate is, at heart, a people business.  As an independent boutique firm, Point B is committed to maintaining a small, highly expert staff that shares the core values of integrity, open communication and responsiveness.

“We’re not about being average,” Wendy states unequivocally.  “We’re about being awesome.”

“Point B is ahead of the curve with technology.”

Calculated choices are the best choices
Wendy has become a specialist in the financial analysis of real estate transactions.  Leading her company with a practiced eye toward the bottom line, she admits that perhaps her greatest strength is the least glamorous:  “I’m a numbers geek,” she says.  “I’m fascinated by the story that the numbers can tell and quite frankly, I analyze them to death.  I love finding answers to tough transactions by analyzing market and property data, and then using that information to help educate clients and bring together a successful transaction. Our job is to help the client understand the complexity of this multi-dimensional business.”

From identifying the best investment opportunities to ensuring that a rental property is priced properly for the market, Point B helps clients make sound financial decisions.

“The Island gives me a sense of being held.  It’s part of our corporate culture to give back.”

Commitment to the Island community

Wendy Harman at the Boys & Girls Club, donating a $10,000 Fundraiser check.
Wendy Harman at the Boys & Girls Club, donating a $10,000 Fundraiser check.

Living and working in a small Island community, Point B has become an enthusiastic proponent of giving back.  “There’s such a great heartbeat on Martha’s Vineyard,” Wendy explains.  “It’s the kind of place where you want to get involved.”

The company has embraced the concept of serving as a bridge between the year-round community and the newcomers who arrive, encouraging support from homeowners and vacationers alike. From simply making corporate donations to such organizations as the FARM Institute and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, to initiating their own annual holiday fundraiser, the “Teddy Bear Suite” at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, benefitting the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, Point B is making it a point to make a difference.

“We maintain a commitment to doing the right thing for the client.”

Looking ahead

“We’re always looking at improving the quality of service we provide to our clients,” Wendy says.  “This is, after all, a relationship business.  We demand more of our agents and keep trying to perfect what we’re doing.”

More communication.  More education.  More efficiency.  More expertise.  Because when it comes to results in real estate, it’s all about getting from point A to Point B.

“You learn a lot starting a business in a down market.  You have to be very resourceful.”

*The Times is partnering with merchants to highlight their stories. Meet Your Merchant Plus is paid advertising.

Stefanie (center) with (left to right) Kathryn Shertzer, wholesale account manager; Giocchina Viaggio, studio assistant; Karolina Sullivan, sales associate. — Lynn Christoffers

Meet Your Merchant Plus is sponsored content. *

Popular jeweler Stefanie Wolf grew up in Connecticut, and after graduating from college, worked in a corporate job before returning to a love for jewelry-making that she discovered one summer on Martha’s Vineyard. She recently moved from her Arts District, Oak Bluffs location to a new studio and shop at 12 North Water Street in Edgartown.

 

What’s your background? I grew up in CT, went to college in MA, and spent some years working in a cubicle in corporate

Stefanie Wolf at craft show ten years ago.
Stefanie Wolf at craft show ten years ago.

America after college. I learned about business, marketing and innovation quickly, but got burnt out and had an early mid-life crisis at 25. I wasn’t finding gratification in my work or in my relationships and it turned out that my life needed a course re-direction. So I quit my job, said goodbye to my boyfriend and moved to Maui to crew on a sailboat. After that things really started to fall into place! I learned to surf, fell in love, re-discovered my passion for jewelry making, and re-directed my career path a bit. After finishing the education and training to become a Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California (I had moved to San Francisco along the way), I dropped it all because my jewelry hobby had turned into a full-time career by the time I had completed my graduate degree. That was around 2005 and I’ve never looked back!

Where are you from? I was born in San Francisco, grew up in CT and have family throughout the North Shore of MA and in CT. I went to college outside of Boston.

When did you start making jewelry? I had a rock collection as a kid, and I’ve always been attracted to colorful shiny objects. I started making jewelry during my college summers spent on the Vineyard. I purchased my first bead stash from Beadniks and picked up some wire from Philips Hardware on Circuit Avenue and got to work! I spent my days at the beach and working at Saffron and The Last Mango (stores owned by the owners of Hannah B in Edgartown), and my nights serving at the Edgartown Yacht club. I dabbled in jewelry making in-between and actually convinced two stores along Circuit Avenue to sell my designs that first summer!

When did you go into business, and where? I started my jewelry business in 2003 in San Francisco. I was finishing up a graduate degree in Integral Counseling Psychology. I was training as a psychotherapist and I found jewelry-making to be my own form of therapy. Jewelry was a hobby and a small side business until I allowed it to take over as my full time occupation by 2005. In the early days I’d sell at craft fairs, home parties, at yoga studios, schools and offices.

The new location of Stefanie Wolf Designs, at 12 North Water Street, Edgartown.
The new location of Stefanie Wolf Designs, at 12 North Water Street, Edgartown.

What made you decide to move to MV? My husband and I met in Oak Bluffs when I was 17. He was born and raised on Island. We remained part of the same circle of friends for almost a decade, meeting up somewhat serendipitously in Hawaii in 2001. We were vacationing there separately, but decided to move there at the same time. We soon fell in love and lived for a few years in Maui and California before coming so settle back on island just in time for our daughter to be born in 2009. The Vineyard has always felt like home to me.

What was your first impression of the Island? My older brother used to take me on week-long vacations to the Vineyard when I was in middle school and high school. He’d let me bring a friend and we’d roam around the towns and beaches eating ice cream, boogie boarding, meeting other kids. It was heavenly! I’d beg my mom to let me spend my summers here and she’d say “Not until college”… So after my freshman year began my college summers on the Vineyard. The first summer I lived in a 3 bedroom house in Dodgers Hole with 8 women. That was insane! We had lots of fun.

Where was your first studio/place of business? My first jewelry studio was the desk in my bedroom of a shared flat in San Francisco around 2002. I soon moved into an apartment with my (now) husband and he allowed me to take over our dining room. I worked at a small desk and had floor to ceiling shelves full of beads.

Any near disasters?  Oh my, yes! I think it was the summer of 2012… It was a day of summer thunderstorms and my elaborate and bejeweled display was all set up under my tent at the Artisans Festival outside at the Grange Hall. A downpour came as I was chatting with customers. The rain accumulated so quickly in my sagging tent top that the weight of the water began to weigh down the entire tent structure. By the time I addressed it with a long stick to try and re-route the water over the sides of the tent, there were gallons and gallons of water and it was too late! My friendly artisan neighbors came running to my rescue but we all reached the same conclusion. The only way to get this growing body of water off of my tent top was to poke a hole in the canvas and allow it to pour into the center of my display. The steel support structure of the tent was bending, swaying and bowing and we agreed it was destined to collapse at any moment! So…. I invited my customers out of the tent, moved my tables to the edges of my booth, and we used one of the long sticks to punch a hole beneath the largest pool above, causing a giant downpour in the center of my display. It was insane! I then had a giant muddy lake in my ‘shop’, a torn, bent and destroyed tent, and guess what? Customers continued to shop the full day. After the drama subsided I proceeded to have one of my best sales days ever. After the ordeal I felt a bit traumatized, and was very thankful to the other artisans for helping me out, and to my customers for making it “a great day” despite the weather.

What’s your favorite color?  Turquoise blue.

Is there anything in the Vineyard landscape that inspires you? Where DO you get inspiration?  The ocean. The waves. Island living. The way the people, the lifestyle, the energy is just different here. The way I can watch the sunset every night over the lagoon and it’s a whole new experience each evening.

Any gratifying stories ? Michelle Obama will be receiving a very special gift from me this summer. Mark my words! To date… My jewelry will be featured in the UncommonGoods Fall catalog, of which I’m very proud. This is a big step forward for my wholesale business. We’re talking now about including it in their Holiday catalog as well. It’s also on the UncommonGoods website now and getting a good response so far http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/mosaic-necklace .

How much do you work in the summer?  More than I’d like to, but it’s inevitable here because that’s when my retail business happens. I try to get at least one nice beach day in per week. My goal for the next few years is to build such a solid team of employees that I can enjoy the summer season more. Can you check in with me about that in August?

What’s your favorite day-off activity on MV?  My dreamiest summer days involve dropping my daughter off at camp, grabbing my husband, our beach chairs and some lunch and high tailing it up to Aquinnah for a big day at the beach. He and I are truly beach bums at heart. Our marathon beach days have changed a bit now that we’re parents, but we milk them for all they are worth! Sometimes we will take two cars so only one of us needs to leave mid-afternoon for kid pick up, and the other can soak it in a tad longer. He usually lets me stay.

Do you have any work quirks? As much as I love my small team of amazing employees, I treasure my alone time at the studio. I find that I need space and time to be creative and things flow more easily for me when I’m alone. As my jewelry business has grown, I’ve been increasingly challenged with how and when this coveted alone time happens. In my new studio we actually have several rooms so it is much easier to get some space. Though I must admit, that I still love coming in after hours or on days we are closed just so I can have the place to myself. This alone time is when I feel free to let my new designs happen, experiment with new ideas or rearrange the jewelry displays or the furniture.

What’s the most dangerous part of your job? Overpromising and underdelivering.

What advice would you give an artist who wants to start a new business on MV/sell their works here?  1)  Find a way to appeal to locals, not just visitors. 2)  Start small… i.e. pay for a small table at a flea market before you commit tens of thousands to a downtown lease. Prove your concept first and grow slowly, adjusting your course along the way. 3)  Be kind and respectful to EVERYONE. This island is way too small to do otherwise.

Do you use social media? Yes, of course! Social media is an important part of my marketing. I’m loving Instagram these days, I always post everything on Facebook, I’ve been playing with Twitter and I have a bunch of boards on Pinterest.

Facebook  Stefanie Wolf Designs (www.facebook.com/pages/Stefanie-Wolf-Designs/134641419897169?ref=hl)

Instragram   stefwolfdesigns (instagram.com/stefwolfdesigns#)

Pinterest  stefwolfdesigns (www.pinterest.com/stefwolfdesigns/)

Twitter  @stefwolfdesigns (twitter.com/StefWolfDesigns)

Where are you located? Please come visit me in my brand new studio space and shop at 12 North Water Street in Edgartown. I’m on the 2nd floor of the beautiful historical Preservation Trust building, right next to Boucle Salon & Spa. And always online at: stefaniewolf.com.

Please join me for my Grand Opening Celebrations, Thursdays, July 24 and August 7, from 6 – 8 pm, concurrent with the Edgartown Gallery Strolls.

 

*The Times is partnering with merchants to highlight their stories. Meet Your Merchant Plus is paid advertising.

Dr. Ryan Shea. — Photo by Louisa Hufstader

Sponsored Content*
For more than 40 years, Islanders and visitors have made their way to Dr. David M. Finkelstein’s Vineyard Haven office for eye exams, emergency eye care, eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses. Since 2007, customers have also seen Dr. Ryan Shea, an Island native who graduated from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, UMass Boston, and the New England College of Optometry. Dr. Shea began by staffing Dr. Finkelstein’s traditional Wednesdays off and is now a partner in the optometry office, on track to take over the practice from his former boss.

How did you get started?

I knew I wanted to get into some kind of medicine, but I wanted to be able to move back here. I looked into different professions, and I shadowed an optometrist. It just seemed like a good fit. So, I approached Dr. Finkelstein early on and asked him about optometry. Every time we had some kind of project in [optometry] school, I would come to him with questions about his practice. As soon as I got out, I started working here. We’ve been open on Wednesdays ever since I started. Because that went so well, I asked him, “What would you think about me taking over the practice?”

Recall your first day on the job in 2007?

Our last year of optometry school is all patient care, so my first day here was pretty smooth.

I felt comfortable, I knew the population. I’m from here so it wasn’t as intimidating as it could have been if I had been in another practice. Everybody was so welcoming.

What’s it like to be one of the Vineyard’s only optometrists, after growing up here?

It’s a great feeling knowing that the very same people who helped me grow up are the people I’m helping later in life. It’s a pretty cool dynamic, and I think it helps add an air of trust. They know I’m going to be caring about them because they cared about me. I think in medicine the problem is that people are becoming more of a number and less of a person. [Knowing your patients] adds that personal component.

How many patients do you have?

About 13,000. I don’t know how many are active.

How young and how old are they?

Six month infants, to a woman of 106.

What’s the difference between ophthalmology and your field of optometry?

There are a few differences, but essentially it’s surgery. We don’t do surgery. You have your specialists, your primary care, and your pharmacists. We manage a little bit of everything and guide people if they need specialty care.

What makes for a tough day at the office?

Because we don’t have opthalmology here (on the Vineyard), every day has the potential to be a challenging day. We have to be ready for everything because you never know what’s going to walk in the door. It’s not a practice where all we’re doing is eyeglasses. We’re seeing patients with trauma, we’re seeing people with emergency situations, and we have to deal with it right away. We have to get people on the boat, up to Boston, or over to the Cape, or take a piece of metal out of somebody’s eye. The challenging days are when you get three or four of those on the same day. We see everyone who calls us.

How has business changed since you started in 2007?

In the seven years, we’ve really focused on bringing in new technology to improve our documentation — we have electronic medical records, we have more equipment for diagnostic purposes, and we’ve revamped our optical department with more frame selections. There’s a lot more sunglasses and a lot more glasses.

What are some of the eyewear brands you stock?

Costa, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Wiley X, Kaenon. We’re always trying to get new styles, new designs, and keep it exciting for people when they’re picking out glasses. We try to price it so that we’re more competitive than off-Island, so people don’t think they have to go off-Island.

People are always surprised when our prices are better than off-Island for the frames we’re selling. We want to keep the business here. It would get around pretty quickly if you were overcharging everyone on the Island.

But doesn’t everybody kind of expect you to charge more than on the mainland?

Yeah, they do. But I like to prove ’em wrong. They’re going to spend less here.

What advice would you give a new business starting out on Martha’s Vineyard?

Get the word out. Word of mouth here is huge. You need to let people know where you are and what you’re doing.

*The Times is partnering with merchants to highlight their stories. Meet Your Merchant Plus is paid advertising.

Judy Hartford, at the West Tisbury location of Bananas. — Photo by Louisa Hufstader

Sponsored Content*
Judy Hartford and her husband, Thad Harshbarger, moved to the Vineyard in 2001 after raising their two children on Long Island. Both are psychotherapists with private practices on the Island, and Ms. Hartford also runs Bananas Clothing, recently closing the Vineyard Haven location to concentrate on her flagship store on State Road in West Tisbury. Before Bananas, the couple owned the Vineyard Lights gallery on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs for four years.

What’s happening at Bananas right now?

We just this fall launched a men’s line with brands like Timberland and CP Shades, very simple Island-friendly clothes for men. In the kitchen, home goods and candles and soaps. We offer a range of styles for women; we try to fit all bodies. We’re artsy, we’re funky, we’re about layering, we’re about being comfortable with your own look, being comfortable in your skin.

What has it been like starting and running your own business on the Vineyard?

I was starting with no information when we opened Vineyard Lights in 2001 in Oak Bluffs. I had never done retail before in my life. We didn’t know anything about doing business, but people trusted us because we were sincere and, I think, because we were older. I have learned a huge amount. I have gotten more comfortable with the designers I buy from. I try to listen to what people want. It has been really a joy.

How did a fine art and craft gallery become a clothing boutique?

I come from an artistic family. My father was an artist, my brother is a concert pianist. So I come from the arts, but they tell me that I always, from the time I was two years old, loved clothing. Clothing is art. Clothing is a personal expression. It’s a clothing store with some beautiful artwork as part of what we do. The upstairs is rented to artists including Gabriella Camilleri, our “artist-in-residence,” who designs clothing and also works in the store.

What do you remember about your first day of business?

The very first sale: I wrote it up and looked at the cash register and said “Now what do I do?” I didn’t know how to ring it up. I didn’t know anything about the trade shows in New York.

What was your best day?

We’ve had a bunch of great days. At the gallery, we had a fabulous, gigantic abstract art piece that cost $7,000 or $8,000, I don’t remember. We had to build a crate for it, and my husband and the artist had to wheel it down to the ferry — I think they had to bring it over and get it met on the other side. It was a huge sale, so that was thrilling for us to make that kind of money. And just the whole amateur operation of putting this thing together, none of us really knowing what we were doing and then learning as we went along, wheeling this thing down Circuit Avenue.

What keeps you going when it’s summer and you’re working all the time?

I am fortunate in that I have a huge amount of energy. I like to work, I love this store and it’s always challenging and interesting to me being in the store. I have a great staff who have been with me for years and years. We have a very, very loyal customer base. I would say that 80 to 90 percent of the people who come to the store, we know them by name and they know us by name, and we offer a very personal shopping experience, which nurtures in two directions. It nurtures the customer, and it nurtures us, because there is a genuine warmth that has developed over these many years. It is really wonderful. And that keeps us going.

How do you relax in your spare time?

I go to the gym two days a week to a fabulous class. I walk in the nice weather whenever I can. My husband I are hooked on some TV series that we just adore. We go to dinner, we have friends over to dinner — nothing fancy. And we go off-Island a fair amount because we have nine grandchildren. They’re spread around, so we have a lot of visiting that we need to do.

What advice would you give a new business starting on Martha’s Vineyard?

Do what you love. Make sure that you’ve got good help and you treat them well, which I think is enormously important. And trust yourself, which is kind of how we did it.

Where did the name Bananas come from?

When we started off (at the Fiddlehead farm stand location a decade ago), the name was Yes, We Have No Bananas. It’s an old song from the 1920s. I have the sheet music framed in the store. Then it was Bananas Gallery, now it’s Bananas Clothing. Everybody knows it as Bananas.

Bananas Clothing, 697 State Road, West Tisbury. 508-696-5939; bananasgallery.com; facebook.com/Bananasgallery.

*The Times is partnering with merchants to highlight their stories. Meet Your Merchant Plus is paid advertising.

Elaine Barse of the Green Room.

Sponsored Content*

This Memorial Day weekend, The Green Room in Vineyard Haven celebrates its 20th anniversary. Founder and owner Elaine Barse opened her surf and skate shop in 1994 on Spring Street. The business expanded in 2003 with the purchase of LeRoux Clothing and Fashion on Main Street, where The Green Room now sells surfboards and sporting gear alongside fashion apparel and accessories from sought after brands including Patagonia, Tommy Bahama, True Religion, Hunter Boots, Levi’s, Frye, Mia, Clarks, Steve Madden, Dansko, and North Face.

How did you get started?

I worked with a guy named Neil Peck of Peck’s Bad Boy and he kind of introduced me to the action sports industry. I was already a snowboarder, but he introduced me to skateboarding and surfing and all that. So when he went out of business, I took over that void that existed on the Island. I sort of fell into it that way.

How has your business changed over the years?

We used to be focused solely on surf and skate, but when we bought LeRoux, we entered a whole clothing and fashion environment. Going to New York [apparel shows] is very different than dealing with surf reps. I think I’ve been very lucky, the business has grown as I’ve grown professionally. I was 27 when I opened the store. You don’t want to do the same thing you did when you were 27, 20 years later.

What do you remember about your first day of business?

My first customers were an Australian couple. They still live on the Vineyard.

What has been your best day?

I’ve had a lot of them. It’s hard to nail one down. A lot of people think a best day is a financial thing, but it’s really not. Our annual sale (going on until mid-March) is the highlight of the year.

How about a worst day?

Probably one of the worst experiences I’ve had was when a skunk wandered in to the store. I had no idea what to do. This was the first year we were in business. It would have ruined my entire stock.

What happened?

We called someone from Animal Control. She said, go to Cumberland Farms, buy chocolate donuts, and make a trail out the door. It worked.

What keeps you going when it’s summer and you’re working all the time?

I can’t work seven days in a row. I will work from home, but that’s very different from being in the store. Having really good staff allows me not to have to be here seven days in a row and allows me to be a better boss to them.

How do you relax on your days off?

On the Vineyard: Go to a yoga class, go to the beach, do a little paddle boarding and just relax. Off-Island: snowboarding.

What else floats your boat?

I’m really proud of being involved with the Martha’s Vineyard Skate Park, getting that off the ground and really helping that come to fruition. It opened in 2003. and we’d been involved for five or six years at that point.

What advice would you give a new business starting on Martha’s Vineyard?

You’ve got to jump in with both feet. You have to. Because if you’re worried about failure, there’s a chance you will. If you’re prepared for failure, that’s a whole different scenario. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. And try and enjoy it. Make sure that you do take time for yourself.

The Green Room, 71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven. 508-693-6888; vineyardsurf.com.

*The Times is partnering with merchants to highlight their stories. Meet Your Merchant Plus is paid advertising.