Midnight Farm, a well-known Island boutique in Vineyard Haven that specializes in reclaimed vintage goods, high-end clothing, and rustic handcrafted pieces, will close its doors permanently on Dec. 31, after nearly 20 years of business.
It will be the fifth store to close on Main Street in Vineyard Haven in the past few months. Midnight Farm owner Tamara Weiss told The Times on Wednesday that it was “time to move on,” after facing the challenges of keeping a store open year-round in Vineyard Haven. “It’s been challenging,” Ms. Weiss said. “A challenging time for retail in general.”
Ms. Weiss recalled a time when Vineyard Haven had a vibrant night scene and stores stayed open until 10 pm. She believes that if Tisbury considered bringing liquor licenses to restaurants, perhaps additional restaurants would open, creating a more vibrant night life, which could boost local businesses and revitalize the town. “It’s difficult without the restaurants and the night community,” Ms. Weiss said.
There is current legislation, pending approval from the state senate, that looks to expand licenses for restaurant that currently offer beer and wine to add the ability to serve liquor in Tisbury, but it will not add new licenses. If approved by the senate, the legislation has to be signed by the governor, and then would come back to the town for a vote during the next state election, in 2018.
Vibrancy will be one of the many things Ms. Weiss will miss about Midnight Farm, which opened in 1997. The idea for the store, originally located behind Stop and Shop in Vineyard Haven, was to create a home environment, bringing the vibe of her Chilmark farmhouse to downtown Vineyard Haven.
But the store morphed into a boutique-turned-lounge in many ways during its early years. Candles were always lit, and music was playing. And although they sold furniture, clothing, books, and jewelry, many people gathered for live music from artists like Carly Simon and Ben Taylor, and for poetry and book readings. “One never knew what was going to happen, but we always knew it’d be a lovely community gathering,” Ms. Weiss said.
Ms. Weiss’s gratitude runs deep for Ms. Simon — whom she called “an extraordinary friend and partner.” Ms. Simon has been a silent partner since the store opened, and the two are long-time family friends. “I couldn’t have done it without her friendship and support,” Ms. Weiss said.
Ms. Weiss said she couldn’t have been open a day without her staff; after that, she said, the greatest thing about Midnight Farm has been her customers. They have become her friends, and part of the Midnight Farm family. “I’m incredibly grateful for them,” she said.
Ms. Weiss called the closing a bittersweet time; she is sad to say goodbye to a store she called her second home — as well as to see another empty storefront on Main Street — but will now pursue new projects both on- and off-Island. She said everything in the store is 60 percent off, and she hopes to sell everything.
“It would be nice to see something new and wonderful that would contribute to the makeup of Vineyard Haven,” Ms. Weiss said.