Eric Coles and Mark Chung moved to Oak Bluffs from Brooklyn last November after falling hard for the Vineyard 20 years ago. In New York, Coles set up fashion photo shoots for names like Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, and Brooks Brothers, and Chung worked in the furnishings industry for Herman Miller, Alessi, and Kartell. A walk through their new Main Street, Vineyard Haven, shop, Lennox & Harvey General Goods, is a good indication of exactly where they’re coming from. The palette is white and clean, the corrugated tin ceiling tiles a nod to the old-fashioned general stores; music plays on the turntable on a counter, but not too loud. The store carries everything from body wash to Birkenstocks, dart sets to stainless steel and copper-plated growlers. It’s a store where you’ll have fun browsing, and then find something you need, but with a twist — like a leather-bound edition of “Joy of Cooking” or a loose-fitting summery dress that you’ll want to wear all season.
“Everything in the store is for sale, even the shelving,” Coles said last week. “We were open 10 minutes on our first day, and the first customer bought a turntable.”
“We thought, ‘We’re gonna be OK,’” Chung added. “Our grandfathers were musicians, and the store is named after them.”
After renting a house on the Island for many summers, Chung and Coles decided to take the leap, and purchased their home four years ago.
“We’d come during the off-season, and a little during the summer, and every time we’d come we’d think how can we stay here and live permanently,” Coles said.
The vibe inside Harvey & Lennox definitely leans towards Island beachy chic, but the owners plan to change up the offerings as the seasons dictate.
“We definitely want to keep a lightness about it,” Coles said. “We’re not looking for heavy wool right now, but we’ll be open April to December, and for fall and winter the stock will change to heavier fabrics and darker tones that match the season.”
“We’re looking for interesting fabrics, things that live with the palette here,” Chung said, “but not exclusively things on the beach. Things totally at home in a beach house but also if you took it back to Boston or Brooklyn or wherever you live.”
The two have traveled extensively, and the merchandise in Lennox & Harvey reflects that aspect of their lives. The store offers a modern take on the traditional general store format. They’re reimagining it with goods sourced from around the world, items that have a purpose but are also simple and well-designed.
There are sunscreens, shampoos, and body washes, lip balms, T shirts, lawn and sand games, totes, barware, and dresses for women — one size fits all.
“They’re for any body type; clothing that’s easy doesn’t have to be fussy,” Coles said.
They carry Falcon enamelware from England, along with housewares from Alessi, specifically choosing timeless pieces.
“We want to offer a mix of products so that people who live here year-round can come and buy things they need,” Coles said.
When they aren’t in the store — Lennox & Harvey is open 10 am to 6 pm, seven days a week — Coles and Chung are relishing Island life. After living most of their lives in New York, they said they’re at a place where they’d like to “shift gears and have a different lifestyle.”
“I love biking, digging for clams, going to the farms,” Chung said, “and I love cooking.”
“I don’t think people realize just how many farms there are here,” Coles added. “The reputation of the Vineyard is this glamorous beach thing, but there’s so much meat, cheese, and produce. It’s really fantastic, and if you’re a person who cooks, it’s heaven.”
Lennox & Harvey will be part of Vineyard Haven’s First Fridays event beginning June 1. They plan to stay open later as the season gets underway. 53B Main St., next to C.B. Stark; 508-687-9372; lennoxandharvey.com.