Over the course of fifteen years, we made thousands, maybe tens of thousands of loyal customers. We received numerous compliments from customers, but the one that I remember best was “this is the last real store in the Hamptons”. That made me feel like we were doing something right. I guess we did help many people have an enjoyable day at the beach or buy a good pair of sandals, but the real joy, for me, of having a store in Amagansett reached a new level when Crossroads Music moved across the street a couple of years ago. On Sunday afternoons, they had a jam from 1-4PM and a number of talented local musicians would attend. It was like paradise for me to walk across the street and play along with them for a few hours.
On the last Saturday of each month Crossroads had an in store concert. Cynthia Daniels, a local Grammy award winning sound engineer did the sound and invited four or five local/regional musicians to share their “stuff”. The event was free, but donations helped support the East Hampton Food Pantry for the hungry and homeless. This event was similar to one I ran in Orange County called “The Music for Humanity Free Performance Night.” I discovered at these small venues that there must be thousands of talented musicians that most people would never get to hear. They just needed a break to become the next Paul McCartney or Jimmy Buffet, but the world had become far more complicated and more difficult to get that break than when Paul or Jimmy became stars.
In 2008, the bottom fell out of the economy, and even in Amagansett, people stopped spending money. The business suffered for the next two years and my silent partner decided he wanted to take over the Amagansett location. We disagreed about how to proceed and eventually had to settle the matter in court. After a couple of years, the judge decided I could buy out his shares. In November of 2011, I bought him out. Unfortunately, I would get another taste of greed, when I discovered that rather than renew my lease as promised, the property owners were giving it to him. More lawsuits began and they continue as I write this. Eventually we will have to relocate and probably leave Amagansett.
This may be my last summer in Amagansett, but at least I will have the joy to present a $2500 Music for Humanity Scholarship to Maxfield Panish. I was surprised to see that an East Hampton High School student had applied online for a scholarship. I passed his application, along with nine others, to the scholarship committee. I was pleasantly surprised when they chose Max as one of the winners for 2012. There was some stiff competition, but Max is one of those special human beings who at a very young age discover their life mission. At the age of six, Max knew he wanted to play the violin. That has been his focus and it shows. He truly has the talent to become a world-class violinist. Max will be attending the Manhattan School of Music and I am especially happy to help him, even if it comes during my last summer in Amagansett.
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