Save Our Villages - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2115844

Save Our Villages

I’d like to take this time to thank everyone for their kind words, thoughts and even prayers during our final weeks and days of closing our business. It was very sad for all of us at Schmidt’s Market to say a final farewell and goodbye to all our friends and customers. You were part of our lives every day for 43 years in the village.

We knew most of our customers by name. I was always proud of my staff for their service and compassion for our beloved customers.

I believe that our treasured villages are at a turning point. The mom-and-pops are at risk — we will be losing more in the coming years. I speak of all of our villages, not just Southampton.

There are many business closings due to high rents or unrealistic building sale prices. Have you been through Main Street, East Hampton, and seen nothing but dark or closed stores in the winter months? It looks like a ghost town. Have you driven through Southampton Village and noticed all the stores for rent or unoccupied?

What can be done? A lot of attraction to our area is our quaint towns with stores and restaurants not available anywhere else.

There is an organization that can help. The bylaws need to change so they can help all the people, as was in the original charter — it has done a good job doing this.

I am speaking of the Community Preservation Fund. It is set up to preserve land and the character of our towns. They have millions, and more every year.

I believe it’s time they begin buying properties such as the building which used to house Schmidt’s Market and others throughout the town to maintain the character of our wonderful towns — not just to purchase vacant land. It seems there is not much additional open space to purchase. The farmers that remain cannot seem to use what’s given to them to grow food; instead, we see sod farms, which I personally see as a waste of land that uses a lot of chemicals that affect our aquifer.

Let’s start using the CPF to preserve our villages for local entrepreneurs who want to live and work here and provide for our community stores and businesses that benefit all our local residents as well as our seasonal visitors.

I would like to thank everyone for all their support over the years. We all truly wish we were still serving you. My son, Daniel, is opening a store in Quogue soon. Please visit. It will be worth the trip for the value and quality of all your purchases.

We have preserved open lands — now let’s preserve our villages.

Dennis P. Schmidt

Water Mill