With an artistic eye and an affinity for all things old-fashioned, Elizabeth Sweigart is breathing new life into the former Suffolk Times building in Greenport.
The 23-year-old and her father, Michael, have opened a vintage clothing shop in the Main Street building that housed the newspaper until 1988. Aptly named The Times Vintage, the shop offers antique jewelry, clothes, furniture, records and other items.
“We wanted to maintain the historic reference,” she said. “It was like adopting a dog that already had a name. You wouldn’t want to change it. It works with the concept of the store because we sell clothes, jewelry and furniture from all different times.”
The idea for the store came together quickly, Ms. Sweigart said. Her father, a Shelter Island resident, purchased the property at 429 Main Street in the spring with plans to convert the 3,000-square-foot space into a first-floor retail shop and second-floor apartment – where Ms. Sweigart now lives.
It was a welcome change of scenery for Ms. Sweigart, who was living in New York City and working at a gallery after recently earning a degree in Studio Arts from Marymount Manhattan College.
Unhappy with city life, she didn’t need much convincing to come to Greenport, she said. Ms. Sweigart grew up in Texas but fell in love with the village at an early age during her frequent visits to Shelter Island and the North Fork.
“I always wanted to open a store — I just didn’t know it would happen this early in my life,” she said. “Greenport is up and coming and I’m happy we opened here. The North Fork is quaint. It has everything you could want.”
The store, she said, uses her education and business skills and epitomizes her hobby, collecting vintage clothing and accessories, she said.
Many items in The Times Vintage are from her personal collection acquired over the years. She keeps the shelves stocked by searching garage sales, fl ee markets and antique shops all over the U.S. and beyond for what she describes as hidden treasures.
“I don’t like new things. I like things that are older and have a life to them,” she said.