Fall brings with it crunching leaves, oversized sweaters, Sunday football and an increased craving for a hot cup of coffee. North Fork residents will soon have another option to satisfy that last need with the opening of Hampton Coffee Company’s newest location in Aquebogue.
“We are working as fast as we can to get the job done and open so we can start serving our local hand-roasted coffee to foodies on the North Fork,” said CEO Jason Belkin.
Renovations at the former Go Solar building on Main Road began last week, Belkin said. The building exterior will be kept exactly as is, he said, but the inside will be converted into a full espresso bar and café. He hopes to open later this fall.
The building, which dates to the 1940s, was a gas station and garage and then a woodworking shop before it became a solar panel showroom. Black and white photos of the building throughout time will be framed and displayed in the café, Belkin said.
“It’s very important to our company to keep our local history alive and repurpose and renovate rather than tear down and lose history,” he said.
History isn’t the only local aspect Hampton Coffee Company stresses. Belkin said approximately 90 percent of the contractors used for the renovations are based on the East End. Similarly, about 90 percent of goods and supplies come from Eastern Long Island businesses.
The company, which has three South Fork locations, roasts its own coffee and makes its own baked goods. Belkin said he’s most excited to join the North Fork’s farm-to-table movement.
He’s also excited about hiring local residents, especially since he, his wife, Theresa, and their children live about 10 minutes from the new location.
“For our new Aquebogue location, our managers are all from within 15 minutes of the café and one is a recent Riverhead High School grad,” he said. “And we will hire about 10 to 15 staff members within our first year from Riverhead and the North Fork.”
Additionally, the company focuses on giving back and supports over 100 local schools and organizations each year, Belkin said.
Hampton Coffee Company opened its flagship Water Mill store in 1994. It now also operates a Mobile Espresso Unit — a Mercedes van that drives around the Hamptons from April to November selling coffee, smoothies and snacks. The company first eyed Aquebogue as a location in July 2014.
“Our customers have been asking us literally for years to come to the North Fork,” Belkin said. “Many of our customers live or work on the South Fork and are already our fans, so they wanted to be able to enjoy their Hampton Coffee on the other fork as well.