If you grew up on the North Fork, you can’t help but notice how much the area has grown in popularity with each passing decade.
For Elizabeth Doroski, that change became clear three summers ago when she had to wait almost an hour for a mint chocolate chip cone at her favorite ice cream shop Magic Fountain.
“Are you kidding me,” she thought to herself. “Are you forkin’ kidding me?”
The phrase stuck with her over the years and finally came to life during a day at the beach this past summer. Her stepsister, Stacy Wickham Martin, a local photographer, was talking about wanting to launch some kind of side business that embraced the changing North Fork.
Doroski, who works as a dentist in Riverhead, soon flashed back to the Northforkin’ idea.
About a month ago, the sisters, who both graduated from Mattituck High School and returned to the North Fork after college to begin careers here, began revealing products under the Northforkin’ brand on social media.
The star of their new brand is “Annie the Lobster,” who appears on most of the merchandise. Annie was designed by local watercolor artist Melissa Hyatt. A lobster may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of the North Fork, but the sisters had a well-thought-out reason behind it.
Annie also has five notches on one claw to represent the five siblings in the Doroski-Wickham family and two on the other claw to represent the sisters’ parents. While they tried hard to think of names that began with the letter L for the purpose of alliteration, they ultimately decided on Annie since they both have the middle name Ann.
So far Annie or the Northforkin’ logo has been printed on baseball hats, tote bags, reusable grocery bags and car decals. They plan to have more items out by the spring, like shirts and items you can take to the beach. Products can be ordered through northforkin.com.
The sisters said their company represents what the North Fork means to them, which in their own words is “an active lifestyle and a laid-back mindset.”
They can remember a time when the North Fork had more potato farms than wineries and produced a completely different atmosphere. They’ve learned to embrace the change though and want their products to reflect that.
On their website, they also have a tab called “Where the Fork to go,” for the sisters to blog about favorite spots and hidden gems to visit, which they think will appeal to visitors and locals alike.
“There are so many great restaurants, there’s so many small businesses, bike activities, paddle boarding, there’s just so much to do and see and enjoy,” Doroski said.