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Business Beat: Pizzeria Opens During Sandy; Festival Jump Starts Retail Sales

A look at recent small business developments in central and northern Suffolk County.

The effects of Hurricane Sandy still linger in the local business community, with some in Port Jefferson emerging from under the water during the annual Dickens Festival and a new pizzeria in Hauppauge opening amidst the aftermath of the storm. In other business news, a Commack party planner and St. James salon owner are enjoying success while a photo shop has had to shut its doors.

A Commack couple is returning to their family roots by opening up their own pizzeria in Hauppauge. Longtime Commack residents Erica and Frank Amato are serving up slices at Amato's Pizza in the Hauppauge Shopping Center off Route 347. The pair is glad to finally be back behind the pizza counter. "My husband's had other jobs. He's worked maintenance and general hand work, but this is what's in his blood," Erica said. The couple met years ago when Frank was working behind the counter, throwing together and serving up pies at one of his family's restaurants. His family members have run multiple locations over the years including Sal's in Sayville and Sicilia D'oro in East Patchogue for more than 30 years. 

A cold and misty start to the annual Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson this weekend gave way to warmer temperatures and big crowds by Sunday, much to the delight of village retailers who had been suffering after superstorm Sandy blew through the area. “Dickens went very well,” said Barbara Ransome, director of operations for the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce. “I think the energy on the street on Saturday was not as intense because it was cold and raw out and attendees seek as many activities as they could on the inside but Sunday the crowds on the street were huge, again weather always plays a role.”

Come Party With Us Puts a Personal Touch on Parties

Come Party With Us in Commack helps residents find creative ways to invite family and friends to a memorable event, stirring excitement for what's to come. Owner Barbara Rosen has been making custom invitations and planning personal details that make for an unforgettable celebration for more than 30 years. She's helped plan baby showers, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, weddings and more. "I love to throw parties and I love to entertain," she said.

Photo Shop Splits from Main Street

Camera shops are a rare species on Long Island, and they are one step closer to becoming extinct with the closing of Split Image Photography on Main Street. “Photography just grew so much that everyone has cameras and the only people buying cameras are those that never had a camera in the first place,” said Doug Crown, owner of Split Image. “That’s not enough to sustain the whole market.”

Sivana Salon Aims to Bring Bold Style to St. James

Sivana Salon is a place in St. James to get your hair styled, but to owner Steven Melito it’s an “oasis of enlightenment.” The salon has been open for 18 years, formerly under the name Melito International, but Melito changed the name to Sivana seven years ago after reading The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Sivana, according to Melito, is the enlightened place in the Himalayas where the protagonist, an attorney, travelled to on a spiritual journey, a journey of self-discovery, after suffering a heart attack. Melito’s oasis of enlightenment sits on Lake Avenue next to St. James Natural Food and boasts bold colored walls and inspirational statements written in graffiti-styled lettering by Chris Heeren, a tattoo artist at Tattoo Lou’s, also in St. James.

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