Krudmart, a Buffalo-based retailer of clothing and accessories that caters to fans of underground hip hop and rap, opened its second location on March 30 in the East Setauket space formerly home to Saray Jewelers.
For co-owner Sean Cassidy, it's something of a departure from what he's used to doing: the self-taught music engineer has spent most of his time working in that industry, doing things like mixing, booking shows, and taking part in a radio show on WUSB.
"It's something different for me, but I get excited for the challenge of trying something new," said Cassidy, who owns the store along with girlfriend Riza Oracion. The couple is expecting a baby in September.
Krudmart Long Island sells men's and women's t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and accessories including sunglasses and jewelry, with price points between $20 and $80 depending on the item and brand. The store carries brands including 5th Column, Rocksmith, and Married to the Mob.
But it's no secret that music and fashion intersect, and that's where Krudmart comes in.
"A lot of the underground rappers, this is what they're wearing," Cassidy said. "... I wore these clothes before I actually bought into the business."
Via its website, he said Krudmart has sold merchandise to celebrities including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and LeBron James.
So far, Cassidy has signed a year lease on the 600-square-foot space adjacent to . He said he learned of the location a while ago and liked the space, but wasn't immediately sure what kind of business to open there. His first idea was to open a pool hall, but it was clear to him there wasn't enough space for that.
Cassidy, 35, is a 1995 graduate of Ward Melville High School.
"It's exciting to be right in the middle of the town I grew up in," he said.
Krudmart started out with two kids upstate who began buying clothes off of eBay and re-selling them. A website was soon established, followed by a retail store that opened in the summer of 2002. In 2008 the company was purchased by Cassidy's friend Lance Kutrybala, who approached him about opening a location in East Setauket. Cassidy has been working on opening the store since January, obtaining the necessary permits, trademarking, and acquiring inventory for the store.
His ultimate goal is to hold events in the store and become a hub for the local music scene similar to The Cop Shop, an independently-owned music store in Smithtown, which used to bring in artists before it closed about three years ago.
"I'm just looking to bring something different to this town," Cassidy said, "even to Suffolk County as well.