Tom Hug and his wife, Jennifer DiVello, spent the days leading up to Memorial Day preparing for a flood of tourists and locals out celebrating the holiday weekend.
While the three-day weekend marks the start of the busy season for so many local shop owners, it was particularly special to Hug and DiVello, owners of Revel North Fork in Cutchogue, because it marked their first anniversary in business.
“It’s been an amazing first year,” Hug said. “The outpouring of support and appreciation was overwhelming and humbling.”
The high school sweethearts grew up in Mattituck and, soon after returning home from college, recognized they wanted to build a life together here. Their business is in many ways a love letter to the place they call home.
“The idea behind Revel North Fork is to represent the community, the culture and everything that the North Fork stands for,” Hug said.
Much of the store’s inventory consists of items the couple created together, like their soap line, Suds and Muds, North Fork Threads apparel and Ice Cream Patch ice cream.
Hug said their homemade candles, created right in Cutchogue using all local produce, are among Revel’s best-selling items. They started with only two scents — rosemary mint and basil mint — and now have 17 varieties to choose from.
DiVello began selling homemade ice cream about five years ago at her mother’s farm stand, Patty’s Berries and Bunches in Mattituck. Popular flavors include strawberry, sugar snap pea and honey nut cluster.
She said she hopes to bring the ice cream back to Revel North Fork by the end of June.
This year, the couple is particularly excited to unveil new T-shirt designs. DiVello graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan with a degree in industrial and furniture design, but said she always wanted to work with fashion.
She began designing her own locally themed apparel under the North Fork Threads brand. After a year of honing the craft, she’s working to make her designs more fun and colorful.
Some new items this season include T-shirts featuring Zip codes from different North Fork hamlets and a new North Fork whale design.
DiVello said she aims to create designs that tourists and locals are drawn to, channeling fishing and agriculture.
“This is a comfortable and fun line compared to last year,” she said, adding that she draws inspiration from her personal love of “playing dress-up.”
She added that she’s looking forward to a second season at the store, which is open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closing one hour earlier on Sunday.
“I’m excited to see what the future brings,” she said. “I’m happy to develop what we have now and concentrate and grow what we started.”