Triangle Sea Sales, Greenport’s nautical and marine shop, will be closing after 46 years, and co-owner Elaine Henry calls the end of an era “bittersweet.”
Her husband, Joe, opened the store in 1972 on Atlantic Avenue, where the Triangle Yacht Club, once a boatyard owned by Mr. Henry and two partners, is located. The Henrys moved the shop to its current South Street location in May 1978.
“My husband was always into boating, and he was in the Navy,” Ms. Henry said. “He retired from the New York police department when he was only 47 or 48, and he wasn’t about to stop working. This was his hobby, as well as his business.”
For more tan four decades, Triangle Sea Sales has sold marine antiques, nautical gifts and decorations and parts and hardware for the restoration of old boats. Hidden behind the store is what the Henrys call “Shipwreck Alley,” sheds filled with one-of-a-kind vintage boat and ship parts, hardware and fishing gear.
The couple’s son, Joe Jr., said that over the years, the shop has been a place where boat enthusiasts can come for unique and hard-to-find parts.
“People that know boats, they know my dad, and they’ll come here and find the right part for their boats, which you can’t just get — you can’t just buy. You can’t just order these parts online,” he said.
Ms. Henry, who is in her 80s, and her husband, who is 90, said the store has just become too much for them to handle. She hopes the business will be sold to a buyer interested in continuing to run it or at least that the contents will be sold so they can rent out the building.
“It would be nice, because I know people in the area and even visitors come back, maybe only once a year, but they come back every year while on vacation, and they will miss it if it’s not a nautical store anymore,” she said.
Over the years the Henrys have collected numerous marine antiques, such as portholes, anchors and telescopes. One item Ms. Henry says her husband never wanted to part with is a U.S. Coast Guard bell buoy from 1941, which she will auction off along with other antiques at the end of the season. Mr. Henry also used to make furniture and lamps by hand for the shop, and Ms. Henry says that over the years movies and television shows have come to the store for nautical props.
“My husband used to talk to people for hours here — he loved it,” she said. “In the winter we would travel throughout the United States, to antique shops and nautical places, to see if there was anything we could sell in our store.”
Ms. Henry expects the store to remain open through the Maritime Festival at the end of September.
“It’s been fun over the years, but it’s time,” she said.
Photo caption: Triangle Sea Sales in Greenport. (Erika Peters photo)