After 40 years, Sandpiper Ice Cream won’t reopen for the season

03/26/2019 12:20 PM |

When Sandpiper Ice Cream closed its doors last October, some fans of the Greenport shop held out hope it would eventually reopen for the season.

But the family that’s owned the business for the past 40 years is making it official: Sandpiper has served its last cone. 

“We didn’t really have an announcement to say we were closing … apparently some people caught on pretty quickly when the Jernick’s trucks were coming and cleaning out the building,” said Alley Adair Nilsen-Diaz, whose stepfather, Paris Stachtiaris, opened the business with his father, Achilles, in 1979.

Ms. Nilsen-Diaz worked the counter at the shop for a decade, beginning when she was 14 years old. She said the decision to close was strictly financial and that her mother, Jessica Nilsen, and stepfather have plans to retire to Florida while she focuses on growing her own pet-sitting business.

The most difficult part of closing the shop, she said, is losing the connection to Greenport Village.

“People would come back year after year and we would see families grow,” she said. “We would see little kids come in with parents and then, 10 years later, they’d have kids of their own. Everyone comes back.”

Known for its traditional flavors like chocolate, peanut butter and strawberry, the ice cream spot could at times see lines out the door during the high season.

“There were lines of people around the corner sometimes during maritime festivals and things like that,” Ms. Nilsen-Diaz said. “We got a lot of foot traffic during those days.”

Marc LaMaina, who owns the neighboring Lucharitos restaurant, said his sister worked at the business roughly 30 years ago, so they’ve known the family for a while.

“It’s the end of an ice cream era,” he said. “It’s always a shame to see a local business go.”

Ms. Nilsen-Diaz said that although they say they’re retiring, she could picture her parents get back in the business down south.

“I think they’re going to get bored, because they’re still young,” she said. “It’s just a feeling I have. They say they’re done … but I know my parents.”

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