When opening North Fork Cigars and More in October on Main Road in Southold, Mary Montoya made sure to commemorate her “best friend,” Produce, a 10-year-old pitbull who died in August.
North Fork Cigars and More is a smoke shop that carries CBD gummies and products for pets and people. It also stocks bongs, cigars, handmade jewelry and other handmade items.
Produce died from lymphoma in August. Ms. Montoya commemorated him by hanging a large painting of flowers Ms. Montoya had sent to the veterinarian who helped her take care of Produce through chemotherapy.
The painting towers over a wooden table stocked with colorful glass bongs of all shapes and sizes. It separates walls of shelves on either side of the store, which are stocked with handmade jewelry from a local artist. Ms. Montoya stocks CBD lotions, gummies and dog treats, which are her best seller.
“I know a lot of people who own smoke shops, they have a very specific aesthetic,” Ms. Montoya said. “I’m trying to make it more comfortable for women … when you go in your traditional smoke shop, there’s a lot of stuff, so it’s a little overwhelming. I think it’s better to just minimize, and try to give people recommendations.”
Ms. Montoya, a Southold High School graduate, now lives in Ronkonkoma. She has no other employees helping her in the store as of now.
She said she envisioned opening the store years before the announced legalization of recreational marijuana and she has no plans to sell the drug when it becomes legal next year,
Although the store has been open to the public since October, Ms. Montoya considers it a soft opening for two reasons. There is still some work that needs to be done at the store due to delayed shipping and back orders. For example, she was taking some of her stock of cigars home rather than keep them in the store because she was waiting for a humidor to keep them in.
Another reason is because she wants to see what the community needs.
“I didn’t want to just pack my store, open it and say, ‘this is what I sell,’ ” Ms. Montoya said. “I want people to come and say ‘oh you know can you get me this,’ [or] ‘have you seen this?’ and then I can source it for them.”
The opening of the store caused some concern on social media, with community members posting comments on Facebook like “not judging anyone’s choices or lifestyle … this shop has no business on Main Road in the heart of Southold.” Another user said, “That’s unbelievable, what’s wrong with this town?”
“Live and let live,” was Ms. Montoya’s response. “I’m hoping it’ll just be a really comfortable, actually fun place to come.”
She’s hoping to have a more formal opening and finish setting up the store by mid-December.