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New Year, New Beginning For Chocolatier

With a new location, the Chocolate Lady boutique will survive

The holidays were not festive for business owner Lee Perrotta. On Christmas Eve, Perrotta, owner of The Chocolate Lady, noticed a plumbing problem in the basement of the building on Audrey Avenue where her store was located. The problem was so bad, it forced her to shut down her business. A week later, she found herself moving out of the space she had occupied for more than four years, because it was inhabitable.

“I had no water to make chocolate with. My life is upside down, my home is upside down, my clientele is displaced,” says Perrotta. “There were no holidays for me.”

The displacement comes right in the peak of chocolate season, which Perrotta says lasts from October through May. A staple of the Oyster Bay community since she opened shop, Perrotta knows her customers likes and dislikes and says she is heartbroken over the loss of her shop.

“These people are my family, my friends,” she says of her customers.

She says her landlord refused to rectify the plumbing problem and even told her to fix it herself. As a result, Perrotta has lost the prime location on Audrey Avenue. 

“People are in shock; I have been told there were people crying outside of the store, and I have had customers calling me crying and wondering what happened,” Perrotta says.

“I’m deeply saddened by the recent closing of The Chocolate Lady in Oyster Bay, for several reasons,” says Kathryn Prinz, of FootPrinz Reflexology & Massage Therapy and Prinz Music Studio, Oyster Bay. “The Oyster Bay hamlet business community has lost a one-of-a-kind destination business; the patrons of The Chocolate Lady will no longer get to enjoy Lee Perrotta’s wonderful chocolate creations; and I’m especially sad for Lee, who put her heart and soul into this business she loved.”  

Because she cares so much about her customers and does not want to lose the base, she is doing what she can to keep the continuity. She is looking to secure temporary space at Buckingham’s, and to also rent out space in a commercial kitchen where she can make her chocolates.

“It’s great that she’s staying in Oyster Bay,” says Walter Imperatore of the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce. “She has been embraced by the community since she opened shop. She has a good product and it is good to have someone who is that involved stay in the community.”

Perrotta, a trained chef and chocolatier, has written cookbooks, teaches, lectures around Long Island and has also done chocolate tastings. Last year she brought the first chocolate festival in Oyster Bay on Valentine’s Day. Because of her networking, her business has drawn tourists to Oyster Bay, in addition to the walk-in traffic. A lot of her business comes from repeat customers and corporate orders, and she says she does not necessarily need the boutique for income, but loves what it has to offer her customers and cherishes the personal relationships she has created. 

Despite the setback, she has no intention of losing her business, and has considered opening “pop-up” shops around town, like the one she has in Dodds and Eder. Additionally, clients can order her chocolates by phone or online at www.chocolateladyboutique.com.

“I am the Chocolate Lady, and I will continue to bring amazing chocolate to Oyster Bay.”


News

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.

Dr. Charles Schleien, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said that although the enterovirus is still active, cases are dwindling on Long Island. According to Schleien, approximately 500 cases have been reported this season of enterovirus, at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, with two to six patients being admitted per day.

Matt Bentz, of Forest Hills, was the winner of the Oyster Festival Raffle that took place as the event ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. He had a choice between winning a 2015 Chrysler 200 three-year lease or $15,000 in cash. He chose the cash. He is the “Perfect Oyster Festival Raffle winner.”

Bentz is a computer systems administrator with Spa Creek Software, a company that writes software for other software developers, and has been to the festival numerous times over the years; in fact, next year he is hoping to sail here on his 24 ft. sailboat. He got it “reasonably” from a friend who was buying up.


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com