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'Occupy the Hamptons' Organizer Launches Local Business Website

GoHamptons.com is a directory forum for independent boutique shops.

Partly a vehicle for independently-owned shops who can't afford advertising of their own, and partly a members-only website that protests shopping at "big-chain corporations," Occupy the Hamptons organizer Ty Wenzel launched GoHamptons.com last week just in time for Black Friday — normally the time big box stores make their biggest sales of the year.

The site offers small businesses the opportunity to include their information on a free directory for people looking to shop locally.

"If we don't start putting into our own community, there are going to be nothing but Ralph Lauren's on every corner," Wenzel, of Springs, said on Monday. "It's gotten out of hand. Not a lot of businesses are from here. They can't afford it, since prices have been jacked up so much. It's difficult for any small business to function."

Wenzel is a small business owner herself — her company, Design Shrine, hosts the GoHamptons website and she does all the administrative work on her own time. Wenzel estimates revenue for her own business is down roughly a quarter from 2008 — mostly small businesses dropping their websites, unable to afford the monthly hosting costs. 

She said she's owned the GoHamptons domain name for years, and decided now was the time to put it to use. The site launched last week, after a discussion and vote at a recent Occupy the Hamptons meeting made it clear another outlet was needed for locally-owned businesses.

"I didn't even know about a lot of these boutiques," she said. "I remember reading a letter at one of the early meetings we had; it was written by a boutique owner of a Bridgehampton shop. She couldn't even come because she couldn't afford to pay someone to keep over the shop while she was gone. It's pretty bad for people."

Wenzel said the connection linking the website and "Occupy" movement is "community."

"The whole 'Occupy' movement here is community-driven," she said. "We're not looking for hand-outs, and it's not about being rich — being rich is OK — but buying our politicians is not OK. Everyone should have a comfortable income, education, shelter, and health care."

Jaguar-Guy November 29, 2011 at 11:29 AM
Yes Ty, supporting local business is a cause I totally support, and which I do daily.
Deborah G Flynn November 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Well thart's waht all you uber liberals have done to yourself. The hedgefund owners who put cash in the Democrtat coffers are the same elitists who occupy the Hamptons. Look around you think those Liberals care about YOUR community? Nope they care about themselves and pretend to be ever so concerned about the "little" guy. You voted this way now you got exactly what you voted for. If you want the small businesses to succeed get Tim Bishop out and a republican like Randy Altschuler in so there will be some fairness. Not the garbage the Left wing liberals spoon down your throats.
Sharon Rafferty November 29, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Rupublicans ???? when are they going to help by geting rid of the millionaire tax ??? Tim Bishop has helped many people ive yet to find a republican that does
Carrie Ann Salvi November 29, 2011 at 02:31 PM
I LOVE this idea! Regardless of how you feel about Occupy, everyone should agree that shopping local and supporting your neighbors cannot be a bad idea! If everyone would make this effort, it would help the community a great deal. Thanks Ty!!
Kevin Gray November 29, 2011 at 03:39 PM
I think business owners ought not advertise that they voted for Obama. Might hurt business a bit.
David D'Agostino November 29, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Wow, every time there is an article discussing OWS the children come out to play. Here you have someone trying to do good for the community. She should be thanked, not vilified.
Jaguar-Guy November 29, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Man, can't we all just get along ??!!! This is an article (I hope) about supporting local biz, nothing more. Good luck Ty, and go Jags (now that they fired their coach finally) !!
Katt November 29, 2011 at 05:24 PM
I don't know about you, but I have to shop where I can afford to. Out of town! From Bridgehampton to Riverhead. I haven't even walked down Main St. window shopping in years, what's the point! The days of Brills are long gone.
Ty Wenzel November 29, 2011 at 05:30 PM
Hey folks... I really don't know why people have to be nasty all the time. We vote people in by voting for them - duh. If you want your candidate to win, then get on the phone, streets and get people behind him/her. When the vote is in, then deal with it. I could donate $50,000,000 to this town, and still the whiners will come out. The only reason why my personal life comes up in this article is because I am donating my hosting and designer services to this cause. It's not like Joe mentioned where I like to shop or who does my hair, sheesh. Support your community, that's all I care about. Katt - that is precisely the issue. If we don't step in soon to support our local businesses, it will be all Ralph Lauren... Look, even if you get some of your gifts locally, it helps. No one judges those who can't afford to shop here to go to Riverhead or wherever... but if you can, please shop locally. Jag... nice to see you again... :)
Kevin. November 29, 2011 at 07:04 PM
The sentiment described in the article, namely, shopping local even at the expense of large package stores is very critical to our way of life. As is, the freedom to protest that which you don't like. Thank you for any effort that calls attention to the importance of preserving the small entrepreneur, the life blood and strength of our country.
Jerry Can November 30, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Nice idea and gesture. Maybe you could add a help wanted section for local jobs too.
oonald November 30, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Hey Sharon Rafferty I'm a business owner on the east end of Long Island , If it wasn't for the rich none of us business owners would be in business. think about it, I never made a dime working for a poor guy . The rich make more jobs then any other means The govt. make taxed based jobs that cost us all more tax money, then the union got involved and holy crap . And Tim Bishop has done nothing for any of us, mta taxes your cell phone your property tax your reggie for your car and payroll tax a % goes to the MTA yea thanks Tim Bishop ,He is useless trust me Look at what he did to the Southampton Collage and where is that 13 million you lost the tax payers Tim!!!!! Sorry sharon your wrong.
Jaguar-Guy November 30, 2011 at 12:37 PM
I'm totally on the "Ty Train" on this one !! ;-) Local business owners are our neighbors, and our friends. To keep our own neighborhoods going, we must continue to support our "friends". The truly rich are not living out east (or shopping out east) through the L-O-N-G cold winters. They come in the summer, for a very limited time period, and then leave us until next year. I hope business is picking up, especially after hearing Black Friday sales and Cyber-Monday sales were record-breaking.
MARTIN DREW November 30, 2011 at 05:45 PM
Ralph Lauren did not create or contribute to the demise of our economy ; using his name to make a weak point is not appropriate . Ralph Lauren is a brand known for comfortable clothing ; desired by people who desire comfortable homes . The use of Ralph Lauren in this story is questioned. Ralph Lauren did not cause or the economic Disparity felt by occupiers ..
Peter Sivere December 01, 2011 at 03:29 AM
The SEC Kicked the Can & the NY Court System Hid the Records http://www.independentsentinel.com/2011/11/the-sec-kicked-the-can-the-ny-court-system-hid-the-records/
Ty Wenzel December 04, 2011 at 05:04 AM
The problem is that we have allowed the summer folks to create an unsustainable environment. Commercial spaces remain empty, close or dead-slow all year because they cater to the wealthy, when they are out here, they hire from Russia, Ireland, Jamaica... almost never locally. Then local businesses are all excited about the summer people coming out here to shop but in essence they drove the prices up and now we're in a pickle. This is not sustainable for anyone who wants to live here. Catering to people who come out here three months out of the year is not a way to run an entire segment of Long Island... And something needs to change.
Ty Wenzel December 04, 2011 at 05:06 AM
It's late. Sorry for the typos.
Ty Wenzel December 05, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Hey Jerry -- Great minds think alike. This is in the works, actually. I'm just about finished with a free east end bartering website where we can trade services. Then comes the local jobs site... :)

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