After 19 years of serving up treats to the Westhampton Beach community Kenny Schnabel, owner of Main Street Sweets, has decided to retire, but he said he is leaving the store in good hands — to locals Shawn and Toni Mundinger.
Schnabel said he will miss chatting with customers and his employees, who he has worked with on a daily basis for years, including shift leaders Nancy Hallock, who he has worked with for 18 years; Becky Reeves, who he worked with for eight years; Martha Gilbert, who he employed for six years and John Laadt, who he worked with for five years.
And others, too, he said, including high school students who have since moved on, including Andrew Cohen, who is now attending Harvard University, and Sammy Goldsmith who has opened five Red Mango franchises.
But, while he will miss his employees and hearing stories from customers, Schnabel said he is looking forward to spending his retirement with his wife in Lewes, Delaware. And knowing that he is leaving the store in capable hands makes retirement even sweeter, he said.
"Shawn and Toni are a fantastic local young couple, who already have successful businesses and will do a terrific job with the store," he said.
Toni, who is in her 12th year as owner of Toni's Barbershop on Mill Road, said she is looking forward to running Main Street Sweets with her husband, who is the former owner of East End Sanitation and currently owns two gas stations, one in Patchogue and another in Farmingdale.
"If you know my husband, you would know is and entrepreneur and always looking for a new business," said Toni.
Most recently, she said, he asked her if she wanted to buy a laundromat, but that didn't seem enticing, she said. But, when he presented a plan to purchase Main Street Sweets, she said she was more than thrilled.
"It's a charm in the village and we know how very important small businesses in the villages are," she said, pointing out that Main Street Sweets is just one of two Ben & Jerry chains in the United States that are able to sell not just ice cream, but candy under a grandfathered franchise agreement.
Toni says before she and her husband can open the shop for the season, they must venture to Vermont for a ten-day scoop training.
In the meantime, they are renovating the shop to update it a bit and make room for some new things such as a speciality birthday cake display.
That is just one change that customers will be greeted with by the time Toni said the store reopens for the season around St. Patrick's Day.
"We have a couple things up our sleeve," she said. "But we aren't ready to reveal all our secrets."
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