For West Hempstead resident Kimberly Orlic, it was a surreal event.
Orlic, who owns A New Leaf tea store on 7th Street in Garden City, received a call in late August, asking if she would be interested in offering her store as a location for a cable TV show. Soon afterward, she discovered that the show was “Long Island Medium,” starring Theresa Caputo.
On Sunday, the show’s season premiere, filmed inside A New Leaf, aired on TLC.
“I have no idea how my store became a candidate for the show,” Orlic said. “I was asked to sign a nondisclosure [agreement] before I knew the show’s name, and soon after was told the name but wasn’t told any date. They said, ‘We saw your shop and think it’s a great location to shoot a TV show.’”
But Orlic didn’t know until the day before the episode was shot that Caputo and a production crew were coming. “I’m assuming they only give you one day’s notice,” she said, “so you don’t call a million people and tell them about it.”
So what is Caputo really like? “She’s very outgoing, very Long Island, very pleasant, and happy to talk to us,” Orlic said.
Caputo and her crew came into the store at 4 p.m. the day of the shoot, and stayed until 10. “They had to mic everybody up, and crowds started to form inside and outside the store,” Orlic recounted. “It was packed in here. We had to turn a lot of people away.”
Once everyone was camera-ready, Caputo entered the store with her daughter, Victoria, and ordered tea. They sat down and made small talk. “I was working behind the counter and couldn’t participate in that end of the show,” Orlic said.
Caputo ultimately gave a reading to a regular customer named Martha, who declined to be identified further. During the reading, Caputo discussed Martha’s husband, who died in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. She assured Martha that he was still here, and watching over her and their family.
After the reading, Caputo did an off-camera, post-interview session with Martha and her daughter, for which everyone but the three of them was asked to leave the store. The business shut down for an hour while the interview took place.
“My youngest got very emotional about the reading that was given Martha, and Theresa talked to her about the afterlife and really she reassured her,” Orlic said. “It was a really cool experience and lots of fun to see it happen from the back end.”
Orlic’s store has enjoyed a great run of publicity since it opened in September 2012, with coverage in Newsday, The New York Times, Long Island Pulse — and now the showcase of TLC.