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Records and vintage clothing co-op opens in Sea Cliff

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It is no secret that its focus on the arts is one of Sea Cliff’s most defining features. This, owners said, made it the perfect location to start the Moonshot Emporium co-op, which opened on Thursday.

The 316 Sea Cliff Ave. storefront will feature three different businesses: Wormhole Vinyl, Superior Records and Crazy Lady Vintage, owned by Andrew Schipper, Luca Williams and Lisa Leonardi, respectively. Schipper’s and Williams’s businesses will focus on selling records and other music-related items, while Leonardi will use the space to sell vintage clothing from throughout the 20th century.

Although he is only 15, Williams, a resident of Oyster Bay and sophomore at Portledge School in Locust Valley, said his collection of records has escalated into the thousands over the past few years. Throughout September, he operated a pop-up record shop on the Sea Cliff Avenue property. The location is perfect for a full-time record store, he said, and with business-related backing from his mother, Cara, everything is falling in line perfectly.

“I think Sea Cliff is a very artistic community,” Williams said. “A lot of the people there are into vinyl and the nearest record stores are far away, so I knew it would be a good feel and it would be profitable and it’s a good fit for the community.”

Williams said he knew Schipper would be an excellent business partner, as the two had become acquainted while Schipper sold antiques and records out of Tin Rooster Antiques in Northport. Schipper, 50, said Williams was a great customer of his and a very serious collector for his age. What makes a good record store is someone who is a collector themselves, he said, so between the two of them, success can be had.

Although they have lived tremendously different lives, Schipper and Williams both said music is among their greatest passions. Schipper said he has been around music all his life, describing himself as a “Manhattan club kid” who was raised on records. He credits music with helping him through mental health crises throughout his life. Williams said he has spent much of his childhood and adolescence in bands playing a multitude of instruments, whether it be guitar, drums, piano or anything else he could get his hands on.

Schipper, who lives in Huntington with his husband, Joe, said he and Williams make for an interesting partnership to say the least. “I’m some queer gutter punk and he’s this kid in prep school,” he said. “It’s a reality show waiting to happen.”

Leonardi, 62, said she was excited to come on board when Schipper told her about the opportunity. A vintage clothing enthusiast, she said selling old clothing became a passion of hers later in life and toward the end of her tenure as the orchestra director at Huntington High School. She began selling as Crazy Lady Vintage at flea markets before her retirement and devoted herself to it after she retired, she said, and she met Schipper a few years back while she was selling out of Rosie’s Vintage in Huntington.

Leonardi said Crazy Lady Vintage sells clothing from all different eras of the last 100 years, from the flappers of the 1920s to the fashion staples of the 40s and 50s, as well as the unique and flamboyant styles of the 1980s. She said she makes her clothing as affordable as possible so people from all walks of life can enjoy the vintage items she brings to the table.

There are several benefits to wearing vintage clothing over newer items, Leonardi said. Part of the fun, she said, comes from putting on a 1930s dress and thinking about the people who wore it over the decades. It is also a great way of preserving the environment, she said.

“It’s very important that we save the earth,” Leonardi said. “I feel very strongly that we need to be recycling and reusing things.”

Schipper said the variety of items in Wormhole Vinyl is also extensive. He said he sells both old and new records, which can range in price from just a few dollars to well into the hundreds for rarer items. He also said he sells vintage music equipment including old school turntables and artwork.

All three of Moonshot Emporium’s owners said they are excited to bring their wares to Sea Cliff and help enhance the community’s already rich arts culture.

“The bottom line of all of this is to get people into new music and new genres that nobody’s really explored,” Williams said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”