When Valley Stream’s Sip This closed in June, the neighborhood lost a cultural hub, which has hosted art, comedy, music shows and various other events over its nine years in business.
Now two Valley Streamers are seeking to replicate some of that same experience while bringing something new to the storied storefront at 64 Rockaway Ave. While they are still working out the specifics, co-owners Darlene Gomez and Shanelle County say Standard Pour, as their incoming business is called, will offer specialty drinks such as coffee, tea and eventually wine. They plan to open in mid-October.
“We’re excited to bring back to the community a space that offers many of the things they loved about visiting this address while adding a new experience,” Gomez said.
“We’re looking forward to bringing something new and original to the community,” County said. The two are cousins, and, County added, starting a business together is something they have long wanted to do.
Before Sip This, the shop had been the location of the legendary record shop Slipped Disc, which operated from 1982 to 2008, and before that, Frogs, a boutique clothing store, which opened in 1973 and gained notoriety in 1975 for being the only place on Long Island where tickets for a six-night gig by the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden could be purchased.
Gomez and County said that opening a new business, particularly during a pandemic, has come with its ups and downs, but the two are determined to make it work.
“There are some days I’m more excited than others, but the desire to have my own business and, in effect, create generational wealth is the inspiration,” County said, adding that this is her first time owning a business. “While I have experience in the industry, I don’t know if that can ever prepare me for this business venture . . . However, sometimes you just have to take a chance.”
“It’s important to take great ideas that you have and make them realities,” Gomez said. “Success is actualizing a goal, and when you reach it, creating new ones. It’s a process.” She noted that although she has launched businesses in the past, each, in her experience, has come with its own set of challenges. “I wonder if we made the right decisions, and every decision that we do make, we have to think about how it will affect our customers, our product and our brand.”
In addition to coffee and wine, the new shop will also offer deserts, pastries and small plates of food through regular indoor dining and delivery services. Both owners said that staff would be trained to serve beverages and food according to the New York state Covid-19 guidelines for safe food services. They also look forward to seeing the community’s response to the coffee shop.
“We are still working on our menu, and we do not have a concrete timeline for when deliveries will start, but it will happen,” Gomez said. “I want people to recognize the dedication, diligence and hard work that we’re putting into making sure that they are having an experience, in the same way that we would want when we go out.”
Many Valley Stream residents said that although they will always miss Sip This, they look forward to what Standard Pour might bring to the community.
“It’s sad when I see any local business close because it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to keep a small business running, but I can’t wait for the new coffee shop to open on Rockaway Avenue,” said resident Anayo Michel, who also owns a dance studio in the neighborhood. “My clients love to support local small businesses, and it will be a place for people to meet and wait for their children to finish dance classes.”
Valley Streamer Anthony Cruz said he was disappointed when he found out that Sip This was closing, but now he is excited to see a new business take over the same location.
“It’s important to have a space in the community that feels warm and inviting because it becomes a hub for residents, and I hope that Standard Pour does well,” he said. “I can’t wait to visit when they open and support a new business.”
“This establishment could be a turning point in Valley Stream,” resident Cristina Arroyo agreed. “The business will offer something not commonly seen in Valley Stream — a glimpse of a nightlife for young adults. This is progress.”