IMAGES: EM GALLAGHER
Lindsay Grodzki is a ceramicist and the co-owner of S&S CORNERSHOP located out on the east end of Long Island in Springs, New York. Springs is a small and beautiful woodsy hamlet of East Hampton – a place we at Nu Swim love to frequent as often as possible, and have found much joy in visiting S&S CORNERSHOP for healthy groceries, snacks, coffee, sandwiches etc. on our way to some of the beautiful beaches nearby. Lindsay and her husband Chris have made this place home to what feels like the entire neighborhood. All of the food and pantry items they offer are organic, non-gmo – all housewares are ethically sourced from small brands like her and her partners own.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF – WHAT YOU DO, WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THIS PATH ETC.
I’m a small business owner, ceramist and mother – born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is a very special place to be from (thank you mom and dad!). I miss the desert and the open landscape, but growing up I thought that I knew best and wanted to move to California to be by the ocean. I spent most of my 20s there, both in the north and south. Then I moved to New York when I was almost 30. I had always been curious about the east coast, and was trying to learn a new skill set. I was curious about bag making, so I emailed this guy Chris about a work exchange. Funnily enough and very of that moment, I found his small apron and bag company called Stanley & Sons on a blog. Long story short, we ended up falling in love and are now married.
We’ve lived together in Springs for about seven years now. It’s a woodsy little hamlet of East Hampton. We wanted more work space for Stanley & Sons, and to be closer to surf, which Chris and I learned to do together. Moving out of Brooklyn made me realize we could grow our business wherever we wanted to, and there’s a freedom in that.
In the meantime, we opened our business S&S Corner Shop about 4 years ago. It’s a coffee shop and homewares store in this beautiful building, located deep in Springs. We continued to make bags and aprons in a studio above the shop. The store is so consuming now, and fills most of my time, but I also make ceramics under the name Wheel Ceramic. Throwing ceramics began as a creative outlet outside of work, and when I can fit it into my day, it brings me so much calm.
I’m really happy with my life path so far and what I’ve made for myself and my family. I became a mother 3 years ago, we have a little boy named Eddy. Becoming a mother has been everything, it cracked me wide open. Eddy is my heart, he brings me so much joy and exposes every part of me, the good and the ugly. He’s a tremendous amount of work, I’ve never been so tired. Worth every ounce of energy.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT S&S CORNERSHOP'S MISSION?
We opened S&S with the idea of stocking all of our favorite things that we missed from the city and also to offer quality coffee to the area. We make some mean pour-over for an affordable price, if I do say so myself. Besides coffee, our shop has a homegoods element, as well as grocery. All of the food and pantry items we offer are organic, non-gmo, and the homewares are ethically sourced by small brands, which is important to us as small brand owners ourselves. We stock things by people or objects we have personal connections with in some way, and hopefully that care and connection comes across to customers.
HOW DID YOU END UP IN EAST HAMPTON AND WHAT IS IT LIKE TO LIVE SO CLOSE TO THE OCEAN?
Our sewing studio that we ran Stanley & Sons out of, on Grand street in Williamsburg, was sold. It felt like this critical moment: do we stay or go?
We decided we would be happy to leave the city, and gravitated towards an area we already spent so much time surfing at anyway. Springs was the “affordable” part of the Hamptons and we were lucky to find a great, affordable rental on a lark. We truly love living out here. Being so close to water feels spiritual in a way, so intertwined with my happiness, but the Hamptons is certainly a strange place to be. There’s so many different life experiences playing out here, besides the dominant narrative of a summer retreat for the super rich. We’ve found a solid, year-round community of like-minded people who share our values. It’s a hustle to make a living out here, everything is really expensive, but we are giving it our best and are enjoying it while we do.
WHAT DOES BEING BY THE WATER INVOKE IN YOU?
My connection to the water was a slow burn. Being from the desert, I didn’t form a relationship to the ocean until I was 18, and moved to California. I was very strong minded in my desire to move to the coast, and feel just as pulled to it today. A lot of people feel the calm vastness of being by the ocean, but that’s not necessarily true for me. The open water doesn’t always calm me– it can evoke anxiety when the waves are big, or a feeling of powerlessness. The ocean is quite an alien world, so I guess I feel wonder most of all.
TELL US ABOUT SURFING YEAR-ROUND OUT EAST.
Before I had Eddy I would surf year round. Winter surfing is super special, but not for the faint of heart. One winter I paddled out and there were chucks of ice in the break. You need good gear and a strong will, but the reward is there will only be a handful of people out and the waves are perfect.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SWIMMING RITUALS, THINGS YOU DO BEFORE OR AFTER A SWIM?
When I go surfing as soon as I get into the water I say in my head “thank you ocean–” it’s a pretty silly thing I do, but I like to give gratitude to the ocean and to the moment.
HAS HAVING A YOUNG CHILD CHANGED YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH SWIMMING AND SPENDING TIME AT THE BEACH? WE IMAGINE IT IS MUCH HARDER TO TAKE A QUICK VISIT TO THE BEACH, OR GET TIME TO SWIM OR SURF BY YOURSELF?
My relationship to the water has evolved so much– it seems to be an accurate marker of where I am at in my personal life.
My early days in Springs, my partner Chris and I would surf all the time. When we first moved out East that’s pretty much all we did. Hardly worked, surfed a lot. I’m happy we had those years. Now having a store and a kid has lessened our time to surf. I’ve traded my surf days for bay time with Eddy.
Eddy loves to swim. We go almost everyday in the spring and summer. He has this little blue and red wetsuit that’s been his signature look this season. It’s so interesting to watch his relationship to the water develop, to witness him become a stronger swimmer, be so curious about sea life, and balance a sense of caution with fearlessness.
DO YOU HAVE A CHERISHED MEMORY OF SWIMMING?
Swimming in Abiquiu lake in New Mexico with friends. Driving down secret dirt roads, jumping off the red dirt cliffs into the cold, green water.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SEASON?
I really do love summer. I love feeling hot and the ease of throwing on a dress and sandals, but it’s also high season out here, and the pace is unsustainable. In the fall, everything usually quiets down– the tourists leave and the beaches empty. Our store slows and we get some time to breath and enjoy living out here a bit more. This year is different of course, with so many people staying out here during COVID. We’re trying to keep our head above water and find joy where we can.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO WITH WARMER WEATHER? WHAT DOES SPRING/SUMMER LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I look forward to feeling warm again and not layering up everyday. Having a shop out here also means it is time to start preparing for the influx of the summer crowd. It’s a fruitful time, where I can bring in new brands or objects, deep clean the store, and think about how we want to grow in the coming season.
WHAT DO YOU BRING WITH YOU FOR A DAY AT THE BEACH?
A run to the beach usually begins with a run to our shop for some snacks. We stock an absurd amount of beach snacks. I love anything salty. Besides that, I bring a big bottle of water, Eddy’s sand toys and floaties, a big blanket, towels, straw hat, sunscreen. Keep it pretty simple.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FOODS THAT YOU FIND PARTICULARLY NOURISHING OR THAT BRING YOU JOY FOR A DAY BY THE OCEAN?
A beach picnic is usually an early evening activity for us. It comes after we’ve closed the shop for the day, and beaches have emptied out, and the sun's less intense. We’ll go to the bay as a family, or with friends and drink some bottle of natural wine our local wine shop has in, usually out of the wine cups I make. It’s a nice pre-dinner ritual in the warm months, and real come-down from a busy day at the shop or with Eddy.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VEGETABLE? FRUIT? HERB?
Kale – Raspberries – Sage
HOW DO YOU WEAR NU SWIM?
I’ve been loving the Dia One Piece this year. It’s structure makes it feel like it’s a bodysuit, and it looks so natural and flattering as a top with skirt or some high waisted jeans.
MUCH OF NU SWIM'S INSPIRATION COMES FROM FILMS AND ART EITHER DIRECTLY OR LOOSELY RELATED TO WATER – DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SWIMMING OR WATER RELATED FILM, MUSIC OR ART REFERENCE?
Hockney’s pool paintings remain a favorite water reference. Also, the films of Luca Guadagnino. Anything by Guadagnino has such a powerful sun drenched, watery look, especially the one that shares its title with the Hockey painting– A Bigger Splash.
HOW WERE YOU SELF-ISOLATING DURING THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC? CAN YOU RECOMMEND WHAT HELPED YOU STAY GROUNDED? A RITUAL THAT BRINGS YOU PEACE?
Our shop S&S is an essential business and we provide food and coffee for the community. We’ve been open through the pandemic, which has been everything from complicated and humbling, to a welcome distraction from these insane times. I feel lucky that we were able to orient our business more heavily towards food and dry goods, because I know so many small businesses are struggling to make it work right now.
Staying grounded is a constant struggle. Some days feel impossible, between the store, child care, navigating social distancing, and metabolizing the news. But there are bright spots too. Chris and I just bought a home, and making it our own has been such a sweet process. Like the other day, we found this incredible table by a furniture designer Chris likes for way cheap, but it needed a glass top, and we miraculously found one the exact size at a yard sale. Little serendipities like that bring me a lot of happiness.
Another ritual that is bringing me peace right now is getting back to ceramics. The studio where I work is near Eddy’s preschool, and I have a few hours between dropping him off and picking him up to experiment. After so many months of not being able to access this studio or fire completed work, it’s so gratifying.
WHAT ARE A FEW OF YOUR WORK-FROM-HOME OR SELF-ISOLATION ESSENTIALS?
My mother sent me jewelry making materials, and I’ve been making necklaces with little pearls. It’s nice to have a creative project that isn’t inherently tied to my business or profit, and can exist for my own pleasure.