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Story - Food

Jul 3, 2019 11:08 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Provisions Brings Healthy Options To Water Mill

Bill Renna in the new Provisions space in Water Mill. Mr. Renna will be manager of the new cafe and market. MICHAEL HELLER
Jul 8, 2019 10:53 AM

The demand for good food never wanes and the awareness for natural and organic is on a steady rise. These healthy options are often associated with quality, something East Enders, with direct access to local farms, neither want nor need to sacrifice. A mainstay for more than four decades, Provisions Natural Foods Market and Café in Sag Harbor has met the demand, offering a wide selection of groceries, breakfast and lunch options, plus family and home products. The devoted following inhabiting villages further west will be able to enjoy their favorite goods as the shop expands to a second location in Water Mill this summer.

Helmed by owner Rich Kresberg since 1996, Provisions has allowed him to take care of his own personal needs while helping others. The restaurant veteran had committed to his own health after developing a form of rheumatoid arthritis that would have required him to take steroids for the rest of his life. He knew intuitively that was not the path for him, and decided to overhaul his diet, take supplements, and see a naturopathic doctor in New York City. The benefits of this rigorous program led to a greater sense of overall well-being, eventually landing Mr. Kresberg on the East End full-time.

“I decided I wouldn’t move back to the city and looked for something to do out here,” Mr. Kresberg recalls. “At that time, the owner of Provisions wanted to sell. I was a customer at that point and it was just fortuitous, really. It fit in with what I was trying to do with my life.”

There is no doubt the organic and natural foods industry is growing. Some of the world’s largest retailers have made the shift with places like Wal-Mart and Costco offering organic products and Amazon purchasing Whole Foods in 2017. On the East End, Mr. Kresberg has found people have a conviction in the environment around the industry as well. Organic has become synonymous with quality.

A heightened awareness in the value of caring for one’s body through food has been good for Provisions.

“Business has increased dramatically,” Mr. Kresberg shares, noting the local population has increased as well, especially after September 11, 2001. “The interest has become much more publicized. It has evolved and isn’t so fringe anymore.”

When approached recently about opening a second location, Mr. Kresberg knew the spot at The Mill Center in Water Mill was a great opportunity. Having once been home to a Citarella market, the space—which had been vacant for some time—is conducive to having a similar type of business there. The landlords were also excited about the possibility and offered an attractive flexibility to see if the concept can work. Mr. Kresberg thinks it will.

The new two-story shop, with an opening date aimed for mid-July, is twice the size of the current location. Plans are still being finalized, but the idea is to offer a market on the ground floor with a larger inventory and a café on the second floor. Rather than the café current customers are used to with healthy dishes made-to-order, there will be a stronger emphasis on grab-and-go items, perfect for beachgoers and others on the move. The menu may also vary at the Water Mill location, though customers can still expect the same quality they’ve grown accustomed to.

“Coming from opening my first restaurant without money in a sketchy neighborhood in New York City, I think this concept will work here,” Mr. Kresberg says. “It was pretty down in the dumps, but I succeeded. You don’t need a 5th Avenue location. If you have a good business, you can make it work.”

Provisions in Water Mill will be located at 760 Montauk Highway. For more information, visit provisionsnaturalfoods.com.

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