Wantagh is proving, yet again, to be a town where everybody can get a chance to pursue their aspirations. More and more businesses are opening and on Aug. 19, three of them celebrated by cutting the ribbon with the Wantagh Chamber of Commerce.
New businesses included South Shore Customs on Wantagh Avenue, Anthony’s Deli on Beech Street, and Fuscamo’s Bar and Grill on Merrick Road. “It means Wantagh is growing,” said Linda Swanson, the Chamber’s executive director. “It’s a great place to open a business.”
Swanson explained that when a business opens in Wantagh, the Chamber reaches out and invites them to become a member. It then holds a ribbon cutting ceremony and spreads the word about the new establishment. “It shows the Chamber of Commerce is welcoming you to the community,” said its president, Denise Langweber.
Each business has its own story of how it began and found its way to Wantagh. For some, choosing a location was not even a question. “We grew up here,” said Ian Borneman, co-founder of South Shore Customs, located at 2101 Wantagh Ave.
He and his partner, Kevin Ciminelli, founded the establishment, located just blocks from their homes. “We literally walk here,” Ciminelli said.
Borneman went on to say how space opened up and the opportunity presented itself. Both owners hold degrees in graphic design — Borneman from the New York Institute of Technology and Ciminelli from Adelphi University. One year, Ciminelli received a screen printing kit for his birthday and the two of them decided to print their own shirt design. They then got the idea to try and make it into a business and South Shore Customs came out of that. “It just kind of happened,” Borneman said. “Here we are six years later.”
Other businesses had similar stories of how a passion led to its start. For Walter Kiernan and his father, this story was rooted in their connection as a family, which is how the name of their store became Anthony’s Deli.
Two years before the deli opened, Walter’s brother, Anthony, passed away and his family choose to dedicate their deli to him and open it on his birthday. Next door to the deli’s location of 1931 Beech Street is Step Above Day Care, owned by Walter’s wife and sister. “We try to keep it all in the family,” Kiernan said.
While some businesses were rooted in family, others were rooted in friendship. Fuscamo’s Bar and Grill, located at 3037 Merrick Road, came to be from the aspirations of four childhood friends, Bob Amo, Chris Fusco, Frank Sessa and Keith Amo. They decided to combine their last names to create the name of the restaurant.
“We knew the Wantagh area, saw a spot and took the opportunity,” said Chris Fusco. “Having a restaurant was always a dream I had.”
Another round of ribbon cutting ceremonies is expected in September with the Chamber, including Kidville and Swiftlife, as well as Causeway Deli which is under new ownership.