Coffee shop on NY's Fire Island celebrates Pride by giving back to community

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Thursday, June 23, 2022
Fire Island coffee shop celebrates Pride by giving back to community
A coffee shop that opened on Fire Island during the coronavirus pandemic is celebrating Pride Month by giving back to its beloved community. Lauren Glassberg has the story.

FIRE ISLAND, New York -- When it comes to New York's Fire Island, the beach and the community are the big draws, especially so for members of the gay community who've found havens in Cherry Grove and the Pines.

Randy Lauwasser began his trips to the Pines in 1985 while his husband, Jim Skicki, followed suit in 2003 when he and Randy began dating.

"I came out here from the Midwest and to me, it was like a fairy tale place," Lauwasser said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, they headed to their Fire Island home, where the idea for BeachBreak Coffee was born.

"Beach break is a surfing term, it's where the wave breaks over a sandbar and that's what we have here and also of course, it refers to a coffee breaks," Skicki said.

Their beans are roasted in Savannah, Georgia and ground in their home on Fire Island with varieties named for the communities.

"We have a Pines which is Guatemalan, we have a Cherry Grove which is Colombian, we have a Lighthouse Espresso blend," Skicki said.

The products are distributed in true Fire Island fashion.

"We distribute up and down Fire Island. I have my e-bike and that's opened up the distribution part of it," Lauwasser said.

Because of certain commercial restrictions on the island, they haven't been able to open their dream café, but stores off and on the island stock their product.

ALSO READ | Preserving the history of the Fire Island Pines

Step off the 20-minute ferry from Sayville and you'll find bamboo-lined pathways welcoming you to The Pines on Fire Island.

That includes Denizen, which opened last summer.

"I love their branding. They have an incredible story, they have an incredibly rich business background with their expertise and that they bring into their new business," owner Ryan Espinosa said.

Ryan Espinosa was happy to sell BeachBreak because it pays homage to the place he loves.

There's now a Pride version, part of the proceeds this month going to help two artists residency programs on Fire Island.

"It gives us an opportunity to give back to the community which is wonderful," Lauwasser said.

The NYC Pride March broadcast special, co-hosted by Angelica Ross along with WABC's Ken Rosato, Lauren Glassberg and Sam Champion, will return for its sixth consecutive year on ABC 7 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on Sunday, June 26 as well on, ABC News Live, and ABC7 New York's Connected TV Apps on streaming platforms Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku