By  on May 19, 2005

NEW YORK — J. Crew's delivery business was so good in East Hampton last summer that the company has decided to set up semipermanent shop there.

A 1,500-square-foot J. Crew At-the-Beach store is to open on May 28 at 46 Main Street, operating through Dec. 31.

At-the-Beach, J. Crew's first resort store, has been a long time coming to the area. Last summer, the company tested the waters with a beach delivery business. Menus with store offerings were distributed to sunbathers who phoned in orders. Customers received their selections via a 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer roadster with wood sideboards.

A spokeswoman said that the response was successful enough to warrant a store in East Hampton.

The store will be merchandised with apparel and accessories geared for the vacation lifestyle. In addition to the requisite swimsuits, there will be summerweight cashmere sweaters ($148 to $228), Captiva Critter sandals ($158) and Montauk weekend totes, ($39.50, $58 and $78 for small, medium and large).

Casual luxury will be defined by exclusive hand-beaded items from the couture beader Shameeza (about $500), cashmere jellabas ($178) to wear with bathing suits, tumbled deerskin white beach tote bag ($168) and Madras patchwork blazer, ($228). J.Crew also produced houseguest-survival kits ranging in price from $65 for run-of-the-mill overnight guests to $175 for fancy just-took-the-helicopter-from-the-city guests.

The firm is continuing its tradition of designing a one-of-a-kind collector's T-shirt. For the East Hampton store, shirts will be hand-numbered and may feature a scene representative of Old East Hampton. Woven sea grass beach bags with J. Crew At-the-Beach screened in different colors will be used in lieu of shopping bags.

The store was inspired by boutiques in Capri with white floors and white wainscotting on the walls and a light, airy feeling. All the white will be offset by the colors of the cashmere products, which includes tangerine and turquoise, among other shades.

While J. Crew may have wanted a long-term lease, there was none available. The company decided to take the Main Street location because, "It's the perfect season for us to be there. We know these opportunities don't come along that often. Based on how things are this summer, we'd love to be there permanently. We also do love the idea of this being open temporarily because that makes it exciting."Just in case, the Wagoneer is being pressed into service again for house calls.

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