The Port Salt Cave originally opened in December, but owner Sue Sullivan decided it was best to put the grand opening off for a few months so that the weather might improve.
“When we opened it was in the holiday season,” she said. “So that was kind of crazy. And then we had the weather — it was cold and there were snowstorms, so we agreed that March would be the best time.”
Those who attended Friday’s ceremony would be hard pressed to notice a difference, as cold temperatures and strong winds from the bay kept the ribbon-cutting photo-op short.
But the cold weather did not temper Sullivan’s mood. She said the salt cave has had a successful first few months thanks to the number of people who caught a cold this winter, and she expects continued brisk business through the spring and into the summer.
“And now we’re going to be moving into allergy season, and the [salt cave] is just as good for allergies,” she said. “And then we get into the real hot weather, people are going to want to cool off in the cave.”
Although many of her customers are from Port Washington and the North Shore, Sullivan said that people had come from as far away as the Bronx and Westchester County. The salt cave is a dimly lit room with salt on the floor and in the air that Sullivan said helps with skin and respiratory issues.
Despite the cold weather, the small reception area inside the store was packed with local officials, business owners and community members who had come to attend the official grand opening.
Among those who braved the cold were Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio, state Assemblyman Tony D’Urso, Business Improvement District Executive Director Mariann Dalimonte and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bobbie Polay.
“It’s a very unique place but at the same time, it really fits in with Port Washington and the spirit of the community,” Polay said.
Polay said that Chamber Co-President Mitch Schwartz had previously visited the Salt Cave.
“He told the whole board during our meeting he really enjoyed it,” she said.
Sullivan said that since the Port Salt Cave opened late last year, she has enjoyed strong support from Port Washington.
“Business has been amazing,” she said. “The community has embraced this place like I couldn’t believe. I’m meeting the most amazing people … people who are willing to try something new.”