Great Shapes Swimwear gets a lifeline in Roslyn Village storefront

Great Shapes Swimwear gets a lifeline in Roslyn Village storefront
Business partners Dan Burns (left) and Joel Weinberg (right) with dog Maya, who often greets customers. (Courtesy of Dan Burns)

Great Shapes Swimwear, a locally owned swimsuit business with prior locations in Mineola, Roslyn Heights, Merrick and New Jersey, has opened a pop-up store in Roslyn Village.

The shop is located at 17 Lumber Road around the corner from Hendrick’s Tavern.

Business owner Joel Weinberg has worked in the swimwear industry for 50 years. Now, his friend Dan Burns, a financial adviser, has partnered with him on the new Roslyn Village location.

“Joel was in Roslyn Heights and he served people in that location for over 30 years,” Burns said. “With that said, Roslyn Village is very quaint. Special. When you walk around and you see some of the houses and some of the architecture from the late 1800s, you realize you’re in a special town.”

While the business partners are excited to be in their new location, the move to Roslyn Village was a way to make the best out of a sticky situation.

In October, Weinberg’s landlord informed the business owner that he wanted to renovate the building. Weinberg did not oppose the renovations, but he did emphasize to his landlord the importance of finishing construction prior to this summer.

“Joel didn’t want to miss the summer season,” Burns said. “He has been serving Long Island and the women in Long Island for 43 years and he wasn’t gonna miss the summer.”

Renovations were estimated to be finished by April or May, but the building is currently still under construction.

When Burns, who said he has been a longtime friend of Weinberg, heard of the problem, he decided to bring to Weinberg’s attention an empty storefront he had noticed in the village.

Now, Weinberg and Burns have moved the business into the Roslyn storefront. While they are unsure of how long they will be at the new location, they said they are excited about the future.

The partners will continue Weinberg’s unique, old-school business model in the Roslyn storefront. While the store does have a website, customers are unable to purchase swimsuits online, a purposeful choice rather than an oversight in the digital age.

“Fit is the most important thing that we sell,” Burns said. “Our staff is trained in this. They’ve seen all different types of people, all body shapes, and they know the brands so well that they can sort of point someone in the direction of what might fit them best.”

The dedication to fit goes beyond well-trained staff to beautiful dressing rooms and recommended swimsuit alterations, Burns said.

Great Shapes also has a large focus on making the customer comfortable, a practice that goes back as far as Weinberg’s career.

Weinberg started his career as a salesman for two large swimwear companies, but he  lacked job security in sales. Weinberg said since the North Shore didn’t have any retail swim stores at the time, he opened his own.

Soon enough, Weinberg said he owned three or four of the largest grossing swim stores in the country. A career he fell into due to “sheer luck” became a passion, he said.

The store owner said he especially liked finding swimwear companies early on, before they became popular, and securing exclusivity on certain swimwear lines for his stores.

Weinberg is responsible for bringing in around 25 swimwear lines to the United States, the store owner said.

Today, his stores carry a wide range of swimwear and lingerie lines, including Maryan Melhoen, Karla Colletto, Heidi Klein, Carmen Marc Valvo, Michael Kors and many more.

Even with the expansive swim collection, Weinberg said he knows swimsuit shopping is no easy task.

“A woman is probably most uncomfortable outside of her house in a swimsuit,” Weinberg said. “Our goal is always to make that woman or that young girl or their grandmother or whomever feel as comfortable as they’re going to ever feel in a swimsuit, knowing that the world is going to see them.”

It seems as though Weinberg has achieved this goal. One woman drove hours to shop at one of his New Jersey stores after she moved, Weinberg said. And many young women who shopped at his stores when they were just 13 have returned years later to shop with their college friends, the store owner boasted.

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