There’s something to be said about leaving a secure job to strike out on your own as an entrepreneur, especially in this day and age of economic turmoil. But that’s just what Bessie, the new owner of Stationery 339 on Wantagh Avenue, has successfully done. A former Kindergarten teacher, one day Bessie said she just felt she needed a change; but unlike a lot of people who get that urge, she actually went and did something about it. “I taught in Whitestone, Queens, where I used to live,” she said. “I had taught for about five years, but then I had a bit of a mid-life crisis...I just wanted to try something new. I had always wanted to have my own business at some point in my life, and I just felt like it was the right time.”
Follow Levittown Patch on Facebook. Looking around for the right opportunity, Bessie caught wind of the impending retirement of the owner of Levittown’s Enterprise Stationery after 16 years in business, and decided to look into the possibility of taking it over. “It seemed like a manageable business - there’s a lot of activity, and I really liked the community here... everyone is friendly, they just want to talk and know your name,” she said. “I also like greeting cards, and I thought I could expand it and bring in some new things.” Using some inheritance left to her by her parents, Bessie bought out the card shop, re-christening it “Stationery 339,” and opened her doors for business on Dec. 28.
While she still needs to get a new awning to reflect the name change, she’s already convinced she has made the right career choice, based on the response of the local community. “They’ve been great, and I think that’s one of the reasons I went for it,” she said. “I previewed the business with the former owner...he was wonderful. He gave me a lot of tips, and I spent about six weeks here with him, learning the business, and it just felt good.” While making sure to retain all of the popular staples of the business, such as 50 percent-off greeting cards, cigarettes, and NY Lottery tickets, Bessie is also in the process of adding new merchandise, such as hand-made teas from upstate, crystal pendants, and a wider assortment of cards. “I know my father would have approved,” she said. “He was a peddler...he was into long hours and hard work, and there’s a lot of that here, so I think he would have been happy with my choice.”