Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies will relocate after Hurricane Sandy slammed the Red Hook sweet shop — but the waterfront stalwart won’t leave the neighborhood, come hell or high water.
Instead, Steve Tarpin will move his pie-making plant and retail shop 600 feet away from Pier 41 to Pier 40, where he will bolster his defenses to be ready the next time a super-storm strikes.
“The idea is to be more prepared so that we will be able to deal with flooding in such a way that causes less damages,” said the owner of the 12-year-old namesake business.
The famed shop will still have a Van Dyke Street address, but the move will more than double the size of the current location, making production more practical and giving the cooks a roomier in-house bakery, said Tarpin.
The baker always wanted to expand his wholesale and retail operations, but it wasn’t until Sandy struck that he acted on his pie dream.
“Hurricane Sandy just rearranged everything for everyone,” said the pie maestro whose inundated shop lost $35,000 in perishables and suffered up to $30,000 in damages. “She was a paradigm shift — everybody completely shifted their whole thought process about what’s possible. She created opportunity for people to make changes.”
The storm cut his power for 15 days and kept his shop closed for weeks — including the Thanksgiving rush — but it gave him a blank slate to plan his bigger bakery built to withstand storms.
Tarpin wants to flood-proof the new space by keeping all electrical and mechanical equipment off of the ground and out of reach from powerful surges, building the sheetrock walls on top of water resistant cinderblocks, and installing a back-up generator system.
“If we build it in the right way it won’t put us out of business for a month,” said the Miami native.
It will take hard work — but relocating somewhere further inland is simply not an option for pie producer.
“I love being on the water,” he said. “Any time we played with the idea of relocating to a place that wasn’t on the water it was just not appealing.”
Tarpin is excited about the move, but said he will miss the smaller, more quaint space and his longtime landlord Greg O’Connell, who helped develop the neighborhood.
“It’s bittersweet,” Tarpin said.
Tarpin hopes to move his business to 185 Van Dyke St. by April 1, but for now Brooklynites can still indulge in his sweet and tangy confections at the shop at [204 Van Dyke St. between Conover and Ferris streets in Red Hook, (718) 858-5333].