- The TJ Maxx where Amber Heard was spotted is a secret gem in the affluent Hamptons.
- Reality TV star and Hamptonite Jill Zarin said “it’s literally like Saks Fifth Avenue in the Hamptons.”
- An East Hampton resident said of TJ Maxx’s location, “Everyone goes there.”
The biggest open secret in the Hamptons isn’t the latest cool restaurant opening or celebrity sightings. It’s a TJ Maxx discount chain tucked away in a nondescript strip mall near Montauk Highway.
As the rest of the world watched Amber Heard shop at the TJ Maxx store last week, the actor – whose high-profile libel case with ex-husband Johnny Depp ended after a jury ruled Both parties liable for defamation – know something they don’t: This is the legendary East End’s secret hot spot.
The under-the-radar 33,000 square foot TJ Maxx outpost in the ultra-exclusive hamlet of Bridgehampton – where the average house sale is $3.62 million – has almost become a sartorial speakeasy for budget-conscious elites and the summer class.
Mona Sharaf, a personal shopper in New York, has limited time when she travels to the Hamptons from Manhattan during the summer months, but she makes time for TJ Maxx.
“I make it a point to shop there – it’s a big secret,” Sharaf said. “They supply these designer clothes to the neighborhood. They market based on clientele. That’s why you’ll find better things in Bridgehampton than in Brooklyn.”
Sharaf, who says she took her customers to the discount chain, said a $1,000 budget would stretch more at TJ Maxx than any retail store. “Instead of two coins, you can get six,” she said.
And lest anyone catch her under the store’s fluorescent lights, Sharaf said she wasn’t embarrassed. “I met some friends there – there’s no shame in getting a bargain,” she said.
When reached by phone, an associate of TJ Maxx at the Bridgehampton location objected when I asked about celebrity shoppers in the store. “I guess so, especially in the summer, but I don’t really know. I couldn’t really tell you,” an unidentified employee said.
But Hamptons experts swear by the store’s “Runway” section, which features top designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Badgley Mishka, Balmain and more. This is also the section where Heard and her sister, Whitney Henriquez, were filmed shopping.
The Hamptons’ top open secret is also a local celebrity favorite
“It’s literally like Saks Fifth Avenue in the Hamptons,” said Jill Zarin, Hamptons luminary and former “Real Housewives of New York.” The reality TV star, along with her daughter, even has a line of candles under their Jill & Ally brand brought to the store. “My friends go there all the time,” said Zarin, who will meet them to shop there or keep her boyfriend waiting in the car.
Zarin explained the mystique. “They only buy a few pieces of something per store — they want it to be a scavenger hunt,” she said of TJ Maxx’s location. “You can find Tory Burch shoes that may still be in a store in town.”
Hamptons insider and real estate broker, Bianca D’Alessio, star of the Discovery+ reality show “Selling the Hamptons,” called the store a “secret gem” among all East End boutiques. “I’m still on a mission there. You go with a mission,” she said.
“Everyone goes there, especially this one,” blogger and socialite Stacy Geisinger, who has a summer home in nearby East Hampton, told Insider. “It’s a secret hot spot that nobody talks about,” she added, noting that “fancy people” are eating up the assortment of Pucci, Vince and Valentino on offer. “They don’t want to share, so there’s more for them,” said Geisinger, the blogger behind Stacy Knows, noting the competition for limited pieces: “Well, they could tell me about it, a size 14, s ‘they’ is a size 2.”
Geisinger recalls a woman on the gala circuit who told her about the store years ago. “She came up to me and said, ‘The best TJ Maxx in the whole country is here in the Hamptons,'” Geisinger said.
There’s one more faux pas Geisinger warned against: leaving the telltale tag, which Geisinger says he once spotted on someone in the Hamptons. “If you can find something and it fits, and it’s a designer, who cares if it’s TJ Maxx? Nobody needs to know, as long as you take that big tag off,” said she declared. “Everyone knows what their label looks like.”
Geisinger adores her printed Pucci dress, which she snagged for less than $300. Last winter, she slipped into the brightly colored bodycon dress for the Shop the Day Away luncheon at the legendary Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, with confidence. “I felt like a million dollars,” she told Insider, “but I only spent a few hundred.”
For philanthropist and influencer Jean Shafiroff, she can always find something at the Hamptons location.
“They have pretty much everything you could want and more,” Shafiroff said, adding that she brought her songwriter friend, Lucia Hwong Gordon, to shop at the store. Shafiroff remembers hanging a Runway dress on her daughter. “It was designer and a fraction of the price, which was great,” she said. “Let’s face it: everyone loves a bargain.