- The TJ Maxx that Amber Heard was spotted in is a hidden gem in the affluent Hamptons.
- Reality star and Hamptonite Jill Zarin said, “It’s literally like Saks Fifth Avenue in the Hamptons.”
- One East Hampton resident said of the TJ Maxx location, “Everyone goes there.”
The biggest open secret in the Hamptons isn’t the latest cool new restaurant opening or celebrity sighting. It’s a TJ Maxx discount store in a nondescript mall on the Montauk Highway.
While the rest of the world stared at Amber Heard while shopping at the TJ Maxx store last week, the actor — whose high-profile defamation case with ex-husband Johnny Depp was closed after a jury found both parties liable for the defamation — knows something about her do not know. t: It’s the secret hotspot of the fabled East End.
TJ Maxx’s low-key, 3,000-square-foot outpost in the ultra-exclusive hamlet of Bridgehampton — where average home sales are $3.62 million — has almost become a hangout for the budget elite and summer class.
Mona Sharaf, a personal shopper in New York, has limited time when trudging from Manhattan to the Hamptons in the summer months, but she makes time for TJ Maxx.
“I make a point of shopping there – it’s a big secret,” Sharaf said. “They deliver these designer clothes to the neighborhood. They market them based on the clientele. That’s why you can find nicer things in Bridgehampton than in Brooklyn.”
Sharaf, who says she has brought her customers to the discount chain, said a $1,000 budget at TJ Maxx will stretch further than any retail boutique. “Instead of two pieces, you can get six,” she said.
And so that nobody catches her under the bright neon lights in the store, Sharaf said she wasn’t embarrassed. “I meet friends there — there’s no shame in getting a good deal,” she said.
When I reached him by phone, a TJ Maxx employee at the Bridgehampton location was hesitant when I asked about celebrity shoppers in the store. “I think so, especially in the summer, but I don’t really know it by heart. I can’t really tell you,” said an unidentified employee.
But Hamptons pundits swear by the store’s “runway” section, which includes high-profile designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Badgley Mishka, Balmain, and more. It’s also the section where Heard and her sister, Whitney Henriquez, were filmed shopping.
The best open secret in the Hamptons is also a local celebrity favorite
“It’s literally like Saks Fifth Avenue in the Hamptons,” said Jill Zarin, star of the Hamptons and “Real Housewives of New York.” The reality star even has a line of candles in store under her Jill & Ally brand along with her daughter. “My friends go there all the time,” says Zarin, who will meet them to shop there or to let her boyfriend wait in the car.
Tsarina explained the mysticism. “They only buy a few pieces per store — they want it to be a scavenger hunt,” she said of the TJ Maxx location. “You can find Tory Burch shoes that might still be in a store in town.”
Hamptons insider and real estate agent Bianca D’Alessio, a star of Discovery+ reality show Selling the Hamptons, called the store “a secret gem” among all boutiques across the East End. “I’m always there on a mission. You’re going in on a mission,” she said.
“Everyone goes there — especially this one,” socialite and blogger Stacy Geisinger, who has a summer home in nearby East Hampton, told Insider about the store. “It’s a secret hotspot that nobody talks about,” she added, noting that “fancy people” eat up the offer from Pucci, Vince and Valentino. “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 talk to me about a size 14 if they’re a size.” 2.”
Geisinger remembers a woman in the gala round who drew her attention to the store years ago. “She came up to me and said, ‘The best TJ Maxx in the whole country is right here in the Hamptons,'” Geisinger said.
There’s one more faux pas that Geisinger warned against: leaving on the telltale label Geisinger says she once saw 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? No one needs to know — as long as you take that big label off,” she said. “Everyone knows what their day looks like.”
Geisinger loves her printed Pucci dress, which she got for less than $300. She confidently slipped into the fitted, light-hued dress to the Shop the Day Away Luncheon at the iconic Breakers Hotel in Florida’s Palm Beach last winter. “I felt like a million dollars,” she told Insider, “but I only spent a few hundred.”
For philanthropist and influencer Jean Shafiroff, she always finds something at the Hamptons location.
“They have pretty much everything you could want and more,” Shafiroff said, adding that she brought her friend, the composer, Lucia Hwong Gordon to shop at the store. Shafiroff recalled snagging a runway dress for her daughter. “It was designer and a fraction of the price, which was great,” she said. “Let’s face it: everyone loves a bargain.”