Lucy Muellner & Erin Johnson

Lucy Muellner & Erin Johnson
owners, fork & anchor
a celebration of risk taking ladies
What is Fork and Anchor?

Fork & Anchor is a small general store located in East Marion, NY, a blip of a town, on Long Island’s North Fork.  In all it’s iterations, the location has been serving local customers since the mid 1800’s, providing daily essentials and serving as a meeting place for the community.  We currently stock everything from eyeglass repair kits to local farm fresh eggs and produce, signature sandwiches and salads, locally made specialty products, and general daily needs.  Food is our focus but we also have become a meeting place and information source for both visitors and locals. Everyday is entertaining!

Why did you start Fork and Anchor?

Ever since our late summer days cooking farmstand feasts for friends, we knew we wanted to start something together.  When we hit our thirties, the opportunity presented itself to us. Erin has worked in the food and hospitality industry for many years, and Lucy has a serious passion for cooking.  We were drawn to the east end of Long Island as it was close to our home base of NYC, but a world of difference away. The positive vibes we got from the people we met on the North Fork, and the burgeoning agricultural community encouraged us to post our flag there. We loved all that the North Fork had to offer but felt that there was a void for a general store that offered tasty sandwiches and provisions as well as highlighted what other people were creating in the food/agricultural community around us.

Fork & Anchor storefront on the North Fork of Long Island
What is the best thing about working with someone else?

LUCY ~ Having someone else to discuss the business with, who cares about it as much as you do and knows the business as well as you do, really helps working through decisions. Owning your own business is a lot of work and to have the capability to split responsibilities with someone you trust is very helpful and more efficient. I think that I am very lucky to have Erin as my partner because we always seem to be thinking about the same thing no matter how minute or random it may be.
ERIN ~ It is awesome to be able to work off each other’s energy to fuel the momentum of the business, and even more awesome that we see eye to eye on just about everything. There is more laughter in the workplace, which is a great, necessary thing, and our mutual respect for each other’s contrasting strengths makes our business that much stronger.

What is the biggest challenge about working with someone else?

LUCY ~ Defining roles and sticking to them is a challenge. Because we are small company, we both need to know everything that is happening and the vendors that we deal with on a day to day basis. But, we also need to let each other handle the parts of the business that we know the other is stronger at. Sometimes you feel like you are in the dark about something because the other person is handling it, but you trust each other and know that it is under control.
ERIN ~ Well… when that someone else is your best friend, you have to be cautious to not let work issues bleed into your time off the clock very often.

A catered garden party at a nearby Lavender Farm • Lunchtime at Fork & Anchor

LUCY ~ I graduated from college with a fine art degree in graphic design and photography. In my last few years in college I interned at a graphic design and photography firm that was run be three very creative people. I joined their team after college and began styling photo shoots for them. I then moved to NY and worked for fashion editors at magazines and assisted really amazing freelance stylists. While working as a stylist for a large apparel company, I one day realized I had enough of the fashion world. With the encouragement of my husband, I enrolled at French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. I took an intensive cooking course and came out with a certificate; my husband told me he never saw me happier. A few months later we opened up Fork & Anchor.
ERIN ~ What began in high school as a summer job working at restaurants morphed into my career, and there was no better city to become entrenched in the wine and hospitality industry than New York. I started my own consulting company in 2005, planning events and writing wine lists for new bars and restaurants. I had it made…what could be more fun? When I felt that I was ready to sink my teeth into a physical space of my own, and felt the urge to move out of the city, I began dreaming with Lucy about a store of our own with gourmet provisions. We were first to see the space that we are in now and went for it without looking back.


LUCY ~ I still feel pretty young but, a soccer player, a photographer, or a fashion designer. After owning the store for a few years, I now realized, as a kid most of the time was spent creating a grocery store in my house complete with checks and credit cards created on our Mac and I dreamed of having an old school credit card swiper and a conveyer belt system to put groceries on. I guess I always knew… it just took a minute to figure it out.
ERIN ~ A writer and illustrator. I spent hours at my drafting table sketching. I remember loving my writing assignments at school, and even taking a cartoon sketch class. To this day my grandfather and mother want me to write a novel…we’ll see about that.

At a fundraising event serving seasonal soup • Sourcing local farm fresh produce to create inspired menus

LUCY ~ Just still enjoying life and making people happy and well fed!
ERIN ~ I’d like to have grown my family, and matured the Fork & Anchor brand. We are only into our fourth year, so there is plenty yet still to accomplish. We just launched our product line, and I’d like to see it in many markets ten years from now alongside our cookbook featuring our seasonal recipes from the North Fork!


LUCY ~ Creativity, respectfulness, and patience
ERIN ~ Determination, patience and loyalty


LUCY ~ Happiness.
ERIN ~ That point in life once you’ve nurtured your well-being, grown to like yourself, and have chosen to do the work you enjoy and be the person that makes yourself and others feel good.


LUCY ~ Not understanding and not being considerate of your environment. I think that this applies to most things. Its important to have a clear vision of what you want, but being flexible and not having an ego about it, is very important as well. Erin and I used to sit outside on the store benches, before we took over, to see who was shopping and what they were buying. We wanted a place that was clearly our vision but we also wanted everyone to shop there.
ERIN ~ Never trying. I remember the advice I was given when I decided to work for myself, was that I could always go back to working for someone else. I kept that notion close, and it made me courageous, because I knew the worst thing that could happen was that I would get a job for someone else if my entrepreneurial endeavors didn’t pan out.


LUCY ~ No. Life is a process and I believe that you learn something valuable every step of the way. I may be far from what I studied in college but all the different paths of my career have helped me make better decisions.
ERIN ~ Sure, there have been a few times that I’ve sworn I’d never do this or that again, but none that I can say were ever drastic nor devastating, and always a good learning curve.

Lucy & Erin in the kitchen • Fork & Anchor’s special L.I. Coffee Roasters blend • T Shirts for sale

LUCY ~ I am very proud of the trust and respect that we have earned from the community. I believe that we have created an environment where anyone can walk in, feel comfortable and, of course, eat well!
ERIN ~ Looking back, I realize that I never take the easy road with anything I do – personally or professionally…so, it makes me proud to think that somewhere inside of me there is an unconscious drive to challenge myself and push boundaries so that I can experience more of what life has to offer. And I also am proud to be a new wife and mother. The depth of what being a mother entails is incredible, and I’ve only yet cracked it!


LUCY ~ Don’t be afraid of anything.
ERIN ~ Don’t underestimate what you can learn from those before you. Ambition should be encouraged but not overvalued. It takes hard work to get to where you want to be, and if you want to aim for the stars, take the time to learn your trade by putting yourself out there, opening your own doors of opportunity, and traveling to unfamiliar places that might challenge you and your notion of things. Enjoy being single and have fun. It’s one of the most liberating and enriching periods in your life. Oh – and spend less time basking in the sun!


LUCY ~ While I live in the North Fork for 85% of the year, my husband is back in Brooklyn working and living in our home. Its of course not easy, but I like to think that because we don’t get to see each other every day, when we do, we take time for each other. Its concentrated but it feels strong and important. I try to go back home for a day or two every week, and then in summer my husband comes out every weekend. We also have loads of friends that stay during the warmer months, which is great, since I don’t get to see them all that often. We have a wonderfully peaceful place where I stay in Orient where I practice yoga, and get to take long runs with ocean views. Exercising and meditation is very helpful for me to clear and organize my mind.
ERIN ~ I make the time that I am at work really count and try to be as proactive as possible so things that need to be done don’t hang over my head. For better or for worse, I’m a multi-tasker, and when I hustle to get things done efficiently, the more I enjoy my free time and being with my family. Yoga helps a ton with staying balanced and refreshed, as does frequent swims in the water, especially during our busy summer season.

Lunch boxes to go • Table setting for a catered brunch • Custom tea towels

LUCY ~ I grew up reading Dr. Seuss books, which are whimsical and funny. I bought my nephews some and then they introduced me to Mo Willems. He comes from the Sesame Street crew and writes very silly books that have an understated life lesson. Warm friendships between a pig and an elephant or a duck driving a school bus, they are all great fun.
ERIN ~ The Polar Express. There is something very magical about the images in the story that have stuck in my memory until this day. Every year, my mother tirelessly transformed our home into an enchanting Christmas wonder, and I think the warmth of that feeling of Christmas as a child fueled my interest in the book.


LUCY ~ Great food, secluded beach, reading, sleeping, sunrises, sunsets, scuba diving, yoga, just my husband and me.
ERIN ~ Always love cultural immersion involving new food, language, and drink, and a day exploring a place doing some sort of activity followed by a relaxing evening meal.

Women Who Inspire LISA SALZER