The Hamptons tennis community is something that is rapidly growing and evolving, and that will only continue to happen thanks in part to Set Point Tennis, a new tennis pro shop located on Main Street in East Hampton, N.Y. Located in what was once the home of Tennis East, Set Point Tennis is taking over as the go-to-tennis shop for tennis players, coaches and fans on the East End of Long Island, as co-owners Ricardo Winter and Lisa Herbert-Winter bring their respective expertise to the table.
“We were approached by the old owners about four years ago to buy the pair of Tennis East stores (one in Southampton and one in East Hampton), and that’s what really started awakening our interests in owning a tennis store,” said Ricardo. “It wasn’t the right time, as we were still living in New York City.
But we had interest, and three years later, the timing was right.”
Set Point Tennis opened in May of this year, and has already made its impact, as the two are not only Hamptons’ business owners now, but also full-time residents of the East End of Long Island and are fully entrenched in the community.
“After a total gut renovation of the space, our initial goal was to get the business up and running for the summer season, achieve our revenue goals and get to know our customer base," Lisa added. "We've realized that there is a year-round tennis community out here between students, weekenders and full-time residents so we've decided to be open six days a week this fall and winter."
The two come from different backgrounds, which makes them a perfect duo for the business they are in. Ricardo began started playing tennis in Argentina before moving to Germany and continuing playing competitively. He started coaching in Germany, always carrying his passion and desire to learn more with him.
“I always had a love and passion for the game,” Ricardo said. “I loved the big picture, not just hitting the ball. I loved the technology, clothing, shoes, etc. and everything else that goes along with it.”
Early on he worked in the tennis section of a major sports outlet store in Munich, where he was exposed to the business, and that further enhanced his conviction to purchase a store in the future.
When he moved to the United States, he began coaching and teaching at clubs on the East End, where he met Lisa, who was a recreational player and one of Ricardo’s students.
Lisa spent the majority of her professional career working at Pantone, the business which her father founded which created the standards for color in the design world. After her family sold the company, she stayed on for six years because of her vast knowledge of design and branding.
“I love taking something from its infancy and building it into a concept, brand or business,” said Lisa. “So when the opportunity for us to own this shop arose, we were so excited. The Tennis East name had such a great following, that we knew could build upon it with a new name and look. Having dealt with color all of my life it feels ironic that I'm now surronding myself daily with tennis whites."
With Ricardo’s expansive tennis background and Lisa’s design and branding background, the two make a perfect pair for the industry they are now in.
With the majority of the retail industry moving increasingly online, expanding the Set Point Web site is an immediate goal, but the two know that having a personalized relationship with its customer base remains vital.
"People like coming in and being able to try things on and having that one-on-one interaction with our knowledgeable staff. It makes a huge difference," said Lisa, recalling a time when a customer came into the store to try out a racquet, and after talking technique with Ricardo who also analyzed her swing on Main Street, she was so excited about the technical advice on her forehand that she decided to try the recommended racket and later purhcase it.
In addition to growing its Web site, other goals include expanding its high-end offerings, and even adding a golf section to diversify its customer base.
It has only been a few months, but Set Point Tennis has already made itself a huge part of the community in Eastern Long Island. Beyond the business side, Ricardo and Lisa both feel strongly about supporting organizations that do great work in the community.
Ricardo knows Austria’s Dominic Thiem, a current ATP Top 10 player, who was practicing on courts out east ahead of this year's U.S. Open. Dominic autographed his new racket model. A Set Point Tennis customer and local artrist bought the racket and that money was donated to the Children's Museum of the East End, where Lisa is a board member.
"In addition to being a full-time mother, I embraced the Children’s Museum of the East End because of the great strides they've made to serve the local community," said Lisa. "We are living here full-time now and are happy to be invested in the East End.
Stop by East Hampton’s brightest new tennis destination and see for yourself why the combination of Ricardo Winter and Lisa Herbert-Winter are a great combo for Long Island’s tennis community.
Set Point co-owners Lisa Herbert-Winter and Ricardo Winter in front of their racquet wall at their East Hampton location
Austria’s Dominic Thiem, currently ranked 10th in the world, stops by Set Point Tennis in East Hampton to sign some autographs
Set Point Tennis Owner Ricardo Winter (center) with ATP star Dominic Thiem (right) and his coach, Guenther Bresnik (left)
David Dermers shows off his autographed Dominic Thiem racket at Set Point Tennis in East Hampton