When the seller called and surprisingly accepted her “very low” offer, “I just remember going, ‘Oh, s–t,'” Ina said, laughing, on PBS Newshour in 2017. “What have I done?!”
While she had a business background, it was her first-ever career move having anything to do with food, her prior experience coming only from being a home cook. But, Ina recalled on Sunday Sitdown, Jeffrey gave her “the best advice anybody could ever get: ‘If you love it, you’ll be really good at it.’ I loved it, so I did it.”
In hindsight, she noted, “It was incredibly brave of him to put everything we had behind it. Worked out OK.”
Ina sold the store in 1996 (by then she had moved it to a larger location in East Hampton), crediting its success to the festive atmosphere she created from day one with upbeat music always playing, complimentary coffee and lots of goodies for her customers to sample. Armed with a well-heeled clientele, lots of good buzz and a savvy publicist, her 1999 publishing debut, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, was a hit.