RYE, N.Y. – Kevin Butler’s nearly 40-year-old store, Rags, closed its Rye location three years ago, but he and his staff return to Purdy Street once a year during Rye’s Annual Sidewalk Sales, which continue Saturday, July 26.
Butler grew up in an apartment atop the storefront that Rags would go on to occupy for 35 years. Rags opened in 1975, the same year as the first sidewalk sale, sponsored by the Rye Chamber of Commerce. It now operates in the Hamptons, Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard, which Butler said is now its main location.
“Even though we gave up the year-round store we still come back for this,” said Butler, who still owns the property inhabited by Rye Eye Care. “I really look forward to it. It’s home.”
When Butler opened Rags in Rye at the age of 27, he did not yet have the store front and, he said, operated on the sidewalks and kept inventory in the apartment. Butler moved into the Purdy Street location soon after, which he said his brother owned.
Another long-time Rye business Woodrow Jewelers has participated in the Sidewalk Sales each of the nearly 30 years it has been on Purdy Street, said Linda Weinreb.
“It’s perfect weather and a perfect day for everyone to be outside enjoying themselves,” she said of the sidewalk sale Friday. “A lot of locals come out and support the community, which is really nice.”
Sales of up to 75 percent can be found a many stores, including Rye Running Company. Employee Phil Pignato, of Rye, said the store did well during the sidewalk sales last year.
“This year we’re blowing it out of the water,” he said, adding that the store had a more organized effort this year to drive foot traffic.
Shannon Clowe, who works at Lola, said the store has been doing the sidewalk sales for six years.
“It drives so many new faces into the store and puts people in the town,” she said.
Colette Ebert, of Harrison, said she comes out every year to support the community and to look for good sales. She rifled through the shirt rack outside of Great Stuff, which she said always has great stuff.
Juliana Alzate, of Port Chester, said she saw the sidewalk sales from her Rye office and decided to check it out.
“It’s not too bad to be outside today,” she said.