RYE, N.Y. – Empty storefronts are dotted up and down Rye’s main downtown shopping district on Purchase Street, but Sally Wright, president pro tem of the Rye Chamber of Commerce, says residents have nothing to fear about Rye’s economic standing.
“On Purchase Street we are very lucky to have a two-block area where things may go out, but sooner or later new things come in,” Wright said. “It’s a nice place. People want to be in downtown Rye. They love the restaurants and all the amenities we have here. It’s a quaint-looking downtown that attracts a lot of good shoppers.”
Two months ago, Homemade Pizza Co. closed its stores in Rye and Larchmont. Wright said the company’s business model of selling pre-made pizzas to cook at home wasn’t popular with Rye residents.
“It’s the nature of the free-market system that things come and go,” Wright said. “Some folks have a great business plan and adapt to the market and are flexible. Others aren’t.”
Other stores are reinventing themselves to stay current, Wright said. Shoes and More downsized and moved down the street to 37 Purchase St. The jewelry boutique Silver RUSH changed to RUSH and includes a broader range of jewelry.
New businesses are moving into the city, ensuring that empty storefronts won’t stay empty for long. Walin & Wolff, an upscale boutique selling shoes, handbags and accessories, opened this month at 62 Purchase St., a site vacated by Victoria’s Secret. Partner Christina Johnson Wolff said, “Rye is a great business opportunity for us. There is not a shoe presence that sell the type of brands that we sell, and we think that there is an absolute niche for us in this marketplace.”
Wolff added that area consumers want to shop in their community nstead of going to New York City or a shopping mall.
“Our entire business plan is to roll out stores in the local main street marketplaces where there is a fairly strong downtown area and where there is a local consumer that likes to shop local,” she said. “Rye really fits that demographic.”
Another business coming soon to Rye is Serendipity Labs, a new members-only “co-working” space set to open next month at the old Biltmore building, 80 Theodore Fremd Ave.