Community Help Needed to Save Rye Retail by Reopening Purchase Street
I write this letter in the hope that we, the Rye community, can come together to find a solution regarding the closure of Purchase Street that will benefit both restaurants and retail shops.
As a small business owner in Rye, I voted for the street closure. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would negatively affect the 47 business owners who have since signed a petition to re-open Purchase Street.
We have met with, talked to, and pleaded with members of our local government to do this to no avail. I am now appealing to the residents of Rye who are so wonderfully supportive of our downtown in the hopes that you will lend your voices to help before it is too late.
After being closed for three months because of the pandemic, we all reopened on June 12. People were so happy to be out and to shop. Our stores were busy! Two weeks later, when Purchase Street was closed, there wasn’t a soul downtown. Store sales plummeted 50, 60, even 70 percent.
The street closure has been detrimental to the retailers on Purchase Street. Customers have told me that they no longer regularly shop in Rye because of the closure. More than one person has told me that they used to come every morning to buy a coffee but “because it’s such a hassle” they go to the Rye Ridge Shopping Center instead.
Drive-by traffic is imperative for retailers, and Purchase Street is a busy main street, which is why so many retailers chose to open here.
Many have asked why the retailers don’t stay open at night. Many of us have tried but found it wasn’t cost-effective.
The issue of coming together as a community to support both our retail shops and restaurants during these difficult times of the coronavirus is now before us. My question to you is this: Would you still support the street closure if you knew it was crippling the downtown retailers and small businesses — clothing stores, takeout food establishments, coffee shops, a shoe store, a shoe repair shop, a makeup shop, hairdressers, pet stores, a jean shop, nail salons, home furnishing stores? If these businesses were to close, would Rye remain the same quaint downtown we all love?
We support outdoor dining and we suggest a compromise. Open the streets during the day and perhaps close them at night; allow restaurants to use more of the sidewalks and/or set up a tent in the back as Rafele has done.
If you support us, please help by emailing the Mayor and the City Council by October 11 (Jcohn@ryeny.gov, Sgoddard@ryeny.gov, Cjohnson@ryeny.gov, Rmecca@ryeny.gov, Bstacks@ryeny.gov, Jsouza@ryeny.gov, Ptarlow@ryeny.gov). Ask them to Open Purchase Street.
We can work together to achieve all our common goals.
- Ellie Zieminski, owner Love Bella