When it rains in Rye, it can pour. Purchase Street business owners have already dealt with major flooding and they are preparing for tonight's storm.
When major rain storms passed through Rye City’s center of commerce in 2007, several south-side businesses on Purchase Street between Locust Avenue and Elm Place experienced major devastation. Poor drainage was the culprit.
As the anticipation of Hurricane Irene intensifies with its heavy rains, business owners are working hard to to protect their assets.
“A few years ago we lost so much merchandise, inventory, and other important document due to flooding,” said Carol Tytla, manager of Parker’s travel boutique. “This time we are bringing all of our inventory upstairs to the main level of our store to protect it.”
Rye Country Store has been a neighborhood fixture in the center of town for over 24 years. They have also been a casualty of torrential rain storms.
“I’ve seen a lot of precipitation storms over the years, but nothing like the one we experienced in 2007,” said Clare Hassi, co-owner of The Rye Country Store. “We lost the entire kitchen, that morning I came in, we had 8 feet of water on the floor. We had to rebuild the whole kitchen which took 3 months. To protect as much as we can, we took up everything from the floor and put items on top of milk crates.”
Jos. A. Bank is a newcomer to the Rye community. Manager Nino Natoli, manager of the men’s clothing store was taping the front glass windows to make sure they were secure.
“We are doing as much as we can to protect our inventory and merchandise against Irene,” said Natoli. “ I have been moving all of the inventory to the middle of the store away from the windows all morning.”
Some businesses like Wine at Five in the shopping district of Rye fare better in storm conditions, and even offer to lend fellow business owners a helping hand.
“We are on an inverted bracket on the north side of Purchase Street, away from the river," explained Cai Palmer, owner of Wine at Five. "We are on a slightly higher elevation, in compassion to the stores of the south side of Purchase Street.”
“We told the Rye Chamber of Commerce, that if they (business owners) needed to store any electric equipment, any documentation, any valuables or inventory, our basement would be available,” continued Palmer.
Wine at Five offers the use of the basement space to fellow Rye Chamber of Commerce members for free.
“This is what being a part of a great community like Rye is all about, Stores like Parker’s lost all of their inventory in past storms. We don’t particularly want to see that [happen] again,” Pulmer said.