The New York City beauty store Ricky’s, with its iconic electric blue toothpaste logo, may end up closing all but two stores, the New York Post reported on Tuesday. It’s a potentially sad day for the historic beauty chain, which over the years also lured customers in by selling sex toys, wigs, and Halloween costumes.
Ricky’s started as a small store in the West Village and grew its merchandise based on the needs of its clients—who, in the beginning, were often drag queens and people in the fashion industry. One story goes that in the ‘90s, Lil’ Kim walked into a Ricky’s and left with “nine pink wigs” she’d later use in a music video. (The video was not specified, but here are two good guesses.)
Here’s Ricky Kenig, the founder, in 2016, talking about serving the LGBT community in New York:
When I opened my first store, Halloween was not a big segment in the retail world. But we saw Halloween as an opportunity to expand our brand, so a few years later, around 1991, we started catering to the holiday. In my opinion, Halloween was a spin off of Gay Pride day, which I had felt was a stronger influence in New York City back then.
Over the years, it became known as a go-to destination for drag queens, makeup fiends, and anyone who was looking for a Halloween costume. But Ricky’s locations have been closing left and right over the last few years—and Kenig thinks there may not be any left soon. Per the Post:
“I heard that they’ll be down to two stores — if not zero — soon,” says 56-year-old founder Ricky Kenig, who sold his controlling stake in the company in 2012.
It’s a shame to see this piece of New York history die out, but history alone might not be enough to keep Ricky’s afloat: Other big hair and makeup retailers like Sephora have been upping their skincare game, and online shops like Amazon and DermStore have eaten into the brick-and-mortar beauty market in no small way. Ricky’s brother Todd told the Post: “We tried to stay ahead of the curve and offer things that no one else had when I was there, but the people who are in charge are not evolving the brand.”
Get in and get your fake eyelashes and hair dye while you still can.