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Summer is Materialized at Huxter Goods
This summer Huxter Goods, a seasonal retail shoppe in downtown Watch Hill, celebrates its 5th season. What’s notable is that in a world of Amazon Prime and shrinking Main Streets, business partners Read McKendree and Sam Agnello have crossed the chasm many small businesses never reach. Huxter sells in demand goods married by utility and luxury, while delivering a customer experience defined by its location just a few sandy steps from the breathtaking Rhode Island coast.
A Conversation with Read McKendree, Photographer & Huxter
On a rainy April morning, Read and I met for coffee at the Savoy Bookstore and Cafe in Westerly where I learned the story of this artist photographer, entrepreneur and world wanderer who opened Huxter Goods in downtown Watch Hill in 2012.
What was the genesis of Huxter Goods?
I attended school in New York and studied cinema and photography. In that period I kept returning to the idea of opening a store by the sea. I wanted a friendly, welcoming place that people would want to visit often. What I would sell was less important to me than creating a space that made people feel a certain way.
Rhode Island was where I wanted to build my business life because it’s my home, and where I’ve always found limitless inspiration in the interplay of land and weather, sea and air, and light and shadow. So I traded city sidewalks for sandy footpaths and happily settled in South County, RI.
As luck would have it, the Bay Street retail location next to the flying carousel became available soon after I returned. This was the catalyst for my taking action to design the retail concept I had envisioned.
Huxter Goods represents the New England experience. We incorporate a traditional coastal, nautical look and a surf-inspired vibe that is universally attainable. We curate regional items of the best quality, items that are timeless in their appeal and rooted in a connection to our local surroundings.
We take pride in the relationships we have with the artists and business people that produce the items of enjoyment and leisure we sell. All our offerings are inherently useful too. From incredibly soft tees, to practical water resistant nylon totes, to just-right weight sweatshirts for breezy beach days, we offer a variety of items that appeal to an ageless audience.
And, we sell our ever popular, signature Huxter Oxford shirts.
Tell me more about your Oxford Shirts & your opening in Summer 2012.
The Oxford shirts remain our anchor item and helped launched us in year one. That first summer we custom made 40 shirts; our goal was to sell them by the end of the summer. Within days, we were sold out.
The shirts are hand made here in New England where we control the quality 100%. Each is a one-of-a-kind article of clothing because of the elbow and/or pocket patches made of canvas material we source from France. Making things locally has been important to Huxter from the beginning. We can drive to our shirt factory in the morning, drop off fabrics, watch the pieces be cut, and check on them throughout the sewing process.
The experience of buying a Huxter shirt is personal and fun; customers consider all the patch designs. Because each shirt is unique, it’s not uncommon for customers to own many Huxter Oxfords. We value our relationships with loyal clients, many of whom return each summer to shop the patches in order to add to their Huxter shirt collection.
How do you balance Huxter Goods with your photography business?
My business partner Sam and I divide and conquer. Sam heads up operations while I manage product design and curation. Once the season starts, our excellent staff runs day to day operations. Delivering the customer experience that makes people return each summer and visit often is important to our brand values. We’ve earned recognition from the New York Times, Town & Country, Architectural Digest and others. This has helped people discover us.
This summer I’m displaying some of my photography at Huxter Goods. People can also visit my online portfolio at ReadMcKendree.com which offers a glimpse of the wide range of subjects I cover, including:
- Lifestyle Brands & More
Back to Huxter Goods, how can people learn more about the Huxter brand?
They can visit the website huxtergoods.com, follow our special announcements on our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram, and also find many Huxter brand lifestyle images for view on Tumblr. We hope to welcome new friends from the Green Hill Beach area this summer, and hope you’ll make a point to say hello and introduce yourself when you visit the store.
With summer now upon us, I can’t think of a better time to take a scenic ride from Green Hill down to Watch Hill to visit Huxter Goods. Find them at 147 Bay Street next to the flying carousel. Call ahead to confirm store hours at 401-315-2223. Even in the height of summer, I find it easy to land a metered parking spot along Bay Street in the morning hours.