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The Woman Behind the Revival of Downtown Rye Brook

RYE BROOK, N.Y. – When Erin Hinchey became leasing representative of Rye Brook's Rye Ridge Shopping Center six years ago, she brought with her a vision for what the plaza could look like.

"It was a tired, old local shopping center," Hinchey said. "Over the last five or six years we've transformed into a significant regional destination for fashion, food and boutique tenants."

While Win Properties , Rye Ridge's leasing company, has introduced many new and edgy tenants to the shopping center, Hinchey wanted to clear up a public misconception that the leasing company forced all of the previous tenants out.

"I think there is a misconception that we kicked out everybody," Hinchey said. "We tried to keep the integrity of the shopping center intact, and the tenants that wanted to move forward with us were certainly welcome to. If we were going to put in an investment, we wanted them to put an investment into their stores, too, and for the most part they followed suit."

Hinchey pointed out that places like Finch's Drug Store, the Rye Ridge Deli, Cerbone's Bakery and D'Agostino's Market were there before Win Properties purchased the property in 1998.

While retaining some of the center's cornerstones has been important to the revitalization of Rye Brook's downtown area, the true staple of Rye Ridge has become its ability to install new and cutting-edge tenants.

In the past four years alone Rye Ridge has added dining destinations – Chipotle , Chop't , Elevation Burger , – and boutiques – LV2BFIT , Z Life , Landsberg – that can't be found anywhere else.

"We didn't go for the GAPs of the world, the Anthropologies of the world. We went for people that we thought really added to our mix and provided something really unique," Hinchey said.

Hinchey admitted that while the experience has been fun, it wasn't always easy. At first Hinchey and Win Properties struggled to convince niche boutiques that Rye Ridge was the place to be, but after she landed Chipotle a little over two years ago, Hinchey's phone hasn't stopped ringing.

"It took a little bit of time, but once Chipotle got signed, everything fell into place," Hinchey said. "We got so much press on that, we had a story, we had a vision. For tenants that knew what it was, that's all they needed to know."

Although Hinchey is proud of what she has helped create, the world of leasing is constantly evolving.

"It's constantly ongoing. We're going to lose people; leases are coming up all the time," Hinchey said. "I love leasing the shopping center. I feel like it's a part of me. I'm very proud of it. I love the shopping center."

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