Dry your eyes, drag queens and club crawlers: Ricky’s will soon be down to its last pair of stores — and they may not last long.
The New York beauty-supplies retailer — a longtime destination for pink wigs, sex toys, Halloween costumes and exotic shampoos from Japan — will have shuttered all but two of its locations by summer’s end, The Post has learned.
The last two stores, located at 830 Broadway near Union Square and 590 Broadway in Soho, appear to have at least eight years on their leases, according to property records.
Nevertheless, it’s not clear whether they’ll be able to weather the Big Apple’s rough-and-tumble retail landscape.
“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.
Ricky’s has been shrinking at a heart-stopping pace of late. It’s down to just four locations from 13 in the fall. At its peak just four years ago, Ricky’s operated 29 locations, all in the New York area except for an outpost in Miami.
If Ricky’s meets a sticky end, retail experts will partly blame soaring Manhattan rents and stiffening competition with Amazon, as well as an increasingly crowded market when it comes to Ricky’s bread and butter: cosmetics, skin care and hair products.
But Kenig — who founded the chain in 1989 with a single store in Greenwich Village after toiling for years at New York City-based Love drugstore chain, owned by his father, Al Kenig — also cites strategic missteps by the company in recent years.
“When I worked at Ricky’s, I was the face of the business and the creative force, while my brother was very good with the back-end, corporate stuff,” Kenig said, referring to his younger brother, Todd Kenig. “We knew our customer. We built a culture and phenomenal business with baby boomers and millennials.”
The Kenigs sold most of their stake in the company in 2012 to the Nussdorf family, which also owns Perfumania, a retailer that closed dozens of its more than 200 stores in a 2017 bankruptcy, as well as drug wholesaler Quality King Distributors.
The Nussdorfs, who’d been longtime investors in Ricky’s, didn’t return numerous calls seeking comment.
Ricky’s went “downhill,” according to Kenig, when its new owners “brought in non-beauty retailers to run the business,” including J. Richard Parrott, a former golf instructor who served as the company’s president for three years until 2016. Parrott declined to comment.
Before Kenig left the company in 2013, he’d suggested hiring hair stylists to work in the stores and getting out of the unprofitable sex-toy niche.
“We got into that business when people had to go to triple-X stores to buy a [sex toy], but the Internet changed everything,” Kenig said.
In its early years, Ricky’s was a place where clients like RuPaul went for their feather boas and fake eyelashes. Fashion photographer Steven Meisel bought bobby pins there for his shoots. In the ’90s, rapper Lil’ Kim bought nine pink wigs at Ricky’s that ended up in a music video, Kenig said.
Ricky and Todd Kenig haven’t been in touch of late, but Todd told The Post he agreed with his brother about the chain’s decline.
“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,” said Todd Kenig, who retains a 5 percent stake in the business.
“I think they are winding down all the leases and closing shop,” he added.
These days, Ricky Kenig makes private-label products for clients like celebrity hair stylist Danielle Priano, who is part of Mariah Carey’s beauty team, and Yusuf Williams, who does Rihanna’s hair.
Todd Kenig, meanwhile, is now a real estate investor with a chain of beauty salons.
He’s looking to launch a co-working space in Boca Raton, Fla., where he now lives.
“It’ll have a hip, fun vibe like Ricky’s,” he said.