Last week at the ENK Vegas trade show, Jon Kalupa, owner of New York’s Avalon Group Showroom, which is the US distributor of Fred Perry, among others, eagerly showed this reporter images of his new 'side business' menswear store, Reprise, located on quaint Main Street in the small town of Margaretville in the Catskill region of upstate New York. He was very interested in having a write-up appear about it since the shop’s “up country” mix of merchandise from brands such as D.S. Dundee and Canterbury of New Zealand was a first for that rural area, which is also dotted with numerous city dwellers’ country homes.

But yesterday Kalupa and his wife and business partner Tiffany called to share the sad news that their lovingly restored and pioneering boutique -along with many homes and businesses in the area- had completely been washed away in devastating flood waters that hit upstate New York and Vermont in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. “We don’t plan to reopen it,” they said of the store, which opened its doors in November 2010.

But now the couple, who returned to their primary home in New York City yesterday, are on a personal mission to help their friends and neighbors upstate. “Tiffany and I are now collecting donations of canned goods, foodstuffs, clothing, diapers, soap, anything that can be spared to go to relieve some of the suffering of the people of Margaretville, New York who have lost EVERYTHING,“ wrote Jon in an e-mail. “We have fared better than many in our town and we now have to give back when so many are in dire need.”

The two will be collecting donations that can be dropped off in the lobby of 366 W. 11th Street between Washington and West Streets in New York City. The Kalupas will head back upstate tomorrow and every week thereafter with whatever they receive to distribute. “This will be an ongoing process,” they vow.