When Newporter Michele Ritter picked up the New York Times Style Section some years ago and spotted the most memorable beach bags sporting the Hamptons catchy zip code on them, she was inspired. “I thought to myself, ‘How cool would be to design something even more attractive with our Newport zip?’” she recalls, acknowledging the time-honored rivalry held between the two summer colonies. After researching various fabrics, all of which had to be 100% eco-friendly, budget friendly, silk screen printable, and, of course, made in the U.S.A., Michele designed a line of “CodeTotes” showcasing our 02840 moniker.
“I wanted to present my idea to someone locally in retail with a good eye and honest appraisal,” says Michele, who headed to Judy Carroll’s Papers, where she has been a customer for more than 30 years. The boutique became the first on famed Bellevue Avenue to carry the totes, soon to be followed by Michael Hayes on Bannister’s Wharf, Beach House, The Newport Historical Society Museum Shop, Bliss Market, Max’s Market, Island Pursuit and Brick Market’s Jason & Co. in addition to (the now-defunct) Sig’s Market and House Interiors. Today, CodeTotes are found in Nantucket, Block Island, Barrington, Bristol, Kennebunkport, and more, touted at everything from local farmer’s markets to weddings, spas and wineries.
To toss a CodeTote over your shoulder or see more styles, visit www.02840.org or visit any of the above Newport shops.