A downtown Edgartown staple for nearly half a century, the menswear store Sundog has closed. But the shop’s wares won’t go down with its storefront, thanks to a donation of the entire inventory to a nonprofit startup thrift store in Vineyard Haven.

All the Sundog inventory was donated to Act Two, a new thrift store on Main street Vineyard Haven. Business was brisk at the store Monday. — Ray Ewing

Originating in Cambridge in 1970, Sundog moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1976 and operated at 41 Main Street for 36 years, owner Frank Folts told the Gazette by phone Monday.

The business hopped around Edgartown in its first years on the Island, existing at times where familiar businesses such as the Wharf Pub and Black Dog are now located, before settling at 41 Main Street. For most of Mr. Folts’s time there, the building was owned by Larry Levine, an Island businessman.

“The best landlord I ever had,” Mr. Folts said.

Despite problems with the building that occasionally interrupted business, Mr. Folts said Mr. Levine was a good friend to him and to Sundog.

Mr. Levine died in 2018 and his daughter Sarah Levine inherited the building. This year Mr. Folts said he learned that he had lost his decades-long lease at the property, forcing him to close the business.

“We’ve pondered what to do,” he said. “This has been my life.”

With a background in advertising, Mr. Folts ran a series of eye-catching ads in the Gazette over the years, including the well-known Sundog countdown to spring that began every winter.

He spoke about the changing nature of Main street over time, with the arrival of more franchised stores and fewer sole proprietor establishments.

“The commercialization of the Island has been rather intense,” Mr. Folts said, adding that he was unsure whether there was still time to reverse the trend.

Empty shelves inside the old Sundog store. — Ray Ewing

“I think it’s unfortunate what has happened,” he said.

Mr. Folts had famously resisted holding sales at Sundog for years.

But in a letter sent to the Gazette, he wrote that the business had planned to belatedly commemorate Sundog’s 50th anniversary with a sale. First the sale was delayed in 2020 and 2021 by the pandemic. Then came the lost lease, he wrote.

In the wake of the Sundog closure, Mr. Folts has donated all the store’s inventory — including its familiar decorations and window dressings — to Act Two Secondhand Store, a startup nonprofit thrift shop on Main street Vineyard Haven.

The donation is a tribute to the late Vineyard scrimshaw artists Don MacDonald and Tom DeMont, Mr. Folts wrote, adding that he hoped it would help the Island and also jump start Act Two’s mission to benefit arts and education on the Island. Founded by Alissa Keenan and Kevin Ryan, the store was doing a brisk business Monday afternoon. In his letter Mr. Folts said it will satisfy a need once met by the Boys and Girls Club Second Hand Store, previously located in Edgartown.

“It was a substantial monetary gift for all intents and purposes,” he told the Gazette, speaking about the donation.

But he said Sundog’s story may not end here.

“I’m still considering relocating,” he said. Describing himself as a patient man, he said he will wait to see which way the wind blows.

“It takes a lot of energy,” he said, speaking about owning a business. “I am 88 years old — and full of fire and vinegar, of course.”