Friday, March 25, 2016
By Dave Matlow
The coffee, bakery and sandwich shop Steam, located at the refurbished stationhouse on the eastbound side of Metro-North’s Westport station in Saugatuck, has closed.
The closure comes less than a year after its revival last June when loyal customers rallied additional support to keep the business running. (See WestportNow, June 28, 2015)
Meanwhile, the Steam shop at the Green’s Farms train station remains open under an agreement between the owner, Chef Briana, LLC , and Bob Glaser who, with a partner, assumed the rights to operate Steam at both locations, according to Glaser.
“There’s been a huge outpouring of support from customers of the Green’s Farms location to keep it open,” he said. “They’re saying ‘please stay here.’ ”
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Serena & Lily, a California-based lifestyle and home décor brand, will open its flagship store, Serena & Lily Design Shop, at 35 Elm St. on April 29, according to spokesperson Betsy Baron. She said the store will occupy all four levels of the 3,000-square foot Kemper-Gunn House, built in 1889, that was slated for demolition to make room for the Bedford Square development but was eventually relocated from Church Lane in November 2014 to its present location. Baron said the privately owned business, headquartered in Sausalito, Calif., opened its first store in the Hamptons in 2013, in San Francisco in 2014, and then in Los Angeles in 2015. Westport is its fourth location. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Monday, March 21, 2016
Alegre, a women’s apparel store, opens the first week in April at 180 Post Road East, next door to the AT&T store at Bay Street. According to Sheryl Blit, co-owner with her husband Eli, the store introduces “a new concept in women’s trendy apparel.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, March 18, 2016
By Mark Pazniokaswww.ctmirror.org
Kevin Sullivan, the state commissioner of revenue services, issued a public apology today for an agency error that caused about 120,000 taxpayers to overstate the value of a property tax credit, resulting in about $12 million in underpayments to the state.
The goof means lots of taxpayers can expect a letter telling them they’ll need to refund a portion of their refund.
“When we make a mistake, we own it and fix it immediately,” Sullivan said.
A statement about the apology went out at about 4:30 p.m., three hours after Rep. Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford, issued a press release publicizing the error.
Westport Florist has reopened at 1 Treadwell Ave, adding a bit more color to Saugatuck. The business was located at 240 Post Road East for the last five years, but its lease ran out. Westport Florist took over from Taylor Florist, which had been established in 1935, making the business one of the oldest in Westport at 81 years. It has three other locations in Fairfield County. Taking part in a ribbon-cutting were (l-r) Bruce Minhoff, owner; First Selectman Jim Marpe; Tina Ahlberg, store manager; Matthew Mandell, executive director, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, and Sandra Harris, general manager. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Thursday, March 17, 2016
The Brownstone boutique, 42 Main St., will relocate to 142 Main St. second floor, where it will open April 1, according to owner Victoria Schallert. The space was most recently occupied by Addison Wells, a luxury handbag, shoes and accessories store. The Brownstone is one of three ground floor businesses – the others are Shoe-Inn and Bobby Q’s Restaurant – which are relocating following sale of the 36-42 Main St. building in November 2014 for $9.2 million by Drew Friedman, who died last month. Shoe-Inn moved across the street last month to 21 Main St., and Bobby Q’s is closing March 31 and is moving to 11 Merwin St., Norwalk. The 36-42 Main St. building will be demolished and a new structure built in its place, according to a real estate source. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Scout & Molly’s Boutique, a women’s apparel, accessories and shoe store, has opened at 283 Post Road East in Playhouse Square between Organic Market and She La La. According to Stamford resident and owner Genevieve Bouchard, (r) a grand opening celebration will take place on April 2. Founded by Lisa Kornstein, the first Scout & Molly’s opened in Raleigh, N.C. in 2002. Its stores now include one in New Canaan which opened one year ago. Bouchard describes the 1,200-square foot Westport store as “having a fun atmosphere, friendly and upbeat, with something for everybody.” Pictured with her is store manager Jessica Kimsey. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Monday, March 14, 2016
After 13 years, the Blue Lemon restaurant at Sconset Square will close Saturday, April 9, chef-owner Bryan Malcarney announced tonight.
The announcement followed other Westport restaurant closings or announced closings. Post 154 across the street on Post Road East closed in January. Bobby Q’s on Main Street, is shutting down at the end of the month.
“Running the Blue Lemon has been an extremely rewarding experience, both personally and professionally,” Malcarney said.
“After 13 years and careful consideration, I have decided it is time for me to move into another stage of my life, and close the restaurant.”
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Sola Salons, located on the ground floor at 495 Post Road East adjacent to the Steinway store, today celebrated its grand opening with an open house reception and tour for beauty professionals seeking a turnkey salon setup for their business. Owned by Westporters Rich and Holly Bobrow, the 6,000-square foot facility offers 26 studio units available for entrepreneurial beauty professionals. (See WestportNow Feb. 9, 2016) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Organachs, a natural and organic products and holistic facial services business, has opened at 15 Post Road West in the space between Art’s Deli and Age of Reason. Owner Siobhan McKinley, a Ridgefield resident, said the store specializes in “farm to skin” natural products and offers facials and make-up applications. She said appointments for facials will begin next month. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, March 11, 2016
By Keith M. Phaneufwww.ctmirror.org
Despite gaining 900 jobs, Connecticut’s unemployment rate rose slightly in January from 5.4 to 5.5 percent, the state Department of Labor reported today.
The Labor Department also significantly reduced its original job growth projections for 2015 by 14,700 positions. Original job growth of 26,900 was reduced to 12,200. That means Connecticut only has recovered 73 percent, or 86,700 of the jobs lost in the last recession and also hasn’t recovered all private-sector jobs lost.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration hailed it as a strong sign of economic growth late last year when the department declared that all private-sector jobs lost in the last recession had been recovered. But after applying adjustments, the department now says the private sector has regained 96,100 or 86 percent of the jobs it lost in the last recession.
The new jobless rate still is down from the 6.1 percent ratio recorded in January 2015.
Achorn Beauty Bar, 287 Post Road East, has opened next door to the Achorn Pharmacy in Playhouse Square. The space was formerly occupied by Fast Frame, which closed about two years ago. According to Manny Shah (above), a partner with Ajay Desai, the new 1,250-square foot store features body and facial makeovers led by professional makeup artist Jodi Verdererame (above). Verdererame said the store specializes in skin care, body care and features fine fragrance perfumes and the exclusive brand name products by Origins, Smashbox and BareMinerals. Achorn Pharmacy relocated in May 2012 from downtown, where it had been a fixture since 1927. (See WestportNow Feb. 10, 2012) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Michaels, North America’s largest arts and crafts specialty retailer, has opened at 1850 Post Road East in the Westport Plaza shopping center. The 17,000-square feet store will celebrate with a grand opening on Sunday with a 9:45 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony and giveaways. According to store manager Manny Gutierrez (above), “All our craft supplies stimulate creativity. We even have a classroom, open to the public, for arts creations and birthday parties.” The space was last occupied by Walgreens, which closed in May 2015. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Lester’s boutique department store celebrated its grand opening today at 606 Post Road East in the space formerly occupied by Wish List. According to store manager Andrea Forbes, who also manages the company’s Rye Brook, N.Y. store, the Westport location features clothing, shoes and accessories for girls aged 4-14, teens, tweens, juniors and contemporary styles for women. “We call the 3,500-square foot Westport store ‘Lester’s Lite’ because it is smaller than our other stores, which are mostly around 10,000 square feet,” said Forbes. “Westport fits our demographic profile, and many of our Rye Brook customers drive there from Connecticut towns.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport’s Bridgewater Associates, the hedge fund that is the town’s largest private employer, announced today it is getting a former Apple techie as co-CEO.
Jon Rubinstein, who helped oversee the development of the iMac and iPod at Apple, will formally join the firm in May, the company told clients.
He replaces Greg Jensen as part of the 10-year transition from founder Ray Dalio to lead the world’s biggest hedge fund.
Jensen, a 20-year veteran of the firm, remains as co-chief investment officer alongside Dalio and his longtime partner, Bob Prince.
Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Heads Up Westport - Concussion Center will soon open at 25 Imperial Ave. in Westport.
Co-owners are Westport physicians and residents Deborah Mogelof and Audrey Paul.
In addition to her work at the new business, Mogelof said she will remain associated with Westport Urgent Care, 1045 Post Road East, where she has served as a director for the past three years. Paul is a pediatric emergency medicine physician.
“Our practice will provide baseline ImPact (concussion) testing for children 10 and over,” said Mogelof. She said this is something the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokaswww.ctmirror.org
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today signaled an intention to lay off state employees in the current fiscal year, saying the workforce must shrink substantially, and that the process must begin before the fiscal year ends on June 30.
Malloy, who spoke to reporters after a meeting with legislative leaders, chose his words carefully when pressed about the scope of coming layoffs, referring to the damages the state had to pay over former Gov. John G. Rowland’s mishandling of layoffs a dozen years ago.
“I don’t want to give to some future governor the Rowland problem, right? So those numbers are being worked out, and we have to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t,’ but they’re substantial,” he said.
The governor was referring to about 2,800 pink slips the Rowland administration issued in late 2002 to help close a major state budget deficit. Unions sued in federal court, and the settlement reached 11 years later will cost the state an estimated $100 million to $125 million. It was structured to minimize the fiscal impact on the state by compensating a majority of the plaintiffs with extra vacation and personal days, not cash.
The Cake Box has opened at 10 Bay St., behind the former Post 154 Restaurant. It specializes in cupcakes as well as cakes for birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions. Robert Byrnes, a Ridgefield resident, who co-owns the business with his wife, Jordan Gregory, also own two bakeries in Ridgefield. Gregory Neil, manager of the Westport store, shows off some of the offerings. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By Keith M. Phaneufwww.ctmirror.org
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today—for the second time in five months—challenged legislative leaders to offer alternative spending cuts rather than complain about his decision to suspend payments to hospitals to mitigate the state budget deficit.
The Democratic governor took heat from legislators from both parties last week after he suspended about $140 million in payments earmarked for hospitals in connection with the state’s health care provider tax. The governor also is withholding $3.89 million in payments for community health centers.
State Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo certified a nearly $220 million general fund deficit last week for the fiscal year that ends June 30. And the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis places the shortfall at slightly more, $266 million.
Most of the this deficit is caused by eroding state income tax receipts identified in projections issued in late February.
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
By Keith M. Phaneufwww.ctmirror.org
Connecticut’s labor leaders insist the writing is on the wall.
Barring a dramatic new development, they say, state employees will be asked to grant wage and benefit concessions for the third time in seven years.
Perhaps the request will come this spring. Perhaps it will come in 2017 — just after the next state election. In some smaller ways it already has begun.
But that doesn’t mean that workers are ready to endorse more givebacks.
Friday, February 26, 2016
By Keith M. Phaneuf and Arielle Levin Beckerwww.ctmirror.org
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration confirmed today the downward trend in state revenues — though not the precise numbers — that nonpartisan analysts reported earlier this week.
While the governor never used the word “layoff,” he told reporters today that state government’s workforce must shrink considerably soon, and that the next state budget, for the 2016-17 fiscal year, still must be balanced without tax hikes.
And Malloy’s budget chief, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes, told legislators today that the administration has been monitoring negative trends in state income tax receipts since mid-January. The administration’s decision not to report this before today prompted one Republican on the legislature’s tax-writing panel to call the choice “reprehensible.”
“I think there’s a bigger downside than there is an upside” to state tax revenues at this time, Malloy told reporters after a press conference to promote a constitutional amendment to protect state funding for transportation.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Westport Developer David Waldman was back before the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) tonight to float a new idea to develop downtown’s Elm Street.
In an informal presentation to the body, Waldman sought feedback on a plan to swap the property at 36 Elm St., currently occupied by the Villa Del Sol Mexican restaurant and empty retail space, for part of the town-owned Baldwin parking lot across the street.
There, behind the Lux Bond & Green Store at 136 Main St., he proposed building a 9,750-square foot building housing a relocated Villa Del Sol, retail space, and four apartments, including one affordable one.
Waldman, who is a principal in developing the Bedford Square project adjoining 36 Elm St., said as part of the swap, he is considering buying the 36 Elm St. property for $5.1 million, knocking it down, and turning it into what would become town parking.
The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) tonight made it official – the Boathouse Restaurant at the privately owned Saugatuck Rowing Club, 521 Riverside Ave., can be open to the public. Responding positively to an application by the club’s owners, P&Z Chair Chip Stephens praised the club for its contribution to the town. But at the same time he told Greenwich businessman Howard Winklevoss, representing the owners, that the restaurant, which had been approved for members’ only, represented another example of “coming back for something that has been in violation really for 15 years now.” Winklevoss said having the restaurant officially open to the public was necessary to make it economically viable. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By Keith M. Phaneufwww.ctmirror.org
Connecticut’s finances were dealt a major blow today when nonpartisan analysts downgraded projected income tax receipts by hundreds of millions of dollars for this fiscal year and next.
The new report from the Office of Fiscal Analysis, coupled with earlier projections, now means:
— The current fiscal year’s budget could be as much as $266 million in deficit.
— The original budget for 2016-17, adopted last June, now is almost $900 million out of balance.
— Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal to adjust 2016-17 is as much as $410 million in the red — and that’s assuming legislators agree to cut $570 million from the previously approved 2016-17 plan, as the governor has proposed.
Click here for more of story
Westport’s Post 154 restaurant, which closed Jan. 18 because of a pending sale to another eatery, is back on the market.
“Post 154 is on the market again after a deal fell through at the eleventh hour,” Laura Leeds, principal of Simon David Real Estate, a Westport-based firm, said today.
Leeds had reported on Jan. 22 that the restaurant located in the old Westport Post Office building at 154 Post Road East had closed becuase the business’ owners had gone to contract “with a company that plans to open another restaurant there this year.”
With today’s news that the deal has fallen through, Leeds said her company is actively looking for a new buyer.
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Westport and Weston high school students can now just flash their student IDs to get 10 percent discounts at 40 Westport businesses as the result of a student discount partnership.
The program is the brainchild of Staples High School students who are members of the Westport Youth Commission (WYC) and who teamed up with the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) and the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, according to Matthew Mandell, WWCC executive director.
The discounts are available to high school students at Staples, Weston High School and Greens Farms Academy.
Vendors will have the partnership logo sticker in their window to signify participation, and the list of participants can be found on the WWCC and WYC websites.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Westport-based Saugatuck Sweets, the popular ice cream and candy store at 575 Riverside Ave. that opened in April 2014, has opened its second location at 28 Reef Road in Fairfield. It is co-owned by Westporters Al DiGuido and Pete Romano. The 1,600-square foot facility – almost twice the size of Westport—includes a second floor for birthday parties for up to 60 people “We’re even more excited about the Fairfield location which has so much more daytime activity than our Saugatuck location,” said DiGuido. “We’re prepared for a major onslaught of customers here. We’re ready to rock.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, February 11, 2016
By Dave Matlow
The 39-year-old office building at 500 Post Road East, across from Westport Fire Headquarters, is getting a green makeover.
The building, former home of Terex Corp., changed ownership in March 2012 for $9 million. Timon Malloy, president of Stamford-based Fred F. French Investing LLC , the new owner, said innovation of the 37,000-square foot building is being completed in two phases with final completion projected for 2017.
The former Westport resident said the initial phase, the 15,000-square foot third floor, is well underway. Then the second phase will begin—renovation of the entrance level and second floor.
“The building will be totally green, a shift from the original structure, which lacked proper insulation and was mainly electric powered,” said Malloy, son of the late Westport artist Susan Malloy.
Lester’s, a clothing, shoes and accessories store, with contemporary fashions, will open next month at 605 Post Road East (opposite Fresh Market) in the space previously occupied by WishList that closed last month after 18 years. Westport will be the fifth location for the chain that has other locations in New York City’s Upper East Side as well as in Greenvale, Rye Brook and Brooklyn, N.Y. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Shoe-Inn, the women’s designer shoe store for four decades at 38 Main St., has reopened across the street at 21 Main St. next to Pottery Barn. The new space was formerly occupied by Henry Lehr. Shoe-Inn has seven other stores located in New Jersey, Westchester County, New York City, and Long Island. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com