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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Granola Bar Expanding to Stamford, Rye, N.Y.

The Granola Bar, the all-day breakfast and lunch café in Westport and Greenwich, announced today it is expanding to Stamford and Rye, New York.

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The first Granola Bar opened in Westport’s Playhouse Square in December 2013. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Founders Julie Mountain and Dana Noorily also announced a growth investment by and operational partnership with Trilynx Partners of Westport.

Its founders, Adam Diamond and Michael Schwartz, have more than 15 years of experience in hospitality brands such as Disney and Starwood Hotels, an announcement said. 

Mountain and Dana Noorily opened the first location in Playhouse Square in Westport in 2013

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Comings & Goings M-EAT to Bedford Square

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M-EAT, an upscale butcher shop, will open in the new Bedford Square development in the spring, according to those involved. “It will be impressive aesthetically and offer non-antibiotic, non-chemical, organic meats with highly affordable prices,” said Tom Febbraio, Staples ’71, restaurateur, real estate broker, and co-owner of Spotted Horse Tavern across the street. Kellie Lehn, vice president, North American operations for M-EAT, a business entity of Southport-based Fair Trade International, said the Westport location is the first of five planned on the East Coast. She said its parent company distributes fine meats imported from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/14/17 09:04 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chamber Head: ‘Business is Good’

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Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, told the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston today that “business is good in Westport,” citing expansion of the commercial property grand list. He noted there have been some “bumps in the road,” pointing to the recent closings of Sperry, Chico’s and Neat. However, he said the chamber and the Downtown Merchants Association are working on ways to promote downtown in “new and unique ways.” Looking ahead, he said two pending issues could impact the Westport business community —- construction of a new shopping mall at I-95 Exit 15 in Norwalk and the potential rebuilding of the William F. Cribari Bridge in Saugatuck. Preserving the bridge will keep 18-wheel trucks off Westport roads and is “both a safety issue and one that could harm the businesses in Saugatuck,” Mandell said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

01/12/17 07:46 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, January 09, 2017

Comings & Goings: Neat Closes

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UPDATE Neat Coffee and Craft Cocktails in the one-time Vigilante firehouse at 6 Wilton Road has closed after little more than two years, according to a sign (inset) today on the entrance door. Owner Rachel Haughey said in an email: “We had wonderful regulars and are grateful to have served them (along with many others!) for the past two years. We’re sorry that we are no longer there for them and that it happened so suddenly, but the numbers just weren’t there. It was a labor of love, and we will miss all of the faces, smiles, conversations, and friendships that came from it. We look forward to continuing those relationships at our founding location in Darien.” Neat opened in Westport in September 2014 and closed for a week last July for renovations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/09/17 02:03 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Deli Under New Ownership Celebrates Opening

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The Winfield Street Deli is celebrating its grand opening at 13 Post Road West in space formerl occupied by Art’s Deli.  Owner Breno Donatti said business has been brisk with 120 lunches a day being served. He said an indoor seating area with a 12-person capacity is in the works. Donatti also operates Norwalk’s Winfield Italian Deli, 69 Winfield St., and, since February 2016, Winfield Street Espresso & Panini Bar, 4 Railroad Place, across from the Westport Metro-North Railroad Station. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com

01/04/17 06:51 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, December 26, 2016

Many Happy (?) Returns

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Customers line up today at Vineyard Vines on Main Street to return, exchange, or buy items in the post-Christmas rush. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

12/26/16 01:43 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

On Line at Lululemon Athletica

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Customer lines for the checkout counter snaked around Westport’s Main Street Lululemon Athletica store today. A clerk said, “So far about half our customers are returning merchandise and half are buying sale items.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

12/26/16 01:38 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Westporters at NYSE Charity Opening

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Six Westport residents today attended nonprofit Catch A Lift’s New York Stock Exchange opening bell. The charity helps post 9/11 combat wounded veterans and raises awareness of their needs. Pictured are Lance Lonegran, Adam Vengrow, Johanna Rossi, Andrew Berman, David Frost and Tom Dippel. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

12/22/16 10:03 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Staples Grad on Winning Business Team

WestportNow.com ImageGabrielle McNees (r), a 2015 Staples High School graduate, was among a team of six who recently won the prestigious Fordham University Gabelli School of Business 2016 Consulting Cup competition. They were given the challenge of identifying a Fortune 500 company’s biggest problem and coming up with an innovative solution to boost company sales and productivity. The winning team was awarded $3,000 in prize monies and members recognized for their demonstrated business acumen, creativity, teamwork and public speaking achievements. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Report: Trump Considering Westport Hedge Fund Manager for Defense Post

Westport Hedge fund manager and former Army officer David H. McCormick is the front-runner to serve as Donald Trump’s deputy defense secretary, according to Bloomberg News.

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David McCormick: president at Bridgewater.  Contributed photo

McCormick, president of Bridgewater Associates Inc., the world’s biggest hedge fund, was eyed earlier as a possible Treasury secretary, a post that ultimately went to former hedge fund investor Steve Mnuchin, the report on Friday said.

McCormick, 51, moved to Westport’s Greens Farms area in 2010 with his wife, Amy Richardson. In 2014, he moved to a waterfront property in Fairfield’s Southport area.

Bloomberg said the potential nomination earned high praise from retired Gen. David Petraeus, who at one point had been seen as a potential secretary of state pick for Trump.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Malloy: Xerox to Stay in Norwalk

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced a partnership with the Xerox Corporation that secures the company’s headquarters and 150 jobs in Norwalk, where it has been located since 2008. 

As part of the project, Xerox may add between 20-40 new jobs over the next four years, the governor’s office said in a news release.

“The Xerox Corporation’s announcement removes all uncertainty regarding the location of the company’s headquarters,” said Malloy. “Today’s news guarantees that Xerox will continue to invest in the state, contribute to the community, and create high-paying jobs where it has called home for nearly five decades.”

The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) will provide a 10-year, $4.4 million low-interest loan to support the project. Xerox, which was at 45 Glover Ave., will use the funding to purchase new equipment and make leasehold improvements in its new headquarters in building 201 in the Merritt 7 Corporate Park in Norwalk, the announcement said.

12/16/16 12:33 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

State Comptroller: Retirement Obligations ‘Eating Our Lunch’

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State Comptroller Kevin Lembo told the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club today that Connecticut “must create stability and predictability moving forward to get us out of the doldrums.” Mentioned as a possible 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Lembo said post-employment obligations are “eating our lunch” and that “prior governors did not negotiate effectively on behalf of the residents of Connecticut, I can’t say it any other way.”  He lauded Connecticut as being one of the most “transparent states” when it comes to reporting what is going on at the state level, to the point that even payroll information can be requested by the public. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

12/16/16 11:25 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: Main St. Chico’s Closing

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Chico’s, 61 Main St., part of the clothing chain offering women’s fashions, will close on Jan. 25, according to store manager Donna Begler.  “Our lease expired,” she said.  She added that there are three other nearby Chico’s in Fairfield, Milford and Stamford Town Center. Chico’s Westport location closed temporarily four times due to flooding in 2011, twice in 2012, and once in 2013. A real estate source said a number of Main Street stores are considering leaving because of past flooding issues and eyeing a new mall planned to open in Norwalk at I-95 Exit 16.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

12/16/16 10:31 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wall Street Agency Gives CT Pension Deal a ‘Credit Positive’

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

The first review from Wall Street on a new plan to stretch out Connecticut’s spiking state employee pension costs is a positive one.

Moody’s Investors Service, one of the four major credit rating agencies, labeled the proposal negotiated by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration and state union leaders as a “credit positive” for Connecticut in the agency’s weekly credit outlook statement. The deal also reflects elements of proposals by state Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo and by state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier.

The declaration of a “credit positive” is not — by itself — a rating upgrade that often results in lower borrowing costs. But it is a development deemed to be a positive factor in the agency’s evaluation of the state’s finances.

“Connecticut’s pension burden as a percent of revenues is one of the highest of all 50 states,” Moody’s wrote. “The new agreement sacrifices the goal of amortizing the unfunded pension liabilities over a shorter period, but allows for more affordable pension contributions and a more conservative investment return assumption.”

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12/15/16 07:28 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: Sperry Closing on Main St.

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Sperry Top-Sider, a shoes and casual apparel store at 56 Main St., is closing next month after two and a half years in the location. No reason was given for the closure. When the store opened in April 2014, it was the only one in the state that was standalone. Shoppers are being offered 60 percent off on all merchandise with all sales final.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

12/15/16 12:03 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, December 09, 2016

Malloy, Unions Strike Pension Deal

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced a deal with state employee unions that would allow Connecticut to dodge a fiscal iceberg by holding down annual pension costs otherwise set to spike over the next 16 years.

But to get that relief, Connecticut would shift at least $13.8 billion in estimated pension expenses owed before 2032 onto a future generation.

Under the deal, the state still would pay hefty pension bills for the next 16 years, with annual costs rising from $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion over that period. But pension expenses that were supposed to drop as low as $300 million per year after 2032 would hover close to $1.7 billion in the 2030s and 2040s.

The plan does not affect benefit levels for current or future retirees, nor does it change workers’ pension contributions.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Land Swap Dropped: ‘Economics Just Didn’t Work’

By James Lomuscio

The highly touted Elm Street land swap that would have netted the town nine additional parking spaces and have been a boon to the downtown and the Bedford Square project was scrapped last week for economic reasons, developer David Waldman said today.

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Under the scrapped plan, this building housing the Villa Del Sol Restaurant at 35 Elm St. would have been razed and swapped for part of the town-owned parking lot across the street. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“The economics just didn’t work for me, and as a developer I had to let it go,” said Waldman, principal of David Adam Realty who is heading up the nearby Bedford Square Project.

Waldman’s plan to put up a $7 million building on a piece of the town’s Baldwin Parking Lot at 36 Elm St. in exchange for property he had an option to buy at 35 Elm St. across the road had been supported by First Selectman Jim Marpe.

Pitched as the last leg in the revitalization of the downtown, the planned land swap received a positive report from the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) at its Sept. 29 meeting. (See WestportNow Sept. 29, 2016)

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Staples Students Build Tesla App

By Ellery Saluck

An Advanced Placement (AP) computer science project seems poised to pay off big for two Staples High School entrepreneurs.

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Neal Soni (l) and Dylan Diamond with a Tesla they can control from their too. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ellery Saluck for WestportNow.com

Junior Neal Soni and senior Dylan Diamond have created their very own app called Tesla Toolbox. It allows owners of the electric car Tesla to track their speed, route and power usage.

It also lets them control features like lights, the locking and unlocking car doors, the opening and closing garage doors, even climate control.

Users can also start their Tesla or drive it forward or backward without being in it, but with the mere touch of a iPhone.

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

Sampling the Food

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Paul Lebowitz (r) of Westport enjoys some of the offerings at a reception tonight marking the opening of A.S Fine Foods, 361 Post Road West.  The takeout-only business offers up a variety of prepared foods, including fresh meats from Vincent Market in the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

12/03/16 07:55 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: Update on Bedford Square


A look at progress on the Bedford Square project in Westport’s center. The development around the former Westport Weston Family YMCA is mixed use retail, residential, and offices. Anthropologie is the anchor tenant, occupying 40,000 square feet on two floors in the main building. Its space will include a restaurant, Amis Trattoria, a Philadelphia-based restaurant group owned by Urban Outfitters, parent company of Anthropologie. The residential space includes apartments with views overlooking Elm Street and Church Lane. Completion is scheduled for April 2017. WestportNow.com photos

12/03/16 01:02 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, December 02, 2016

Another Deli to Oscar’s Space

By Gordon Joseloff

Westport’s Main Street is getting a Deli back. Rye Ridge Deli will open next year in space long occupied by Oscar’s Delicatessen, 159 Main St.

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Partners Mike Ventorino (l) and Scott Martin today in the future home of Rye Ridge Deli and Restaurant at 159 Main St.. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Partners Scott Martin and Mike Ventorino will open the third Rye Ridge Deli sometime early next year, they said today.

Other Rye Ridge Delis – described as a New York Kosher-Style Deli and Restaurant—are in Rye Brook, N.Y. and Stamford.

Oscar’s closed in August a week before the death of longtime owner Lee Papageorge after a 42-year presence on Main Street. (See WestportNow Aug. 8, 2016)

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Real Estate Brokerage Supporting Toys for Tots

William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty announced today the firm’s Westport brokerage will support the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program by hosting an official collection point.

The company said it would accept new, unwrapped toy donations dropped off from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours through Dec. 22 at its office at 199 Post Road East.

Toys for Tots is a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, in which new, unwrapped toys are collected and distributed as Christmas gifts to the less fortunate children of that specific campaign’s local community.

“We are humbled to be taking part in this great local cause,” said Marc Caldarone, manager of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty’s Westport brokerage.

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JoyRide to Launch Cross-Training Space

Westport’s JoyRide Cycling + Fitness Studio has announced it will expand to launch a new state-of-the-art, 4,000-square foot cross-training space.

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The JoyRide expansion will occur next month.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Julianne Mulvey

The expansion will allow it to offer cross-training classes and personal training sessions, as well as introduce a new signature class, JoyX, “a challenging, full-body, high-energy workout designed to free one’s inner athlete and push boundaries,” an announcement said.

These intense group-training classes will focus on strength, agility, speed and power, by incorporating rowing machines, TRX, boxing, mixed martial arts and weights, it said.

JoyRide will also be able to expand its popular JoyCircuit class, which will now be accessible to more people.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Comings & Goings: Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center Opening

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Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center is leasing 2,900-square feet of space at 1800 Post Road East, previously occupied by People’s United Bank, according to Franco Fellah, executive vice president of Westport’s HK Group.The shopping center is anchored by Stop & Shop. Founded in 1994, the business already has established locations in Trumbull, Shelton, Stratford and Fairfield, Fellah said. The Westport space is currently under construction and should be ready to open for business in very early 2017, he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

11/30/16 10:24 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Key Lawmaker: Need to Talk About Raising Revenues

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

As analysts outlined a grim picture today that could include further cuts to state social services and reversing recent enhancements in local aid and transportation, one key lawmaker insisted officials must discuss raising revenue in 2017.

Though it is premature to target specific measures — such as tax increases, fee hikes or tolls — Rep. Toni E. Walker, D-New Haven, said trying to offset surging debt costs in the next state budget solely with cuts “is going to be devastating” to Connecticut.

“I believe there are things out there that we need to look at, that we have turned up our nose to” over the past year, she said. “We have to look now, and we have to look at who is suffering in this state.”

Walker, a New Haven Democrat who co-chairs the Appropriations Committee, made her comments after a three-hour briefing on budget trends by executive and legislative branch analysts.

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11/30/16 09:27 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Brisk Business at Tree Farm

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The Connecticut Audubon Society - H. Smith Richardson Christmas Tree Farm at 16 Sasco Creek Road in Westport was doing a brisk business today in Christmas trees and wreaths. A new feature this year is a food truck serving up coffee and hot chocolate. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Comings & Goings: Learning Express Toys Closing

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It was an ironic announcement for this Small Business Saturday. Alice and David Marks, owners of Learning Express Toys, 425 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center, informed customers today they are closing after 21 years in Westport. “We have finally succumbed to the predatory nature of e-commerce in general, and Amazon more specifically,” said David. He said the store would offer 30 percent off all merchandise until the stock runs out. Six store employees will lose jobs as a result of the closing. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

11/26/16 06:16 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, November 25, 2016

New Landscaping at Old Y

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Westport downtown shoppers today admired the new landscaping going in at the Bedford Square development at the corner of Main Street and Church Lane. The multi-use project in the former Westport Weston Family Y building is scheduled to open in April. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

11/25/16 03:50 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

‘Black Friday’ Shoppers Crowd Main Street

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Shoppers crowded Westport’s Main Street today looking for “Black Friday” bargains. Banana Republic offered 50 percent off on some items and Williams Sonoma offered the same discount on turkey gravy and other Thanksgiving food items.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

11/25/16 02:12 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Comings & Goings: Art’s Deli to be Winfield Deli

By Dave Matlow

Westport’s iconic Art’s Deli at 13 Post Road West, near the intersection of Riverside Avenue, is under new ownership.

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Art’s Deli, 13, Post Road West, will become Winfield Street Italian Deli. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com

Breno Donatti, the new owner, also owns Norwalk’s Winfield Italian Deli, 69 Winfield St., and, since February, Winfield Street Espresso & Panini Bar, 4 Railroad Place, across from the Westport Metro-North Railroad Station in Saugatuck.

He said the name of the Post Road West business will be renamed Winfield Street Italian Deli once all town-required permits are approved and issued. 

Donatti said Richard Falcone Sr., former owner of Art’s Deli, recently underwent bypass surgery and is recuperating in Florida. 

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