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Friday, March 27, 2015



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Comings & Goings: Mario’s Place Changing Ownership Image
Westport’s iconic Mario’s Place, 36 Railroad Place, is changing ownership and will change names. The new owners, Vicente and Nuve Siguenza, say they expect the transfer to become final in mid-April. They are owners of Cava in New Canaan, Harvest in Greenwich and New Haven, Scena in Darien and 55 Degrees in Fairfield. Vicente Siguenza said the Westport location will continue to operate as Mario’s Place for an unspecified period and will then change its name to Harvest, a farm-to-table restaurant concept. An employee at Mario’s said the staff had been notified on Monday that the business was being sold. Frank ”Tiger” DeMace, co-founder of the restaurant with the late Mario Sacco, died in 2012 at age 78. (See WestportNow July 26, 2012) The DeMace family will retain ownership of the property and the Siguenzas will operate their restaurant under a long-term lease. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 01:43 PM
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Comings & Goings: Tierra Restaurant Closes Image
Two weeks after denying a report that it had closed (see WestportNow March 4, 2015), Westport’s Tierra Restaurant in the basement of the Old Town Hall, 90 Post Road East, has closed, according to Rob Haroun, who owns the building. The restaurant with Latin-inspired cuisine had been open less than one year (see WestportNow May 30, 2014). “We’re sorry to see them leave,” said Haroun. “Meanwhile, we’ve been approached by a number of potential tenants looking to enter the Westport market and would not be surprised if an announcement is made in the next few weeks.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:14 PM
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

SoNo Baking Company & Café Owner Pleased With Opening Image
SoNo Baking Company & Café owner John Baricelli said today that Wednesday’s opening day at the new 44 Church Lane location was “very crowded thanks to much social media. Customers were taking photos and posting online. We did especially well with coffee and breakfast pastries.”  He said he is working with the Chamber of Commerce to schedule a grand opening celebration by the end of March. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:19 AM
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Comings & Goings: SoNo Baking Opens Wednesday Image
SoNo Baking Company & Café opens Wednesday at 7 a.m. at 44 Church Lane, according to Patti Jonker (above), partner of owner John Barricelli. She said customers will see some familiar faces among the SoNo staff since SoNo hired several who worked at Java, which occupied the same space before closing at the end of 2014. Hours are 7 a.m-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and until 4 p.m. on Sunday. The fare includes hot breakfasts such as waffles and pancakes as well as fresh pastries, cookies and many other menu items, Jonker said. The café is also open for lunch and Sunday brunch. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:34 PM
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Comings & Goings: Geiger’s Closes on Post Road East Image
Geiger’s Garden Center, a landmark, family-owned business at 1135 Post Road East since 1953, has closed. The 2.5-acre property was purchased for redevelopment to include 12 housing units, including two affordable as well as a bank in the front. Geiger’s maintains a landscape consulting business in Westport’s Sconset Square on Myrtle Avenue. The nursery business is now located on Frogtown Road in New Canaan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 03:44 PM
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Monday, March 09, 2015

Westporter Named Among ‘Women of Innovation’ Image
Janis Collins: honored for women’s business efforts. Contributed photo

Janis Collins of Westport has been selected one of 56 Women of Innovation for the 2015 Women of Innovation awards program by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC).

The program recognizes Connecticut women in the workforce and students who are innovators, role models and community leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, an announcement said.

Collins, a member of the Westport Board of Finance, is co-founder of Westport-based The Refinery, an accelerator for women-led businesses whose goals include accelerating the growth of early stage ventures resulting in job creation and viable investments.

The 56 honorees will be recognized and a winner in each of eight award categories will be announced during the Women of Innovation awards program at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville on April 1.

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Posted 04:51 PM
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Comings & Goings: Maserati Westport Near Opening Image
Maserati Westport, owned by the 1976-founded Miller Motorcars of Greenwich, nears opening day this month at 1026 Post Road East, according to a contractor at the site. (See WestportNow April 10, 2013) The facility includes a 3,000-square foot showroom and a 1,000-square foot service garage. The Westport location is the former home of J. McLaughlin, an apparel retailer that closed on July 15, 2012.  Prior to J. McLaughlin, the space was occupied by Leonard’s New England, antique furniture and reproductions and previously by Hay Day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 01:59 PM
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Thursday, March 05, 2015

Comings & Goings: Readying Newest SoNo Baking & Café Image
SoNo Baking Company & Café will open at Westport’s 44 Church Lane this month, according to an employee at the bakery’s Norwalk location. The Norwalk-based business operates in South Norwalk at 101 Water St., in Westport at AJ’s Farm Stand, 1680 Post Road East, and in Darien, 49 Tokene Road. The space was most recently occupied by Java Coffee and Café, until it closed on Dec. 31, 2014, 11 months after it opened. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:06 PM
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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

New New Country Lexus Nears Completion Image
Workers today apply finishing touches to the renovation of New Country Lexus of Westport, 1317 Post Road East. According to its website, renovations commenced in September 2014 and are near completion. The company said its new car showroom has been expanded to highlight more new Lexus models and to accommodate more customers at once. The dealership also expanded its Fairfield service facility to include 34 stalls. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:58 PM
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bridgeport Hospital CEO: ‘Healthcare Act Not Working’ Image
William M. Jennings, president and CEO of Bridgeport Hospital, told the Westport Rotary Club today that the Affordable Healthcare Act “is not working for us.”  In response to a question, Jennings said the legislation has not reduced emergency room activity or changed the profiles of the types of patients being seen. “The Healthcare Act has not been a positive experience for us so far,” he said. Jennings noted that Bridgeport Hospital’s cost basis is among the lowest in the country. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 03:36 PM
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunny Daes Open for Business Image
The Sunny Daes ice cream store at Westport’s 30 Riverside Ave. was open for business Saturday night despite a snowstorm and freezing temperatures. An employee said the store, which also offers frozen yogurt, remains open until 10 p.m. every day despite the snow and cold.  “It’s not busy like summer, but people still come,” he said. “We’re making enough to pay our bills.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 12:15 AM
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Malloy Budget Cuts Social Services, Higher Ed; Raises Tax Revenue

By Keith M. Phaneuf

UPDATE Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today unveiled a nearly $40 billion, two-year budget that boosts tax receipts $830 million despite a sales tax cut, preserves municipal aid and cuts deeply into social services and higher education. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy outlines his budget proposal today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Alvin Chang/ photo

The governor’s plan also outlines a major transportation initiative, but does not recommend how to pay for it. But the administration’s projections show it would require $112 million in new transportation revenues by 2018 and $400 million above current revenues by 2020.

And while the transportation initiative is billed as a $100 billion investment over 30 years, only about $5.1 billion extra would be spent on projects over the governor’s four-year term.

Malloy also would close one unnamed state prison and redirect a portion of the savings to his “Second Chance Society” plan, an initiative to reduce criminal recidivism and assist youth at risk of becoming offenders.

Click here for more of story. See full text of address here.

Posted 01:10 PM
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UConn Think Tank Predicts State’s Economy Will Flourish in 2015

By Keith M. Phaneuf

After growing modestly over the past three years, the state’s economy is ready to shift into high gear in 2015, according to a quarterly report today from the University of Connecticut’s economic think tank.

And while the director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis says the 8.1 percent growth projected for 2015 probably is too good to be true, achieving even most of that would allow the state to far outstrip the national economy.

Click here for more of story

Posted 09:30 AM
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Monday, February 09, 2015

Info Session Tuesday on Achieving ‘Meaningful Social Impact’

Leaders of nonprofits interested in funding to achieve “meaningful social impact in Connecticut” are invited to an information session Tuesday on how to apply for grants of up to $50,000. Image

The session, sponsored by Social Venture Partners Connecticut (SVP-CT), will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Westport Innovation Hub, 20 Ketchum St. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP at

The deadline for submission of letters of Interest for the group’s 2015 investment cycle is Feb. 24.

SVP-CT provides both financial support and strategic advice to nonprofits providing social services that are located in Fairfield County and vicinity.

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Posted 04:59 PM
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Friday, January 30, 2015

Cold Outside But Hot IPO Inside Image
UPDATE It was bitter cold outside Westport’s Shake Shack, 1849 Post Road East, today but the company founded 14 years ago by restaurateur Danny Meyer was basking in the heat of Wall Street as its initial public offering (IPO) began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock, which went public at $21, closed at $45.90, up almost 119 percent, after trading as high as $52.50. The New York-born cult modern day “roadside” burger stand opened in Westport in July 2011. Meyer was on hand for the debut of the chain’s first actual drive-in eatery and first suburban location. (See WestportNow July 20, 2011) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:57 PM
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