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Friday, May 01, 2009

Comings and Goings: Waterworks Closes

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UPDATE Waterworks, a retail bath accessories shop that had been at 181 Main St. for 10 years and in Westport since 1981, closed its Westport store on April 24. According to Kathy Kennedy, an employee in the Westport store for 10 years who now works in the Waterworks Greenwich store, the Westport shop closed “to consolidate it into the Greenwich store which had recently been enlarged and renovated.” News reports said about 20 locations were closed by the chain which was founded in 1978 by Barbara Sallick and her husband, Robert, who joined her father’s Danbury plumbing supply business and launched “a new kind of American bath company.” Waterworks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 3. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:22 PM
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Comings and Goings: Waterworks Posts Closing Notice

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A notice tells customers that the Westport Waterworks store at 181 Main St. has closed. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:17 PM
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Westport Officials Meet on Flu Outbreak; Mask Sales Soar

Westport’s emergency management team met today to discuss the town’s preparations for a pandemic flu outbreak while getting an update from state officials, including Governor M. Jodi Rell. WestportNow.com Image
Russell Levine, pharmacist and owner of Colonial Surgical Supply and Druggist, Inc. on Post Road East reported a run on protective masks and anti-flu medicine. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff convened the mid-day meeting as Westport pharmacies reported a run on protective masks as well as medications used to treat swine flu.

“Westporters need to know that we have plans in place to cope with a flu outbreak and while there is a need for vigilance, there is no reason for panic,” he said.

Among those also participating in the meeting were Fire Chief Christopher Ackley, Police Chief Alfred Fiore, Mark A. R. Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District, Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, and Human Services Director Barbara Butler.

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Posted 10:29 PM
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Westporter Gets One Year on Fraud Charges

UPDATE A federal judge in Hartford today sentenced Westporter Robert D. Graham, a former General Re Corporation executive and former member of the Westport Board of Finance and Planning and Zoning Commission, to one year and one day in prison and fined him $100,000 following his conviction on fraud charges. WestportNow.com Image
Robert Graham: “I realize there are no do-overs in life.” WN file photo

The sentence, which is to be followed by two years of supervised release, was handed down by Judge Christopher Droney, who again rejected federal sentencing guidelines in sentencing Graham, 61.

He is the last of five former Gen Re and American International Group, Inc. (AIG) officials to be sentenced since they were convicted in February 2008 following a five-week jury trial. (See WestportNow Feb. 25, 2008).

“I realize there are no do-overs in life,” Graham told Droney. “Nothing I can say or do now can change what has happened or its impact on the lives of others or on me. Your honor, I regret that more than words can adequately express.”

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Posted 04:15 PM
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hudson Valley Bank Officially Opens Westport Branch

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Hudson Valley Bank, a Westchester-based bank with $2 billion in assets, officially opened its Westport branch today at 420 Post Road West. Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff (3rd l.) joined James J. Landy (5th l.) president and CEO, and other bank officials and dignitaries in cutting the ribbon. The bank had a “soft” opening last fall. Landy said he was pleased with the response of the Westport community to the bank’s services aimed at individuals, businesses, professional service firms and not-for-profit organizations.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:53 PM
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31-Cent per Scoop Ice Cream Today at Baskin-Robbins

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Baskin-Robbins will host its Third Annual 31-Cent Scoop Night today from 5 to 10 p.m. at all Baskin-Robbins locations nationwide, including the Westport store at 180 Post Road East. Baskin-Robbins is partnering with the national Volunteer Fire Council, the nation’s leading non-profit association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS and rescue services. Members of the Westport Volunteer Fire Department will be there along with a Westport Fire Department fire engine. Pictured is last year’s event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 11:54 AM
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Westport News Moves to Fairfield, Makes Staff Changes

The Westport News has moved from its Norwalk office to Fairfield and will be published from the office of the sister Hearst Corp. weekly newspaper the Fairfield Citizen, a source at the newspaper said today. Callers to the Westport News number in Norwalk today were told to call Fairfield.

Hearst announced Friday the elimination of 44 jobs at its Connecticut newspapers and among those affected were Will Rowlands, Westport News editor since 2004, and Carol King, Lifestyle Editor, the source said. (See WestportNow April 24, 2009)

The company said it plans to eliminate another 80 positions within three months as part of a consolidation and cost-cutting effort.

Also leaving Hearst was Patricia Hines, the 23-year editor of the Fairfield Citizen. Taking over as editor is Frances Moore, a Fairfield resident and a graduate of Sacred Heart University who will also oversee the Westport News, the source said.

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Posted 01:20 AM
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Comings and Goings: Jd’s Cosmetic Essentials Closed

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Jd’s Cosmetic Essentials at 62 Main St. in Westport has closed and a sign on the front door said it is undergoing renovations and will reopen May 8. According to a neighboring store owner, the cosmetics store will reopen under a new name with the same store manager. A Westport resident told WestportNow that when that they were in the store on Friday, a store employee said their $100 gift certificate would be honored in the new store. Jd’s Cosmetic Essentials also closed its other three stores in Ridgefield, Darien and West Hartford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:29 PM
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Friday, April 24, 2009

Hearst Cuts 44 Jobs at its Connecticut Newspapers

Hearst Corp., publisher of The Westport News and other local newspapers as well as dailies in Stamford, Greenwich, Bridgeport and Danbury, eliminated 44 jobs at the company’s Connecticut newspapers today, according to a Web report by The Advocate of Stamford, one of Hearst’s Connecticut newspapers.

The company plans to eliminate another 80 positions within three months as part of a consolidation and cost-cutting effort, the report said. It said the affected employees met with management throughout the day.

The rest of the workforce at Hearst’s four daily newspapers, the Connecticut Post, The Advocate of Stamford, Greenwich Time, The News-Times of Danbury and the six weeklies of the Brooks Community Newspaper group, including The Westport News, was told of the plan in an e-mailed letter, The Advocate said.

“Beginning today, we will take the first step toward structurally changing the cost base of our business to ensure its long-term viability,” Mark E. Aldam, senior vice president and group publisher of Hearst Newspapers, said in the letter.

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Posted 11:26 PM
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Comings and Goings: Robert’s Clothing Store Closing

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UPDATE Robert’s LLC, located at 1869 Post Road East in Westport at the Fairfield line, has announced that it is closing at the end of May. Owner Robert Mazzucchelli said the men’s clothing store has been in its current location for three years and in its prior location at 127 Post Road East for four years. “The luxury business in Westport has evaporated,” he said. “People have been cutting back for seven or eight months now.” He added, “There’s so much uncertainty as when and how they (his customers) will come out of it.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 02:00 PM
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Talking Business

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There was a large turnout for tonight’s business after hours event hosted by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce at the Audi showroom in Fairfield. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 12:45 AM
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Westport Chamber Names Interim Executive Director

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Richard Gordon (r), chairman of the of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, tonight congratulates Westonite Fred Feuerhake on his appointment as interim executive director of the group. Feuerhake is former director of community relations for Westport-based Terex Corporation. They were attending a combined Westport Weston and Fairfield Chamber of Commerce business after hours reception held at the Audi of Fairfield showroom in Fairfield. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 12:31 AM
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Comings and Goings: Omni Fitness Gone

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Omni Fitness at 419 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center closed its doors about a month ago, according to the landlord. Omni Fitness, which described itself as “the East Coast’s largest retailer of quality home fitness equipment,” filed for bankruptcy last fall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 03:23 PM
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Magazine: Westport’s Bridgewater World’s Largest Hedge Fund

Westport-based Bridgewater Associates was one of just a handful of the largest hedge funds to actually add assets last year, enough to make it that largest hedge fund manager in the world at the end of 2008, according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine.

The firm, which employs 650 workers at four Westport locations, topped the magazine’s 2009 Hedge Fund 100, the magazine’s annual ranking of the world’s biggest single-manager hedge fund firms, with $38.6 billion. This was $2.6 billion more than it managed at the end of 2007.

Bridgewater dethroned JPMorgan Asset Management, which had held the top spot for two years, as JPMorgan saw its hedge fund assets plummet 26.4 percent to $32.9 billion, Alpha said.

In all, the largest 100 hedge funds in the world managed 23.7 percent less than they had a year earlier, down to $1.03 trillion from $1.35 trillion, the record set at the end of 2007, the magazine said.

Posted 03:14 PM
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Comings and Goings: Zest Restaurant Closing on Tuesday

Two months after public disclosure of a bankruptcy filing, Westport’s Zest Cafe & Restaurant at 8 Church Lane said today it will close Tuesday “due to economic forces beyond our control.”WestportNow.com Image
Zest Restaurant is closing Tuesday “due to economic forces beyond our control.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The 3,500-square foot restaurant seating 80 opened in 2006 in the basement of the building which once housed Westport Bank & Trust Co. and now is home to a Patagonia clothing store at 87 Post Road East.

“As you may have heard by now, Zest in downtown Westport is closing its doors due to economic forces beyond our control on April 21, just shy of our third anniversary,”  co-owners Chef Pietro and Janine Scotti said in an e-mail message to customers.

“As the owners, we want you know your heartfelt support during the past three years, particularly during our last weeks at Zest, touched us deeply and we thank you for all the kind words, calls and gestures.”

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Posted 11:07 PM
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