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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Comings and Goings: Baskin Robbins Closes

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Baskin Robbins, a longtime fixture at 180 Post Road East opposite the Westport Post Office, has closed. The store was dark tonight after the owner emptied the store of its contents during the day, offering ice cream to passersby and nearby retailers. The owner reportedly said he could not afford the increased rent demanded by the building owner. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

09/28/10 01:06 AM Comments (2) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, September 27, 2010

Comings and Goings: Douglas Cosmetics Closes

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Some shoppers on Westport’s Main Street were startled today to find that after a few weeks of rumors and denials, the Douglas Cosmetics store at 57 Main St. has indeed closed its doors. A notice of explanation (inset) was posted on the locked front door. One customer approached the door, glanced at the sign and commented that she had hoped that at least they would have had a good sale before closing. Earlier this month, the head of U.S. operations of Douglas denied the store was closing. (See WestportNow Sept. 10, 2010) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

09/27/10 11:13 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Comings and Goings: Jasmine Restaurant Closing

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UPDATE and CORRECT The Jasmine Restaurant at 60 Charles St. in Westport’s Saugatuck section is closing on Thursday, Sept. 30. Owner John Liu said it’s “not decided” what will happen to the space. There are rumors that a burger chain is interested in moving in. John and his wife Lena have operated the restaurant since 1996 and in January opened Chinese Takeout at 67 Saugatuck Ave. From 1987 to 1997, they owned Panda Pavilion on Post Road East and prior to that, Ship’s Corner on Jesup Road. (An earlier version of this caption said it was closing Monday.) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/22/10 05:39 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rotary Hears About “Sustainable Tourism”

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Robin Tauck, a longtime Westport resident and recognized authority on the travel and tourism industry, told the Westport Rotary Club today about “sustainable tourism,” a term to elevate the awareness of travelers of the importance of preserving World Heritage sites as earmarked by UNESCO (United States Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Tauck said there are 911 designated World Heritage sites, most in Europe and North America, and UNESCO is seeking to identify and protect additional sites in third world countries. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/21/10 07:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport’s August Unemployment Rate at 6.1 Percent

Westport’s unemployment rate in August dropped to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent in July, the Connecticut Department of Labor said.

In May, the rate was 6.3 percent, the highest since January when it was 6.6 percent. The department said the number of unemployed in August was 790, down 20 from 810 in July.

The Department of Labor said the August labor force in Westport numbered 12,968 persons with 12,178 employed.

The Westport labor force number dropped by 148 persons in August over July, the department said, with 88 fewer persons employed in August compared to July.

09/21/10 03:52 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Look at Resto Hardware—Inside and Out

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There’s a new look at Westport’s Restoration Hardware, 76 Post Road East, inside and out as part of the national retailer’s “The Gallery” look for its fall collection. “It’s now like walking right into the catalogue,” said one store employee. “We have more furniture on display to give the customer a better idea of how it would feel in their own space.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/13/10 09:07 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, September 10, 2010

Comings and Goings: Capel Rugs Opens on PRW

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Capel Rugs of Connecticut celebrated the official opening of its store and showroom today at 222 Post Road West in space previously occupied by Villency furniture. Westporter Larry Lieberman, the store’s general manager and a principal in the new business, said the Lawrence family of Fairfield is the majority owners and landlord for the 6,700 square feet shop which sells Capel’s brand of area rugs as well as broadloom, wall to wall, antique rugs and related decorative floor covering products. “We’re not a franchise business, we’re owned privately by local people, he said. “The Capel brand has been in existence since 1917—our tagline is ‘America’s Rug Company since 1917.’” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/10/10 05:19 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Rumors Swirl about Main Street’s Douglas Cosmetics

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Rita Donnerstag, president of Philadelphia-based Douglas Cosmetics, today denied published reports that the Main Street retailer is closing. She said renovations were under way on the second floor of 57 Main St.—one of five U.S. Douglas locations—“but that does not mean we are closing.” Store personnel, when queried, would not comment. A real estate source who spoke on condition of anonymity said he understood there may be a change in Douglas ownership, which is controlled by a Germany-based company. There were rumors that cosmetic vendor Blue Mercury across the street may take over the space. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/10/10 03:13 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Rotary Told Making Wine is a Recession Beater

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Wine-making experts Tess and Mark Szamatulski told Westport Roatary Club members today that the wine-making business is very good despite the recession. The Szamatulskis have owned and operated the Monroe-based Maltose Express Home Beer and Winemaking Supplies store, the largest home-brew and wine-making supply store in Connecticut, for more than 20 years. They said the poor economy has made people more price conscious and probably contributed to increased alcohol consumption. The combination has propelled their business, they said. Pictured (l-r) are Tess Szamatulski and Rotarian Fred Feuerhake opening a bottle of home-made wine for tasting as Mark Szamatulski explains the finer points about the process for making wine at home. “In Canada, 25 percent of consumed wine is home made,” he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/07/10 09:31 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, September 03, 2010

The High Cost of Congestion

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

Connecticut’s congested transportation network does more than try motorists’ patience: It costs businesses and residents at least $670 million a year, according to a new draft report prepared for the state’s Transportation Strategy Board.

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The position paper, one of several that ultimately will comprise the board’s 2011 update to its statewide transportation strategy, says lower productivity, higher operating expenses, weakened worker recruitment efforts and other problems associated with clogged highways and limited alternatives contribute to the rising price tag.

And though the problem is worst in the Stamford-to-Bridgeport corridor in Connecticut’s southwestern corridor, major congestion costs also plague the Hartford and New Haven areas, leaving the state at an increasing business disadvantage.

The report’s findings are bolstered by a new national study that ranks Connecticut among the worst states for urban highway congestion.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Working on a Facelift

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Work continued today on the facelift to the strip of stores at 606 Post Road East owned by Westport’s Kowalsky family. The shopping complex will soon be the new home of the Vincent Palumbo Salon, operated by Vincent Palumbo, former principal of Peter Coppola Salon. It opens in September in 4,200 square feet. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/31/10 10:37 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

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Vincent Palumbo today looks over the new premises for The Vincent Palumbo Salon, formerly the Peter Coppola Salon on Wilton Road,  which opens Sept. 8 in the newly renovated shopping plaza at 616 Post Road East.  Palumbo said that the area in the rear of the property has been resurfaced for parking more than 50 cars. He said the Peter Coppola Salon at 20 Wilton Road will have its final day of business on Saturday after 13 years in that location. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/31/10 10:28 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, August 30, 2010

Westport Restaurant Week Kicks Off

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Business was brisk at Westport’s Matsu Sushi restaurant today as it and 11 other restaurants participating in Westport Restaurant Week kicked off a week of specially priced lunch and dinner menus. The event, the second of the year, is sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and runs through Sept. 4. Although it’s not on the special menus, Matsu Sushi offers the popular WestportNow Roll named after a certain local Web site. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/30/10 02:07 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Phở, Gỏi Cuốn (Spring/Summer Rolls) to Go, Please

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Pho Garden, featuring Vietnamese cuisine, officially opened today at 1620 Post Road East in Westport. Owned by Bridgeport residents Anh Nguyen and Tim Huynh, the new restaurant seats 34 and offers takeout service. (See WestportNow Aug. 4, 2010) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/24/10 08:13 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cocoa Michelle Closure: Sweet Memories But Sour Note

By James Lomuscio

Barista Jessica Kerch was busy serving up truffles and cappuccinos Friday when questions came from the curious who breezed through Cocoa Michelle at 190 Main St. in Westport.
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Coca Michelle regulars, including Jim Fine (hat) of Weston, were sad to see the Main Street store close. “We have come to rely on it,” he said. “I’m furious.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“Today’s the last day?” a woman asked. Kerch nodded.

“What are you going to do with all the chocolates?” the woman continued. “Any discounts?”

Kerch confirmed that it was the last day of operation for the chocolate seller and cafe, but there would be no discounts.

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08/21/10 06:30 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, August 20, 2010

End for Cocoa Michelle on Main Street

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Westonite Pat Kerth, a friend of Cocoa Michelle owner Michelle Weber, looks over the empty Main Street store at the end of the day today. The store and cafe at 190 Main St. closed after four years but will continue at its Saugatuck location at 54 Railroad Place. Weber, who is out of town, said the decision to close was strictly financial.“Main Street is not what it used to be,” she said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/20/10 10:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport July Unemployment Rate Jumps to 6.2 Percent

Westport’s unemployment rate in July increased to 6.2 percent from 6 percent in June (corrected from the earlier announced 5.9 percent), the Connecticut Department of Labor said.

It was just below the 6.3 percent May rate which was the highest since January when it was 6.6 percent. The department said the number of unemployed in July was 809, up 40 from 769 in June.

While the unemployment rate was up, the Department of Labor said the July labor force in Westport numbered 13,054 persons with 12,245 employed, both figures a high for the year.

The Westport labor force number increased by 152 persons in July over June, the department said, with 112 more persons employed in July over June.

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08/20/10 01:04 PM Comments (5) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Comings and Goings: Cocoa Michelle Closing Downtown

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Cocoa Michelle, a chocolate store and cafe at 190 Main St., closes Friday after a four-year run at the address. Store owner Michelle Weber will continue to operate a branch at 54 Railroad Place opposite the train station in Westport’s Saugatuck area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/19/10 09:06 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings and Goings: Gap Moving on Main Street

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The Gap, the men’s and women’s nationwide casual apparel chain, is expected to relocate its Westport store from its current location at 69 Main St. to 125 Main St. The town’s regulatory departments are currently reviewing the application for approval of facade renovations.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/19/10 07:36 PM Comments (2) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Terex Revs Up China Presence

Westport’s Terex Corporation announced today two business deals that will give it an increased presence in the Chinese marketplace.

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Terex, which makes construction and material handling equipment, said that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 65 percent control of the privately held Shandong Topower Heavy Machinery Company located in Jinan, China.

It also announced that it has entered into an agreement with Fujian South Highway Machinery Company to establish a mobile materials processing equipment manufacturing joint venture in Quanzhou, China.

“These actions further escalate the growth opportunity for Terex in China, which has been steadily expanding with the addition of our Terex Port Equipment facility in Xiamen, and our new Aerial Work Platforms factory, nearing completion in Changzhou,” said Ron DeFeo, Terex chairman and chief executive officer.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Getting a Facelift

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The strip of 11 storefronts known as 606 and 616 Post Road East in Westport is undergoing a facelift, according to Don Kowalsky, an officer of Kowalsky Brothers Construction, owners of the property. He said it will include new sidewalks and new siding that will make the stores look more like the ones across the street—- also owned by the Kowalsky family—in the strip of storefronts anchored by Fresh Market. Kowalsky said that the Peter Coppola Salon is relocating from Wilton Road to the 616 Post Road East location in the next month and he expects to have the facelift completed by the end of September. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/11/10 06:57 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Estimates Confirm Southwest Connecticut Income Drop

A new report on average income per person tells southwest Connecticut residents what they already knew – their take home pay is down big time.

In fact, the estimate released today by the U.S. Commerce Department showed per capita income in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area fell by one of the biggest margins in the nation in 2009.

Yet the news was not all bad. The metropolitan area that stretches from Greenwich to Bridgeport and includes Westport remains far and away the wealthiest among 366 U.S. areas — as it has for years.

Per capita income in the Bridgeport- Stamford-Norwalk metro area was $73,720 in 2009, down 6.8 percent from $79,108 the previous year, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Comings and Goings: Pho Garden to Post Road East

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Westport’s first restaurant specializing in Vietnamese cuisine will open at 1620 Post Road East this month, according to its co-owners, Anh Nguyen and Tim Huynh, both Bridgeport residents.  Huynh, a diverse entrepreneur who also owns Lynn’s Nail Salon in Bridgeport for the past nine years, said that his family has been in the restaurant business in California for a long time.  The new restaurant will have seating for 34 as well as take-out service.  In preparing for the grand opening Huynh said the restaurant’s Vietnamese theme will highlighted by the co-owners and staff donning traditional Vietnamese attire. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/04/10 08:28 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, August 02, 2010

Comings and Goings: Saugatuck Grain & Grape Opening

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A new wine, beer and spirits shop, Saugatuck Grain and Grape, will open next month on Railroad Place next to Mario’s in space long occupied by Depot Liquors, according to owners Westport residents Jeff Marron and fiancee Mimi McLaughlin. McLaughlin,  known to many Westporters as the owner of the women’s retail apparel shop Screamin’ Mimi that was located on Main Street until 2003 in space now occupied by Lucky Brands, has been a Westport resident since 1989.  Marron, a Darien native, said that the new shop will feature “educational sessions with special interests in scotch and bourbon and many great artisanal wines.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/02/10 05:27 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, July 30, 2010

Comings and Goings: AAA Leaving Saugatuck After 20 Years

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The AAA Travel office, located in the strip of stores at 20 Saugatuck Ave. in Westport’s Saugatuck area for the past 20 years, is closing its office at the end of the business day today. It is not leaving Westport, however. See below for its new home. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

07/30/10 04:27 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings and Goings: AAA Travel Office to Post Road East

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The Westport AAA Travel office is relocating from 20 Saugatuck Ave. to its new office at 419 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center. The new office opens on Monday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

07/30/10 04:25 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Comings and Goings: Fleece Opens on Main Street

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Brooks Brothers new children’s store Fleece officially opened at 10 a.m. today at 136 Main St., next to the traditional Brooks Brothers store. The Westport store marks the 192-year-old retailer’s first foray into girl’s apparel. While boys’ is not a new category for Brooks Brothers, the Fleece collection represents a new direction and focus by the retailer, which includes not only tailored clothing but a new emphasis on sportswear. The Fleece shop is accessible through its front door entrance as well as through a passageway between it and the adjacent Brooks store. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

07/29/10 03:48 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Brooks Brothers Fleece Children’s Store Opens Thursday

Just in time for back to school shopping, Brooks Brothers announced today it will debut its highly anticipated children’s line in the company’s first freestanding Brooks Brothers Fleece for Boys and Girls store in Westport on Thursday. WestportNow.com Image

The new children’s store is located at 136 Main St. in space formerly occupied by Crabtree & Evelyn in the Brooks Corner shopping complex and next door to the longtime Brooks Brothers traditional store.

The store will feature more than 700 square feet of sportswear created by Brooks Brothers’ guest designer Nikki Kule.

The new location will also mark the introduction of Brooks Brother’s first ever girl’s collection of sportswear, party dresses, blazers and accessories all bearing a whimsical version of the brand’s iconic signature sheep label, an announcement said.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Comings and Goings: Brooks Bros. Opening Children’s Store

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Brooks Brothers is opening a standalone children’s store callled Fleece at 136 Main St., just a couple of doors down from its longtime clothing store. The Fleece line for girls and boys will be featured in about 15 Brooks stores, according to its Web site. Workers said Fleece will open in about two weeks. An industry trade journal reported the children’s standalone stores are being tried out in Westport and Kansas City. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

07/20/10 11:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, July 19, 2010

Westport Technology Startup Nets $500,000 State Grant

By James Lomuscio

Even in a down economy, innovative, entrepreneurial startups can take off. Such is the case with Weston Software, Inc. located at 728 Post Road East in Westport.WestportNow.com Image
In the Money: John Babyak (l) and Hank Voight of Weston Software. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Today the company, which moved to Westport six weeks ago from Southport,  received a $500,000 grant from Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority overseeing technology development and innovation.

The money, granted through CI’s Seed Investment Fund, is for Weston Software’s Power One, a technology platform that the Connecticut Technology Council last year voted “the most promising software of the year.”

Gov.  Jodi M. Rell, in making the announcement, said she hoped the grant would help to grow technology jobs “in Westport and throughout Connecticut.”

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