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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Comings & Goings: Lou & Grey to Main Street Image
Lou & Grey, a specialty line of women’s apparel, opens on Friday at 15 Main St., next door to Loft, 17 Main St., according to spokesperson Kate McShane of its parent company, LOFT, Ann Inc. Shane said the Westport location for Lou & Grey is “our first concept store in the U.S. and is much more than just a store: it’s a library, a workshop and a test kitchen.”  She said the Lou & Grey lounge collection is “offered in LOFT’s 540 stores and we are testing free-standing stores in the future.”  She added, “These clothes are for the woman on the go who never wants to have to choose between style and comfort.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 07:18 PM
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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Westport Snack Food Company Makes National Debut Image
Executives of Nothin’ But, a Westport-based snack company, are in Anaheim, Calif. for Natural Products EXPO West, the leading tradeshow for natural and organic products on the West Coast. It is their company’s national debut with their cookies and granola bars. Founder Jerri Graham (l) and CEO Steven Laitmon (c) offer up samples to attendees. Nothin’ But products are available in many Westport area stores, from Stew Leonard’s, to Terrain, to Aux Delices and Cocoa Michelle. They are also available in select New York locations and online at (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 12:40 PM
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Friday, March 07, 2014

State Says Westport Man’s Pot Company Can Keep License

The state told a Westport man today that his medical marijuana growing company will retain its license after it was disclosed that a man it listed as its former chief grower had previously lost a local license to run a marijuana facility in Colorado.

Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein sent a letter to David Lipton, principal in Fairfield-based Advanced Grow Labs LLC, informing him of the state’s decision.

Rubenstein said the company can remain one of the four statewide producers of marijuana for medical purposes because his agency is satisfied that the company’s principals were “equally misled” by John J. Czarkowski.

The commissioner said his office concluded that the company – which is building a production facility in West Haven – had conducted a thorough background check on Czarkowski.

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Posted 07:47 PM
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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Catastrophe Bond Expert: Wrong Partner Could Be Disaster

By Bonnie Adler

Westporter John Seo, who now makes a pretty good living at gauging the risk of catastrophic events, told a Westport Library audience tonight choosing the wrong entrepreneurial partner could be a disaster. He said his path to becoming one the world’s experts at what he does was not an easy one. Image
John Seo addresses a Westport Library audience tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bonnie Adler for

Raised In Dallas, the son of Korean immigrant parents –- his father was a professor of economic theory at Southern Methodist University –- he said they wanted him to be a mathematician, just like his mother. But he said he always dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur.

His dreams came true as co-founder and managing principal of Westport-based Fermat Capital Management. Now the largest investment manager of catastrophe bonds in the world, the firm manages $4.5 billion in investments.

Seo, who spoke as part of the library’s “Insights from Entrepreneurs” series, has 21 years experience in fixed income bond and derivatives trading and has been in the catastrophe bond market for more than 15 years.

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Posted 10:44 PM
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Comings & Goings: South Moon Under Opens Image
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe joined Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heather Cavanaugh today in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at South Moon Under, a men’s and women’s fashion boutique that chose Westport as its first store in Connecticut. It is located at 14 Post Road East, former site of Klaff’s, which occupied the space for more than 25 years before closing recently. Gage Lester, director of sales and marketing, said the business started in 1968 when founder and CEO Frank Gunion opened the first store in Ocean City, Md. It now has 22 stores. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 01:25 PM
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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Close J. Crew Cut Image
A woman driver overshot the curb and slammed into the Parker-Harding Plaza entrance to Westport’s J. Crew today. No one was injured and there was no structural damage to the store, said Fire Marshal Ed Zygmant. But he said the doorframe was damaged and entry to the store was limited to Main Street as a result. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:45 PM
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Dress Code vs. Code of Laws

UPDATE (clarifies charges) Business competition crossed the line into identity theft-impersonation as a Westport small business owner attempted to have goods only available to a competitor shipped to the competitor’s store, police said today. Image
Mary Perkins, 53, of Norwalk, owner of Dress Code, 578 Post Road East, was charged with one count of identity theft second-degree (impersonation), police said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Mary Perkins, 53, of 194 Gregory Boulevard, Norwalk, turned herself in Sunday on a warrant and was charged with one count of identity theft second-degree (impersonation), police said.

While police would not release the name of the competitor nor Perkins’s shop, records show that Perkins is the owner of Dress Code at 578 Post Road East, which opened in 2010. A court affidavit showed the competitor was Winged Monkey, 384 Post Road East., where Perkins formerly worked, according to The Hour of Norwalk.

“It was all done electronically,” Capt. Vincent Penna said of the ordering of the goods.

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Posted 01:52 PM
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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Westport Resources CEO Named Barron’s Top Adviser Image
John Vaccaro: fifth year in a row. Contributed photo

Westport Resources, a Westport-based independent investment firm, has announced that its founder and CEO, John Adams Vaccaro, has been named one of Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors” in the United States and seventh top advisor in Connecticut for 2014.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Vaccaro, who founded the firm in 1986, has received recognition by the weekly financial newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition,” Vaccaro said. “It’s a testament to the outstanding team we have here at Westport Resources. I commend my team for its hard work and unwavering dedication to our clients.”

Barron’s rankings are determined according to data provided by more than 4,000 of the nation’s most productive advisors, on a state-by-state basis. Rankings are based on assets managed, revenue produced, regulatory record, quality of practice and philanthropic work.

Posted 03:38 PM
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Monday, March 03, 2014

Comings & Goings: TBI Computer to Norwalk Image
TBI Computer, an authorized Apple computer sales and service provider at 52 Post Road West for more than 21 years, according to founder and owner Judy O’Meara, has relocated to 181 Westport Ave., Norwalk, across from Splash Car Wash.  Store manager Kelly Denton said, “Our new shop is twice the size of our former one. We’ve expanded our service area to a state of the art status. It’s phenomenal. We’re sure we can now decrease the turnaround time.” She also said the company plans to expand its range of classes starting next month. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 08:58 PM
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Westport Has Two ‘Unofficially’ on Forbes Billionaire List

Westport did not show up officially on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires released today, but two of them might be called unofficial Westport entries. Image
Marc Lasry , No. 1,047 on the Forbes list, addresses a Westport Public Library audience in 2010. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Ray Dalio, a Greenwich resident who heads Westport-based Bridgewater Associates hedge fund, was No. 69 on he list with an estimated worth of $14.4 billion.

And Marc Lasry, also a hedge fund titan who owns a waterfront home in Westport’s Greens Farms section, came in No. 1,047 with an estimated worth of $1.7 billion. Forbes listed his residence as New York, where he has a Manhattan apartment (and where he hosted a fundraiser for President Obama).

The Town of Westport recently listed Lasry and his wife Cathy as No. 8 on its list of top 10 taxpayers in town. (See WestportNow Jan. 31, 2014)  Most of the Connecticut billionaires on the Forbes list live in Greenwich. See the complete list here.

Posted 08:33 PM
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Comings & Goings: Cru Restaurant Closes Image
Cru Restaurant, which opened last June in the lower level at 125 Main St., home of GAP Inc., with its entrance on Parker-Harding Plaza, has closed. The restaurant featured American, Mediterranean, and Pacific cuisine. It was owned by Steve Prokop and Todd Rose, owners of Cuvee, an upscale restaurant in West Hartford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:38 PM
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House Speaker: Make CT Colleges and Hospitals Pay Property Taxes

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Arielle Levin Becker

Connecticut has long spared most colleges and hospitals from local property taxes and reimbursed their home communities with state grants worth a fraction of the lost tax revenue.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, says it’s time to effectively reverse that. The speaker’s proposal would subject the nonprofits to property taxes. And colleges and hospitals—not municipalities—could seek state grants to offset a portion of the cost.

Sharkey said the proposal is rooted in concerns about local taxes and the loss of taxable property as hospitals and colleges buy up real estate to use as outpatient facilities or faculty offices. Local taxpayers can’t afford to fund the police, fire and other services needed to support the nonprofit institutions without more help, he said.

“We already rely so heavily on the property tax,” Sharkey said Tuesday. “When they lose so much revenue from major institutions like this, the costs outweigh the benefits.”

Click here for more of story

Posted 11:10 AM
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Malloy Seeks Tax Relief to Trigger $500M UTC Expansion

By Keith M. Phaneuf

United Technologies Corp. would launch a major $500 million investment in its research, training and corporate facilities later this year in exchange for $400 million in tax relief over the next two decades under a deal Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced today. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and UTC Chairman Louis Chenevert announce major expansion deal at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

The agreement, which requires legislative approval, also requires UTC to keep the corporate headquarters of its two main subsidiaries – East Hartford-based Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky Aircraft of Stratford – for 15 and 5 years, respectively.

And while it came days after Sikorsky announced 600 manufacturing layoffs, Malloy hailed the deal as the best chance to preserve the aerospace giant’s knowledge base and grow jobs in this field in Connecticut in the future.

“Connecticut has long led the world when it comes to the aerospace industry,” said Malloy, who announced the deal at Pratt’s Museum Hangar. “We will ensure that we remain a leader for years to come. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, one that will make sure we are keeping and creating good-paying jobs with good benefits – not just in the UTC companies, but also in the hundreds of aerospace supply chain companies throughout the state and the region.”

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Posted 06:01 PM
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Comings & Goings: JR’s Changes Hands

By Dave Matlow

Jeff Aricola, owner of JR’s Deli & Grill, 265 Riverside Ave., said today he is turning the business over to new owners by the end of March. Image
Jeff Arciola and sister Pam at the restaurant today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

He said they are Lou Prumotl, the primary investor, and Eric Johnson, who will manage the eatery and the weenie mobile with Arciola’s help through May.

Prumonti is not new to the restaurant business, said Arciola. He said he currently owns three others—Sunrise Grill and Valentino in Norwalk, and a restaurant along the marina in New Rochelle.

Arciola, 44, assumed the ownership of JR’s Hot Dog Stand, as it was formerly known, in 2003 when he purchased it from his cousins Carolyn and Junior Bieling, who owned the iconic site since 1970.

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Posted 10:33 PM
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Comings & Goings: Danise Talbot Designs to Riverside Ave. Image
Danise Talbot Design has opened at 263 Riverside Ave. According to owner Talbot, the store offers “an eclectic mix of furniture, hangings, jewelry, and accent pieces along with professional interior design services.”  According to Talbot, a native of Westchester County, she operated a family owned business called the Westport Jewelry Boutique and later worked at Mitchells of Westport, specializing in jewelry. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 06:23 PM
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