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Another Retailer Quits: Sconset Squares CamerArts is Selling Out

Westport is losing another longtime local retailer CamerArts, a photo and camera store in Sconset Square, is selling out to a Ridgefield retailer who will reopen it as a photo, card and gift shop.

֓The face of retailing has changed dramatically, said owner Stephen A. Schwartz, 58. ԓThe competition is stronger than it ever has been. And that makes it very, very tough.

Schwartz, who ran a learning center for photographers as well as selling cameras, photo supplies, and offering photo finishing, said he has no regrets after 23 years in the square.

ԓIve been in retailing for 35 years and itҒs time, he said. ԓEverybody in Westport has been terrific. But times change.  People are more demanding. Its hard to meet those demands and make a profit. You just max out.Ҕ

Schwartz, who lives in the Compo Beach area with wife Nancy Holson, founder of the political satire group “The News in Revue,”  said while sale of his business has been completed, hes waiting a few days to change the sign.

ғThe Fairfield County Weekly, or Advocate, whatever they call it, is coming out in a few days naming us the best photo shop in the county, he said. ԓIronic, isnt it? So weҒll keep the sign up until then.

Schwartz gained some national notoriety three years ago after Martha Stewart wrote an article in The New York Times Sunday Magazine saying she really didnԒt like Westport and intended to leave.

The CamerArts owner put up a bulletin board in his store and invited Westporters angered at her comments to post messages to her. That was fun,Ӕ he recalled with a chuckle.

Of course Stewart stayed anyway. But now its CamerArts thatҒs leaving.

Another Retailer Quits: Sconset Squares CamerArts is Selling Out

Westport is losing another longtime local retailer CamerArts, a photo and camera store in Sconset Square, is selling out to a Ridgefield retailer who will reopen it as a photo, card and gift shop.

֓The face of retailing has changed dramatically, said owner Stephen A. Schwartz, 58. ԓThe competition is stronger than it ever has been. And that makes it very, very tough.

Schwartz, who ran a learning center for photographers as well as selling cameras, photo supplies, and offering photo finishing, said he has no regrets after 23 years in the square.

ԓIve been in retailing for 35 years and itҒs time, he said. ԓEverybody in Westport has been terrific. But times change. People are more demanding. Its hard to meet those demands and make a profit. You just max out.Ҕ

Schwartz, who lives in the Compo Beach area with wife Nancy Holson, founder of the political satire group “The News in Revue,” said while sale of his business has been completed, hes waiting a few days to change the sign.

ғThe Fairfield County Weekly, or Advocate, whatever they call it, is coming out in a few days naming us the best photo shop in the county, he said. ԓIronic, isnt it? So weҒll keep the sign up until then.

Schwartz gained some national notoriety three years ago after Martha Stewart wrote an article in The New York Times Sunday Magazine saying she really didnԒt like Westport and intended to leave.

The CamerArts owner put up a bulletin board in his store and invited Westporters angered at her comments to post messages to her. That was fun,Ӕ he recalled with a chuckle.

Of course Stewart stayed anyway. But now its CamerArts thatҒs leaving.


04/30/2003 19:18 pm Comments (2)Permalink

States Plan to Open Up

States Plan to Open Up I-95 Breakdown Lanes Draws Critics
Connecticut transportation officials got an earful of criticism at a hearing in Westport to discuss a proposal to relieve I-95 traffic by opening breakdown lanes during rush hours, according to The Hour of Norwalk.

It reported that First Selectwoman Diane Farrell and Assistant Fire Chief Mark Gurrier were among those speaking out at Tuesday nightҒs meeting at Town Hall.


04/30/2003 14:36 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Stepford WivesԔ Remake to be

Stepford WivesԔ Remake to be Shot in Area
Todays Advocate of Stamford reports that Nicole Kidman has been signed to play the lead in a remake of the 1975 movie “The Stepford Wives” and is scheduled to begin filming in the area in July. Some of the original scenes were filmed in Westport.

The report said film scouts have been in New Canaan and Norwalk looking for locales, but the newspaper makes no mention of Westport.

The remake of “The Stepford Wives” has an all-star cast, including John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken and Faith Hill.


04/30/2003 13:56 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Martha Stewart Acknowledges the Obvious: Stock Probe Hurt Earnings

Westporter Martha Stewarts media company says it had a much wider net loss and 15 percent lower revenue for its first quarter and that it was hurt by the government’s insider trading investigation of her.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., which produces magazines, TV programs and merchandise, reported a loss of $4.51 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a loss of $234,000, or break-even on a per share basis, in the year-ago period.

The 2002 first-quarter results include a charge of $3.14 million, or 6 cents a share, related to an accounting rule change.

Its operating loss was $7.5 million, or 9 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected a loss of 6 cents per share. Revenues declined to $58 million from $68 million for the year-ago period.

“Our business results reflect considerable pressure associated with the continuing governmental investigations of my sale of noncompany stock,” Stewart said in a statement.

“In the face of these pressures, the company nonetheless remains focused on creating and producing the original how-to content and quality products that fuel our company and define our brand.”

Prosecutors have been investigating whether Stewart and a Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. broker violated insider-trading laws in the December 2001 sale of ImClone Systems Inc. stock. No charges have been filed against Stewart, and she has denied wrongdoing.

Stewart said the companyҒs recent ideas and products include the new digest-sized Everyday Food magazine and our recently launched Martha Stewart Signature furniture collection, both of which are experiencing early strong consumer response.Ӕ

Martha Stewart Acknowledges the Obvious:

Martha Stewart Acknowledges the Obvious: Stock Probe Hurt Earnings
Westporter Martha Stewarts media company says it had a much wider net loss and 15 percent lower revenue for its first quarter and that it was hurt by the government’s insider trading investigation of her.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., which produces magazines, TV programs and merchandise, reported a loss of $4.51 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a loss of $234,000, or break-even on a per share basis, in the year-ago period.

The 2002 first-quarter results include a charge of $3.14 million, or 6 cents a share, related to an accounting rule change.

Its operating loss was $7.5 million, or 9 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected a loss of 6 cents per share. Revenues declined to $58 million from $68 million for the year-ago period.

“Our business results reflect considerable pressure associated with the continuing governmental investigations of my sale of noncompany stock,” Stewart said in a statement.

“In the face of these pressures, the company nonetheless remains focused on creating and producing the original how-to content and quality products that fuel our company and define our brand.”

Prosecutors have been investigating whether Stewart and a Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. broker violated insider-trading laws in the December 2001 sale of ImClone Systems Inc. stock. No charges have been filed against Stewart, and she has denied wrongdoing.

Stewart said the companyҒs recent ideas and products include the new digest-sized Everyday Food magazine and our recently launched Martha Stewart Signature furniture collection, both of which are experiencing early strong consumer response.Ӕ


04/30/2003 13:23 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Westports Kidwear Closing Its Doors

Another longtime locally-owned Westport retailer is closing its doors Kidwear at 1045 Post Road East near Colonial Road. The two sisters who founded the children֒s clothing and accessory store 16 years ago say its time to move on.

ғIts a combination of everything,Ҕ said Westporter Lynne Rozsa, who along with her younger sister Nancy Symington of Bridgeport, opened the store in 1987. ItӒs hard fighting the (poor) economy and retail is so consuming.

The storeԒs Web site says the two sisters decided to open Kidwear because they wanted to create a fun, easy one-stop shopping experience for moms or anyone shopping for children.Ӕ

Now, in a mailing to Westporters, they announced they are launching a quitting business saleӔ beginning Thursday. Everything will be sold, their letter said, including clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, and even store fixtures and equipment.

At the end of the sale, they plan to award customers more than $2,000 in prizes.

Rozsa said she looked forward to quieter times. It’s been hard, she said, having three kids go through the Westport schools while helping Westporters and customers throughout the country via their Web site or phone.ItӒs time to get out, she said.

Westports Kidwear Closing Its Doors

Another longtime locally-owned Westport retailer is closing its doors Kidwear at 1045 Post Road East near Colonial Road. The two sisters who founded the children֒s clothing and accessory store 16 years ago say its time to move on.

ғIts a combination of everything,Ҕ said Westporter Lynne Rozsa, who along with her younger sister Nancy Symington of Bridgeport, opened the store in 1987. ItӒs hard fighting the (poor) economy and retail is so consuming.

The storeԒs Web site says the two sisters decided to open Kidwear because they wanted to create a fun, easy one-stop shopping experience for moms or anyone shopping for children.Ӕ

Now, in a mailing to Westporters, they announced they are launching a quitting business saleӔ beginning Thursday. Everything will be sold, their letter said, including clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, and even store fixtures and equipment.

At the end of the sale, they plan to award customers more than $2,000 in prizes.

Rozsa said she looked forward to quieter times. It’s been hard, she said, having three kids go through the Westport schools while helping Westporters and customers throughout the country via their Web site or phone.ItӒs time to get out, she said.


04/29/2003 19:06 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Elaine Steinbeck: the Westport Connection

Todays New York Times obit of Elaine Anderson Steinbeck, one of the first women to become a Broadway stage manager and who in later years kept bright the artistic torch of her late husband John Steinbeck, notes her Westport connection.

Steinbeck, who died on Sunday in Manhattan at the age 88, lived in Manhattan and Sag Harbor, N.Y.

She was active in the theater before her marriage to the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author in 1950 and remained so after his death in 1968, the newspaper said.

The Times said she studied drama at the University of Texas, where she met her first husband, Zachary Scott, the actor, when both were involved in theater there. They were married in 1934 and several years later came east.

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne had recommended the couple to Lawrence Langner of the Theater Guild (which the Times misspells as “Langer.”) The result was a summer job at the Westport Country Playhouse, which Langner, a Weston resident, founded in 1931 with his wife, Armina Marshall.

One of the plays the Langners produced in Westport was “Green Grow the Lilacs,” which later became in its musical incarnation “Oklahoma!”

The Times reported she was the stage manager of the Theater Guild’s production of “Oklahoma!,” becoming one of the first women to achieve that position on Broadway. It opened in 1943 and ran five years. (Playbill.com reported she was “a replacement assistant stage manager.” )

Another Westport connection—Westporter Max Wilk’s 1993 book (reissued in 2002) “Ok!: The Story of Oklahoma!,” documents the Guild’s undertaking of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical from conception to SRO box-office success and mentions Steinbeck’s role.

Wilk told WestportNow she worked as assistant stage manager at the age of 26 when “Green Grow the Lilacs” had its Westport revival in 1940 and then took the same job when it became “Oklahoma!” three years later on Broadway.

Soon after, she became one of the first women to take a show on the road, organizing and supervising the national tour of “Othello” with Paul Robeson, according to the Times.


04/29/2003 12:00 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Westports Playtex Reports 29 Percent Profit Drop

One of Westports highҖprofile corporate residents, Playtex Products Inc., says its first-quarter earnings fell 29 percent.

The company, with its corporate headquarters in the Nyala Farms office complex just off I-95, warned of lower 2003 earnings as it steps up promotions to stave off strong competition in the tampon market.

The maker of Playtex tampons, Mr. Bubble bath soap and other consumer products said first-quarter net income fell to $11.4 million, or 19 cents a share from $16.1 million, or 26 cents a share, a year ago.

While most Westporters may not know it, their hometown is also home to other Playtex products such as Wet Ones, Baby Magic, Diaper Genie, Banana Boat, Woolite rug and upholstery cleaning products, Playtex gloves, Binaca and Ogilvie.

Finally, in the interests of further educating WestportNow readers about some things they may not know, Westports Playtex doesnҒt mean Playtex bras.

The explanation—in 1986, Playtex Holdings was comprised of two companies: Playtex Family Products Corp. (tampons, infant feeding and household products) and Playtex Apparel, Inc. (bras, girdles, hosiery and other apparel).

In 1991, the publicly traded Sara Lee Co. purchased Playtex Apparel and acquired a 25 percent interest in Playtex Family Products (which it later sold back). Playtex Family Products eventually became Playtex Products, Inc.

Update: Playtex shares closed down 15 percent, or $1.33, at $7.45 today on the New York Stock Exchange. It was the largest percentage loser on the exchange.