Wednesday, June 19, 2024



Westport Women Entrepreneurs in Tell-All

By Jarret Liotta

Touting a message of passion and perseverance, four female entrepreneurs from Westport tonight shared their experiences about opening and running their local businesses. Image
It was standing room only for the women’s entrepreneur event at the Playhouse. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jarret Liotta for

“Jumping Off: Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories” was held at the White Barn at the Westport Country Playhouse, hosted by the Westport Library and moderated by Selectman Jennifer Tooker.

Participants included Kitt Shapiro, owner of the clothing store West, Jamie Camche, owner of the jewelry store JL Rocks, and Dana Noorily and Julie Mountain, co-owners and CEO’s of The Granola Bar restaurants.

“So many of the businesses in this town are women-owned, and that says a lot,” noted Shapiro, who at 57 finds herself happily following a new dream.

Sharing a Laugh at Entrepreneurs Talk Image
It was a full house tonight for “Jumping Off: Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories,” a forum organized by the Westport Library at the White Barn at the Westport Country Playhouse. Sharing a laugh were (l-r) Kitt Shapiro, owner of West, Jamie Camche, founder and owner of JL Rocks, Selectman Jennifer Tooker, moderator, and partners Dana Noorily and Julie Mountain, co-CEO’s of The Granola Bar. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jarret Liotta for

Lamont Unveils Plan to Cut CT’s Red Tape

By Keith M. Phaneuf

East Windsor — Gov. Ned Lamont today unveiled a series of proposals to reduce bureaucracy and make it easier for businesses to work with the state.

Lamont, who made the announcement at Infoshred, a local document shredding firm that holds the contract to dispose of sensitive state documents, said his initiative would eliminate thousands of unnecessary forms the state must process annually.

“With fresh eyes, an aggressive approach, and collaboration, we can modernize state government the way it should be,” said Lamont, who made the announcement standing before two huge rectangular blocks of shredded paper. “It is too difficult to navigate through our agencies — it slows down our employees and our businesses.

“State government needs to embrace change and be willing to take responsible risks to move into the future,” he added. “The status quo is not good enough.”

Comings & Goings: Torno Hardware to Close Image
After 73 years, Torno Hardware, 800 Post Road East, will close within four months, according to store manager Sajjad Gul, an employee since 1999. It will be converted to a showroom for window and door products under its new owner Greenwich-based Interstate Lumber. Gul said he will continue to work under the new owners in its lumber yard. Gul’s wife, Ghazala, employed at Torno since 2006, said, “Since we emigrated from Pakistan this is the first and only job I’ve ever had.” Sajjad added: “I met Torno owner Bob Kelly in the late 1990s when he was a teacher at the University of Bridgeport and I was pursuing my MBA in finance.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

‘60 Minutes’ Gets Peek Into Dalio’s Westport Headquarters Image
Security is tight and outside cameras are rarely permitted inside the Westport headquarters of Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, by some accounts the world’s largest hedge fund and Westport’s largest private employer. But CBS’s “60 Minutes” was permitted inside the former Glendenning property on the Aspetuck River near the Weston line as it broadcast a Bill Whitaker interview tonight with Dalio. Westport was never mentioned as the location of the office, only that it was located in the Connecticut countryside. The wide ranging interview covered everything from Dalio’s national emergency fear of a coming conflict between the nation’s haves and have nots to his fascination with exploring the world’s oceans and his just announced $100 million Dalio Foundation education initiative with the state of Connecticut, See full interview HERE. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo from “60 Minutes”

Comings & Goings: The Grapevine Opens Image
The Grapevine, a wine, spirits and beer store, has opened at 345 Main St., at a location formerly occupied by Crossroads Hardware, which closed last summer after 27 years.  Joe Annunziata, co-owner with Seth Hittman, said, “We consider this a ‘soft opening’ and plan a grand opening on May 4.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Comings & Goings: Salon Nash Opens on Post Road West Image
Salon Nash, a full service hair salon for men, women and children, has opened at 179 Post Road West in Nash’s Plaza. Owner Felicia Catale, an Oxford resident who has provided hairstyling services at various Westport salons for the past 26 years, said the 8,000-square foot salon hosts six operator stations and is open every day but Sunday and Monday.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Comings & Goings: Lillian August to Bedford Square Image
Lillian August, the interior design and decor store, will open in July at 19 Church Lane, next door to Williams Sonoma, in the Bedford Square complex, according to developer David Waldman.  The 3,300-square foot Westport store adds to the firm’s current presence in Stamford, Norwalk, and Greenwich.  Maureen Rooney, Norwalk store manager, said “We left Westport around 30 years ago. I know when it was because I was the manager of the Westport shop at the time.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Trump Official Reconsiders, OKs Casino in East Windsor

By Mark Pazniokas

With its former leader facing a criminal investigation of potential political influence, the U.S. Department of Interior today abruptly reversed course and announced it has accepted a gambling amendment necessary for the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to jointly construct a casino in East Windsor to compete with MGM Springfield.

The terse notice posted on Interior’s website at 11:15 a.m. gives no rationale for the reversal, saying only that after “further consultations with the Tribe,” the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs signed off on the document on March 15 and that it would become effective after its publication Monday in the Federal Register. The DOI had no comment.

The notice removes a key obstacle to the construction of Connecticut’s first casino off tribal lands, but it invites the certain revival of a legal challenge by MGM Resorts International of the state’s authorization of the East Windsor casino without competition. MGM’s original lawsuit was dismissed as premature, but that no longer is the case.

MGM said today it will resume its court fight, which claims that Connecticut’s authorization of an off-reservation casino without competitive bidding was unconstitutional.

With Committee Vote, Lawmakers Map Potential Path to Tolls

By Mark Pazniokas

A legislative committee today took the first steps on what would be a long and complex journey to implement a comprehensive system of electronic highway tolls in Connecticut, endorsing three bills that broadly outline the process, while leaving crucial details about cost, frequency and location of tolls for another day.

All three bills would authorize the state Department of Transportation to develop and present a tolling plan to the Federal Highway Administration.

A Senate bill would require the full General Assembly to vote twice on tolling, once this year on the enabling legislation and again on a highly detailed final plan.

Versions favored by House Democrats and the governor’s office would require hearings on the final plan developed by the DOT and reviewed by the FHWA, which would precisely identify the location and pricing of tolling gantries, but not a second vote by the General Assembly.