Sunday, April 02, 2023



Comings & Goings: The Brownstone Closing Image
The Brownstone, 142 Main St. second floor, a boutique shop featuring handbags and jewelry, will close in mid-March, according to owner Victoria Schallert. Opened originally in Norwalk 15 years ago, the business relocated to Westport’s 36 Main St. in 2007 and to its current location in 2016. Schallert, 65, who led the harmonious management team with Mariana Hurtado and Celeste Puglisi, said she and her husband, 68, are retiring now and plan to relocate to their house in California. “Of course, we will miss our many customers who have become friends, but time goes on,” Schallert said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Pressure Builds to Repeal Tax on Inheritances of the Wealthy

By Keith M. Phaneuf

For years, minority Republicans in the General Assembly have fought to repeal Connecticut’s tax on inheritances of the wealthy.

This year they are not alone. A growing number of Democrats want the legislature — and new Gov. Ned Lamont — to repeal the tax.

And while Democrats from Connecticut’s affluent southwestern corner are calling for repeal, they aren’t the only Democrats open to the idea. Even some of the party’s most progressive members are willing to let go of the tax — provided repeal can be traded for some other budget initiative.

“It’s just a very shortsighted policy,” said freshman Sen. Alex Bergstein, a Greenwich Democrat, who argued the tax raises “a pittance” while “sending a signal that we don’t want high-income earners here.”

Comings & Goings: Westport Couple Opens Bulk Food Store in Newtown Image
Westporters Tara and Tony DiPippa, along with Newtown residents Cynthia and John Bocuzzi, have opened BD Provisions, a bulk food store with an emphasis on low and zero-waste packaging, at 125 South Main St. in Newtown. BD Provisions offers a selection of grains, snacks, chocolate, pastas, nuts, candy, and more in over 250 large barrels that customers can scoop themselves and pay for by the pound, with the option to buy as much or as little as they want. Also on offer are artisanal olive oils, vinegars, local honey, and maple syrups on tap with refillable glass bottles, as well as coffee beans roasted at the front of the store. Already named one of the favorite zero waste shops by, BD Provisions looks forward to expanding via franchises in the United States and abroad. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Anna-Liisa Nixon for

Lamont Gives Limited Preview of His 2019 Legislation

By Mark Pazniokas

Gov. Ned Lamont said today he intends to submit legislation next week to extend the period between driver’s license and motor vehicle registration renewals, create an Election Day holiday and encourage public-private partnerships around transit-oriented development.

Under the rubric of “making state government smarter, more responsive to the needs of residents, and more engaged with the private sector,” the governor’s office released brief summaries of several bills to be submitted with his budget proposal next week.

“These proposals are reflective of concerns raised by residents to help simplify their lives and cut down on the hassle of accessing certain services, and I’m pleased to be able to help address them,” Lamont said.

The governor, who has yet to name a new commissioner of motor vehicles, is proposing to extend the time between license renewals from six to eight years and motor vehicle registrations from two to three years. He promised the changes during his campaign.

SALT Cap to Hurt Some CT Taxpayers, While Others Benefit From GOP Tax Law

By Ana Radelat

Washington — As the tax filing season ramps up, Alan Clavette, a certified public accountant in Newtown, joked that he is considering putting a sign on the door that says “don’t kill the messenger.”

That’s because the enormous new changes in the federal tax code will affect almost everyone filing their 2018 taxes.

Clavette and other accountants in the state are concerned their clients won’t be fully prepared for the changes, especially those suddenly faced with higher federal tax bills this year.

“The tax world has been turned upside down,” said the owner of Clavette & Company. “I expect to have some difficult conversations with our clients.”

Comings & Goings: Compo Barber Under New Ownership

By Dave Matlow

The Compo Barber Shop, 387 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center, is under new ownership following the recent death of its longtime owner Tommy Ghianuly. Image
Rami Piorov outside the Compo Barber Shop. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The iconic Westport barber who owned and operated the shop for nearly 60 years died Jan. 7 at age 83. 

The new owner, Uzbekistan-born Rami Pirov, a Queens, New York resident, assumed ownership this week. 

Pirov said he emigrated to the United States in 1994 and practiced his barber trade in New York’s Upper East Side on Third Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets until 1999.

Comings & Goings: Fleet Feet to Sconset Square Image
Fleet Feet Westport, a 1,200-square foot store dedicated to running shoes, apparel and gear, opens Feb. 14 at 10 Sconset Square, off Myrtle Avenue. According to David Wright, who co-owns the Westport franchise with his wife, Lynn, Fleet Feet, which opened it first store in 1976, now has 185 locations nationwide qualifying it as the largest runner-only specialty retailer in the country. A grand opening celebration featuring food trucks, raffles and prizes is scheduled for March 9. The next nearest Fleet Feet shop is in West Hartford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Assessor: Grand List Up 1.07 Percent

Westport’s net 2018 Grand List of $11,311,830,644 is up 1.07 percent over last year, according to Assessor Paul Friia.

Friia released these figures Tuesday when he announced that he signed the Oct. 1, 2018 Grand List as required by state statute.

The 1.07 percent increase is the lowest in recent years, and follows a 1.52 percent increase in 2017.

The list is the sum of the net assessed value of all taxable property: real estate, motor vehicles and personal property.

Comings & Goings: Confirmed — Sundance to Main Street

Confirming a WestportNow report from last November (See WestportNow Nov. 9, 2018), Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (ESRT) announced today that Sundance Holdings Group, LLC, Robert Redford’s retail brand, will open at 69-97 Main St. Image
The site was previously occupied by Ann Taylor. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The space was formerly occupied by Ann Taylor, which closed in April 2018 after more than a 50-year presence in Westport. According to Westport real estate agent Skip Lane, the space has undergone extensive flood proofing.

An announcement said Sundance has signed a 3,920-square foot long-term lease. Sundance’s adjacent tenant lululemon also recently expanded its Main Street location to 5,645 square feet, it added.

“Sundance selected the best retail location on Westport’s Main Street,” said Thomas P. Durels, executive vice president, real estate, for ESRT.  

Comings & Goings: Real Estate Firm Opening in Former Bank Image
Houlihan Lawrence, a luxury real estate brokerage, will open at 50 Charles St. by March, according to an employee.  An affiliate of Home Services of America and headquartered in Rye Brook, New York the company operates in Fairfield County as well as New York’s Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. The space was previously occupied by a TD Bank branch which closed in November 2013. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for