Sally’s Place To Close; A Westport Era To End

Sally White has been selling music on Main Street since 1956.

Sometime this summer, her song will finally end.

The beloved owner of Sally’s Place — the record/CD store where Keith Richards and Mary Travers shopped (and schmoozed) with Sally, and any other music lovers who wandered up the steps at 190 Main Street — is closing down.

She’s not sure when (probably later this summer). And she has no idea what she’ll do with the hundreds of posters, autographed photos and musical tchotchkes that line the way (maybe sell them?).

Sally White, standing underneath a photo of one of her all-time favorites: Frank Sinatra.

Sally White, standing underneath a photo of one of her all-time favorites: Frank Sinatra.

She does know, though, that she’ll leave a business she’s loved from her 1st day at Melody House, a few doors away, 57 years ago.

She also knows why she’s closing. The internet dragged too many customers away. The stagnant economy dragged business down further.

Sally’s Place has a niche in Westport that will never be replaced. I walked in this afternoon at the same time as another customer. She wanted a vinyl copy of “Rubber Soul.” Sally promised it would be in by Saturday.

When Melody House closed in the late ’50s, Stanley Klein offered her a job in his department store’s record section. Raising 2 sons alone, she said she could work only 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. She also told him how much she needed to be paid. He hired her on the spot.

She worked there for more than 20 years. Her gentle nature, loving presence and encyclopedic knowledge of music influenced generations of Westporters — myself included.

Sally's Place is at 190 Main Street -- on the right, just past Avery Place.

Sally’s Place is at 190 Main Street — on the right, just past Avery Place.

When Klein’s record department closed in 1985, she decided to open her own store. Her brother-in-law wrote a business plan. She showed it to the president of Westport Bank & Trust.

He gave it right back. “We don’t need it,” he said. He trusted her word.

She offered her house as collateral. He refused. He was happy to back Sally’s Place without it.

It’s been an “amazing” 27 years, Sally says. “The bank, the record companies, my landlord — everyone has been fantastic.”

Especially her customers. “They make me feel special,” says Sally. “But I’m just doing what I love.”

Another customer this afternoon asked Sally for a turntable needle. She handed him a phone number. “This is the Needle Doctor,” she said. “He has everything.”

Sally’s musical roots run deep. She’s seen Frank Sinatra on stage. Also Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.

Brubeck and Gerry Mulligan were close friends. So are many customers who never played a note. All are bound by a love of music — and the treasure that is Sally.

Sally doing what she loves most: interacting with one customer. Another one browses in back.

Sally doing what she loves: interacting with a customer. Another browses in back.

“I’ve been working since I was 14,” Sally says. “I’ve been a part of this town for a long time. This is my heart and soul. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.”

She’s survived as long as she has on special orders. Bluegrass compilations, rap, the “Roar of the Greasepaint” soundtrack — all are hand-written, in old-school logbooks. People find her from around the country.

She does not charge for mailing. “It’s my way of saying thanks,” she says.

As if on cue, a customer requested “old Polish-American polka music” for a wedding. She mentioned a composer. “S-t-u-r-r,” Sally spelled. “Right!” the woman said.

There is plenty of new vinyl -- and CDs, and random stuff, and musical knowledge -- at Sally's Place.

There is plenty of new vinyl — and CDs, random stuff, and musical knowledge — at Sally’s Place.

She does not stock Lady Gaga. “You can get that at Walmart for 10 bucks,” she says.

You can get it online, too — along with virtually everything Sally sells. Which is why she has written this message (by hand):

After 27 years of business I have decided to retire. The economy and internet sales have made it impossible for me to continue.

I thank you for your support, and hope you wish me well in retirement. I’ll miss you.

“Quick and easy,” she says. “I don’t need the schmaltz.”

But we need to say “thank you” to Sally White. Please hit “Comments” to share  your memories, or offer praise.

And then — whether you’re a longtime admirer, a former customer who faded away, or someone who always meant to stop by but never did — go see Sally.

She’ll be glad to see you.

And her broad, loving smile will make your day.

(Click here to read a previous post about Sally’s Westport Arts Center award.)

Back to the Basics: A Portrait of Sally White from Claire Bangser.


57 responses to “Sally’s Place To Close; A Westport Era To End

  1. i have never shopped in sally’s store. i am not a music buff but i have loved having sally in our town. i have sent many out of towners there to shop and chat about music. i have boasted about sally’s place for years. sally said her customers made her feel special. i think sally made westport a little more special. a sad day indeed. best of luck sally.

  2. Aryeh Friedman

    I could never be within 10 blocks of Sally’s without stopping in to get a kiss and hear her stories. I’m going to miss her very much.

  3. Gene Seidman

    I love Sally! She’s a local Legend and one of the most informed folks about music and life you’ll ever have the opportunity to meet. I remember once I went to Sally’ not looking for anything in particular and ended up with several new selections I loved. She’d always have Sonny Rollins latest or a copy Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Oh yes and once – for one of my dance parties – she said and just take this – “this will really get the dancers dancing.” Just take it she said and let me know what you think”
    Well I think sally is a national treasure. I’ll miss her. But her memory will always bring a smile to my face and will be music to my ears.

  4. I first met Sally while in grade school, when she was at Kleins. I asked about the new Mothers of Invention “We’re only in it for the money” album, due to it’s strange cover. She said “Don’t buy it! It’s too weird!” So, thanks, Sally! I bought that and 5 Moby Grape singles, and haven’t looked back ( she said the Moby Grape would be a good way to recover from the Mothers….)
    I wish you all the best, Lady!

  5. Quite simply there has never been — or will be — anyone like Sally White. She has shared the gift of music with us all. There isn’t a genre she is not familiar with — outside of rap! She would open discs and play them for you or let you take home promo copies or even new discs…telling you to return them if you didn’t like them. Sally’s is a hangout to share a common love of music with fellow lovers, especially on Saturdays. She is part of the very fabric of Westport, and it is a big loss for the community. Thanks Sally for bringing so much joy to my life, and to the lives of all your many friends.

  6. Bill Shaner

    Sally is the best. She introduced me to Bob Marley back int he early ’70’s before anyone could spell reggae. and that is but one example. I still have my hundreds of LP’s, most bought from Sally.

  7. Chris Recor II

    Sally was there for me when I first started to get in to vinyl records. If she did not have what I was looking for, she would hunt it down and I would get a call a few days later to come pick up my record! Sally, thank you for all you have done for music lovers here in Westport and all over! I will miss your warm smile and kind heart. Thank you Sally.

  8. Fred Cantor

    Sally introduced me to the music of The Remains in the fall of 1966; and I know how she provided invaluable recommendations to my friends and classmates back in the day, and continued to do that for so many people up to the present. She has been a local treasure and her store will be missed.

  9. William Adler

    Sally may have grown up on Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller, but she knew mid-60’s rock ‘n’ roll better than anyone else. She sold me my Ogden’s Nut Gone Flakes (ORIGINAL Small Faces), Moby Grape, Donovan, Big Brother & the Holding Company and so much more. Sally IS Westport, as much as Klein’s, the Remarkable Book Shop or any other of our icons… except she is still with us today – and, you’re right, Dan, we should all stop by this summer and give her a big congatulatory hug !!!

  10. What a shame…for Westport…

  11. Vaughn Keller

    As a native son, I have a hard time imagining Westport without you. Your encyclopedic knowledge of music, your attentiveness to your client’s tastes, and your energetic gift for gab about music made stopping in a delight. I bought music from you for just about every one of those years you were selling it, even after I moved away.

  12. marc sholes

    Sally was my musical educator at Kleins for my entire childhood and adolescence, she turned me on to Elvis Costello, Traffic and Eric Clapton, and the Stones and I remember her ability to articulate and contextualize any music i was interested in………..

  13. Carol D'Amico

    The most desired thing to do in the 70’s on a Saturday afternoon was head to the record department at Kleins and wade thru Sally’s music merchandise. There wasn’t a single music question Sally couldn’t answer. Always with the best music playing loud for her music customers, i found it difficult to leave. The vibe in the tiny space on the platform in the center of Kleins was the hippest and happiest place to be. At least for me.

  14. Lynn Pinyan

    Sally how will I be able to find you?Sally has been in my life since I was 14 years old. In addition to her knowledge about music she there are many more layers to her.
    Sally was my confident, surrogate mother, friend and mentor.
    In summing this up Sally you are an Enigma.
    Gone from the store here soon but surely never forgotten.Love you my friend.

  15. Gonna miss her! Last time I went down to Westport,on my way to Furthur at The Capitol Theatre, I stopped by and was so happy when I found Sally at her usual station behind the counter. We discussed life for us both and marveled at how happy we both were. I took a picture of her (I’ll post it on facebook, Dan) and picked something up, as was my tradition. This time it was George Harrison’s CD (I almost wrote album). I reiterate the my sentiment and feel for Westport. Sally’s was a treasure that’ll never be replaced. Rock on, Sally, and thanks for all the great music!

  16. Alison Fisher

    Thank you Sally! so sorry to see you go…best wishes…so glad you went with Frank’s ideal: “I did it MY WAY!!!” …you GO girl!

  17. David Schaffer

    Just so sad! I hope to get to town on time on July 20 (for the Staples class of ’78 mini-reunion) to stop in one last time, although the emotion may be overwhelming.

  18. Torrey Russell

    Sally, Sally, Sally… I worked for you when I 14 or 15 at Kleins. Stanley K and his dad, what a character he was. You gave me a job in the warehouse stocking your shelves. You gave me so such… and such a great love of music. Thank you. I used to come into your store and steal albums when I was 13 and 14 with David, Geoff and Tulio… so you gave me a job to stop it… it wasn’t that funny be being caught but you made me an upright guy from that point on. Not sure I ever shoplifted ever again. Thanks for being so a positive force for so many young people. Giving them a perspective of normalcy in such a whacky town. Now that all my classmates are in our 60’s – those that survived the Westport Wars…and beyond, we miss those simple times when we could come into your shop and just hear the latest music… you always knew what was going on. We love you Sally. Time to write a book!

  19. Jamie Walsh

    Thanks Sally for all the wonderful knowledge and turning me on to Bill Evans. I remember like yesterday, you pulling it out of the bin and handing it to me and saying …you will love this! …and so I did! Thanks for everything!

  20. Lisa Grenadier

    Sally, I remember walking into Melody House many years ago not long after my family had moved to Westport. I wanted a 45….. Don’t remember what it was but I had saved up to buy it and you didn’t make me feel like another kid bothering you. I’m sure you never made any of us feel that way and that’s one reason why all these years later we still love you. My husband and I moved to Southport 30 years ago and deeper into Fairfield 7 years ago so I don’t get downtown very often. I WILL stop in this summer

    Love always,


  21. Sally was a HUGE part of my musical education. From my first purchases as a Burr Farms student (Herb Alpert, I guess?), on through to rock and roll (Hendrix, Zeppelin, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, et. al.– and for many of them I got there the day the albums were released, often when they were being unpacked, because she was always the first to get any new release, and she would tell me what day and time to come in to get them), and onto when I started studying jazz. I would ask her about which albums were good, more often than not she would lend me a store or promo copy, and tell me to listen to it, and bring it back in a week or two, and sell it to me for a cut rate price if I liked it. She turned me onto Miles’ Four ‘N More, Wes Montgomery Smokin’ at the Half Note, and so many more that are desert island discs for me now.

    And she not only intimately knew the music, she used to regularly go hang in NYC back in the day. I remember overhearing her talking about hanging out with Miles, and Mingus, and all the cats in NYC, (they all knew her, and had been to her store, and were very aware that she sold lots of their records), and her long nights in NYC going to the Vanguard, and Sweet Basil, and ending up at Bradley’s, and getting home to Westport at 6 am, and somehow making it to work. I’ll always have a special warm place in my heart for her. Sally is the REAL DEAL, and she shaped my musical character in such formative and positive ways, and I’ll always love her for that.

    Best of luck and much love always Sally, in your next act. You are the best, and we’ll always remember your many acts of kindness!

    Paul Sullivan

  22. Amy Unikewicz

    This is sad news for Westport and the area. On a personal note, my husband brings our young daughters to Sally’s place regularly and they have a ball in her store listening, shopping, and dancing. Given how music retail has changed, I can’t imagine that they will ever know another record store (and certainly not one that compares to Sally’s). She will be missed!

  23. Patricia Blaufuss

    Perhaps the Westport Library might work out an arrangement with Sally to set up a small “Sally’s Place” in the audio-visual department where Sally could continue to share her vast music knowledge on a schedule that complements her retirement.

  24. Jill Ross Beres

    Now that Sally’s is closing, I will sell my house, leave Westport and move to California

  25. What a great record store! Sally’s and Village Records in Mill Valley, CA are my favorites, and when I moved to Westport, my friends here told me to go there immediately, which I did, and have loved the vibe there ever since.
    Congratulations to Sally for keeping the flame burning all these years!

  26. I’m betting this post receives a record, or near record, number of comments. Sally deserves that, and more! My son Barry; a professional musician, composer, conductor and music teacher, honed his love of music, especially jazz, at Klein’s and Sally’s Place, 40 years ago. Add to her list of musical roots, a profound love and understanding of jazz. And an historical knowledge of jazz second to no one. We shared a love of the great musician and composer, Horace Silver, a school mate and friend. We
    played in the same quintet in the late 40s. Sally, happiness will follow you the rest of your life. No one has earned and deserves it more.

  27. Darin McKeever

    I worked with Sally at Sally’s Place for nearly 8 years – thru high school, and on summer breaks & holidays in college. Going home for me has always meant going to Sally’s Place as well. And my home town will now never be the same.

    I’ve learned so much from Sally. About music, of course. But also about life. About respect. About service and finding common ground. About listening. About aligning your life and work with your values.

    What a special place and a special woman. You’re one of a kind, Sally.

  28. Malcolm Doak

    Music has always been the central axis of my world. Growing up in Westport in the 1970s, that meant constant visits to see Sally at Klein’s. I had eclectic tastes back then (Lots of British progressive rock, German and European experimental, etc.), as I do now, and Sally was always happy to order stuff for me. There was a little shelf under one of the record bins where she would stash stuff for me as it came in. I would stop in frequently, and pick up what I could afford. As all of mentioned, her knowledge of music, the players, the performances, the differences in quality, etc. was encyclopedic. While I am not the jazz hound that Sally was and is, I learned much from her, and am forever grateful to her for fostering and encouraging my own musical journey, and my appreciation for music.

    I moved away from Westport in 1979. It was many years later, visiting my folks in Westport, when I returned and stopped into see Sally at the new store. I shopped for a few CDs and brought them to the counter. I could have paid cash, but I handed her my Credit Card and she looked at the name on it, then up at me. We shared a few memories and I went on my way.

    Ironically, it seems the year Sally’s is too close is the same year that I finally bid farewell to my own vinyl collection, some 1400 albums, so many purchased from Sally at Klein’s back in the day.

  29. Sally should have a statue in Westport! So deserved. My oh my has she exposed us all to so much music. Music that shaped me and all of you. Without her literally saying to an 19 year old me, “Dave, try this”. Some of those “try this were Fats Waller, Duke Ellington live at Newport, Bob Dylan Basement Tapes, Dave Brubeck, Cab Calloway, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, Thomas Dolby, Art Tatum, Jon Hendricks, KING PLEASURE, Fairport Convention, Ricgard Thompson etc etc etc……. Thank you so much Sally. Nothing made me happier to go from my job as a waiter at the old Atticus Cafe located across from The Remarkable Bookstore in Westport, grab a piece of Chocolate Marble mousse cake, put it in a tin and bring it to Sally. Then we would just talk music. I LOVE YOU SALLY. THANKS!

    Ps I later started a few bands THE ZAMBONIS and The LeeVees, The LeeVees got signed to Warner Bros records and that record and the genre jumping on it would not have been possible without the early musical schooling of this woman.

  30. Susan Huppi

    I wish her happy retirement. I have fond memories of Klein’s t and the record dept. That’s where my sisters and I all bought our first albums!

  31. linda (pomerantz) novis

    (While I agree with you..’we don’t need schmaltz’,here…)
    ..You know I am sending big hugs of thanks for everything all our good conversations,music &
    friendship from klein’s, the mehegan years, my own family,now…)Wishing you all the best,always…
    I’ll come see you soon-‘like I never left’….:-)

    • Linda, did you read my post ( above ) that mentioned Barry. As one of his early teachers, you would share our pride in what he has accomplished, and the musician he is. Best to you and your family. Gary & Bunni.

  32. Peter Steinberg

    One Saturday when I was in 10th grade I was in Klein’s record department admiring a 3-D cardboard cutout display of Mick Jagger with a pen going through his heart (a lyric from “It’s Only Rock & Roll,” to promote the album, which had just come out). I said out loud, “I wish I could have that.” Sally overheard me and gave it to me, right then and there. The display adorned my room for several years. Sally nurtured more music fans than the world will ever know.

  33. I first met Sally in 1971 at Klein’s when I bought Sticky Fingers. She was great; charmingly helpful and informative. I bought records from her. She, not Klein’s, was the reference point for record buying and hence my loyalty was to her not the store (though I liked Klein’s, I saw it generally as expensive).

    It’s touching to see that she’s a “shared experience” for those of us fortunate enough to know her over the years.

    Thanks, Sally! May your retirement be long and happy. People love you!

  34. Michael Stamm

    I haven’t lived in Westport since ’79 but every visit included a trip to Sally’s. She was always excited to turn me onto the latest and greatest in Jazz.
    What a unique place; I will miss her enthusiasm and kindness.

  35. I have such wonderful memories of shopping for records at Klein’s. Sally would direct and enable my very eclectic music taste and was always so enthusiastic and excited when I found what I wanted or discovered something new. Thank you, Sally!

  36. Dear Sally,
    You introduced me to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band records in the 60s at your nook in Kleins and 30 years later I married the keyboard player.
    Thank you Sally. Don’t go far.
    Ellen Naftalin

  37. I spent hours and hours combing the bins at Klein’s and learning about music from Sally–she sold me a great deal of the classic vinyl that I still have. I never made it to Sally’s Place, sadly, but she’s truly an unforgettable Westport figure.

  38. Wow. I’ve lived in New York, Paris, and California over the years, but still remember shopping for 45’s at Melody House, then later at Klein’s. Best wishes, Sally, across the decades……
    Noel Hynd
    Culver City, CA

  39. Sally- your place was one of Westport’s treasures that will be missed by all of us! However, everything changes and so must you. All the best with the new adventures that await you. Remember: Let the beauty you love be what you do.
    With peace, light, love and gratitude,

  40. Randy Gerber

    I cried today when I heard this news. The last remaining bastion of “original” Main Street & an unparalleled musicologist is leaving public service…and make no mistake…Sally has provided one-of-a-kind service to SO many for decades. I was fortunate to call Sally a boss and mentor (I worked for her at Klein’s in the 80s) and even more blessed to call her a friend. Sally’s Place provided me one of the few reasons to return to my hometown annually. NOTHING matches a heartfelt welcome from Sal. I have always looked forward to making a surprise visit annually, walking in with the intent of spending a half-hour, but ending up spending half a day, talking music and life. I LOVE you Sally and always will.

  41. Jonas Shapiro

    Sadly inevitable in the immediate gratification world we live in. I wish some of the younger folks could experience Sally “telling” you what ALBUM to buy after you explained to her what you wanted to hear and then going home and playing that VINYL so you hear more than a limited download and not only loving it but feeling like you are in the know b/c she told you about it. Westport Record and Tape influenced my generation but Sally comes a close second. I will miss her dearly.

  42. linda (pomerantz) novis

    Hello Gary & Bunni,
    Yes,I did see your post here re Barry,that’s great to hear.
    Sometimes life throws us some ‘sad’ curve balls.( re ‘Sally’s Place’-as all of us,I wish her only the best.On a different note,here,I don’t know if you knew from old Weston friends re both my parents’ recent passings-(my dear old dad,june,2011 & my dear mom,july,2012-both long fights Alzheimers-dementia.).
    Take care of yourselves.

  43. John Brawley

    I’ll be back sometime this month to visit the store and wish her well. I have so many great memories of hanging out with Sally at Klein’s.

  44. Wendy Crowther

    When my family moved to Westport in 1971, it was Klein’s that made the biggest Main Street impression on me (Functional Clothing and Selective Eye came 2nd and 3rd). I bought books, records and photo supplies at Klein’s, but it was Sally who stood out to me beyond all the other employees there. That great impression wasn’t formed because she and I connected on music. I liked her because she was ALWAYS in a good mood, friendly to all (even bratty kids and know-it-all teenagers), and she was always so pumped about the music we were buying (no matter what sort of music it was). Sally doesn’t know me from a hole in a 45-rpm, but for over 40 years, I’ve known Sally as a Westport icon – perhaps our last surviving one. I’m truly sad to hear that she must close her doors.

    My best story about Sally is one that involves my mother. My mom taught Senior Aerobics at the Westport YMCA in the 1980s. Back then, Mom would compile music on cassette tapes, choreograph the routines, and teach the routines to the class. Mom would often have a certain song in mind for her next tape compilation but she wouldn’t be able to remember it’s name or who composed it. Mom would go to Sally and HUM the tune she was looking for. Sally ALWAYS recognized the song, knew who’d recorded it, and pulled the music from her shelves for Mom to buy. Sally’s ear and knowledge was/is amazing.

    I don’t buy much music anymore (not even over the internet) so I have to admit that I haven’t been to Sally’s Place in a very long time. However, just KNOWING that she was out there and available as our go-to gal for all things musical was still important to me. She will be missed by many more of us than she might realize, even those of us who didn’t land on her doorstep very often.

    I love Patricia Blaufuss’ suggestion about creating a “Sally’s Place” at the Westport LIbrary. Brilliant idea. Maxine, please invite her to your fantastic library. Sally, please accept.

    Good luck, Sally, in whatever it is you do next.

  45. Wendy Crowther

    One more thought. Does anyone out there in Woog’s amazing and wide universe have connections to the people who produce one of my favorite TV shows, CBS Sunday Morning? Sally’s story is right up their alley. What a great tribute it would be to Sally, the music world, and the Sunday Morning fan if they could document her story.

    Please pass it on if you know the right people.

  46. Sally played a big role in our family’s life. When our son Cameron discovered Sally’s Place, he was transported to another world. Sally is magical, and among her most magical talents is her ability to relate to kids. She treats them like musicians and music enthusiasts, listens to them, talks to them, introduces them to new music, and indulges their musical whims. Sally introduced Cameron to a lot of new music, fed his love of jazz, and entertained him and his best friend Kevin for hours in her store. I often thought that Cameron was a walking encyclopedia of jazz, but he told me that a lot of that was Sally’s doing. Many were the nights at the dinner table when Cameron would tell us about his afternoon at Sally’s about the music he had discovered, about how much Sally knows of music and of how as far as he could tell she knows every living serious musician. And about how she could find anything.

    A few months before he died, Cameron was searching for the perfect birthday present for me. He seized upon the idea of the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack in vinyl (a perfect idea, by the way). Sally found it for him, and he was very clear when he gave it to me that Sally was the key to finding this special gift.

    Sally is a treasure. She changed Cameron’s life, and in doing so she changed ours as well. We are eternally grateful. We will miss her, and we wish her well.

  47. Sally is authentic and that is very rare indeed. Her smile, her warmth and her passion will be sorely missed. Best of luck and only good things.

  48. Alex Willick

    Visiting Sally’s place was like visiting the Doctor’s office. I would tell her my ailments and tell her where I wanted to be and through her seasoned advice, she would get me there via an album or five.

    Sally, thank you for pointing me towards an obscure Stan Getz/Oscar Peterson collaboration from 1957 that I never would have come upon myself. 10 years later, it still gets me going.

  49. I stopped by Sally’s Place today after hearing the sad news. She was smiling and chatting as always. A longtime friend brought her cookies and flowers. I held back the tears.

    We first met at Klein”s, years ago. Since then, 90% of the Sally experience has always been listening to her conversations and the background music. There was no such thing as a five minute stay. 45 minutes was the average, and I’ve always bought what she’s played, even today.

    This afternoon I remembered a Sally story that happened one New Year’s Eve day probably 20 years ago when I had again just stopped by. While there, a person called in need of a piano player for his party that night. Sally made a call or two and within 15 minutes found one. She saved the day. She is amazing.

  50. I was a little bit apprehensive when I moved to Westport with my family in 1999 from New York. I thought perhaps I would feel isolated from the musical and artistic world that I had been a part of in the city for so many years as a musician. I soon learned that I had no reason to worry. Not only did we have the Westport Country Playhouse and Westport Arts Center right around the corner, (in addition to numerous inspiring writers and painters) but we had a gem of a record store with a highly knowledgeable and charismatic owner – Sally White! I couldn’t have asked for more! She helped me complete my musical library – with some essential but lesser known discs I had been searching for from Dexter Gordon and Lester Young – both of which she had on site!

    But most impressive was Sally herself. Her passionate belief in high quality music, no matter what the genre, set a high standard for us all. She reminded me what it means to be a true musician, to keep my standards high, and not cop to current fads and trends for the sake of commercial success. She always carried my current CDs in her store, and I take that as a badge of honor. I will miss Sally immensely, and hope that somehow there might be a place for her at the Westport Public Library. It would be wonderful if her knowledge and passion to continue to influence future generations as well.

  51. Gene Lambert

    I live in California, and have never been back East, but all the loving and positive comments make me feel that I have known and shopped at Sally’s for years. I wish I could have met her, she is obviously so special.

    Sally, if you read this, I know you will be missed, even by people that have never met you. Happy retirement, and I hope you do whatever makes you happy.

  52. Christie Parker

    I can’t imagine a soul who grew up in Westport who doesn’t know who Sally is. Thank you Claire for capturing her charm and character for all who know her – and for those who haven’t had the privilege.

  53. Darin McKeever

    Love reading all these comments here about Sally’s Place. Somewhat coincidentally, I had given a short talk at a philanthropy conference last month and used the opportunity to pay tribute to Sally and her encyclopedic insights and remarkable empathy. I had commented earlier, but the video just posted and I wanted to share. Check it out here:

    My remarks begins around minute 24.

  54. Tom Croarkin

    I bought my first album from Sally when she was at Klein’s in 1968. The best part about Sally was that she made you feel so welcome. First as a stranger and then as a friend. I was always so pleasantly surprised when I’d come home from College or something thinking she would have forgotten about me but she would greet me like an old friend – often with a hug and a kiss. That personal touch was what made Sally’s Place such a fun place to shop. So many places are impersonal with a changing cast of service people who don’t seem to care that much. Sally cared! And I could go to her with a fragment of a song lyric or band name and she would find the artist or album or CD or whatever. I especially loved the jazz. I like jazz but am not an aficionado. It was fun to go into Sally’s and buy what you heard playing or telling her in general terms what you liked and she would hasten from behind the counter to a particular section of cd’s, start flipping through, and pull something out, stare you in the eye, and say, “You’re going to love this!”. And you did! Just as you loved Sally! She is one of a kind…irreplaceable…and she will be greatly missed!

  55. I haven’t lived in Westport since I was 17, but I always stop and shop at Sally’s when I’m passing through. Sally has inspired so many people to start listening to music they normally wouldn’t have listened to, that I think we all feel like we’d love to give back to Sally in some way. If the internet has eaten into her business to the point where she has to close shop, then she’s probably not retiring with a huge nest egg to live a life of leisure. I would love to put on a benefit concert for Sally. I’m in town only this weekend but will call all the musicians I know and start the ball rolling (if others want to help give it a push). Any volunteers to help with any aspect of that idea should email me at and let’s see if we can find a venue, a band or two or three, and make it happen. What better way
    to help a woman who has donated so much of her life energy to the love of music, than to give a concert in her honor? What do you think? Let me know.

  56. I’ve known Sally going back to Klein days in the sixties. Her incredible knowledge of music and performance will surely be missed. But what I will miss most is her personality and warm touch. I’ve seen Main Street go from two way to one way and most of the local stores go the way of the dinosaur but Sally was always there. For me, it’s sad but inevitable and I wish her nothing but the best.