Breaking News — Silver’s To Close

The oldest family-owned business in Westport is going out of business.

Silver’s — which since 1951 has stood in Compo Acres Shopping Center, and provided countless customers with untold holiday, birthday, wedding and graduation gifts (plus luggage, pens and plaques) — will close.

The end will come “as soon as we run out of merchandise,” co-owner Steve Silver says.

That may be the end of January. It might be before Christmas.

Either way, he says, “it’s time.”

Steve Silver, in the store that bears his name.

Steve Silver, in the store that bears his name.

Many factors — not just recent shopping center renovations that hurt business — contributed to the decision, which Steve and his sister Sue finalized yesterday. There’s the economy, the rise of online shopping, changing customer tastes, and the lack of younger family members willing to take over the store whose roots reach back to Steve’s grandfather and Bridgeport, in 1904.

“This has been a phenomenal experience,” Steve says. “We’re blessed we’ve made it this far. Sue and I are in our 60s, and we had a great run. It’s time to move on.”

Steve first worked at the store as a 13-year-old, in 1962. Since then he’s employed hundreds of people, and met “gazillions” of customers who turned into friends.

“That’s what I’ll miss most,” Steve says. “I’d really like to see them before we close.”

He adds, “We’re not depressed. This should be a New Orleans-style funeral.”

But — for family-owned Westport businesses — it is a funeral nonetheless.

(Starting today, all Silver’s prices are at least 20% off. More reductions may follow.)




19 responses to “Breaking News — Silver’s To Close

  1. I’m sad to see this news. Silver’s was a fixture of our family’s life since I was a child. It was the go-to place for holiday gifts when I was growing up. One could always find SOMETHING nice, and fun, and distinctive. My father, bless him, would buy a similar white bag for my mother Christmas after Christmas, and she never let on. I don’t know how brick-and-mortar stores can compete with the Internet these days, but we thank the Silver family and wish them all best for times ahead!

  2. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Silver’s has always been there, as far back as I can remember. It was always the place I could go to get that special person, who was so hard to shop for, something unique and useful! I would always get their catalog in the mail and rip out the pages with the items I was interested in and get down there to buy my treasures. And, the customer service was way more than anyone could expect. It is very sad to see them go. But, in today’s world it is no surprise.

  3. So sorry I will miss you a lot!!

  4. Jill von Schmidt

    Thank you for all the wonderful years you’ve been in Westport. My mom (Sue Nash) bought my first set of luggage there as a present for me. I remember going in there often with her when I was young, and then venturing in there myself when I was older. You always had the nicest selection of merchandise & gifts. There was always something unique that would end up as a gift for someone special. Thank you so much for always offering lovely things, and wonderful service. I always felt welcome in your store. May you always be blessed.

  5. Steve and Sue- Thank you! Customers were always treated like family in your store. You guys will always be part of the good history of Westport. Hopefully your future, being the holiday season is a good one.

  6. Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

    I remember going to Silver’s as a child and getting ‘the right gift” for my mother from Steve’s father. Another part of “old Westport” passes on.

  7. Michael Calise

    A great family business, we can only wish them the best- A loss for our community

  8. Really sad to read. When I started serious travel I went there and Steve took me thru all the luggage options He was soooo honest. Told me which to buy as my old luggage had changed manufacturing places. Said their quality was bad. So I changed and have my luggage for years. He was right. He knew everything about the luggage. Knew the questions to ask and guided me.

    When my daughters started to travel, Steve picked out their luggage for carry-on. They have been great and have made many years of airline travel. We have bought all our luggage at Silvers. Bought wallets and presents and gifts. The attention, service and detail cannot be beat.

    Maybe they would consider going to Kemper Gunn house? Perfect place as the rent should be much cheaper and they can downsize. Please!!!!

    If not-thank you Silvers. Will truly miss the customer attention and service.

  9. My Family has owned The Westport Music Center for 32 years. We are struggling for many of the same reasons. Not happy at all to see Silvers close. For those of us left maybe we should get together and reflect. I know, how about a table for four at the diner.

  10. I’m one of the gazillions !
    What a mensch, what a store.
    The Silver silver wrapping paper always meant the gift was “special.”

    Steve even knew what your friends wanted! So it was a “no-brainer” to find the perfect gift.
    Christmas Eve was a blast if you were fortunate enough to be there. Food, champagne, candy. And the pure humor watching some poor indecisive shopper running around 2 minutes before the store closed. And the champagne was already open. Yep!

    Good luck, S&S. God speed !

  11. I do not know Sue, but if she is anything like Steve, it is quite a family. Steve is a lovely person and I wish them both well. Don Bergmann

  12. Steve, I hope you and Sue are going out on your own terms. Silver’s has been a Westport retail institution as much as Mitchell’s has been. You pay a little more because of the friendly and personal service. You should also be acknowleged for your support of the local community. As a past president of a Staples sports team booster club, the locally owned business always supported our teams. Never once did we get the same support from the chain stores that dominate downtown. Hope this means you’ll be playing a lot more rounds at Longshore my friend. Peace.

  13. What sad news. And what a loss for Westport ,which continues to look like Rodeo Drve East. Steve and Sue are simply the best. I am so fortunate to have been a long-time customer, and — more importantly — a long time friend. I’ll love them both, always.

  14. Margaret Hart Rynshall

    Thank you, Silvers! I bought my husband one of his first gifts from me at your store… a fantastic leather encased flask. You were always there for just the right gifts and that is irreplaceable, as are you. God speed in your new ventures.

  15. Soooo incredibly sad to hear this news. Thank you Steve and Sue for all that you have done for this community and for all the smiles you put on my face and all the smiles that you will leave behind. Silvers exemplifies what made me move to Westport 29 years ago; character and customer service. You will be missed. Best wishes to you both in your next chapter!

  16. While I am not a Westport resident, I have known Susan and Stephen for 25+ years because of an industry association. When they moved to their new location in 2011, I flew from Kansas to help them with the physical move. This the affection that they create just knowing these two remarkably talented and intelligent siblings. I am so grateful to call them friends.
    In addition to their remarkable Westport specialty store, Susan and Stephen were both very active in a national organization of independent luggage dealers. Both served on the Board of Directors and chaired major merchandise committees. Their talents were recognized and appreciated by the entire industry. They are exceptional buyers with integrity that the chain stores could never understand or implement.
    It is not just a Westport loss but a national loss for the luggage & gift industries.
    However, they certainly have earned retirement and relaxation and I wish them contentment and happiness in their new adventures. Whatever those may be, I’m certain that they will be near the Westport that they cherish so dearly.

  17. I go back a long, long way with the Silvers. My Grandmother rented a beach house in Milford in 1937-1939. I had 25 cousins and that house was always packed. The Silvers had a house two doors away and we all were best friends. The beach, of course, was Silver Beach and my best friend Lennie Silver insisted it was named for his family. I still remember all the great times we had together.

  18. The best place on the east coast for travel luggage. How many Christmass gifts came from there. A Westport institution going down the road. My Mother always loved that place because it was unique. So long Kids, parting is bitter sweet.

  19. Charlie Haberstroh

    Steve and Susan are the best. I’ve known Steve since our boys were in travel basketball, some 18 years ago. Steve and Susan have hired local high schoolers during the holiday season and beyond. That’s not so unusual. What is, is the long term close relationships which result. Steve has been a mentor to many. My daughter worked there several times and considers Steve as almost a second dad. Those kinds of relationship are part of the very special legacy that the Silvers’ leave. Very special people!