Who Is Westport’s Newest Oldest?

With the closing of Silver of Westport — and the demise earlier this year of Max’s Art Supplies — it looks like Mitchells is the oldest family owned and/or retail store in Westport.

Silver of WestportSilver’s arrived in Westport in 1951. It was already 47 years old, with previous locations in Fairfield and Bridgeport. Silver’s occupied 2 separate storefronts in Compo Acres (with a brief stint in Sconset Square, after a 1962 fire burned down the shopping center).

Max’s was founded in 1956, on the Post Road. It remained there — across from the Westport Y — until this summer.

Ed Mitchells original locationEd Mitchell opened in 1958. It occupied a small building on the corner of the Post Road and North Compo. It relocated to Colonial Green a few years later, then moved to its present Post Road site near Hillspoint Road in 1979.

It expanded to its current size in 1993, the same year the name changed to Mitchells (without an apostrophe).

Gault logoOf course, Gault is the great-great-grandaddy of all Westport businesses. Started in 1863 — nearly a century before Silver’s first arrived in town — it has morphed from coal and horse transportation through freight hauling, plowing, grain threshing, gravel, mason supplies, barge transport, oil, stone and cement, to its present incarnation as an energy conservation company.

Are there other Westport businesses dating to the 1950s (or 1860s!)? Click “Comments” below to add them to our list.

23 responses to “Who Is Westport’s Newest Oldest?

  1. Sharon Paulsen

    How about Gold’s Deli? Seems like it’s been around for a long long time! Anyone know their history?

  2. Calise’s? Still family owned.

  3. Is Torno’s still there?

  4. Sal Gilbertie just sent this along:

    “Grandpa Antonio Started the business on Sylvan Lane in 1922. He purchased the property in 1919 and started to build greenhouses in 1920/21 and made his first sales in 1922.”

  5. Sharon Paulsen

    And maybe Coffee ‘an ?

  6. Arline Gertzoff

    Westport Hardware originally on Main Street Achorn”s also originally on Main though owner ship has changed Licquor lLocker on Main Street originally

  7. Barbara Sherburne '67

    According to their website, Calise’s began in Westport in the 1930s as Westport Fish and Poultry at 21 Post Road West, owned by Michael Calise, Sr. http://www.calises.com/#!about-us/csgo
    Calise’s Food Market opened in the 1950s at 734 Post Road East, which Frank and Dominick Calise ran. I remember Frank, the butcher, very well.

  8. And let’s not forget the Nistico family, which has been operating restaurants here since the early 1930s. And I think they helped save a Westport institution , the Red Barn, by restoring it back in the 1980s.

    • Barbara Sherburne '67

      Frank and Giovanna Nistico opened the Arrow Restaurant in 1932 at the corner of Franklin Street and Saugatuck Avenue. Frank, Richard, Tom and their mother bought The Red Barn from Ruth Dunham, renovated it, and it opened on January 26, 1984.

  9. And Oscar’s has been around since 1948, but not with any of the original family running it anymore; now it’s all under the master’s (Lee Papageorge) tutelage.

  10. And the textile Store. And Gilberties. (they are related to the Calises too)

  11. Greenburgs (and Nevas?) ..real estate concerns.. that’s pretty darn old too..and I think also constitutes a business. I would love to know that history. I remember Michael Greenburg’s dad but it must have been his grandfather or even Great Grandfather who started it all. And also the Palmer’s (Their last name used to be Palmieri’s) They started in the 30s.. still going strong .. they bought my parent’s place as their new place but they’ve been continuous since the 30s also. Now it’s called Anthony’s Nursery.

  12. I’ve got it. Northrup’s Oysters. They’re the oldest.. in the Mill Pond.

  13. Juliana Sloane Fulbright

    I’m very sorry to hear the Silver’s is closing It’s been there all my life it seems, I’m not a big shopper but every Christmas I always found presents there for the family and they gift-wrapped while you waited. Last year with Mom gone I didn’t find anything for grown up kids or husband. I was going to try again. There are so many changes since the 50’s and they are mostly sad. Life goes on and people change and stores close, so sorry. It can’t be helped.

    • Wasn’t it Silvers that sent the Christmas Carol song pamphlet each Christmas back in the day? It was a thill of mine getting one each year. Or was it from Western Auto? Boy, I haven’t thought about that in years!!

  14. Is it because its family that I seem to be the only one who remembers Gray’s Pharmacy and Shilepsky’s Clothing, both on Main, only a few steps from the Post Rd. Gray’s opened in the late 1930s and closed in the mid 50s. Across the street, next to the Y, Shilepsky’s sold clothing from about 1930 till approximately 1955. Any old time Westporters remember?

  15. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Shilepsky’sand Greenburgs is where you got your cloths for school.

  16. Kowalsky Brothers began in 1946 and is still operated by the family!