For over 60 years, Silver’s was Westport’s best-known go-to store for gifts.
For the last 3 or 4 years, Indulge by Mersene was Saugatuck’s less-known, but equally beloved, spot for funky, 1-of-a-kind gifts.
This winter, Silver’s closed. Mersene planned to shut her doors too. Westporters had no idea where they could now find a friendly owner with the knack for suggesting the absolutely perfect present.
To the delight of her rabid — and quickly growing — fans, Mersene is still open. The incredibly ingenious, phenomenally generous Mississippi native has downsized, moving from 2 overflowing rooms to 1. But she’s still across from the railroad station. She’s still as energetic and creative as ever.
Now, as spring brings Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations — to go along with timeless events like weddings, bridal and baby showers, and Sweet 16s — she is excited to fill Westport’s niche as the destination for how-did-you-ever-think-of-that?! gifts. (And — her specialty — gift baskets.)
She’s still on Railroad Place, because her customers could not stand the thought of her closing. They helped her figure out how to stay. And they’ve helped her add another wonderful niche: corporate gifts.
The other day, Mersene was busy filling baskets for a major Stamford corporation’s Administrative Professionals Day celebration. She was also preparing a Kentucky Derby-themed event for another big company.
As she selected wrapped items together with an ease Martha Stewart could only dream of, she mentioned other projects. For Mother’s Day, she’s designed special trays. They’ll include flowers, the Sunday paper, breakfast from Commuter Coffee Company — everything a mom could love.
(Here’s something else a mom — or anyone else — could love: pillows that say “06880.” Or “Westport.” Or monogrammed and/or custom-colored with anything else you can think of, from “Nantucket” to your alma mater.)
“It’s all about the packaging,” Mersene says, of her talent for pairing the exact right gifts with the perfect basket.
Anyone who steps into her shop for the first time recognizes that talent. She is the Lionel Messi of gifts — with even more grace than the famed soccer star. What other store owner happily delivers — and makes house calls?
Mersene’s renaissance has been aided by loyal customers, who help her manage the business side. She’s still not expensive — “I price things to sell,” she says — and she’ll still tell someone, “No, don’t buy that. I’m getting a better item next week.”
Which is why the “reinvention” of Indulge by Mersene is such good news.
Many people already know her. When a Los Angeles architect visited his sister here, he asked her for “the coolest place in Westport.” She took him to the little shop near the railroad station. He stayed for over an hour, fascinated.
And he still hadn’t seen half of Mersene’s presents, or how beautifully she presents them.
(Mersene ships her gifts — and delivers in the area. She also stages homes and galas. To learn more, click here; like “Indulge by Mersene” on Facebook; email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-557-9410.)