Town Tells Downtown Merchants: Shut It!

Today is absolutely the most beautiful day of the year — just ask any of the 6 people left in town during the schools’ spring break.

It’s not quite air conditioning weather. But it’s close.

Which makes it a particularly apt time for Westport’s Green Task Force to send a letter. In it, they — along with First Selectman Jim Marpe, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Merchants Association encourage local businesses to help the town become “a more sustainable and resilient community.”


By keeping doors closed when using air conditioning on hot days. (And heat on cold ones.)

Blue Mercury always keeps doors open, on hot days and cold.

Blue Mercury always keeps doors open, on hot days and cold.

Sounds like a no-brainer. New York City — which has a lot more doors than Westport — actually has a law to that effect.

The letter — addressed “Dear Business Owner/Manager” — says Westport prefers “more of a ‘team’ approach. We believe shoppers will be happy to know that fossil fuels and electricity are not being wasted, and that the air is not being polluted as a result of unnecessary production of heat or electricity.”

Marpe and co-signers David Mann (Task Force chair), Matthew Mandell (Chamber executive director) and Steve Desloge (DMA president) note that Westport is known as “a forward-thinking, environmentally focused community.” It was the 1st state east of the Mississippi River to ban plastic bags, and has set a goal of achieving net-zero energy, water and waste management self-sufficiency by 2050.

The letter invites businesses to be the town’s “partners on this journey.” It invites them to contribute their own sustainability initiatives and ideas.

The heavy (and open) door at Esthetique.

The heavy (and open) door at Esthetique.

“06880” has been out in front on this issue. Several times — beginning in 2010 — we’ve posted about this selfish practice. (Blue Mercury pops up in every story.)

Heated (ho ho) comments always follow. They’re divided into 3 categories:

  • Warm praise and agreement that this ridiculous practice must stop
  • Icy criticism that it’s a free country; stores should be allowed to do whatever that want, and besides, it’s just a teeny tiny bit of a larger problem
  • Pleas by store owners that they’re helpless. It’s “company policy.”

It will be interesting to see if the town has a little more juice than a blog.

Or if the offending stores continue to blow just more hot air about cold.

Chico's bucked the trend, with this sign. (Photo/Judy Crowley Simonetti)

Chico’s bucked the trend, with this sign. (Photo/Judy Crowley Simonetti)


13 responses to “Town Tells Downtown Merchants: Shut It!

  1. Stacy Prince

    Just thinking “Blue Mercury” is a funny name, considering their “open door” policy.

  2. Bobbie Herman

    Could the RTM pass a law? Then they’d be required to shut their doors, regardless of “company policy.”

  3. Somewhat symbolic but symbols matter.

  4. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Still crazy after all these years? It shouldn’t take a law to make a common sense move in the right direction for all.

  5. Sandy Soennichsen

    Why not? And while our politicos are at it, why not pass a law that makes all store owners lower their prices by 50%. Can’t believe the townsfolk have no greater worries to be concerned about.

    • Nancy Hunter Wilson

      You’re quite right. Whenever a town problem pops up (anywhere), immediately think “what would the townsfolk of Stars Hollow do?”

      • Jerry MacDaid

        Personally, I always immediately think “what would a random person in western Canada think, eh?” Then I think “who cares, eh?”

        • It’s always better in Kamloops apparently.

          • Nancy Hunter Wilson

            You must mean the southern Okanagan… similar to to Cape Cod, but on a lake. The land reminds me of the Oregon coast.

        • Nancy Hunter Wilson

          Jerry, I keep trying to explain to y’all that we all have the exact same town problems! Shops that open their air-conditioned space onto the street will probably not change their habits, but you can choose to shop there, or not (in protest). Toronto, for example, is still struggling with the same problem.

          Little humidity on the Pacific, so I could care less? Really? We’re all in the same soup, Jerry. Eh?

  6. The plastic bag ban may not have been our finest hour. But meddlers must meddle.

    • Nancy Hunter Wilson

      Go crazy medieval and use a cloth bag. It will serve you well for, at least, half a century.