As befits the owner of a 900-square foot store, Christine Utter believes in the importance of low impact.
It’s easy to miss The Skillful Shopper. The antique furniture store at 748 Post Road East — near the Double L Market, sharing a building with New York City Jewelers — consists of just one room.
But it’s jam-packed with stuff. There’s barely room to move.
That suits Utter fine. She calls her shop “a recycling, go-green boutique.” She saves consumers money and helps the environment. By giving new life to old chairs, tables, lamps and handbags, she and her customers do a tiny bit to reduce their carbon footprint.
Shoppers include designers, decorators, and “anyone who loves finding unique items at great prices.”
Utter is passionate about every item that crams her store. “This is quality furniture from a bygone era,” she says, pointing to custom chairs with down cushions ($425 each). Styles range from traditional and retro vintage to mid-century modern.
“I love vintage jewelry and glassware. I’m getting into vintage clothing. This is all about collecting beautiful, well-made items, and selling them at consignment prices.”
She has dreamed of a store like this since she was young. She ran booths at the Stamford antique center, but wanted to be her own boss.
Utter moved to Westport 14 years ago. She often drove by the Post Road property across from New Country Toyota. When she saw a “For Rent” sign, she envisioned her dream.
Landlord Mike Calise “respects small businesses,” Utter says. Since opening last year, he’s encouraged her to make The Skillful Shopper a lively place.
It certainly is.
While “some people take 5 steps in and leave — I think they’re used to everything being new,” Utter says that she’s thrilled to meet “so many great people. Not everybody in Westport can afford all new things.”
Utter encourages customers to poke around. There’s something intriguing in every nook and cranny of the small store.
Her goal is to open customers’ minds. “There are beautiful items here, made with great craftsmanship. People built things; they didn’t just manufacture them. You can tell they loved what they did.”
She does too. As you can see in her store, Christine Utter is a very skillful shopper.