Westport has long had 2 commercial centers: downtown and Saugatuck. For decades they’ve been engaged in a quiet — but definite — battle for business.
Shoppers and restaurant-goers, meanwhile, have relied on a couple of basic methods to figure out where to spend their money: ads, and word of mouth.
But now both sections of town have collaborated on a project that may help both.
A walking map of downtown and Saugatuck becomes available this week. Colorful and well-designed, it’s a way to encourage foot traffic, serendipitous discovery — and of course business.
The map is the brainchild of Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce executive director Matthew Mandell. He noticed a walking map for SoNo, and wondered why we had nothing similar.
The Westport Downtown Merchants Association provided information and funds for the area bordered by the west bank of the river, Playhouse Square, the Post Road and Avery Place.
(Curiously, the Post Road is also labeled “State Street East.” That name has not been used since we shopped at Greenberg’s and Shilepsky’s.)
Mandell solicited Saugatuck retailers, restaurants and services himself. The other side of the map shows those establishments, in the familiar “slice” shape between Railroad Place, the river and Saugatuck Avenue.
Those guides are available at the Westport Library, Town Hall and other public places, along with many businesses and area hotels. Real estate agents buy them at cost, and offer them to clients.
The maps will also be distributed this Thursday (November 2) by Mandell and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe at the Marriott Marquis in New York. That’s the site of a “Fairfield 5” event. Besides Westport, officials from Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk and Fairfield will promote Fairfield County as a great place to live and work.
The Chamber of Commerce printed 3,500 Visitor’s Guides with map inserts, and another 3,000 stand-alone maps. Look for them soon.
Then start walking.