A Very Savvy Outdoor Market

Annette Norton loves downtown.

Annette Norton

As the owner of Savvy + Grace — that cool, funky, crammed-to-the-gills-gift-and-more shop tucked underneath Tavern on Main — she is proud to be on the same Main Street she used to visit as a girl.

She has gotten to know many fellow merchants. Like her, they believe in Main Street. They feel supported by their landlords.

So it pains Annette that on busy weekends, her store and the sidewalks are filled with non-Westporters.

People come from throughout Fairfield County, New York and as far as New Jersey to shop here, Annette says.

But they don’t come from around the corner.

Annette wants Westporters to rediscover downtown. So on Sunday, April 28, she’s organizing an Outdoor Market.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the private parking lot behind Savvy + Grace will be filled with local artisans. Nearly 2 dozen vendors will offer jewelry, terrariums, hand-designed greeting cards and more. Each has something special.

A few of the many items featured at the Outdoor Market.

One woman makes headbands for kids. Another paints faces on dolls. A non-profit will teach youngsters how to play instruments. Jane Green’s Remarkable Bookcycle will be there too (a few feet from its inspiration, the old Remarkable Book Shop).

There’s live music. Food. And plenty of fun.

Annette wants to show off the downtown she loves to a town that she thinks has turned sour on it. She wants people to mingle, browse, actually touch merchandise before buying instead of clicking a button online. She envisions a Westport version of a New York street market — with a special downtown touch.

She had no idea how much work it would be — finding vendors, getting permits, spreading the word — but it’s a labor of love. Once she gets Westporters downtown, she says, they’ll realize there’s a lot going on there.

The April 28 Outdoor Market will be held in the parking lot behind Savvy + Grace.

Annette’s landlord — Phillip Teuscher — has been very helpful. So has 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker, the liaison with the town. The Downtown Merchants Association is on board too.

“The Westport community is special,” she says. “After the flash floods, lots of people checked in to see if I was okay.” Now she wants those special people to come downtown not for a disaster, but to celebrate.

Annette is doing all she can to give back to downtown.

And if there’s any money left over when the Outdoor Market is done, she’ll keep giving back. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Westport Moms’ downtown playground initiative.

15 responses to “A Very Savvy Outdoor Market

  1. Daniel Craig

    West porters are downtown everyday — to say we don’t enjoy the downtown space is upsetting —. Maybe we have everything already and are just grabbing a cafe and walking around. It’s like saying we don’t utilize the beach. Sad that a marketing ploy for sales is wrapped around some passive aggressive statement-/ but there we are — in the 19th wealthiest city. So most people are out of touch — Classic

  2. Go Annette ! So proud of all you do for our downtown ! Looking forward to a fun family filled day 🙂

    • Annette Norton

      Thank you Lisa! It’s going to be fun! Looking forward to seeing everyone downtown 🙂

  3. Mary Papageorge

    Annette’s store is a great addition to Main Street, something it sure can use. I
    remember when the street was nothing but mom & pop stores. Including our deli, I feel it will come back, but may take some time and shoppers need to shop in town. Let’s bring back the old Westport the way we remember it.

  4. Bill Boyd Staples 66

    Please support this!

    • Annette Norton

      Thank you Bill! This has been a labor of love to do something positive for our downtown. I truly appreciate your support 🙂

  5. Sal Liccione

    Great job it will get peaple

  6. Mary Jennings

    sounds like a nice event but the parking is impossible on Saturday right now…wish you well!

    • Well, the parking is not “impossible” — though you may have to walk a few feet. Plus, the event is on a Sunday, not a Saturday.

  7. Great idea, Annette.
    Springsteen’s My Hometown refers to “Main Street’s Whitewashed windows and vacant stores” Since that is a little too close to our Hometown all efforts to reverse the trend – and there are many – are good ideas.

    • Annette Norton

      Thank you Don. Agreed! Yes, downtown has changed but it is still wonderfully familiar. It is still beautiful, there are still mom and pops and there is more parking (garage under Bedford Square) now than there ever was. And most importantly, there are people like you who care and see what is going on. The goal is to create positive energy downtown which will cause a positive trickle effect. Bring the community back, stores will thrive, more stores will come(filling those vacancies)….Hope to see and meet you on the 28th 🙂 Thank you again for your feedback!

  8. Susan Iseman

    Great idea. I live here and prefer to shop during the week when it’s less busy, so that may be why more “out of owners” are around on the weekends. Westport is considered a destination for shopping & eating, I’m told. Hope we can drop in next month!