Double L Market Owner Angered By Health District Dispute

Lloyd Allen is one of the most chill people I know.

The owner of Double L Market has cultivated a loyal clientele. Customers love his fresh, local, organic, free-range, gluten-free and grass-fed meats, produce, seafood and more. They come not just to buy, but to banter with him.

He’s been operating for more than 30 years, first in actual farm stands, now in a Post Road store next to Calise’s.

Lloyd Allen, outside his Double L Market on the Post Road.

But yesterday Lloyd was upset. Also angry, appalled and disheartened.

His voice shook as he told me that 2 weeks earlier, the Westport Weston Health District inspected Double L, and gave him a 94.

On Wednesday, another inspection. Another grade of 94.

But then, he said, he got a call. There was a problem with labeling, he was told. He said he’d be in at 8:45 yesterday morning.

At the meeting he was told: “You’ve got a serious problem. We’re going to close you down today.”

The problem was with labels on salsa, tomato sauce and canned peppers. They did not include the weight, or indicate where the products came from.

He asked exactly what was needed to rectify the problem. “I don’t know,” a young inspector told him.

She said the state Department of Consumer Protection might be involved too.

Lloyd told “06880” that Double L buys from producers with HACCP food safety accreditation — “and you can’t get higher than that.”

Westport Weston Health District inspectors at Double L Market. (Photo/Lloyd Allen)

The WWHD inspector came into his store, and embargoed everything she said was improperly labeled.

Lloyd does not dispute the need for proper labeling. His issue, he says, is that he was not told earlier about the issue, offered a chance to rectify it — or even given the proper information on what he needed to do.

He is also furious at the way he was treated.

“They showed me no respect,” he said. “I’ve been here for 35 years. I have the healthiest, freshest stuff in town. I love local. I work with big farmers and small farmers.

“I’ve made this town better. I’ve worked with so many kids. The Health Department used to come in, and tell me what was needed. This time they just came in and acted, without any respect at all.”

He worried yesterday he might be shut down, right before Mother’s Day.

Double L Market is still open — though there are empty shelves where his salsa, tomato sauce and canned peppers used to be.

Empty shelves at the Double L market.

“It’s like I was walking down the street with my baby, and someone suddenly grabbed me and shook the baby,” Lloyd said.

“That’s how I feel about the way I was treated.”

57 responses to “Double L Market Owner Angered By Health District Dispute

  1. I have been a customer for 20 years. Double L is an institution in Westport. I can’t imagine purchasing my fruit and veggies in an institutional supermarket.

  2. Jill Turner Odice

    Sounds like an over zealous young inspector out trying to impress her higher ups with what a thorough job she is doing. She needs to take a step back and chill out…

  3. Welcome To Connecticut…If You Aren’t Frustrated, You Don’t Live Here!

    • Samouel Martin

      another small business being run out of town

    • Annelise McCay

      Double LL goes above & beyond in presentation, organization & quality!
      Its one of the few remaining local treasures.
      It has been a favorite for decades.
      If the labeling is so strict, then the inspector is responsible for making that criteria clear and politely give them a chance to rectify not threaten closure, that seemes like extreme measures for for a simple remedy.
      I’ve seen expired dates on shelves of the bigger chain stores shelves.
      Doubke LL stuff always looks like peak fesh quality.
      I enjoy his instigram mini movies too, always fun.

  4. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    The problem with bureaucrats is that they are bureaucrats.

  5. Jens Buettner

    Dan, didn’t you post something about the same problem with some restaurants in town lately? Seems to be the same overzealous and unexperienced inspector creating a lot of trouble.
    Yeah, just go ahead kill everything local and leave the field to the big supermarket chains, what shame.

  6. Hoving Family

    Lloyd and Double L deserve a community service award for feeding generations of Westporters while helping to preserve the town’s local flavor. We wrote a letter to the editor in support of Double L when we first arrived here 22 years ago, and here we are again: Double L is a treasure!

  7. Carolanne Curry

    Shame shame on “officials” who chose not to even give directions to Loyd so he could fix the labels.
    What’s going on with power-tripping these days? Not necessary.

  8. Bart Shuldman

    Why would anybody open a store in westport? You have people screaming about the convenience store and JUUL and instead of trying to work with them, they want it shut down.

    Now this. I am in the food labeling business and solutions are easy. But instead of working with the mom and pop owner, who is trying to make a living, they try and hurt his business.

    Shame on the inspectors and their bosses. Just what we need, drive more businesses away.

    Bart Shuldman

  9. Tom Duquette, SHS '75

    Was this the same inspector as noted in your previous posts Dan? Seems like a training issue for this young inspector with not applying common sense vs. merely just blindly following regulations if it’s the same person. Not being able to provide the store owner specific information on the corrective actions needed to mitigate the unsat findings is the hallmark of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or is simply abusing their power and being a jerk.

  10. We are so lucky to have LL in our town and Lloyd has been an advocate for healthy food (as well as good movie recommendations) for many years. It is disturbing to read that he was cited by the health department and not instructed about exactly what he needed to do. As one of his loyal customers, I am hoping that this is resolved quickly.

  11. Arline Gertzoff

    He has some of the freshest produce in town.I am sure he will quickly correct the violation.What happened to explaining the problem and giving time for fixing it.?An over zealous programmed inspector does not solve the problem.”A little of that human touch is in order.”

  12. I dont understand why the store owner is complaining? He was not in compliance. He should be in compliance. They didnt shut him down. Many industries are regulated. Food, medical, banking, etc. If you want to do business in a regulated industry, then know the regulations and adhere to them. Not being aware of something is not an excuse.

    • Dear Mr. Stein,I don’t think you are understanding the article. This is not about being in compliance, “complaining”, or excusing anything. It is about how a town goes about treating its long time, small business owners. They are the unique fabric that makes Westport Westport. The double L is an icon of our community. They deserve our support, not threats. No one was trying to get away with anything or dodge any regulations as you imply. Maybe you don’t remember when Main Street didn’t look like an outdoor replica of the Trumbull Mall and didn’t have commercial banks (as you aptly mention) on every corner.

      • Bart Shuldman

        My guess Mr Stein does not own his own small business. Just a guess.

        • I have started/owned several small businesses as well as worked for some of the largest companies in the world. Each had to deal with regulations. My not knowing a regulation would never be an excuse. Fines and liability potentially severe / catastrophic for non-compliance. Again, the business owner was not shut down. Merely a slap on the wrist/warning. Hopefully he stays on top of regulations moving forward.

          • And for what its worth, I have helped several local small/medium size businesses/organizations get into compliance or remain in compliance with state and federal regulation or other requirements brought on by doing business. Some business owners can’t do it all and need to seek outside help to run their businesses. There should be no shame in that. At the end of the day, if you want to run a business, there are certain responsibilities.

            • Richard Fogel

              i agree with you Joshua Stein. Business owners like the children that live here feel a sense of entitlement. Stop your shameful insults on a an inspector for doing her job well. She is making the community better.

            • Bart Shuldman

              Looking for work? Sorry-it was a lay up.

          • Bart Shuldman

            Compassion was never your thing. One mistake and you are out.

  13. I’m actually perplexed why anybody is surprised local and/or state officials handled this situation this way. This is what’s important, harrassing the most honest independent business owner in our town. We’ve got a state which is falling apart — literally — at every seam, and a town with school and real estate problems, and other more pressing issues than unlabeled salsa. Yep, we can keep buying salmonella-laced chicken from a large supermarket. It’s got a label on it, so it’s just fine.

    Lloyd, won’t surprise you to know Val and I will continue to buy every jar of salsa, marinara, and anything else from you, label or not.

  14. Jeff Giannone

    We wonder where all the “mom & pop’s” have gone and long for the old “heart and soul” of Westport? Well…this is part of the story. Regulations, when blindly applied, without considering the heart and soul tend to have a nasty way of killing them in the process.

  15. Richard Bortolot

    There is a way to do things, and a way not to. The health district oversight needs to look into this. The director reports to a board. It is time for the board to get involved since it is apparent that the director does not have control of his employees. This is a problem that needs correction.
    Here are the board members:
    Otis Crawford, Chair, Westport
    Catherine Revzon, Vice Chair, Weston
    Linda Lewis Bruce Westport
    Ilisa Nussbaum, Weston

    Please look into this.

  16. Cristina Negrin

    I’ve known LLoyd since his farm stand on the corner of Kings Hwy No and Post Road …25 years? I’ve also been a professional food operator in that time. 2 Things stand out to me here. The overzealous behavior by this inspector needs to be addressed by her superiors. It’s unacceptable to be a bully and get away with it or even be praised for it. That’s not what we do! Secondly the confiscation of his property I don’t think is even legal. Why not recommend he correct the info on the labels and inspect before he puts them back on the shelf? No Town or State official should be allowed to get away with threatening a persons business in such an arbitrary fashion. We are with you LLoyd! I’ve had more than my share of Health Dept hassles over non-transparent issues!

  17. I am sad to hear this story and fully support Lloyd and Double L. His enthusiasm for his products, support of local suppliers and connection with his customers are beyond compare. And when you eat a blueberry from Lloyd, or a strawberry, raspberry or cucumber – all produce at Double L, you actually taste the full flavor!
    Something needs to change with the way we’re treating our small local business owners. I’m upset that Lloyd and other local establishments were treated this way by the health inspector and glad that it has been written about.
    Go to Double L today and get all the moms in your life the BEST products they’ll ever have.

  18. Lloyd’s is the BEST market anywhere in the nation that I’ve ever seen! I’ve seen him in action, removing things he felt were not fresh enough, etc. Everything you see there is hand-picked–often at 5 am.

    CT’s state agencies are HORRIBLE. I’ve seen nothing but inconsideration, over-punctiliousness and a complete disregard for the PEOPLE they are supposed to be serving. They’s lost all contact with human beings. This is yet another example.

    And they’re MEAN. It’s in the culture. This corrupt culture of procedure over people may well be a part of why people are leaving CT. Our state agencies need to be cleaned up–and reminded of who it is–ie, people not every little niggling detail of their myriad, often ancient regulations– they are empowered to serve.

    Why can’t our elected legislators reign in these non-elected bureaucrats–who have lost all perspective. They’re to serve US–not their own little fiefdoms.

  19. Dallas Kersey

    Gov’t ALWAYS knows best. BULL
    S _ _ T. No excuse for the inspector’s behavior. Double L is a quality place.

  20. Samouel Martin

    Another small business trying to get shut down by the town …disappointing

  21. We love Double L, It’s a local treasure!

    The Health Dept needs to clean up its own act and make this right. They are supposed to work with the business owners and reach solutions. Infuriating.

  22. I have shopped at double l for years and been extremely satisfied with quality and service

    Peter Swift

  23. Stephen Szilagyi

    After working in Westport since I was (17)
    on Main St, Now reaching (70) and still working in Town. I have a Studio @ Sola.
    Thinking of people who made and make this such a great place to call home.
    Lloyd is a rock in the Foundation of this small Long Island community. He does things for so many people. His Name is a Brand to many. The LL has pristine food products which are widely sought. Let’s keep this Man his store and the crew he has taken under wing.
    If it takes a Village. Watch out We kick ass and stand strong.

  24. And the Merritt Market mentioned in the story below has never done a damned thing for the town, braggs about the pleasures of vaping in its windows and the town does nothing.

  25. I visit Double L every other day. I am shocked at the ignorance and inexperience of this fresh college grad who has the important job of inspecting local businesses. She makes one mistake and her decision has the potential to harm a local business. Town of Weston/Westport Health Department…please send an inexperienced inspector back to Double L at an appointed time so that the owner Lloyd Allen can walk you through his amazing farm stand.

  26. What a Bunch of BullShit … I’ve known and have done business with Lloyd from Day One … He’s always Run a Class Act Establishments , with the Freshest items around … He’s always kept his shops Super Clean , and treats his customers more like a Friend …

  27. It is horrible that Lloyd was treated in this way particularly when he goes out of his way to treat every one who comes through his door with kindness and respect. My kiddos look forward to seeing Lloyd and always ask if the produce I am feeding them is from Double LL or they protest. They know that if it is – it will be the freshest and most delicious berry, melon, watermelon etc. This is not the way to treat someone who cares so much about his customers and their well being.

  28. Michael Calise

    Very Unfortunate. Looks like the health Department has a lot of explaining to do! Lloyd deserves everyone’s support to get this resolved.

  29. Jeff Giannone

    I agree. It’s hard for me to believe a local farmers market is subject to the same regulations as say a Walmart that imports most of its produce from all around the world. Lloyd basically brought his farmer’s stand into a building. I wonder if farm stands are regulated the same as stores.
    https://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?a=3260&q=448674

  30. Danielle Camoro

    Literally just finished preparing my 2yr old son Lloyd’s DELICIOUS “unlabeled” basil red sauce. The people who buy the product trust the source and DONT need a label!! People really need an education in how to eat right!

  31. Evelyn Szeinbaum

    This is ridiculous. I am a new customer and Loyd has been nothing but transparent. He was able to source some of the highest quality foods I’ve had. Even introduced me to the farmer that provided the products. Absolutely horrible to shut someone down for something that is easily fixable. Especially a business with such a track record. I’m sure Loyd would have had no issues complying with the regulations.
    Hope this resolves soon.

  32. Will Dagostino

    LLoyd cares more about bringing safe and healthy food to his loyal customers than anyone I know. Such a shame that the inspectors don’t take the time to understand an individual business and work with the owner to address an issue. The health department needs to look internally and remind themselves of their purpose. It is certainly not to close down Double L, even for a day.

  33. Dermot Meuchner

    I’ve never shopped at double L but I sure will now. Please hang in Lloyd the cavalry is coming.

  34. Lloyd is one of the most chill people I know. He is kind and runs a great shop. That is sad to hear. Lloyd I hope all works out. I love your salsa.

  35. Sarah Lyons Hollingsworth

    Lloyd has the highest standards of any business owner in town (he won’t even sell a single strawberry unless it’s perfectly red, sweet, and from the worlds best farm). He is clearly willing to comply with what is being asked of him and should fairly be given the opportunity to do so.

  36. Joanne Franzel

    This is exactly the type of business Westport should support. Small business committed to impeccable quality and local farms. Personal attention and intimate connection with customers. I have been a loyal and enthusiastic customer for 30 years and will continue to do so. It is infuriating to hear how he has been treated. Lloyd – you have massive support in this town. Just let us know what we can do to help.

  37. May all the inspector /torturers eat plenty of GMOs and feed their families with douses of glyphosate. SHAME ON TORTURING Double L and clean store.

  38. May all the inspectors and their families enjoy eating glyphosate and GMOs and leave the heathy food to those who care,

  39. Michael Don Sullivan

    Could this be the same “young inspector” that created a tizzy that I read about two months ago?

  40. Everybody loses when the authorities are out to punish, especially disrespectfully. Everyone wins when respect, dialog, and care are the over-riding principles. Respect is how Lloyd runs his business and we sure need more like him. Thank you to Dan for reporting.

  41. There are so many ways the town can make it easier for small businesses!!! Double L, is the best place to feed my family.

  42. Thank you for this story. How sad, and infuriating!!

    I lived in Westport for 40 years, and was happy when he started his stand; I drove over to Lloyd’s in each of his locations 2-3 times a week. I’ve moved from Westport and now take 3 trains, rent a car, and drive over to Lloyd’s monthly. It’s truly worth the trip to me, from anywhere (so far, at least).

    This contentiousness strikes me as absurd and unwarranted. I suspect it’s a matter of “notification, pause, remediation, pause, case closed” gone awry. Perhaps reasonable people could begin again, with the goal of adequate labeling, minus threats?

    Lloyd, I hope you will stay here!!

    State of CT, I hope you will behave in the public’s interest, obtain adequate labeling, and go away from a merchant, and store, that have functioned in the public’s best interest from day one.

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