As Railroad Place Changes, Quentin Row Moves

Four years ago, opened on Railroad Place.

Owner Ryan Meserole was passionate about selling high-quality, hand-crafted suits.

He figured his location — directly opposite the train station — was perfect for his target audience. Men could stop in on their way to or from the city. Surrounded by restaurants, coffee places and cool shops like Indulge by Mersene, he loved the vibrant neighborhood.

Ryan believed in giving back. He donated to local charities and national relief efforts. He gave discounts — even freebies — to less-fortunate local teenagers, and inner-city youngsters.

Recently, he rebranded as Quentin Row. His commitment to the community was as strong as ever.

But in just a few years, the community has changed.

Fewer people commute to and from New York, Ryan says — a function of both the changing nature of work, and the decline of Metro-North. And with longer train rides (and regular delays), anyone who can take a town car to the city is now driven in.

Even a small change like Goldman Sachs’ recently relaxed, more informal dress code has affected his business.

Ryan Meserole, in his store.

In addition — and crucially — Ryan says that Railroad Place has changed.

The closing of Commuter Coffee cut sharply into foot traffic. And — partly because of family issues — the long-promised renaissance of the area near the train station has stalled.

For all those reasons, Ryan will close his store at the end of May.

But he’s not closing his business. He’s redirecting it toward a new, more flexible version of itself. Call it Quentin Row 2.0.

A 22-foot mobile showroom will travel to area train stations, festivals and the like.

Ryan will also refocus his efforts online. He promises that in cyberspace, he’ll still offer the “concierge service” customers appreciate.

Quentin Row online.

He will still have a physical presence. When Sconset Square renovations are complete, Ryan will share space with Gino, his long-time tailor.

Ryan will also offer private appointments in his Riverside Avenue home.

He could have gone to the new Norwalk mall, Ryan notes. But he insists that a town like Westport deserves a “niche heritage brand” like his.

He feels sad leaving Railroad Place. He put a lot of money into his renovations, and he knows the loss of a store leaves a void.

He says the new tenant is an office, not retail.

“I don’t think that’s what the street was designed for,” he says. “But people shop differently now.”

Railroad Place, 2 years ago. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Still, he knows his new operation will give him a better work/life balance. Since the coffee shop closed, he’s sat in his store and watched foot traffic dwindle.

He thinks little things could make a big difference. If the MTA put its ticket machines in the station house, instead of on the platforms, “people would see the stores,” Ryan says. “Now, they don’t know we’re here.”

Yet for Quentin Road, time has run out.

“But I still love Westport,” he says. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Except in his new, 22-foot mobile showroom. Coming soon to an event — or train station — near you.

14 responses to “As Railroad Place Changes, Quentin Row Moves

  1. Robert Mitchell

    Quentin Row is also another victim of the Railroad Place traffic pattern change, occasioned when the ADA-compliant elevator/tunnel was installed in 2004 on the western end of the platform. Previously, the majority of commuters from NYC crossed the tracks through the eastern tunnel and walked up Railroad Place to the parking lots, past all the stores. Since 2004, the majority now cross the tracks through the newer tunnel and bypass the Railroad Place businesses entirely on their way to their cars. Unintended consequences…

  2. David J. Loffredo

    They haven’t made a Town Car since 2011….it’s called Uber.

    Check train parking lots on Fridays, they’re empty. And most days there are now parking spots – which used to be unheard of.

    Almost no one wears suits to work these days, and very few Goldman people (since they have to get to either West St. in lower Manhattan, or across the Hudson to NJ) live in Westport.

    Now a store that sells nice mens jeans and complementing jackets/shirts would have a more broad based appeal – throw in some fancy vests – and you’ll capture the local hedge fund crowd.

    • I’m always sorry to see local businesses move on…I wish him the very best!

    • Ryan Meserole

      Yeah- I make jeans and jackets and pretty much anything else you can think of. Still does not change the fact that it’s a tumbleweed part of town. Doesn’t warrant the overhead I pay to try and give people the experience if they still want to shop at home in thier underwear.

      I took the hint and I’m giving them the option to shop online in the suit that God gave them. Thier Birthday Suit 😉

  3. Dan, please tell us about the old couple that ran the Travel Bookstore on Railroad Place 20 years ago. A gem of a store that even carried topographical maps of Westport and environs, which I still cherish.

    • Bill, that’s a great idea. I remember the store, but don’t remember the owners. Readers, chime in if you’ve got any info, please!

      • Ryan Meserole

        Dan, I believe it was Johana and her husband. She’s still there in the accounting office next door.

  4. Jennie Pickering

    Ryan has beautiful clothing! ….
    you’re always plugging Indulge lol

    • You’re right, Jennie. I love to plug local shops that totally “get” what it means to be part of the community — and are very cool besides!

      • Jennie Pickering

        very important to support local business !!! I agree
        need more custom made retailers around..that’s the difference between internet sales and customer service

  5. Mersene Norbom

    Ryan you will kill it I’m sure whatever you do! The block will miss you.
    Thank you all & Dan for promoting us; we small businesses all appreciate you and the community! It’s a team effort….

  6. For 27 years my parents owned a photography business where Quentin is. We always had the feeling that the commuters would drop off film in the morning and pick it up when they got off the train. But for many when that train finally pulls in, the only thing the commuters want to do is be home with their wife and children. At least that’s what we thought. I miss commuter and I miss Desi’s too. It really had that old time, little town, neighbors knew who you were great feeling……. Hoping that the next generation gets this experience. Thanks Westport.

    • Ryan Meserole

      Now it all makes sense. I found old negatives and snap shots behind the walls when I renovated the space. Love how Dan’s works always links the history of the town.

  7. I think the bookstore was Hannsilk and Wegner