Chamber Of Commerce: Support Local Stores — And Order Takeout!

In normal times, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce supports local businesses in a variety of ways: networking opportunities, marketing help, community-building events.

These are not normal times.

As COVID-19 attacks the country, some of the first casualties are small businesses.

When the first line of defense is social distancing — with isolation close on its heels — the last things on people’s minds are shopping for anything beyond necessities, or dining out.

When “wash your hands!” is the new mantra, no one is in the mood to handle merchandise in a store, or be served a meal in close proximity to others.

But small businesses need customers to survive. Even a small drop in patronage can spell the difference between paying the rent, paying employees, and going under.

Savvy + Grace on Main Street, one of many locally owned stores throughout town. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

The Chamber is marshaling its resources to help.

They encourage Westporters to continue to shop locally. In addition, they recommend buying gift cards, to use later.  You can do this not just for stores, but nail salons, yoga studios — you name it.

“This small act, if done by many, will help infuse capital to help them hold over until next month,” the Chamber says.

For residents hesitant about eating out, Chamber executive director Matthew Mandell suggests takeout orders. Most restaurants offer that option; some deliver. And there’s always Uber Eats.

Oh, yeah: Mandell reminds everyone that the Great Westport Soup Contest continues all month. There are some things the coronavirus just can’t conquer.

State Senator Will Haskell (left) and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell pick up takeout at Arezzo. Of course, the meal includes soup.

The Chamber also says: “If you have ideas on how to help our businesses, let us know. It takes a community to support a community.”

It’s easy. Click here for their website contact form. Email Or call 203-227-9234.

PS: It’s not only small stores that are affected by COVID-19. Patagonia announced yesterday that it is closing all 37 stores — and its online operations — indefinitely.

PPS: The US Small Business Administration offers low-interest disaster loans to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury from the coronavirus. It must be requested by governors. It is unclear how far along in the process Connecticut’s request is. For more information, click here or email

12 responses to “Chamber Of Commerce: Support Local Stores — And Order Takeout!

  1. Clarissa Biasuz

    So good.



  2. Matthew Mandell

    Here is a video Will and I did: Don’t want to eat out – TAKE OUT.

    If anyone can help us download it off Facebook and put it on Youtube as well, we’d appreciate it. Thanks.

  3. Helen Ranholm

    How can one be sure that the food being ordered isn’t carrying the virus from some one who prepared it?

    • I would suspect that the purpose of encouraging takeout is to minimize the number of personal interactions so it would “flatten the curve” of the spread of the virus.

      Instead of coming into contact with (for the sake of discussion) a host, waiter, food runner, and busser, one would only have direct contact with the single person making the delivery.

  4. Dan, we at New England Hemp Farm at 136 Main Street continue to appreciate your messaging and support of local businesses. We also appreciate the support by the local community who continue to come our store each day .. no doubt, anxiety is something everyone seems to have in common during these times so to meet our clients needs we have added same day free delivery within a 10 mile radius for those who just can get out these days

    Again we thank you Westport for your support

    Your friends at NEHF

  5. Andrew Sonnheim

    Pls consider the danger of making recommendations that are contradictory to national health professionals.

    Our primary concern should be to reduce the impact in the short-term as much as possible. This means reducing our interactions as much as possible and only interact when critically necessary, the term being used is ‘social distancing’.

    Economic matters must come second to health matters, as hard as that is – Italy is a prime example of inaction and we’re well behind their efforts at the moment.

    Italy has moved to mandate the shutdown of all businesses except pharmacies and supermarkets out of necessity – they’re currently making decisions on who is worthy to treat based on their age and are unfortunately using combat medic techniques to triage.

    This is not meant to be sensational or cause panic, rather to explain the severity of COVID19 and the need for an abundance of safety measures, collective community involvement and knowledge – with this we will make it through successfully and be in a better position to take care of our local small businesses

    • Matthew Mandell

      This from the Westport Weston Health Director 3/14/20

      ….It was not meant to imply that all activity between people needs to stop. With some common sense and paying attention to doing those things that have been proven to reduce the risk of exposure, getting together in small groups of others is not prohibited. With social distancing, (staying 6 feet or so from others), avoiding the touching of face, frequent hand washing, and etc, does not reduce ones risk to zero, but does significantly reduce it. Along with more frequent sanitization of commonly touched surfaces, these are the things that daycare centers, restaurants, places of worship and others are doing to make it safer for their patrons….

  6. What about having the landlords step up and suspend commercial rents? Let’s all share the pain. What do you say, landlords?

  7. I like the idea of takeout meals but … why are they any safer than sitting in a restaurant? I get that close proximity to others in a restaurant is discouraged but how do I know that the servers preparing, packaging and delivering (if I choose that method of takeout) are germ-free? Anybody have helpful answers?

    • As I answered the same question, above…

      I strongly suspect that the purpose of encouraging takeout is to minimize the number of personal interactions so it would “flatten the curve” of the spread of the virus.

      Instead of coming into contact with (for the sake of discussion) a host, waiter, food runner, and busser, the customer would only have direct contact with the single person making the delivery.

      It is about minimizing direct personal contacts.

  8. I just saw a piece on News12 with BURGER/LOBSTER, newly opened in Saugatuck, virtually pleading, “c’mon, folks; help us out; order takeout!”

    Anyway, with nowhere else to go, why not go for a jaunt to take-out?