Store Promotion: The Sequel

Comments have been all over the place on this morning’s post about Tina Dragone’s weekend promotional blasts, urging shoppers to come on in — at the same time every public official and health professional desperately tried to help Americans understand the importance of social distancing.

My intent was to highlight the difficulty of enforcing that idea — with friends, the young people in our homes, even spouses or elderly parents — when a local retailer said (in effect) “it’s okay!”

I was particularly struck by the tone of the promotion when so many other small businesses have voluntarily closed, and places like Trader Joe’s and banks took strong actions — clear marks on the floor, limiting the number of people inside, etc. — to reinforce the new normal.

In retrospect, I should have emphasized more the solution, which Tina Dragone noted in both messages: “private appointments available.” It would have been great had that been the only way she saw customers, and if that was the sole focus of the promotions.

I absolutely empathize with the position her store is in — along with thousands of other small businesses throughout Westport, Connecticut and the nation. Many closed voluntarily last week, when the scope of the crisis became clear.

Others, like Tina Dragone, will have to shut down at 8 p.m. tonight. Legally, she is permitted to stay open until then.

I am sure the store is filled with newly arrived merchandise. The spring fashion season was just getting underway. Who knows when clothes shoppers will next venture out — and how much money they’ll have to spend when they do.

I am sorry that the post sounded overly harsh. It was. I am also sorry that some readers asked me to “be more positive.” These are tough times, and I have tried — with all kinds of uplifting stories, like yesterday’s on the Old Mill Beach wedding (and the follow-up!) — to be as positive as possible.

I’ve also tried to give pertinent information — ways to find what you need, tips on how to help others, links to everything from Small Business Administration loans to testing sites.

Most readers have been wonderful. They understand I might not be able to pass along their news immediately (if an email inbox can overflow, mine is). They appreciate that I’m trying to balance my stories, not overwhelm everyone, but at the same time provide as much detail, about as much of the town, as I can.

We’re all in this together. You, me, and Tina Dragone.

Now go wash your hands.

45 responses to “Store Promotion: The Sequel

  1. Susan Solomon

    You are so appreciated in this difficult time and always!

    Sent from my iPhone


    • John F. Suggs

      Great response Dan. Nicely addressed. As St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit’s famously exhorted over 500 years ago. “Age Quod Agis”. Do what you are doing.

      Keep doing (blogging) what you do so well. Your work is essential and critical for our community. Know that Dan.

  2. Hallie Wofsy

    You are doing your best and we thank you for all of the information you put out there- all the positive messages like the wedding! Would love to see the hearts initiative go on the blog- we have received so much positive feedback from neighbors and friends and will allow everyone to feel like they are heard and helping- without financial cost to themselves.

    Thank you again for all that you do!!! Hallie Wofsy


  3. Gail Winston

    We’re with you Dan! You’re are go-to-guy for the latest info on what’s happening in Westport. Thanks so much!

  4. Dan, you are the best. We are all a little on edge these days. Deep breaths everybody!!

  5. Amy Saperstein

    Thank you so much Dan for all you do for so many! We are all so lucky to have you – now and always!

  6. as of last night Westport has the highest cases in our state, stay in , self-sheltering =’s less numbers , supports our health care workers … make your own coffee, wear your existing clothes.. think of others …

  7. I have personally enjoyed all of the posts about how to stay helpful and will continue to use them. They are the best way to try to stay positive.

  8. Robert Belciano

    I applaud you. Everyone wants positivity and in this day in age when every kid gets trophy and every little thing is rewarded it’s hard for folks to take hard news and criticism. We did that to ourselves. When folks are not being responsible and not taking this serious situation seriously, it needs to be called out and people need to be grownups and take the hard criticism and act. People can’t think “this won’t happen to me” and need to be responsible for the community bc this is more than one individual or one community, this is for the health of our entire country.

    Anyway, keep doing what you do. Call out the positives, but it’s more important than ever to call out the people who are not acting in a responsible manner. As many officials have said, this isn’t a snow storm it’s a serious epidemic.

    Thank you!

  9. Joan Gillman


    Thank you for all the great stories you share and thank you for acknowledging when you get one wrong. With 62+ positive in Westport, as of this morning, and so many business owners and families facing great suffering & hardship, we need to pull together to be as constructive and supportive as possible.

  10. joyce Hergenhan

    As a Southport resident, I enthusiastically ly read all your posts. I only wish we had a similar blog in Southport/Fairfield. Maybe it’s time for me to think about starting one.

  11. Ata boy Dan!!!
    You are still the tops!!
    Some people are not accustomed to being financially teetering on the line!! Once you have experienced it and gone through it- many times throughout a ‘normal’ life anywhere, you find that life has ups and downs. Makes one appreciate the ups- especially the serendipity of it- all the more!!
    So, calm down folks!! Even Gov Cuomo is thankful that things won’t be going at the old speed of NY life- a NY MILISECOND!- for awhile. Money will come back. Maybe a little less concentrated in a few spots like before. People will ALWAYS SHOP!! If you need it now, have an in line store!! The best, the creative, the unique will ALWAYS SELL!! If that’s not Westport, I don’t know what is!!
    Be part of the team in every way in the hard times and the team will come to you in the good times. It only takes patience. We ALL used to have a lot mire of that. Tough for the young always!! So that’s what the old folks can teach you!!
    Otherwise, more time to create the new, better future and create for the future of sales that are coming!!

  12. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    nicely re-handled, Dan. You are lovely. And what you do for the town and all who love it is remarkable and is needed. THANK YOU for all you do!

  13. Celeste Champagne

    You have and are doing an outstanding job during this time of pandemic crisis. Keep it up. We are grateful and need your input.

  14. Did you read the comments? Wow!

    Kitt Shapiro Eartha Kitt Productions Inc.


  15. Keep up the great work Dan!

    Stay safe

  16. Dorothy Deast

    I don’t think your first posting was too harsh. Thanks for keeping us all up to date on what’s going on in this weird world we live in.

  17. Louis Weinberg

    Keep up the great work! You are fabric of the community.


  18. Well said, Dan. Thank you for doing all you do.

    Now, let’s get it done!

  19. Stephen Axthelm

    Dan, this is another reason we all love you and appreciate what you provide to our community. Your moral compass is unusually reliable but even when it is a bit off the mark you are self-reflective as well as open and responsive to critical views.

    Thanks pal,
    Steve Ax

  20. Thanks, all! I appreciate, as always, the varied points of view. Keep ’em coming. I’ll keep doing what I do, and I know you all will too. On we go!

  21. Jacque O'Brien

    Please don’t apologize Dan! What you’re doing is amazing and so helpful in every way! Stay well!

  22. Thanks, Dan for all the info you provide. At a time when we are overwhelmed about what his happening all over the country and all over the world, it’s nice to have a place to see what’s going on in our little area…good or bad. We can read the stories and have our opinions about them. That’s the American way.

  23. You’re the best, Dan!

  24. And have a glass of chardonney 🤦‍♀️

    Sent from my iPhone

  25. Michelle Benner

    I support you 100% Dan. Positive, encouraging, informative community connecting stories, yes. But also, let’s call a spade a spade when we see one. You are an incredible window and collective voice for our community. Thank you! How I pine for the days when errant parking was our biggest gripe.

  26. Michael R Pearl

    Your initial comment was appropriate. You are a gift to this community. Many thanks.

  27. Thank you Dan

  28. Teri Inzerra

    Thanks for all your great posts Dan!

  29. Is this the same civic minded Tina Dragone that was so welcoming to the Good Will outlet across the Post Road from her store?

  30. Bill Boyd she 66

    Dan… you’re doing your best. Keep up the great work!

  31. The first thing I go for information is 06880.
    At this strange time in our lives we rely on you to guide us as to what is needed to bring us together and stay healthy. We all appreciated your honesty and information you are sharing, Thank you.
    On that note, I am beyond frustrated who I can turn to buy groceries. All the sites are quoting deliveries for next week,
    Any ideas?

  32. Dan why did you take down the original story?

  33. Jordan Broadbent

    👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 – stay safe! 😷

  34. Michelle Benner

    there were really important comments in there voicing multiple opinions. Voices that are important for our town leaders and citizens to hear. why are people who are speaking out about our leaders withholding critical information being censored??

  35. Michelle Benner

    Westport is up to 74 cases by the way, up from 62 yesterday.

  36. Cristina Negrin

    I found the post honest and useful in pointing out that social distancing was not being practiced here. We are now in stay at home status so she’s done. So are all small business as you pointed out. I’m sad for everyone I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone

  37. One thing beyond dispute: Dan has provided an invaluable service, between his timely updates to keep the town informed in an ever-changing news cycle and his balance of stories that keep a (hopefully) quarantined readership entertained. Westport is lucky to have someone as passionate about his hometown as Dan is. It is apparent on 06880 daily.

  38. Bonnie Erickson

    Be more positive? You’re one of the most positive people I know and that friendship has been in place since 7th grade. Be more positive? Really. We all can empathize with the struggles of business owners and the financial horrors they are facing. However, I’d rather be spoken to in whatever tone necessary if I’m being selfish and potentially endangering others in an attempt to serve my own bottom line. We’re all going down together until it’s time to come up for air and put things back together again. Which most of us will. Kudos to you, Dan. Count me as one of your biggest cheerleaders. When this is over I will remember this article. And I will remember this store.