Less than 2 weeks ago, “06880” reported on the drive to save “Elvira’s” — the Old Mill deli/market that camethisclose to being sold to a developer.
Since then, the team working feverishly to preserve the community institution has made great progress.
The end is in sight. But they still need help.
Last week, the group needed an additional $325,000 to acquire the property. They quickly raised $125,000.
Three days ago at a fundraiser, several donors offered $100,000 — as a matching grant. If others contribute that amount, the $325,000 goal will be reached.
But the deadline is soon: March 31. As in, this coming Thursday.
The group is creating a non-profit foundation. It will administer the Old Mill Grocery and Deli — and, as part of its mission, offer training and employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
One of the leaders behind the challenge grant is Bill Loftus, and his Coastal Bridge Advisors investment firm.
He says, “We are proud to be the first corporate donor in the effort to save Elvira Mae’s. It’s such an important part of Westport’s history and beach culture. We simply must save this neighborhood gem. I hope other Westport businesses will join us.”
Committee member Emily Ashken Zobl says, “We are so grateful to Billy and his team for promoting this challenge grant. I grew up with Elvira’s, and have so many wonderful memories. I want my kids and their kids to be able to do the same.”
Member Ian Warburg notes, “This is such an innovative way to help us reach our goal. It means every $250 someone from the community donates becomes $500.”
Everyone donating $250 or more will be included in a digital history, on permanent display inside the market.
Chris Tait adds, “People always wonder what happened to great places once they’re gone and it’s too late. That’s why we’re shouting from the rooftops Once people hear about the opportunity to save something special, they’re in.”
Jim Hood says, “We are incredibly grateful for the community’s generous support. Now we’re asking for one last push to make sure our effort succeeds.”
Hood and other team members will be at the market today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to meet potential donors and answer questions.
They’ll have coffee and donuts — but they’ll have to buy them elsewhere, and bring them in.
For the great stuff, we have to wait for Old Mill Grocery & Deli to open.
(For the Old Mill Grocery website, click here. To donate online, click here or use the QR code below. To request a wire transfer form or donate by check, click here. Questions about donating? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)