Main Street today looks much the same as it did over 40 years ago.
The architecture, anyway.
But — as Susan Garment’s undated (but late ’70s/early ’80s-looking) photo shows — the retail environment is very different.
The 4 stores shown here — Sport Mart, an unidentified one next to it, Waldenbooks and Dorain’s Pharmacy — are all long gone.
Sport Mart started out in Sconset Square (then called Sherwood Square) in the 1950s. It moved to Main Street, where it expanded to the 2nd floor. Dan Coughlin’s shop was the go-to place for tennis and ski gear. (Westport’s other sports store, Schaefer’s on Main Street, specialized in shoes, baseball gloves and the like.)
Waldenbooks was one of 3 book stores on Main Street in that era. Remarkable Book Shop was midway through its 30-year run on the corner by Parker Harding Plaza (more recently Talbots and then Local to Market). Across the street from Remarkable sat Atticus Bookstore Café (an affiliate of the New Haven original).
Waldenbooks was Westport’s first chain bookstore. (They declared bankruptcy in 2011, long after the Main Street spot closed.) It was supplanted by Barnes & Noble, which opened first on the Post Road where BevMax is now. Its second, larger location was a bit further west, in the old Waldbaum’s supermarket. (Waldbaum’s declared bankruptcy in 2015.) Barnes & Noble is now located in a smaller space on the Post Road — the longtime Fine Arts Theater (and later, Restoration Hardware).
As for Dorain’s: For decades, it was a family owned drug store. (One of 2 downtown; Achorn’s was up the street, near — briefly — Atticus.) When the business sold, it became Westport’s CVS. They soon outgrew the space, and moved to Compo Shopping Center, into the former McLellan’s.
But not everything has changed. The shop in between Sport Mart and Waldenbooks looks like a women’s clothing store.
I’m just sayin’…
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