Category Archives: Local business

Roundup: Library Reopening, Light Up Westport, More

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The Westport Library returns soon to its December COVID schedule.

Effective Monday, February 8, appointments will no longer to browse the adult collection, speak with a librarian or use an Express computer.

Patrons visiting the Children’s Library, MakerSpace, media studios and store must still make appointments. Click here for more information.

The Library will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. It will remain closed on Sunday. Entrance is only through the upper parking lot doors.

Late fees will continue to be waived. Conference and meeting rooms will remain closed.

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For 4 years, WestportMoms has lit up Westport online. Now the multi-platform group wants to do so — literally.

Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post have launched “Light Up Westport.” The “appreciation project” charity fundraiser encourages people to send luminaries and personal notes of gratitude to friends, local businesses and first responders.

On February 4 (7 p.m.), participants should place their luminary in front of their homes or stores. They’ll light up the town.

They’ll then share photos on social media, and tag #lightupwestport.

Click here to order luminary kits. They include a WSPT luminary, note card and LED tea light. Volunteers will deliver them the day before the event.

All proceeds will go to Filling in the Blanks. The organization provides weekend meals to needy children throughout Fairfield County. WestportMoms have partnered with Ali Dorfman of Purpose 2 Purchase on this initiative.

WSPT luminary. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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If you haven’t visited George Billis Gallery, you’re missing a great addition to Westport.

The newest addition to Main Street — in space formerly occupied by Jonathan Adler — announces its first big events.

An international exhibition, is set for February 5-28. There’s an opening reception from 3 to 7 p.m., including a Zoom walk-through with juror Lisa Cooper from 3 to 3:30.

The exhibit features over 30 national and international artists presenting painting, photography, sculpture and works on paper.

George Billis Gallery, 166 Main Street.

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“06880” is looking for stringers/interns to cover town meetings: Board of Education, Board of Finance, Board of Selectmen. Town knowledge, enthusiasm, writing chops, ability to watch for hours needed. Perfect for bored college students and anyone else interested in town affairs. Interested? Email dwoog@optonline.net

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Bernie Sanders is a very impatient guy.

He was spotted yesterday outside Gold’s, waiting for bagels and lox …

(Meme courtesy of Our Town Crier)

… and then at Loeffler Field, waiting for the 2021 soccer season to begin.

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And finally … on this day in 1996, “Rent” opened officially at the New York Theatre Workshop. It was a bittersweet moment: composer/playwright Jonathan Larson died hours before, from an aneurysm.

Twenty-five years later, his work is considered one of the most monumental and important musicals of all time.

Move Over, Barnes & Noble. Another Bookstore Is Opening Downtown.

It’s been years since downtown Westport had a bookstore.

Next month, Barnes & Noble opens in the former Restoration Hardware.

This Thursday, a second bookstore opens right around the corner.

It’s smaller. It will sell only used books. But its story is huge.

The Westport Book Shop is a partnership between the Westport Library and Westport Book Sales, the non-profit with 2 important missions: They raise funds for the library by running its book sales, and they hire adults with disabilities.

For nearly 3 decades, the Summer Book Sale has been a beloved ritual on Jesup Green. So it’s fitting that the Westport Book Shop will be located between Green & Tonic and the new Basso restaurant (formerly Matsu Sushi).

In other words: It’s directly across Jesup Green from the library.

The new home of the Westport Book Shop.

The new venture — believed to be Westport’s first-ever used bookstore — came together quickly. The idea began in the spring, but the right space — a former art gallery — was not available until last month. Final town approval came on Friday.

The 5,000 or so books, in over 40 categories, come from donations to the annual book sales. There’s also a large selection of vinyl records, audio books, CDs and DVDs.

(In addition to the ginormous summer one, there are other book sales throughout the year. However, they’re on hold during COVID.)

The view from inside the Westport Book Shop, across Jesup Green to the library.

Books cover all major categories: fiction, non-fiction, biography, children’s, you name it.

“We’ll be talking to customers and ask what they especially want,” says Mimi Greenlee. The longtime volunteer will continue to work with Westport Book Sales on this project, with fellow members Jocelyn Barandiaran, Linda Hopper, Dick Lowenstein, Sharuna Mahesh and Deb Poulley​. Jennifer Bangser is the Library’s liaison.

The Book Shop also features the Drew Friedman Art Place. Miggs Burroughs will curate rotating exhibits of area artists.

Hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 3 to 6 p.m.; weekends, noon to 5 p.m. COVID restrictions apply.

Mimi Greenlee inspects a book n the children’s section.

Founding donors include The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center, Eileen Lavigne Flug, Dan Levinson, Jeffrey Mayer and Nancy Diamond, Jocelyn and Walter Barandiaran, Linda Monteiro-Hopper and Scott Hopper, Robin and Brad Berggren, Rebecca L. Ciota, The Kail Family, The Michael M. Wiseman and Helen A. Garten Charitable Foundation, Abilis Community Foundation, The Betty R. and Ralph Sheffer Foundation, Craig Rebecca Schiavone, Westport Sunrise Rotary, Rita Allen Foundation, and Berchem Moses PC. Local law firm Verrill donated most of the bookcases.

For more information, email info@westportbooksales.org.

Lyfebulb: “Aha!” Idea For Managing Chronic Disease

Karin Hehenberger has led a lucky life.

She grew up in Sweden, graduated from an international high school in Paris, attended medical school and earned her Ph.D. in Stockholm, and did post-doctoral work at Harvard.

Karin Hehenberger

In Cambridge she became friendly with Business School students. At 26 she was hired by McKinsey as a healthcare consultant. Then it was off to Wall Street, to work for a hedge fund.

But Karin’s life has been filled with bad luck too.

In her teens she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She kept it secret from everyone except her family. If others knew, she thought, they’d view her as “weak.”

Over the next 20 years, she suffered complications. Diabetes affected her eyes; her kidneys and pancreas were failing, and she had a pacemaker. “I was a walking stroke risk,” Karin says.

Her father Michael — an IBM executive who had moved to Westport with his wife and Karin’s younger sister Anna, when she was in high school — donated a kidney. Karin’s eyes were treated with a product she’d worked on in her healthcare days. Her vision was saved; she did not dialysis.

She also made the list for a pancreas transplant. On New Years Eve 2009, she got a call: Get to Minneapolis immediately. A second pancreas was available.

But it was damaged in transit. “Frozen and dejected,” Karin says, she got ready for the new year.

Providentially, almost immediately she got another call. Another pancreas was on the way.

Karin Hehenberger, after her pancreas transplant.

On January 2, 2010, Karin’s life changed. She has not injected insulin since. She’d performed that life-saving ritual 5 to 10 times a day — and spent many more hours checking her blood sugar.

As she recovered, Karin thought about her career.

She had never connected with any other diabetic. “Patients need patients just as much as much as we need doctors,” she realized.

And, she says, “even though I was so involved with innovation and technology, I’d never allowed my own experience to be part of the assessment. I didn’t want to think I was biased.”

Gradually, Karin says, “I understood that patients can be innovators. We know the problems. We can have solutions.”

That set off a light bulb in her head. In 2014 she started Lyfebulb. The name combines that idea of innovation with the optimism of “life.” (The “Y” resembles a light bulb — and the logo colors are the same as Sweden’s.)

Lyfebulb’s mission is to “reduce the burden of living with chronic
disease through the power of the patient.”

Karin started out thinking only of her experience as a transplant recipient. “It’s very complex to be alive because someone else died, or gave up a part of themselves,” she explains. “But we were all alone. I thought there needed to be a community of transplant patients.”

As she tried to find ways to empower people with transplants — “not just to take charge of their lives, but to be valued and respected” — she realized there were commonalities with people suffering from chronic diseases who did have “communities” (for example, cancer patients and those with inflammatory bowel disease).

Through digital solutions, innovation challenges, events, panel discussions, workshops, social media, newsletters and blogs, her company works with patients in 11 disease areas: transplantation, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic kidney disease, IBD, migraine, substance use disorders, mental health, psoriasis and chronic cough.

Karin Hehenberger and her daughter, in Westport.

Lyfebulb — which, since COVID, Karin has run out of her Westport home — is a for-profit company. It pays patients for their insights, and uses their ideas to build products for the marketplace.

For example, a young diabetic realized he did not always remember the last time he dosed himself.

“It’s not easy to keep track of,” Karin notes. “You’re making 300 decisions a day related to food, checking blood sugar and insulin.”

The simple solution: a pen cap that allows people to record the time and amount of each dose.

“Diabetics want to live without thinking about their disease,” Karin says. “Doctors want them to test constantly, to optimize glucose control. Those two things completely contradict each other.”

But without seeking patients’ input and insights, no company would think to manufacture an insulin pen cap like that. Three now do.

Similarly, Karin says, Lyfebulb learned that diabetics wanted an insulin device that’s less bulky and institutional-looking than the standard gray ones. Nothing stopped that — except no one ever asked.

“That’s a consumer insight,” she notes. “In every other field, consumers drive product development. In healthcare, consumer marketing has always been an afterthought.”

Karin’s goal is for Lyfebulb to “replace Facebook for health information.” On the ubiquitous social media platform, she says, “there’s no moderation. Anyone can say anything about a product or remedy. It’s not safe.”

Karin’s goal is for Lyfebulb to “replace Facebook for health information.” On the ubiquitous social media platform, she says, “there’s no moderation. Anyone can say anything about a product or remedy. It’s not safe.”

This month, Lyfebulb launched TransplantLyfe, an online engagement platform for the transplant community.

Lyfebulb ensures scientific and medical reviews. “We want to harness the power of a crowd to change the way people deal with chronic disease. We take over when doctors and nurses leave,” Karin says.

“You’re not alone. You’re not different,” she says to people living with chronic diseases. “You can be helped by people just like you.”

Friday Flashback #228

Westport knows John Videler as a brilliant photographer. He’s carrying on the tradition started by his father Cor, many years ago.

And we know the Gault area — between Imperial Avenue and South Compo — as a tight-knit neighborhood, filled with handsome homes.

But for many decades, it was a gravel pit. Gault — the company founded in Westport in 1863 — owned it. Every day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., a crusher pulverized rocks.

In 1979, John was 16 years old. His father had given him his first camera. He headed to the gravel pit, not far from his home.

Today, John’s photos chronicle the beauty of our town. Four decades ago, he showed how we worked.

BONUS GAULT FEATURE: Across the street from the gravel pit — right on the river — was Gault Little League Field.

It took a mighty swing to clear the fence. 

But if you did, the ball ended up across Imperial Avenue, in the pit.

The Marauders, at Gault Park.

Unsung Hero #175

Every Tuesday and Friday, Tony Puccetti’s wait by the window. When Scott — their regular collector for Malone’s Refuse Service — arrives, they wave excitedly. He always waves back.

Roman’s 3rd birthday was last Tuesday. Earlier, Tony and his wife spoke to “Mr. Scott.” They said they’d leave balloons by their driveway. Could he grab them and honk his horn? It would make Roman’s birthday — because he wanted his theme to be “Garbage Truck.”

Mr. Scott did that — and a lot more.

He brought Roman a gift. He led him by the hand to the back of the truck. Then he lifted Roman up, so he could help compact the trash. (Click below for the video.)

It was the best birthday Roman could imagine.

Thanks, Mr. Scott. You’re Roman’s — and ours — Unsung Hero of the week.

 

Roundup: Capuli Restaurant, Suzuki Music, Starbucks, More

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Despite the pandemic headwinds, new restaurants continue to open in Westport.

Don Memo, Walrus Alley, Manna Toast, Hudson Malone, Outpost Pizza and Basso have all opened their doors, despite restrictions on dining.

Yesterday, Capuli joined them.

Like its predecessors in the Post Road East space opposite Bank of America — Westport Pizzeria, and before that Joe’s Pizza and S&M Pizza — it will serve pies.

But the cuisine is called California-Mediterranean fusion, featuring “a variety of fresh ingredients, low in saturated fats, whole grains, seasonal vegetables, lean meats and seafood.”

They plan on primarily takeout meals at the start. Call 203-557-9340, or email capuli.westport@gmail.com for more information.

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The pandemic has also affected Suzuki Music Schools. But their classical music education and performance schedule has simply moved from Colonial Green to cyberspace.

The popular children’s Pillow Concert” series returns January 24, and continues through spring. Family-friendly concerts give children a chance to be up close and personal with performers beyond the front row (and they’re encouraged to bring pillows to create seats at the artists’ feet).

Online master classes and interactive workshops will be conducted by widely acclaimed artists like violinists Rachel Barton Pine and Regina Carter. They’re open to audit for non-students for the first time (for a small suggested donation to the school).

The 4th annual Connecticut Guitar Festival returns March 5-7. It goes global virtually this year, featuring international artists. Attendees can tune check out Suzuki Schools’ social media pages every week leading up to the festival for discussions famed guitarists about how they’ve performed during the pandemic.

For more information on Suzuki Music Schools, click here.

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To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the Westport Public Art Collections announced a series of small rotating exhibitions. They’re part of a larger initiative to support nondiscrimination in the arts.

The first — opening at Town Hall on February 1 — explores longtime Westporter Tracy Sugarman’s civil rights activities during the Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi.

The artist-reporter wrote, “I was determined to bring back real images of real people and real places so everyone could see American apartheid for what it really was.”

Tracy Sugarman died in 2013, at 91. To learn more about him, click here.

“July and 100 Degrees in the Shade at the Sanctified Church for Freedom School Kids, Ruleville”

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Colin Livingston writes:

“Has anyone ever mentioned the overflow Post Road traffic at the Starbucks drive-thru?

“I can’t tell you how many time I’ve driven by and thought it’s an accident in the making. I snapped this the other day leaving the Bank of America ATM next door. I could barely see the approaching traffic.

“I’ve got nothing against Starbucks. I just don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”

Colin, the topic has been addressed before. This has been going on for months — ever since the pandemic began.

I am stupefied that anyone would sit in a car for so long at any drive-thru. It’s particularly mind-boggling because there is a perfectly good Starbucks a mile or so down the road, at Stop & Shop. The biggest line I’ve ever seen there is one person.

You could drive, park, get your coffee, drink it — and do all your grocery shopping — in the time you’d spend on that Post Road Line.

Of course, it would mean getting out of your car …

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And finally … Phil Spector — the influential record producer who went from creating the famous Wall of Sound to prison for the murder of a woman in his home — died Saturday, of complications from COVID. He was 81.

Bankside Contemporary: The Sequel

Less than a year ago, I wrote a story about Steve Lyons.

The award-winning artist had just opened Bankside Contemporary, opposite Winfield Deli on Post Road West.

Modeled on his successful Chatham, Cape Cod gallery, he called this a “communal gathering space.” Steve wanted people to wander in, enjoy cookies and candy and coffee, and just hang out.

Steve and his life and business partner, Peter Demers, sold 6 paintings right after COVID struck, between mid-March and April. But they closed in late October — though not because of sales.

The “Steve Lyons team” writes: 

In early March, while painting in his studio, Steve saw a flash of light on the left side of his peripheral vision. Spots were found on his brain, but cancer was not diagnosed.

Steve’s symptoms persisted. He sought a second opinion. A biopsy revealed glioblastoma. He began treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Steve Lyons, outside Bankside Contemporary.

Through a medical professional Steve knows socially, he learned of an opportunity to undergo surgery and enroll in a promising new clinical trial,  available only at UCLA.

Steve and Peter headed to California in September. The initial surgery was a success. Rehabilitation followed, with many ups and downs.

But while caring for Steve in Los Angeles, Peter contracted COVID-19. After a fierce struggle in the hospital, Peter died on January 10.

Peter Demers and Steve Lyons.

Peter was a cherished member of the Chatham community, and a stalwart, gentle, guiding hand for the gallery. He was a friend to so many, whose generosity and genial presence touched all who encountered him.

Steve’s love and passion, shared and promoted at all times by Peter himself, is a worthy testament to both of them, whether they are present with us or not.

We want to thank all the lovely Westporters we got to know along the way. Steve and Peter loved the town so much.

They felt immediate warmth when they decided to open Bankside Contemporary at National Hall. We wish all Westporters and friends a healthy and happier 2021.

(For more on Steve Lyons and his art, click here.)

Steve Lyons’ art, at Bankside Contemporary.

Change In The Air At Saugatuck Rowing Club

You’d think the Saugatuck Rowing Club‘s biggest COVID concern is its regattas.

Sure, races are held outdoors. But rowers are packed tightly together. They breathe heavily. The cox shouts.

The coronavirus did impact competitors. All 2020 regattas were canceled. Junior rowers are still not allowed to practice until at least January 19.

But fewer than 20% of Saugatuck Rowing Club members actually row. Most adults join for the state-of-the-art fitness center (and social activities).

Saugatuck Rowing Club (Drone photo/Ward French)

So when SRC opened up again in June, one of the most important issues was air quality and circulation in the weight and cardio room.

Which led the club to something most rowers and coaches never think about: ionization.

After diligent research, SRC installed “needlepoint bipolar ionization” —a technology used in hospitals, airline terminals and office headquarters around the country that deactivates airborne bacteria and viruses by up to 99%, while reducing allergens and mold — in their 9 HVAC systems.

They overhauled their infrastructure, making the entire building — including the restaurant — as safe as possible. 

Ionization work at the Saugatuck Rowing Club fitness center.

The $12,000 job was completed in November.

“You can’t put a price on safety,” says director of marketing, membership and events Diana Kuen. “It was important to do more than just open windows and hope for the best.”

That’s not all. Owner Howard Winklevoss took advantage of the downtime to replace the entire back wall with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, creating a sweeping view of the river.

New full-length windows in the Regatta Room.

He’s adding a full-service café, and replacing the carpet with (cleaner) hardwood floors.

A big party is planned — as soon as large crowds can gather again.

Meanwhile, a new app allows the club to monitor usage (only 12 people are allowed on the gym floor at a time), and trace contacts. (As much fitness training as possible is still done outdoors.)

Outdoor workouts, at the Saugatuck Rowing Club.

A special website allows members to take classes from home (Zoom or livestream), or in person. There are over 100 group fitness videos in the library.

Because only 4 junior rowers are allowed on site at a time, the club lent 70 indoor rowing machines to those who did not already have them. They’re continuing winter training via Zoom, 5 times a week for 2 1/2 hours a day

Meanwhile, Kuen continues to coach the breast cancer survivors (“Survive-OARS“) 3 days a week.

The pandemic has not slowed them — or any other member — down.

And when they work out inside, they are grateful to do so surrounded by newly ionized air.

(To learn more about the ionization technology, email SRC general manager Scott Armstrong: sarmstrong@saugatuckrowing.com.)

Roundup: Vaccine, Scavenger Hunt, Art, More

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The COVID vaccine is now available in Connecticut for people 75 or older. They (or someone helping them) can sign up online (click here). After registration, they’ll get an email detailing next steps.

There may be an initial delay in scheduling, but access should grow quickly soon.

More than 100 healthcare providers statewide will offer the vaccine. More locations and a map of them will be available in coming weeks.

The scheduling link also contains a list of frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

People without internet access, or who need help, can call 877-918-2224 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Brendan Murphy’s works are drawing raves at his one-man show at the POP’TArt gallery downtown.

In return, the fast-rising contemporary artist asked curator Jennifer Haviland how he could support Westport. She chose an organization she loves: Wakeman Town Farm.

Murphy chose one of his 8-layer silver-based chrome heart sculptures, and offered it for auction. Measuring 24 x 24 x 8 inches, it’s valued at $18,000.

The heart is on display with Murphy’s show, “96% Stardust” at POP’Tart (1 Main Street).

Auction co-chair Nicole Gerber says, “Wakeman Town Farm has a rich history in Westport, and resides at the heart of our community. The Farm is committed to inspiring local residents through sustainable practices, education opportunities, and community service. In this crucial time in our history, The Farm is actively supporting local organizations focused on alleviating food insecurity in our area. We are honored to support a nonprofit that allows the people it serves to serve others as well.”

Bidding starts at $5,000, by email: BrendanHeartWakeman@gmail.com. For more information on the auction, click here. For more information about Brendan Murphy, click here.

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The Westport Parks and Recreation Department invites you to participate in a socially distanced “scavenger hunt”, hosted by the Goosechase App!

Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt?

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department is organizing one, for families or teams.

Registrants first download the GooseChase app on their phones, search for the “Westport Winter Goose Chase,” then click here to receive a game password.

Winners get a gift basket of items from Westport businesses. For more information, click here.

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One River — the art and design school — is sponsoring a downtown show. The opening next Sunday (January 24, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.).

David Waldman and BTS Realty donated their storefronts: 33 Elm Street, Brooks Corner and Sconset Square. Two hundred works — from children to adults — will be on view through February 7.

Also included: One River’s high school portfolio development class, with traditional and digital works.

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It’s official: Most high school winter sports can begin tryouts and practices this Tuesday (January 19). Basketball, ice hockey, swimming, gymnastics and indoor track got the go-ahead yesterday from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Games may begin February 8, except for track which cannot compete until March. The number of games is limited; there will be no state tournaments, though a “post-season experience” can be held (similar to fall sports).

In addition, athletes will be required to wear masks during competitions. Coaches and players will also have to wear masks and be socially distanced on the sidelines. Officials are required to wear masks at all times.

There will be no wrestling or competitive cheer, however. The state Department of Public Health categorized those as “high-risk activities.”

Football — a fall sport — had hoped to play a shortened late winter/early spring season. However, the CIAC canceled that option yesterday.

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And finally … happy 87th birthday to the brilliant mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne!

Adam Goldberg: Pop (Up) Goes The Bagel

What can be better than a pop-up bagel shop?

Two of them.

Last week, “06880” featured Sugar & Olives’ Saturday morning pick-up service. Today we highlight a delicious Sunday option, courtesy of Adam Goldberg.

Bagels represent the third career for the longtime Westporter. In 2012, after years in structured finance, he bought the rights to flood mitigation company Aquafence.

He still operates it. But the pandemic hit that industry hard, like so many others.

With time on his hands — and a lifelong love of cooking and entertaining — he began baking. After a year and a half on the keto diet (and a mild case of COVID), Goldberg was ready for some lockdown carbs.

He made sourdoughs, pizzas and pastas.

Then came bagels.

Using his own recipe, Goldberg invited friends to stop by. He’d send out a text at 6 a.m.: “I’m baking today. Stop by.”

This was a great way to see them — if only to hand them his bagels through a backyard pick-up window, while chatting for a minute or two.

Adam Goldberg, his wife Jen, his bagels, his back yard, and his window (background).

He had no set schedule. That didn’t matter, because every day blended into every other one.

Word spread. His text chain grew. Now Goldberg was getting requests for bagels from “tertiary friends.”

November 1 was his birthday. In normal years, he throws a party. This time, he teamed with Filling in the Blanks, the Norwalk non-profit that provides weekend meals to needy children. His bagel sale raised around $1,000.

That drew more attention. Soon, 1200 people were requesting bagels. Most were strangers.

Help came when Rachel Golan reached out. The wife of Don Memo owner Bill Taibe offered their kitchen on a Sunday morning.

Goldberg was not sure if that would work. “Bagels are sensitive,” he notes. “I didn’t know if the oven or the process would be right.”

In early December, he took a chance. He baked 300 bagels.

All were quickly gobbled up.

A few of Adam Goldberg’s many bagels. (Photo/Jen Goldberg)

For his second Sunday, Goldberg devised an advance online ordering system. He cut that off at 500 bagels.

His third and fourth efforts were capped at 1,000 each. Both sold out — within minutes.

He, his wife and local kids he hired hand-delivered bagels over the holidays. They too sold out in seconds.

This past Wednesday, it took just 82 seconds for all bagels to be spoken for. Another 155 names joined the wait list.

“I never set out to sell,” Goldberg says. “But people keep knocking. I’ve been in the flood business for all these years. I never had 500 people on my mailing list.”

He no longer works alone. Golan helps bake; so do a doctor, fashion executive and hedge fund woman.

“It’s 6:30 in the morning. The radio is on. I’m with good friends, rolling bagels. There’s no place I’d rather be,” Goldberg says.

Behind the scenes in the Don Memo kitchen. From left: Rachel Golan, David Levinson,
Jason Epstein, Adam Goldberg. (Photo/Ria Rueda)

Recently, he got a state license. It allows him to cook non-perishable items at home, for sale.

Goldberg’s goods have gained notice — and not just from normal, run-of-the-mill bagel lovers.

CTbites recently included Pop Up Bagels on its “Top Eats for 2020” — by 2 separate food writers. Goldberg was listed along with some of the top restaurants (and chefs) in the state.

The past months have taught the bagel baker some important lessons. For example: “It’s exciting to grow a business. It’s always tricky to scale something done at home. But if you make a great product, there’s a market for it.”

That market includes many people with “childhood memories of eating great bagels,” Goldberg says. Seemingly all grew up in the tri-state area.

Those memories are strong. When he ran an online contest (the prize: a dozen bagels) asking for recollections, the nearly 100 responses were “off the charts. People remembered smells, sights, everything. There’s a lot of nostalgia for bagels.”

Each Sunday, he gets feedback.

“Thanks for letting me buy your bagels,” one customer wrote. “I feel like I won the lottery.”

“This Long Island girl finally feels at home here,” another said.

Such comments are gratifying. They could turn a bagel maker’s head. But Goldberg is not biting. He tells people who urge him to expand: “We’re taking our time. We want to be sure to hit it right.”

He pauses. “It’s a hobby gone wild.’

(Goldberg typically bakes salted poppy, sesame, Maldon salt, cinnamon raisin, everything and plain bagels; occasionally he adds honey whole wheat. Don Memo offers an artisan schmear, when you pick up your bagels. To be notified of upcoming sales, follow popupbagels on Instagram or click here.)