Category Archives: Saugatuck

Suit Yourself

Parking along Railroad Place is restricted to customers of shops facing the train station.

Apparently these 2 guys liked the spot in front of Suited.co — the high-quality, hand-crafted suit store — so much, they figured out a way to save it for a while.

Suited.co

They’re no dummies.

A Ducky Sunset

On Friday evening, traffic was probably heavy on I-95.

Folks at the Black Duck probably did not care.

Alert “06880” photographer Andrew Colabella captured this unique shot of both.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #84

Our weekly photo challenges take readers all over Westport — and occasionally underneath.

Last week’s image — from Seth Schacter — showed the underside of the William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) bridge. It was a unique view — but anyone who has sailed, motorboated, kayaked, canoed or swum (?!) under the 131-year-old, often controversial structure would recognize it.

For the 2nd week in a row, Adam Stolpen was not only first — he nailed it within 2 minutes of posting. Adam was followed closely by Matt Murray, Janis Wasserman, Tom Feeley Jr., Susan Schmidt, Ginny Clark, Mary Ruggiero, Rick Benson, Rebecca Wolin, Susan Feliciano and Leslie Beatus. Congratulations to all! (Click here to see the photo; scroll down for all guesses.)

We’re back above ground for this week’s challenge. If you recognize this image, click “Comments” below.

Oh My 06880 -- August 7, 2016

Rummaging Through A New Sports Attic

If you’re like many Westport families, your house is filled with things your kids have grown out of, moved on from or otherwise discarded: Clothes. Toys. Sports equipment.

Greg DiLenge can’t unclutter your home of clothes or toys. But those too-small skates, extra lacrosse sticks and unused skis?

Take ’em from the basement to the attic. The Sports Attic.

Sports AtticThat’s the name of his new business, across from the train station at 26 Railroad Place.

He’s still buying “quality secondhand sporting equipment.” He’s in the midst of a soft opening — but he offers cash on the spot.

Or you can check out the amply stocked shelves, and buy gear — inexpensively — for your kid who may (or may not) end up loving a sport.

Growing up, Greg did. “To me, sports have always evoked a sense of responsibility,” the Philadelphia native says.

“They taught me the value of working with others. Sports encouraged a sense of self. I love the camaraderie of playing sports, and am in awe of the discipline required to be an elite athlete.”

But he knows not everyone will reach that goal, or wants to.

He knows too that not everyone can afford sports equipment.

As a kid, Greg loved hockey. But there was not enough money for both him and his brother to play. So they flipped a coin. Greg lost, and got basketball. His brother went on to play hockey at Penn State.

Greg cheered him on. But he always wondered, “What if…?”

For many years, Greg worked traded commodities in New York — while looking for a lifestyle change. His uncle started a new and quality pre-owned sporting goods store in Westchester over 15 years ago. The business model attracted Greg.

Now — with his 1st child due later this month —  Greg is ready to make that leap. It’s the perfect time to launch a new business aimed at helping kids.

Greg DiLenge, in his Sports Attic.

Greg DiLenge, in his Sports Attic.

“We want to be more than a store,” Greg says. “We want to connect with families, schools, camps and local sports organizations, to collaborate and help each other.”

His goal is to provide “an interesting alternative for acquiring sports equipment.”

Though Greg loves all sports, he has a soft spot for hockey and lacrosse. Both are expensive — and can be daunting for parents who don’t know if their children will follow through.

Greg has reached out to major vendors, amassing “starter” kits to help soften the sting on wallets.

His narrow shop is rapidly filling with sports gear. His goal is to turn it over rapidly — buying good-quality equipment from parents whose kids have outgrown or discarded it, then selling it to others whose kids are just starting out.

And when those youngsters move up or on — well, Sports Attic will be there for them too.

 

Bright Vs. Blight

For years, the Weston Road/Easton Road/North Main Street rotary near Exit 42 — the unofficial “Welcome to Westport” landmark for everyone coming off the Merritt Parkway — was maintained, as a public service, by Daybreak Nursery.

But when financial problems caused the nearby business to close, the triangular plot grew grungy.

Now — suddenly — the space looks gorgeous.

(Photo/Russ Miller)

(Photo/Russ Miller)

I don’t think it was a state Department of Transportation project. But huge props to whoever got it done.

Meanwhile — across town — another “Welcome to Westport” site looks decidedly less welcoming.

(Photo/Joanne Romano)

(Photo/Joanne Romano)

Just one more reason to avoid I-95, and take the Merritt.

Gault Unfolds New Umbrella, Announces New Name

At 153 years old, Gault is still nimble.

This morning, the company — Westport’s oldest business (by about a century) — announced a major corporate rebranding. And a new corporate umbrella.

Plus a modern new logo.

Gault's new logo (and name).

Gault’s new logo (and name).

Gault Energy & Stone will now be called Gault Family Companies. Three rebranded lines of business — Energy & Home Solutions, Stone & Landscape Supplies, and Properties & Development — will operate under it.

Sam Gault is the 5th generation to head the family firm. He and his marketing team began the process 3 years ago, soon after the company’s 150th anniversary. They were assisted by Westport-based The Visual Brand.

Sam Gault says the new logo and expanded corporate structure “capture our rich history, and reveal our ambitious plans for the future.

“From our humble beginnings as a hauling business with a single horse and wagon, the company has continued to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of the communities we serve, always focusing on delivering exceptional personalized service.”

Horses hauling coal in front of the company's 19 Riverside Avenue building (1905-08).

Horses hauling coal in front of the company’s 19 Riverside Avenue building (1905-08).

During its 15 decades, Gault has morphed from hauling into coal, sand, oil and, most recently, energy solutions.

Adding “Home Solutions” to its energy brand will help the company showcase its many services — such as providing bioheat and propane delivery, low cost-electricity, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning equipment insulation, standby generator installation, and maintenance and repair.

The stone and masonry supply business provides a full range of interior and exterior services. Adding “landscape” to the brand signals a growing partnership with homeowners.

Hamilton Development — Gault’s real estate arm — is best known for its award-winning mixed-use Saugatuck Center development. But the real estate footprint also includes many other commercial and real estate properties. Sam Gault says the brand focuses on “best practices when it comes to design-build, livability, energy efficiency and stone and masonry work.”

The logo that Gault retired today.

The logo that Gault retired today.

As for the new “G” logo: Its swoop gives a nod to the company’s history, but in a modern way.

Gault has been a strong, steady presence in Westport since the Lincoln administration. The company has always supported the town, in ways big and small (and often anonymously).

May Gault Family Companies — and the Gault family — thrive for at least another 163 years.

(To learn more about Gault’s 1st 150 years, click here.)

The 1914 logo...

The 1914 logo…

...and one from the 1960s.

…and one from the 1960s.


Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Mersene’s “06880” Merchandise

If I were smart, I’d sell “06880”-themed stuff on “06880.”

But I’m not. So whenever anyone asks where they can buy something that screams “Westport,” I send ’em to the Westport Historical Society (books, tote bags, note cards).

Or Joey’s by the Shore (hoodies, towels, beach stuff).

Now there’s another option. Mersene — the spectacularly creative, super-friendly and amazingly wonderful owner of Indulge by Mersene, on Railroad Place across from the train station — has added a number of local items to her eclectic, intriguing and ever-changing stock of unique finds.

A Westport t-shirt.

A Westport t-shirt.

Some of them say “Westport.” Others (even better!) actually show “06880.”

An "06880" pillow.

An “06880” pillow.

Mersene has a wonderful eye, not only for what looks good but how to present it. (Check out her gift baskets!) Her Westport merchandise is fun and funky. No kitsch or schlock at all.

This silver tray is engraved "06880."

This silver tray is engraved “06880.”

She’ll ship anywhere. But if you live nearby — or are just traveling through — Mersene and her store really should be seen in person.

She puts the “oh!” in “06880.”

This pendant features a Westport navigation chart.

This pendant features a Westport map…

...while this blanket shows Westport's latitude and longitude.

…while this blanket shows Westport’s latitude and longitude.

Long May She Wave

I sure screwed up yesterday’s post about a “missing” AED. (It wasn’t stolen from Winslow Park at all – it had never been installed. I also misidentified the donor — it’s the Gudis Family Foundation and Norwalk Hospital, not the Adam Greenlee Foundation. Click here to see how many times I could be wrong in one post.)

This one is on the money.

A year ago, Tarantino owner John Paul Marchetti installed an American flag outside his Railroad Place restaurant.

He’s a proud Marine Corps Reserves veteran — he served in Iraq — and was honored to fly it 24/7.

Tarantino flag

Yesterday, he and his brothers — co-owners of the popular Saugatuck spot — noticed the flag was gone.

Marchetti was angry. “This country gave my immigrant parents everything,” he said. “The flag is a symbol of freedom. Someone stole that symbol.”

I told Marchetti I would post the story on “06880.” We’d ask the thief to return the flag, no questions asked.

Meanwhile, Marchetti posted a photo on social media.

Westport Hardware Store owner Richie Velez saw it. He promised to bring a replacement over, as soon as he got off work.

So, if you’re the flag thief, do the right thing. Hand it off to someone who can fly it as proudly as Marchetti, and cares as much as Velez.

(Hat tip: Johnny Carrier)

Hiawatha Lane Sewer Denied; Scenic Highway Approved

Two big decisions — both of which could impact the future of Saugatuck — were made yesterday.

The Planning & Zoning Commission denied the request for a sewer line from Davenport Avenue to Hiawatha Lane. The proposal was crucial to approval of a larger project: the construction of 155 rental units on Hiawatha Lane Extension.

The vote was 4-0, with 1 abstention 5-0. The reason, P&Z commissioners said, was that other Westport sewers — including a pump that runs underneath the Saugatuck River — cannot handle the increased flow.

This was the 5th request from developer Felix Charney to build multi-family housing in the already dense area off Saugatuck Avenue. Right now, many of the units there command some of the lowest resale and rental prices in Westport.

A rendering of the proposed Hiawatha Lane development.

A rendering of the proposed Hiawatha Lane development.

Earlier in the day, the Westport Preservation Alliance announced that the state Department of Transportation has agreed to designate part of Route 136 — specifically Compo Road South, Bridge Street and the William F. Cribari (aka Bridge Street) swing bridge — a “state scenic highway.”

The WPA says the designation “adds an additional level of protection for this important area of our town. Any proposed changes to the bridge must be reviewed by the State Scenic Highway Advisory Committee. Effectively, this allows a different set of state officials, who may be more sympathetic to scenic beauty and preservation, to weigh in on the DOT’s plans.”

The William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) Bridge.

The William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) Bridge.

Plans for multi-family housing on Hiawatha Lane, and for major changes to the bridge, are not yet dead.

But neither are they as healthy as they were yesterday.

More Saugatuck News: Railroad Parking Lot Closed Beginning Monday

It’s official: Construction begins this Monday (July 11) on railroad station Lot 1 — the one across the street from the former Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow. The projected completion date is after Labor Day (September 5).

Alternate parking locations have been created at both the Saugatuck and Greens Farms stations. Commuters should figure on an additional 5-10 minutes on Monday to get used to the new setup.

Saugatuck railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Saugatuck railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Commuters are encourage to use the shuttle service from the Imperial Avenue parking lot to Saugatuck train. The link to the schedule for the shuttle is listed below. Shuttle service may be expanded, depending on need. Click here for more information, including schedules.

For more information on railroad parking, click here.

Greens Farms railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Greens Farms railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.