Tag Archives: Arezzo

Chamber Of Commerce: Support Local Stores — And Order Takeout!

In normal times, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce supports local businesses in a variety of ways: networking opportunities, marketing help, community-building events.

These are not normal times.

As COVID-19 attacks the country, some of the first casualties are small businesses.

When the first line of defense is social distancing — with isolation close on its heels — the last things on people’s minds are shopping for anything beyond necessities, or dining out.

When “wash your hands!” is the new mantra, no one is in the mood to handle merchandise in a store, or be served a meal in close proximity to others.

But small businesses need customers to survive. Even a small drop in patronage can spell the difference between paying the rent, paying employees, and going under.

Savvy + Grace on Main Street, one of many locally owned stores throughout town. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

The Chamber is marshaling its resources to help.

They encourage Westporters to continue to shop locally. In addition, they recommend buying gift cards, to use later.  You can do this not just for stores, but nail salons, yoga studios — you name it.

“This small act, if done by many, will help infuse capital to help them hold over until next month,” the Chamber says.

For residents hesitant about eating out, Chamber executive director Matthew Mandell suggests takeout orders. Most restaurants offer that option; some deliver. And there’s always Uber Eats.

Oh, yeah: Mandell reminds everyone that the Great Westport Soup Contest continues all month. There are some things the coronavirus just can’t conquer.

State Senator Will Haskell (left) and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell pick up takeout at Arezzo. Of course, the meal includes soup.

The Chamber also says: “If you have ideas on how to help our businesses, let us know. It takes a community to support a community.”

It’s easy. Click here for their website contact form. Email info@westportwestonchamber.com. Or call 203-227-9234.

PS: It’s not only small stores that are affected by COVID-19. Patagonia announced yesterday that it is closing all 37 stores — and its online operations — indefinitely.

PPS: The US Small Business Administration offers low-interest disaster loans to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury from the coronavirus. It must be requested by governors. It is unclear how far along in the process Connecticut’s request is. For more information, click here or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Save The Children: Bedford Square West?

The opening of Bartaco has opened up the west bank of the Saugatuck River. A couple of nearby restaurants are coming soon; across the Post Road, Arezzo is drawing big crowds (despite limited parking).

Now there’s more good news.

As reported first on WestportNow.com, David Waldman has signed a contract to buy the Save the Children property next to Bartaco, on Wilton Road.

That’s 2.59 acres of prime riverfront property. Though Save the Children is an internationally known, very important non-profit, it doesn’t need that great location to do its good deeds. For a while now, the headquarters — previously Famous Artists Schools — has looked a bit dumpy.

Waldman will fix that.

Save the Children's Wilton Road headquarters.

Save the Children’s Wilton Road headquarters.

Though sometimes controversial, his recent track record is impressive. He turned a dilapidated but historic Federal-style home into the wildly popular Spotted Horse restaurant, and breathed new life into what is now Urban Outfitters.

Now he’s remaking the other side of Church Lane. Bedford Square will bring a mix of retail, residential and office space to this vital but previously underutilized area of downtown.

It’s a project with plenty of moving parts. Throughout the long approval process, Waldman has listened to concerns — of taxpayers and town officials — and adapted well. He’s shown an interest in preservation, while understanding the needs of a suburban town re-imagining its entire downtown.

Bedford Square loking east, up Church Lane toward Christ & Holy Trinity. The Spotted Horse is on the right.

Plans for Bedford Square looking east, up Church Lane toward Christ & Holy Trinity. The Spotted Horse is on the right.

Bedford Square has had hiccups. But Waldman has shown a willingness to adapt, and a flexibility sometimes missing in past developments — his, and others.

I believe Waldman will show similar creativity and concern for his new Save the Children property. This is an enormous opportunity to remake a very cool, very important — and very overlooked — part of Westport.

I have no idea what Waldman will propose. I don’t know whether he bought the building and land because he already has a plan, or if he just realized the location, location, location was superb.

But I have faith he’ll turn it into something Westport can be proud of, and use to full advantage.

Waldman is a Westporter. His heart is here. That’s good news indeed for the future of our entire downtown.

Do you have a vision for the future use of Save the Children? Click “Comments” — and remember, full names please!