Tag Archives: Finding Westport

It’s Black Friday. Shop Local!

Today marks the much-anticipated, endlessly reported and bizarrely grim start of the holiday shopping season.

Americans leave Thanksgiving dinners to stand outside superstores. They bop each other over the head and ram strangers with shopping carts, frenziedly buying wide-screen TVs and must-have dolls. It is a sick spectacle, and it sets the tone for the entire month that follows.

If COVID-19 has done anything good, it’s put the brakes on this explosion of materialism. Unlike (cough, cough) some places, people here understand the virus is not a hoax. We won’t see hordes of humans pushed into glass doors like Walmart’s version of a Who concert.

Every year, merchants, town officials — and “06880” — urge local folks to buy local.

This year, it’s important more important than ever.

In fact, it’s crucial.

Main Street (Photo/Jillian Elder)

But saying it is one thing. How do we put our Christmas and Hanukkah money where our civic mouth is?

Jillian Elder can help.

The founder of Finding Westport — a website that for over 2 years has linked business owners and customers — created a special page for today and tomorrow. (Black Friday is followed immediately by Small Business Saturday — who knew?)

“When we need retail therapy, our friends on Main Street and the Post Road are there for us,” Jillian says. (Don’t forget Saugatuck!)

“Now is the time to return the favor, and let our friends know we are there for them.”

Jillian spent days asking stores about their Black Friday and Small Business Saturday plans.

Say it with chocolate!

“Finding Westport” includes hours of operations, special offers and sales, links to stores’ websites and gift cards, and pickup and delivery options.

Toys, apparel, jewelry, chocolates, honey, liquor, CBD — and just about anything else you’d give as a gift — is included. Click here for Jillian’s Black Friday and Small Business Saturday page.

You can find everything here for your honey.

That’s not all. Jillian compiled similar lists for Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford and Wilton. Click here for that page.

Sure, you could have spent last night wrapped in a blanket outside Best Buy. But — thanks to Jillian Elder — you know the best buys are right around the corner.

(PS: Jillian is still adding stores to the list. To be included, email submissions@findingwestport.com)

Roundup: Ballots, Food Drive, Atlantic Sports Story, More


To clarify yesterday’s Roundup story on absentee ballots:

The registrars of voters have not “counted” ballots yet. They cannot do that until tomorrow. What they did on Saturday was open the ballots, to find any without signatures.

Five of those — out of approximately 8,000 returned — were discovered. Those voters will be contacted today, and are allowed to vote in person tomorrow.


As Thanksgiving nears, Wakeman Town Farm is collecting nutritious, non-perishable food, for delivery to 2 local pantries. Among the items most in
demand:

  • Pasta
  • Rice and quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Mac and cheese
  • Canned fruits
  • Applesauce
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, etc.)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Soups (canned or boxed)
  • Stews and chili (canned or boxed)
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Dried beans and ;entils
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken in water or broth
  • Jell-O
  • Protein and granola bars, unsalted nuts and seeds, whole grain crackers
  • Coffee and tea.

Items can be dropped off at the “Food Donation” bins at the gates to Wakeman Town Farm on Cross Highway, and at Franny’s Farmacy and Savannah Bee.


As COVID cases rise, what will local retailers do on Black Friday?

Jillian Elder wants to know. The founder of the Finding Westport platform — your go-to site for all local retailers, restaurants and services — is surveying businesses, and will post that information soon. It will go on Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut too.

If you’re a retailer or restaurant owner, tell Jillian your hours, limitations on customers, etc. Email submissions@findingwestport.com.


Westport writer Ruth Shalit Barrett’s long article about crazy, college-focused  Fairfield County niche youth sports — fencing, crew, squash, lacrosse — created quite a buzz when The Atlantic published it last month.

It’s creating more buzz now. First, the magazine appended an extraordinary 800-word correction.

Last night, the Atlantic retracted the entire piece. Click here to read why.

The Atlantic illustrated Ruth Shalit Barrett’s story with this time-lapse photo by Pelle Cass.


Every day, the Y’s Men walk. Yesterday was typical: a group gathered at the train station, then headed out for 4 1/2 miles. Molly Alger joined them, as “the token woman.”

All walks are socially distanced — except for their brief gathering for this photo, part way through.


And finally … today is of course the Day of the Dead.

 

Finding Westport Finds Its Way

For over 2 years, “Finding Westport” has helped link business owners and customers. Along the way, founder Jillian has found something else: That there are more retailers and services than anyone imagined.

“Finding Westport” recently expanded into a broader network. It includes a “Help Wanted” section, and one for realtors or anyone with a rental.

Elder has also added “Finding” sites for Fairfield, Wilton, Weston, Norwalk, Easton, Bridgeport, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Greenwich. “Finding Fairfield County” offers links to all the sites.

Jillian Elder

Businesses and services — from A (accountants, animal rescues, antiques, appliances, arts and crafts, architects) to Y (yoga studios) — are listed free in their town. They can pay to be listed on other town sites. There are categories too for minority, women and veteran owned. Not all categories have listings yet.

“Help Wanted” is a great idea. However, as of a couple of days there were no listings. Perhaps no one is hiring — or no one knows about this new tab.

Real estate listings also include open houses. Like “Help Wanted,” this new category has started slowly in Westport.

Elder’s idea is sound. Here’s hoping the new additions to “Finding Westport” will find an audience.

(For more information — and to be listed — email submissision@findingwestport.com.)

 

What’s Open? Find Out!

Jillian Elder left town Monday. But her “Finding Westport” site (click on the link) could be a lifesaver for this and area town. She hopes to update its with listings of businesses that are open (or closed).

If your business is fully open, open but can take online orders, open with no phone or internet, or is closed for today and tomorrow, let her know via Facebook or Instagram (@findingwestport) or email: submissions@findingwestport.com.

You can also post info on what’s open in the Comments section. As noted earlier, downtown in the Main Street area (including Starbucks and Freshii) is open! (As of this morning though, Starbucks had no WiFi.)

Cross Highway/North Avenue intersection is now open. (Photo/Dr. Edward Paul)

Jumbled kayaks, in the wake of Hurricane Isaias. (Photo/Brian Gold)

Happy Birthday, Finding Westport!

Finding Westport turns 2 years old today. The website for local businesses and services — which includes a comprehensive what’s-up list during the pandemic — is the brainchild of Jillian Elder.

Yesterday she ran around town celebrating. She brought a pineapple — hey, why not? — and visited businesses and other sites, hoping her photos would bring smiles.

She’ll post the shots on social media throughout today. Here’s a preview.

Smile!

Bedford Square

Train station

Compo Beach cannons

Compo Beach lifeguard stand (Photos/Jillian Elder)

Roundup: Reopening; Grad Merch; Ospreys; Music; More


Jillian Elder’s “Finding Westport” is another resource for events around town.

Right now, she’s updating her “What’s Open” list. If you’ve got a retail store, accounting or law firm, insurance or real estate agency, childcare center, landscaping or creative services business, restaurant — or anything else with customers or clients — contact her.

The basic listing is free. There are advertising packages and other options too. Send a brief description, website link, logo and photos to submissions@findingwestport.com, or DM Jillian on Instagram or Facebook @findingwestport.


Staples High School graduates make their marks on the world in many days.

Class of 2009 alum Mike Bowen — known professionally as Mike Waxx — made it in the rap and hip hop world. His Illroots brand then branched out from music and videos to apparel and footwear.

On his custom apparel platform, users add their own text and images to create their own looks. He launched with Travis Scott, and added a COVID charity shirt featuring Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

On Friday Waxx released 2020 Grad Merch. To give a gift to a grad, select the school; the logo and stickers are pre-loaded. Just add a picture to the commencement image. Then get creative.

Of course, Staples is there. Click here to order.


We start the week with great osprey news.

Carolyn Doan reports that 2 little chicks have appeared in the nest near Fresh Market. There may even be a third.

“They were making a lot of noise. Mom looks very proud,” Carolyn says.

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)


We haven’t heard much from Burt Bacharach in years. But he’s back — with a local connection.

Now 92, the legendary songwriter just released “Blue Umbrella.” The 5-song collaboration was recorded in Nashville with Grammy-winning writer/producer Daniel Tashian.

If the last name sounds familiar, it should: Daniel’s father, Barry — the front man for the legendary Remains band — went on to play with the Flying Burrito Brothers and Emmy Lou Harris, among many others. For the past 30 or so years Barry and his wife Holly — Daniel’s mom — have established themselves as great Nashville-based writers and performers.

For a Los Angeles Times story on the Bacharch-Tashian project, click here.

Daniel Tashian

 


And finally … Otis Redding kicks off the week, with a kick-ass song.

Signs Of The Times

Amy Schneider’s collage reminds us that there are plenty of restaurants open for business — with curbside pickup and home delivery, of course. (Merchants too: Earth Animal is tucked in there, bottom row.)

As the pandemic slogs into a new month, remember how important our local places are. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce maintains a great list of open restaurants and markets; click here, then scroll down.

OneWestport offers an extensive list of restaurants, along with clothing stores, salons, fitness centers and more. Many of those businesses are closed, but links to their websites provide information on online opportunities, including gift cards.

The Finding Westport site also includes event planners, repair shops, graphic designers and the like.

Hard times continue. But thanks to these resources, we can make life a little easier for some of the restaurants and businesses that have served us so well, for so long.

PS: Hey, dads and kids! Remember: Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day. Many restaurants have special menus. And the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has an extensive list of restaurants and shops that offer Mother’s Day gifts. Just click here.

There are many very excellent restaurants in town. Jeera Thai is a favorite for flavor, fresh ingredients and friendliness. (Photo/Dan Woog)

COVID-19 Roundup: Office Evolution, Finding Westport, Diapers, Masks, Loose Change And More

A year ago, Office Evolution opened across from Fire Department headquarters. It was the newest entrant into the rapidly developing market for co-working spaces.

On its first anniversary, COVID-19 hit. Suddenly, working remotely was imperative. Yet so was avoiding other people.

Because it delivers mail, and some members do “essential” work, Office Evolution is considered an essential business. Doors are locked, but members have 24/7 access via electronic fobs.

Owner Laura Kaufman knows that working from home is new for many people. So she’s looking for pictures and stories of how that’s going. Anyone posting on Facebook, Instagram, NextDoor or LinkedIn (Office Evolution Westport) will receive a $25 gift card, and a chance to win up to $1,000 more. For more information click here, email westport.ct@officeevolution.com, or call 203-635-8770.

Office Evolution


To the list of great resources for finding what’s open in Westport — restaurants, stores and more — check out FindingWestport, on Instagram and online. It includes store hours, phone numbers and hyperlinks.


Mercy Learning Center has been gratified by the response from “06880” readers to their plea for food, supplies, and funds for rent and bills for the hundreds of women they serve so well in Bridgeport.

Another overwhelming response came from Gina Oliveira Beranek. After posting a request on Facebook’s great Westport Front Porch page, she and another driver headed yesterday to MLC. Their cars were stocked with food — and over 4,800 diapers.

Way to go, Gina and all you Porchers!


As “06880” has reported, Virginia Jaffe and her Greens Farms Elementary School sewing moms are busy every day, making masks. And, Virginia reports, their efforts are paying rewards.

Yesterday they donated 90 to Homes with Hope residents. Since March 30, they’ve given away 350 masks, to bus drivers and other frontline personnel.

There are now 10 seamstresses and 6 fabric cutters, all across Westport. They need help: cutting, sewing, and donating funds to buy fabric, threads and elastic. Just email westportmasks@yahoo.com.

Every donor will get the satisfaction of helping. Plus — just as important — every donor gets a mask.

Virginia adds that the group encourages children to wear masks, by making plain white ones that can be decorated with personal designs. Here’s Jake Martin, with his special theme (and disinfectant):


Every day, Larry Weisman puts his loose change in a jar. The last time he went to the bank, there was $800. He gave it to his grandchildren.

Now — in light of the need, and with the support of his grandkids — he’s donating the money to World Central Kitchen. Jose Andreas’ extraordinary non-profit has already furnished a million meals to hospitals and those in need, while also providing much needed work for restaurants employees.

It’s a great cause. Larry urges “06880” readers to donate their spare change too.


And finally, Ringo Starr, Robbie Robertson and a host of other great musicians were social distancing months before it was a thing: