So many Westport businesses start out in one place, then end up another.
From Earth Animal and Calico (very recently) to Mitchell’s (now at its third site) and (Viva Zapata (original location: Post Road near the current Playhouse Square), even the most established establishments have wanderlust.
Generations of Westporters remember Sport Mart on Main Street. Before that though, it was in Sconset Square. (The shopping plaza was then called by the much more normal local name “Sherwood Square.”)
(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)
After moving a few hundred yards west in the 1960s, the old Sport Mart became many things.
But the first place where Westporters once bought tennis racquets, skis and other sports equipment has returned to its roots.
Today it once again serves athletes of all abilities.
One of the surest signs of spring is the return of the Westport Farmers’ Market.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 13. The Market will run every Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through mid-November, at the Imperial Avenue parking lot. Cross Culture Kombucha will offer a special toast, to celebrate WFM’s perseverance through the pandemic.
The Market’s shopping experience and programming (including Get Growing, Music @ the Market, Artist Alley, Chef @ the Market, Friend of the Market and Young Shoots) will operate much like before COVID — while honoring all state and local health guidelines.
Over 50 vendors will participate this season (click here for the full list), with over 30 on site each Thursday. New vendors include
State and local officials wanted to support for outdoor dining. What better spot to do it than an actual restaurant.
Yesterday, the group gathered at Tarantino’s. They discussed a new state expansion of rules, and the possibility of making them permanent. Removing parking, adding seating on Railroad Place, and the use of town- and state-owned parking lots were among the concepts.
Dining and discussion at Tarantino’s (clockwise from left): 2nd Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce executive director Matthew Mandell, State Senator Tony Hwang, State Representative Stephanie Thomas.
A few spots remain for tomorrow’s (Saturday, May 1) Fleet Feet 5K and kids’ fun runs. The youngsters start at 9:30 a.m., with the 5K following at 10. Click here to register.
Both kick off the 2nd annual Fitness & Health Expo. The event takes place all along Main Street (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), but many more businesses and organizations are involved.
Westport’s leading studios and clubs — including JoyRide, Pure Barre, Row House, Elliptica, Intensity, Physique57, Club Pilates, Saugatuck Rowing Club, The Dance Collective, Stretch Lab, Kaia Yoga and the Westport Weston Family YMCA — will organize fun (and challenging) classes on main Street.
Walk-ups are not permitted for classes. To register, contact each studio directly. Observers are welcome, of course!
Other health and wellness folks will have a presence too: Franny’s Farmacy, RESTORE Cryo, Cparkly Soul, Wisdom and Youth MedSpa, Embrace Orthodontics, New England Hemp Farm, TAP Strength Lab and Organic Krush. It’s sponsored by the Westport Downtown Association.
Jill Bodach is an adjunct professor at Fairfield University. Describing Charlie Capalbo — the Fairfield resident whose grandmother is Westport writer Ina Chadwick, and who has fiercely battled cancer twice — she says:
“Over the years, I have had the privilege of being allowed into some of my students’ most intimate moments: the grief of losing loved ones, the end of relationships, engagements and graduate school acceptances, but never has a student’s story impacted me as deeply as Charlie’s.
He was enrolled in my Creative Writing: Fiction 1 class this semester but before classes could really begin, I learned he wouldn’t complete the semester due to his treatment. I wanted to help. Maybe it was because I saw this handsome, curly-haired young man’s face on my class roster and thought, ‘Wow, the world can be so incredibly unfair sometimes. Maybe it was because I’m a parent myself. Maybe it was because my son Jack was very sick when he was born and my husband and I endured the mental and emotional rollercoaster of having a hospitalized child. Maybe it was because as we emerged from the dark isolation of the pandemic I felt the need to connect with others deeply and more fervently than ever before.
When Jill’s trainer challenged her to run 100 miles in May, she saw it as a way to help Charlie.
When he told Jill during a text that he uses Uber Eats regularly — and she thought about the important role food plays in our lives — she had an idea for a fundraiser.
“I will think of Charlie with every step I take,” she writes of her 100-mile goal. “I am in awe of his courage, bravery, resilience and grit …. Someday Charlie will be back on the ice, back on campus and back to enjoying his life, but in the meantime, I’m grateful to be able to help.”
All proceeds from “Fuel for the Fight” will purchase Uber Eats gift cards for the Capalbos. Their expenses have been enormous. Click here to contribute.
Charlie and his mother, Jennifer Wilde Capalbo — with food.
Attention, middle schoolers looking for an in-person social justice theater camp:
Check out Camp WCP. That’s the newest offering from the Westport Country Playhouse. It runs July 6 through 30, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the rehearsal studio.
Actin will be taught in the morning, playwriting/production in the afternoon. Young artists will create original pieces focusing on “What does home mean to you?” Working with playwright and University of Michigan professor José Casas, they’ll weave their stories into a play.
On July 31, students will share their original creations at the Playhouse. with family and friends.
But — just like the Hotel California — you can check out any time you like, at the Remarkable Bookcycle.
Westport’s favorite mobile library (named for our favorite former bookstore) has been parked recently on Church Lane, at Bedford Square.
Check it out! And if you’ve got any books to give as well as receive — well, bring ’em on.
“Hindsight is 2020” — the high school student art show opening January 23 at MoCA Westport — has extended its submission deadline. The final date for entries is now next Monday (January 11).
The show is open to all high schoolers. It’s a great opportunity to have their work reviewed by noted Westport artist Amy Kaplan and dealer/gallerist Paul Efstathiou — and have it showcased at the museum.
It’s also a chance to earn cash prizes of $500, $300 or $100.
“We know students have had a challenging year. Art and creative expression have helped many students with coping and resilience,” museum officials say.
A wide variety of entries have alrady come from across Connecticut and Westchester County.
Posted onDecember 18, 2020|Comments Off on Roundup: Fleet Feet’s Restaurants, Candlelight Concert, More
Looking for something to do on Saturday downtown?
Head to the Savvy + Grace Christmas tree. Child nutrition program Filling in the Blanks will sell reflective metal tags, which can hold a personal message or name to hang onto to the tree! They’ll also collect 15-ounce soup cans.
Around the corner, the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra’s Brass Quintet will play in the pick-up circle outside Bedford Square on Elm Street, then move to Brooks Corner (1 to 3 p.m.)
Don’t forget to look at (and vote for) store window displays. Over 40 stores are vying for titles, in several categories. Click here for more information.
The Savvy + Grace tree.
Speaking of downtown: Like many retailers, Fleet Feet has been impacted by the pandemic.
But during the holiday season, the Sconset Square running shoe store is thinking about its neighbors — Westport’s restaurants.
So any customer who buys a $100 Fleet Feet gift card in the store gets a $20 gift card to a local eatery.
They’re open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays 8 to 11 a.m. (appointment only), and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What a great idea. Run on down to get yours! (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)
As of yesterday, Westport had 839 cumulative cases of COVID-19 (772 confirmed, 67 suspected). That’s up 53 from the previous week — and the rate more than doubled from that previous week, when it was up by 25.
There were no coronavirus deaths in Westport over the past 7 days. Total deaths since the start of the pandemic are 25.
I know everyone is busy this weekend with tons of holiday open houses, carol sings and other festive gatherings. (In our dreams…)
But don’t forget tomorrow’s Staples High School Candlelight Concert (Saturday, December 19, 7:30 p.m.). The 80th annual gift to the town is fully virtual this year. It includes many wonderful choral, orchestra and band selections, as well as cool interviews with current and past music instructors, alumni — even legends George Weigle and John Hanulik’s kids.
Click here for the free link. Then sit back and enjoy a memorable show.
More Staples news: Louisa D’Amore has been recognized for outstanding achievement. She is one of 4 national recipients of the Italian Language Foundation’s Teacher Recognition Award.
And finally … to get you in the Candlelight Concert mood, here’s this gem from 2015:
Comments Off on Roundup: Fleet Feet’s Restaurants, Candlelight Concert, More
Each week, the Westport Police Department writes tickets for driving while using cell phones.
It’s against the law. Distracted driving can cost you from $150 to $1,000.
To help you avoid those fines, the WPD has partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administraiton’s “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” effort. Throughout August, the campaign will help enforcement efforts to catch distracted, texting drivers.
The WPD says: Pull off the road safely to text. Or let your passenger text. And don’t forget to activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature. Or just put your phone in your trunk, glove box or back seat!
The pandemic can’t keep David Bibbey down. Or in the studio.
The Westport Library media studio producer brought his Van Raam trike to down, and rode around. Guided by Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, he set out to discover how the town is reopening.
Click here for interviews with 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker, Westport Downtown Merchants Association head Randy Herbertson, artists Miggs and Trace Burroughs, and folks at Savannah Bee Company, Fleet Feet, Walrus Alley and New England Hemp Farm.
And finally … Hurricane Hanna hit the southern Gulf Coast this weekend. The area was already reeling from the coronavirus. Here’s to all our friends in that big, wonderful state.
Like many Westporters, Jane Green can’t shop in stores right now.
So she’s doing the next best thing. The mega-bestselling author is a special guest on a new Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce initiative.
“Zoom Westport Retail” airs live via Zoom, Facebook Live and Cablevision Channel 79 this Wednesday (May 6, 6 p.m.)
Produced in collaboration with the Westport Library, it’s a look into how 12 businesses are adapting — and still open in some form. (Coming just before Mother’s Day, it might also inspire a bit of gift-giving.)
Retailers include Aitoro, Bella Bridesmaids, Choice Pet, Eleish Van Breems, Fleet Feet, Greens Farms Spirits, Interstate Lumber, Intuitive Interiors, Kohler, Organachs, Salon Paul Michael and Westport Yarns.
Fleet Feet’s floor is temporarily closed. But you can still buy the running shoes you need to stay in shape, while the gym is closed.
Chamber executive director Matthew Mandell calls the show “a lot of fun, and a first step toward reinvigorating the local economy.”
Merchants will show off items, and explain how to purchase and receive items safely.
Besides Green, “Zoom Westport Retail” features musician Phil Lo Presti. Match Provisions chef Matt Storch offers a cooking demonstration too.
Anyone watching on Zoom will be able to chat in real time with the retailers. Click here, then scroll down to sign up and receive the Zoom invite.
A new store has opened in Sconset Square. You can drive to its grand opening tomorrow.
Better yet, you can run.
Fleet Feet is family owned and operated — part of a network of specialty running, walking and fitness stores across the country. Owners Dave and Lynn Wright have been (duh) runners for decades. She is recreational; he’s more competitive, running every distance up to marathons (including Boston, New York and Chicago).
Lynn and Dave Wright
They have 2 grown children, and 4 grandchildren — some of whom already run.
Dave worked in retail technology his entire career. After earning his MBA 5 years ago, he began looking for his own business. Everyone always says “do what you love,” so…
From their base in western Massachusetts, they began exploring options. Fleet Feet — which had a store in Longmeadow, where they lived — seemed like a perfect fit.
Two years ago the Wrights began looking for markets in this area with a similar feel to Longmeadow.
But the place had to be more than a good business location. It had to feel like home.
“No cookie-cutter shopping centers,” Dave says. “We wanted a place that felt local and connected to the community.”
After spending a day at Compo Beach in August, they rode their bikes around town. Then they walked Main Street.
Till then, they’d only driven through here, on I-95 or the Merritt. Suddenly, Westport was on their short list.
They discovered Sconset Square accidentally, after searching online for smaller retail spaces. They came down on a beautiful late summer day, and instantly knew it was right.
The small, funky shopping center was just starting a face-lift project. It was affordable, and large enough for the Wrights’ plans.
They loved the landlord. The lease negotiation was short and easy.
Four months later, they opened. Runners have embraced them — even during the coldest days of winter.
“We are excited to see how many people we can help through walking, running and living a healthy lifestyle,” Wright says.
Tomorrow’s grand opening “runs” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s music, and a fun run/walk (3- or 5-mile routes) at 9 a.m.
Check out the running footwear, apparel and accessories. Learn about injury prevention products, and walk/run programs for every ability.
Oh, yeah: Jr. Deli’s food truck will be there. Whether you’ve run a few miles or driven over, there will be plenty to eat.
Fleet Feet is filled with running gear, and accessories.
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