Tag Archives: JoyRide

COVID-19 Roundup: Winslow Park Rules; Virtual Bingo Helps Non-Profits; Keep Your Distance!; Restaurant, Retail News; More

As of yesterday, there were 89 positive cases of COVID-19 in Westport — the smallest daily increase here since the spread was first reported. Norwalk has passed Westport for the most cases in Connecticut (105).

Social distancing appears to be working. Governor Lamont emphasized that again, restricting all social and recreational gatherings to no more than 5 people.

The Parks and Recreation Department institutes these rules at Winslow Park:

  • No off leash areas. All dogs must be kept on leash.
  • Pets must be kept close to the handler.
  • The 6-foot physical distancing protocol is to be followed for people and pets. 

These protocols should be followed everywhere in town, including Longshore. Park.


Reader Stan Witkow reports that a group of Westporters has started a virtual bingo night every Thursday. The winner chooses a non-profit to get the buy-in pot. This week’s beneficiary is Westport EMS.

Over 20 people played last week, from as far as Florida and California. Most met 20 years ago at New Neighbors, Temple Israel and parents’ night at Bedford Middle School.

Even more signed up for this Thursday. Bingo!


A reader writes:

My wife and I walk on our sidewalks and roads. We’re mindful of the 6-foot distancing recommendation, so we’re distressed to encounter people who seem oblivious or apathetic. Young folks seem most careless, though some are mindful. Some older folks are careless too.

Yesterday, a young man running and breathing heavily came up from behind and nearly brushed my shoulder. That single encounter could easily have spread the virus. Unfortunately it was not our only close call.

A reminder: The virus is in the community. We all must avoid spreading it.

Be careful out there!


Nefaire, JoyRide and Haus of Pretty have teamed up on a “self-care bundle.” It  includes a facial, cycling class and blowout.

15% of proceeds go to retail employees across the 3 businesses: estheticians, therapists, cycling instructors, front desk hourly staff and hair stylists.

The bundle can be purchased at www.westportisstrong.com.


In restaurant news, Bartaco is donating 100% of all gift card sales to an employee fund.

And although Bobby Q’s moved from Westport to Norwalk, its heart is still here. They always contribute generously to town causes, like Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool. A reminder: Their smoker is open now, with curbside and delivery service.


Last month, “06880” profiled Ben Saxon. The bright, creative Staples High School 9th grader had just launched a math, robotics and coding tutoring service  for 6- to 14-year-olds.

Schools closed, but Ben hasn’t. He now offers weekly LEGO building, Kano Star Wars programming and Makeblock robotics courses, for 2-3 students each. They’re 1 hour a day, 5 days long, starting on Mondays, all via Zoom Video Conferencing. For details, click here.


The Berniker family has had a tough time during this crisis. Jen is now recovered from a bout with COVID-19. Her husband Eric is at home after an encouraging chest X-ray.

The other day, Jen Berniker interviewed her 6-year-old son Max about the ups and downs of family isolation.

That’s today’s Persona interview (below). Download the Persona mobile app to share your own stories, by interviewing family members and answering questions we’ll be sending around. Tag “6880 Dan Woog” in the interviewee field.


Finally, this has absolutely nothing to do with COVID-19. But it has everything to do with the idea that everything we do matters. Bruce Springsteen took a chance and invited a kid onstage. Look what happened next. So cool!

 

COVID-19 Roundup: Call 211 For Test Questions; Small Business Loans Available; Takeout Restaurants Listed; New Transfer Station Rules; Fitness, Merchant News And More

COVID-19 testing is now available at several locations around Connecticut, and can be accessed through its 2-1-1 hotline — with certain caveats (see below).

The Westport Weston Health District’s initial contact trace testing is completed. They have one final round to test for those who were part of the initial investigation. It is only open to those already contacted directly by the WWHD.

Residents who feel symptoma of COVID-19 should stay home, and call or email their primary care provider with questions. Residents can call the state 2-1-1 line if instructed by their primary care provider to arrange testing, or if they have questions about being tested. A series of questions will be asked by a 2-1-1 representative to determine if testing is appropriate.

WWHD director Mark Cooper says, “It is no longer about parties, schools, religious institutions, employment, etc. Residents should assume that COVID-19 is everywhere and that anyone could have it. It has been shown that some people can have the virus with no symptoms at all. The number of COVID-19 cases in Westport and the state are going up, and they will continue to increase.”

Locally, the WWHD has contacted all those it became aware of who had contact with a COVID-19 positive person involved in the initial outbreak, and who it had tested.

Those who tested positive for COVID-19 are being advised to practice strict voluntary isolation. They are instructed not to go out, but to stay home. If they require something and must go out, they should do so during times there are fewer people out. Masks and gloves should be worn so as not to spread the virus.

Yesterday’s announcement about closing restaurants, bars, and theaters is a step towards implementing social distancing. Day care facilities continue to remain open. Day care facilities provide essential services, and the WWHD is working closely with them to reinforce the message that it is incumbent upon them to keep their staff and children safe. They have been requested to use thermometers and practice hygienic measures. If a staff member or child becomes infected by COVID-19, the WWHD will close that facility.  It is in the facilities’ and the parents’ best interest to keep sick children at home.


Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell just spoke with the director of the Connecticut Small Business Administration.

Mandell reports that loans of up to $2 million are now available. They can be used for most expenses: payroll, accounts payable, fixed costs. They do not cover business losses.

Interest is 3.25% (profit businesses) and 2.75% (non-profit businesses). Funds come directly from the US Treasury, not a bank.

All businesses with a physical presence in the state are available. Applicants must show a credit history and ability to pay back the loan.

Click here for an application, or call 800-659-2955, or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The Connecticut Small Business Development Center can assist in filling out and filing applications. Click here for more information.


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has also updated its list of restaurants offering curbside and takeout delivery. Click here to see.


To facilitate social distancing at the transfer station, residents may no longer bring bulky waste items that require assistance.

While the transfer station remains open, personnel will refrain from coming into contact with individuals, or refuse brought there by residents. Thus, they will not assist residents with the removal or disposal of solid waste from vehicles.

Residents bringing smaller waste items to the transfer station must deposit their solid waste directly into the hopper, and discharge recycling directly in to the single stream bins. Plastic bags are not allowed in single stream recycling.

These protocols are in effect at least through March 31. During this time, all fees and collection of refuse tickets will be waived.

Bud Valiante is always helpful. But he can no longer help residents dispose of large items at the transfer station. (Photo/Cindy Mindell)


JoyRide is one of the many fitness centers closed by the coronavirus.

To fill the void, they offer free Instagram live classes all week at 10 a.m. Follow @joyridestudio, and click on in the morning.

Thanks to Forte.Fit, people can also take live 30-minute classes, or stream from a library of on-demand JoyRide cycling classes filmed over the past 2 years.

For those without a bike, there a number of JoyX boot camp classes, plus pilates, barre and yoga from other brands.

JoyRide offers Westporters a deeply discounted Forte.Fit membership (less than $8 a month). Use the code JOYRIDE89.

In addition, JoyRide has partnered with dietician Ilanit Blumenfeld to offer a 4-week nutrition and online fitness challenge. It starts March 23. Click here for info and sign-ups.


Annette Norton of Savvy + Grace asks customers and friends to follow her store on Facebook or Instagram.

She’ll post new merchandise daily. Her website will be ready to take orders on Friday. And she offers curbside delivery as well as shipping.


The other day, “06880” posted a story on 3 Westport teenagers who offer to run errands for older folks, and anyone else homebound by the virus.

A woman who took them up on their offer writes:

“I contacted them last night and got a text back from one that he would do my shopping. What a lifesaver! He kept in constant touch with me by text, went to 3 different stores (!) and spent about 3 hours.

“He delivered it all outside my door. I left him a check in an envelope with a generous tip, and proceeded to stock my house (after wiping stuff down with alcohol). We appreciate hearing about him, and what he did, very much.”

(From left): Ty Chung, Jonathan Lorenz, Luke Lorenz. — 3 very helpful guys.


Former 2nd selectman Avi Kaner continues to be interviewed by national media about the effects of COVID-19 on retail outlets. As co-owner of New York’s Morton Williams supermarket chain, he spoke today on Fox News about “senior hours” for shoppers, and contingency plans. Click below to see:


 

Evan Sheiber’s Joyful Life

Evan Sheiber was born with hypo-plastic right heart syndrome. That means he has a single ventricle — half a heart.

He’s not yet 4 years old. But last March the young Westporter underwent his 3rd open heart surgery.

It’s not a cure. Children born with this syndrome eventually require a heart transplant. The goal is to avoid the operation until absolutely necessary.

Evan Sheiber

After Evan’s open heart surgery, he has more energy. He keeps up with his identical twin James. He climbs, plays on the playground, and runs away from his parents at bedtime.

Yet he slows down more quickly, breathes more heavily, and has foot and leg pain.

Evan’s mother Britt notes other challenges too. A simple cold sent him to the emergency room. The flu can be devastating. She is always alert to danger.

Thirty years ago, most babies born with half a heart did not survive. But as far as medicine has come, there is much more to learn.

Britt has helped Dr. Rahul Rathod, director of the Single Ventricle Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, raise money for research and a registry.

With strong support from Westport, she has raised over $150,000.

Now Britt is preparing for JoyRide’s 4th annual Cycle for Heart event, on Sunday, February 9 (11 a.m.). There’s a raffle too, with donations from businesses like Rizzuto’s, Granola Bar, Organic Market, Saugatuck Sweets, SolidCore and SheLaLa.

To join the JoyRide event — or contribute without spinning — click here.

Click here to learn more about the FORCE Fund (formerly known as Evan’s Heart Fund), which directly impacts the lives of everyone like Evan living with a single ventricle.

 

Westport Means Business

Those are not just words. “Westport Means Business” is the name of an ongoing series of events bringing together local business owners — and those who hope to be — to share, learn from and support each other.

“Westport Means Business” is about connections, not competition.

Last year’s inaugural session included Julie Fountain and Dana Noorily, founders of The Granola Bar; Jamie Camche, longtime owner of JL Rocks jewelry store, and Kitt Shapiro, whose 2-year-old West is already an established downtown presence.

The next event is tomorrow (Thursday, January 9, 7 p.m., Westport Library Forum; networking begins at 6:30 p.m.).

Panelists include Bill Taibe, executive chef and owner of The Whelk, Kawa Ni and Jesup Hall; JoyRide’s CEO and co-owner Becky Cerroni and co-founder and chief brand officer Amy Hochhauser, and Maria Pooya, founder and CEO of Greenwich Medical Spa.

All are local residents. All own multiple-location businesses. All are very different. But their focus on community, generosity and success crosses all boundaries.

Last year’s topic — “Jumping Off” — explored the moment the women decided to start their own businesses. This year it’s “Lessons Learned”: sharing advice on what to do — and not do.

Jen Tooker — Westport’s 2nd selectman, whose portfolio includes speaking with local business owners — will once again moderate. As she did last year, she will encourage panelists to tell their stories.

And suggest what our town can do better, to help local businesses.

Tooker says that feedback she’s heard falls in 3 general areas. One is that we have a successful and vibrant local business community. But owners want ways to meet, learn from, challenge, support and cross-promote each other.

Another is that among our many talented residents, many men and women are looking to start second, third, even fourth careers. How can we capitalize on this talent pool, and connect them with others who have already started businesses?

A third area is that Connecticut has a reputation of being anti-business. How can we turn this narrative around, and highlight our diverse, vibrant business community?

“I’m inspired by every local business owner I meet,” Tooker says. “I can’t wait to continue celebrating our business community. We’re partnering with the Westport Library on this, and are working together with the herculean efforts of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Merchants Association. Just as we want Westport to be a great place to live and raise a family, it can also be a great place to start and grow a business.”

“Westport Means Business” plans 3 panels this year, and monthly podcasts.

Thursday’s event is free, and open to all. Pre-registration is not mandatory, but click here for a link so that organizers can get a sense of numbers.

Back-To-School Pop-Up Event Celebrates Shopping

The kids are back in school! Let’s celebrate! And shop!

Tomorrow (Thursday, August 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), a few Westport women who own businesses host a back-to-school pop-up shopping event.

See ya! Let’s shop! (Photos/Pam Long)

It’s set for the home of Lisa Savone (5 Adams Farm Road). Her actual retail location in Westport — Lucy’s — has closed. But Lisa now has a shopping concierge service. She curates clothes, and delivers them to doorsteps.

Other vendors include The Paper Alley (personalized stationery and gifts), Eleven11 (bags and accessories), Nina Clarke (a blogger and beauty counter rep), The Perfect Pair (shoes) and Joyride (workout clothes — and a free Pilates class on the lawn).

The women also offer bubblies, light bites and chair massages.

When the kids are away…

Gaelle Dudley Designs Westport

For decades, Swezey’s Jewelers was a favorite downtown destination for Christmas shoppers.

They didn’t all buy diamonds or watches. But everyone loved the winter scene lovingly created in the large storefront window, complete with an always-chugging model rail train.

Swezey’s is now Jack Wills. Model trains are out; “Mortal Kombat” is in.

But this year, strollers enjoyed an intriguing — if smaller — winter scene, on the same side of Main Street. Vita Design Group‘s display included an ice rink, skaters, benches, trees, and 3D-printed examples of a few Vita-designed houses.

A view from inside, of Gaelle Dudley's Vita Design Group winter scene.

A view from inside of Vita Design Group’s winter scene.

The display was the work of Gaelle Dudley. You may not have heard her name. But you’ve seen her creations all around town.

Gaelle’s business is GLDesign06880. A home and business interior and exterior home design firm, it — that is, she — is responsible for the planters and outside “look” of popular spots like Granola Bar, She la la, Joyride and Fitness Factory.

Gaelle is exactly what you think of when you hear her tagline: “live beautifully.” Young, lovely and energetic, she comes by her design chops naturally.

Gaelle Dudley (Photo/Irene Penny)

Gaelle Dudley (Photo/Irene Penny)

A dual citizen who was born and raised in Paris, Gaelle embodies sophistication, elegance and good taste.

But her career path was not always smooth. And “the good life” has not always been great.

After majoring in business at Skidmore College, and joining a startup during the first internet boom, Gaelle entered the corporate marketing world. She worked for KPMG and Starwood Hotels, and had amazing experiences.

But last year, she was diagnosed with cancer. Sitting at her desk after leaving Sloane-Kettering one day, she decided to make a life change.

“I’d always dabbled in design,” Gaelle says. “My mother was a sculptor. I wanted to apply my talents to ‘the real world,’ not the 0.5% of the world I was seeing. I wanted to help people express themselves through their homes and gardens.”

She began offering freebies — planters and containers — to friends. Quickly, the word spread: Gaelle was good!

A window box by Gaelle.

A window box by Gaelle.

She’s also resourceful. She sources nurseries and stores from Port Chester to Bridgeport. She does not mark up, or make a profit on, materials.

What she does do is add personality and color to homes and businesses. She loves enhancing curb appeal.

Indoors, for example, Gaelle transformed a drab attic  into a beautiful playroom. She created a reading nook, a boys’ nook and a girls’ nook, and painted the ceiling.

“I bargain hunted, packed up my car, went over and made it look like a million bucks,” she says.

One of Gaelle's interiors.

One of Gaelle’s interiors.

Outdoors, she swaps out plants every season. “Main Street is definitely improving,” she notes, looking at other store entryways. “But I still see a lot of dead planters. It needs more greenery.”

Gaelle plants as she goes. “I don’t do sketches,” she laughs. “I tell my clients, “let me be creative. Trust me.'”

After a career in marketing, Gaelle loves working with her hands.

“This brings me such happiness,” she says.

“And plants don’t talk back.”

Joy Riding

Some Westporters bike on the roads.  They take their lives in their hands — and spend much of their waking hours checking weather reports.

Others bike at gyms.  It’s less dangerous — but they spend plenty of time waiting for their favorite machine to be free, or signing up for classes that always seem to be filled.

Those are the problems 3 Westport women with young kids saw, anyway — and therein lay a business opportunity.

They’ve just opened JoyRide — what they call “Westport’s only dedicated indoor cycling (spinning) studio” — in the Crate & Barrel shopping center.  “You can sign up for a week’s worth of classes all at once, pick your bike, and not have to deal with all the other stuff you don’t want at a full-out gym,” they say.

Rhodie Lorenz, Amy Hochhauser and Debbie Katz’s 4,100-square foot space is tiered, stadium-style, with “dramatic lighting” and a killer sound system.

“We are the only boutique spin studio in town,” Amy says.  “This is a trend that is big in New York City and various markets across the country — but hasn’t yet reached Fairfield County.”

There are 26 Schwinn AC Sport bikes, with room for over 40.

Riders can sign up for the bike they want, up to a week in advance  There are no membership fees.  People pay as they go — 1 class at a time, or class packages of 10, 20 or 50.

Cycling classes incorporate light weights, during a 50-minute workout.  “Participants can burn between 400 and 800 calories, improve fitness and posture, and enhance mental acuity,” the press release says.

But wait!  There’s more!

Riding for joy.

“Known for its cult following and dramatic results, indoor cycling has revolutionized the exercise world with expertly choreographed workouts set to heart pumping, motivating soundtracks,” the press release continues.

Also available:  group and private Pilates.  And childcare.

Plus rental for birthday parties and special events.  A fundraiser for ovarian cancer research is in the works.

“Life’s a trip,” the press release concludes.  “Enjoy the ride!”