Tag Archives: Klaff’s

Friday Flashback #291

Michael Gilbertie was busy on Facebook’s Westport pages recently. He posted photos of major fires from our past. There were 2 in the same Sconset Square (then called Sherwood Square) shopping center.

One was the Carousel Toy Store:

The other was the Paint Bucket:

(Photos courtesy of Michael Gilbertie)

Remarkably, it was the 2nd fire for Carousel. It had relocated to Sherwood Square after burning to the ground in Compo Acres Shopping Center (where Solidcore is now).

Those were not the only big blazes in local history. Others included the Klaff’s block on the Post Road (across from the downtown Starbucks); Westport Lanes bowling alley (today it’s BevMax), Long Lots Junior High School, and the furniture store on Main Street (now The Gap).

The worst fire in the past decade or so was the 2011 fire at Saugatuck Congregational Church. Heroic work by the Westport Fire Department, and neighboring towns — plus fireproofing, done a few years earlier — saved the building, where Westport’s town charter was born.

In fact, it’s the Fire Department’s ongoing work, including inspections and education — that have kept our town so safe since the 1970s.

Klaff’s Closes

Klaff’s — the popular home design store — closed its Westport location in 2013. The Taylor Place stockroom and storage area had been flooded a few months earlier, during Hurricane Sandy.

Klaff’s was located in downtown Westport.

Now the flagship store in Norwalk is closed too.

The Norwalk Hour reports that the doors were shut “abruptly” yesterday, following 97 years in business.

CEO Joe Passero cited a “perfect storm” of factors, including internet competition, the 2015 arrival of a nearby Lowe’s, and the opening next year of the SoNo Collection mall at I-95 Exit 16.

Klaff’s former Westport store is now occupied by South Moon Under. There is no word on what will go into Klaff’s Norwalk space.

Friday Flashback #35

A few Friday Flashbacks ago I posted a postcard from the block across from the 1908 library, on the Post Road.

A 2nd photo showed the Club Grill, a popular 1940s-’50s restaurant at the corner of Taylor Place and the Post Road. Owners included the Gault and Papageorge families (the latter of Oscar’s fame).

At some point the Club Grill became Muriel’s Trolley Diner. It looked like one of the trolley cars that stopped right outside its front door.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

In the photo above you see the library building in the background, across the Post Road, and the Klaff’s store that (with Muriel’s) burned in November of 1974.

But here’s something I never noticed: “Trolley” is misspelled as “Trolly” on the side of the diner.

Downtown: 5 Months Since Sandy

Not to get all Chicken Little here, but shouldn’t Tuesday’s post — about the closing of Klaff’s — be a little worrisome to Westport?

The downtown lighting store — a Taylor Place anchor for at least 2 decades — is the latest victim of Hurricane Sandy. Though the showroom was not damaged, the stockroom and storage area downstairs were ruined. The store was closed for 2 weeks, and never recovered.

Meanwhile, on nearby Main Street, Chico’s and Sunglass Hut remain closed. It’s been over 5 months since the super-storm struck. And Sunglass Hut is on the far side of Main Street — away from the river.

Downtown Westport is far from dead. Paper Source and Steven Alan have moved into the 1st new building there since the Nixon administration, while the Westport Downtown Merchants Association — a clever, energetic group — brings life, creativity and human beings to that part of town.

The sign says, "We are temporarily closed. Please visit our other boutiques nearby!!" They're in Fairfield, Stamford and Milford.

The sign says, “We are temporarily closed. Please visit our other boutiques nearby!!” They’re in Fairfield, Stamford and Milford.

And yet…and yet…what’s the future of Main Street? How much flooding can those low-lying streets and parking lots endure? The next time — and there will be a next time — how many more corporate headquarters will say “See ya?” Even before the next time, how many leases coming up for renewal will not be renewed?

Sandy flooded the Westport Y big-time. And the damage did not just come from the river roaring up the road. Water rose from underneath, flooding the Y’s electrical system and nearly delivering a knockout punch.

What will that mean for development of the new Bedford Square — and what will it do to the cost of that retail/residential/office complex?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. But I do know that they haven’t been asked much, even as Main Street stores remain shuttered, and Klaff’s is ready to go.

And that lack of public discussion may be the biggest question mark of all.

UPDATE: As WestportNow pointed out yesterday, a 2nd Taylor Place business is also leaving. Chic Jolie, a women’s apparel store, will  close on April 30, and reopen the next day in Fairfield’s Brick Walk. The store was in Westport for just 8 months, but flooded twice.

Klaff’s Closes — Another Sandy Victim

Klaff’s is closing its Westport lighting store.

A salesman said the long-time Westport shop by the Taylor Place parking lot– next to the Saugatuck River, opposite Parker-Harding Plaza — was a victim of Hurricane Sandy.


Though the showroom was not hurt, the late October storm flooded the stockroom and storage area below. Klaff’s was shut for 2 weeks. According to the salesman, “we’re just not doing the business we used to.”

Klaff’s will maintain its “mother store” in South Norwalk, and its locations in Danbury and Scarsdale.

A sale is going on now in Westport. Klaff’s plans to close by the end of the month.