Tag Archives: Lululemon

If Main Street Looks Messy …

Alert “06880” reader Sharon Fiarman has noticed a slew of empty storefronts — and a ton of construction — on Main Street.

She wondered what was going on. It’s a great question.

I asked Westport Downtown Merchants Association president Randy Herbertson. He says:

Major flood-proofing is going on in these spaces, which is why they are so ripped up.

It is a significant expense (which the old Chico’s space already went through), but necessary in these times of climate change.

(Photo/Sharon Fiarman)

We have some great new stores going in — a profile that makes sense for downtown Westport (versus the new Norwalk mall.)

Lululemon is expanding into the old Nike space, which will now include more experiential activities.

Johnny Waas, a clothing store, is going into the old Allen Edmonds, while Sundance (Robert Redford’s brand; only 16 stores nationwide) will be in the old Ann Taylor.

Also, at the far end (the old Talbots Kids) will be a new breakfast/lunch restaurant, with a beautiful outdoor patio facing the river.

And further up, Belden Place (the old Nappa space), which is almost done, has signed a specialty exercise tenant for their front space.

More to come soon!

Scavenging For Kindness

Scavenger hunts are cool.

Also, according to a Westport student-parent initiative, it’s “kool” to be kind.

This week, a “Kool To Be Kind Scavenger Hunt” gives parents and children a chance to have fun, learn about Westport and kindness, and bond in the process.

Kool To Be Kind — a year-old project initiated by mothers/professionals Cindy Eigen, Lynne Goldstein, Sarah Green and Melissa Shein — promotes kindness and compassion at an early age by training high school students to act as mentors and role models to elementary schoolers.

It’s being piloted in all 3rd grade classes at Long Lots and Coleytown Elementary Schools. Staples students — trained by K2BK — lead interactive lessons promoting kindness, empathy and the creation of anti-bullying allies.

The children just finished the 2nd of 5 lessons. Now they’re “hunting for kindness.”

Part of a K2BK poster.

They and their high school mentors created posters, which have been posted in 40 stores throughout Westport. A scavenger hunt for the posters starts tomorrow (Monday, January 16), and runs through Sunday (January 22).

Some do more than simply display the posters. For example, Crumbs is creating a K2BK cupcake. Earth Animal made a K2BKanine cookie. Lululemon has designed a K2BK yoga class.

The plan is for parents to help their kids use scavenger hunt cards to find the posters –and then discuss what they’ve found. If a poster says “Ally Power Rules,” a parent might initiate a discussion of the word “ally.” Hopefully, that will reinforce ideas the youngsters got from their K2BK lessons in school.

Once a child locates a poster, he or she will be given a sticker by a store employee. The class that gets the most stickers will earn a prize.

Long Lots 3rd graders (from left) Chelsea Strober, Rachel Varsano, Josh Leon, Jake Motyl and Justin Honig find a K2BK poster.

Nearly 4 dozen Staples students interviewed for spots as K2BK mentors. They thought they’d be teaching children, but they’ve also learned a lot themselves.

“They see their high school world through different lenses now. They seem changed in the process,” the K2BK founders say.

The scavenger hunt may also spread awareness throughout the community. Customers will see the posters hanging in windows or on walls. Owners will hand out K2BK fliers to anyone who asks about them.

“It’s simple,” the K2BK leaders say. “Being empathetic, nice and inclusive is what high school kids think is Kool. Being the opposite is not.

“If 3rd graders get the message, spread it to the rest of their school, and bring it home to their siblings and parents and then out to the community, we are doing our little bit to stop bullying and promote ‘ally power.'”

The founders have one other hope: that the scavenger hunt “will encourage everyone in the community to commit random acts of kindness, and pay it forward as much as possible.”

Aspire To Fitness

Some people might call opening a fitness center whose parking lot is shared with the Y a ballsy move.

Tom Baker calls it complementary.

Aspire Fitness — Tom’s new business on the top floor of Banana Republic (the entrance is in the back, off Elm Street) — is a “holistic studio.”  He wants members to really know each other — and Tom promises that he and his staff will play an important role in members’ lives, helping them deal with stress, nutrition, even sleep routines.

The Y, he says, offers a different product.

“I’m a big supporter of the Y.  It’s a great place,” he says.

“Aspire is a holistic, very personal service.  Some people don’t want to be bothered — they just want to go somewhere, work out, and be done.”

Tom Baker

Tom is no new-age newcomer to town.  He spent part of his youth in Westport, and attended Staples for a while before his family moved to South America.

After college he worked in advertising, finance and real estate.  But  fitness and well-being were always passions.  Tom was frustrated by the constant changes he saw in the field.

“People get really confused about health and wellness,” he says.  “Every day there’s a different story about what to eat, or what not to eat.  And a lot of fitness center trainers just don’t look out for you.”

That’s what Aspire aspires to.  Tom plans 1-on-1 and group training, nutritional consultations — an approach tailored to each member’s needs.

He also wants Aspire to be community oriented.  He plans events with downtown businesses like Lululemon.  The Studio 44 dance center already occupies space next to Aspire; Tom hopes to partner with them in some way.

“I’m up for anything local,” Tom says.  “Yoga, spinning studios, cycling places — I’m trying to step away from the feeling that we’re competitors.  We can actually do unique events together, and introduce people to new places and things to do.  Anything to make Westport more healthy, aware and active.”

Tom researched locations for a long time, before setting on his quasi-hometown.  He thinks Westport is “on the verge of becoming a hip destination.”  New construction on Church Lane, and the new Nike store on Main Street — he’s smack in between both — along with what he calls the P&Z’s “initiative to make downtown more vibrant” excite him.

“That’s my approach too,” Tom says.

Not a bad thing to aspire to.

(Aspire Fitness plans a soft opening early next week.  A grand opening will take place after Labor Day.)

Think Outside The Candy Box

When “06880” last covered Erika Miller and Jennifer Boyd, they were taking on the Westport school system over candy in classrooms, and processed food in cafeterias.

Now they’ve got bigger fish to fry:

Halloween.

The Westport residents — calling themselves “Two Angry Moms,” after the healthy food movement of the same name — say that every kids’ favorite holiday is way too sugary, gluttonous, wasteful, and consumerist.

No way!

To that end, Miller and Boyd have hooked up with a national organization called Green Halloween.  The idea:  Move the focus from candy, and take the day back to its roots.  (Fun, not pagan worship.)

From 4-6 p.m. on Halloween Day — Sunday, Oct. 31 — the Westport Historical Society will host free entertainment and educational activities, for kids and adults.

There’s an interactive break dancer; “touch tanks” featuring Halloween-ish things like gross eyeballs, and an “Eco-Graveyard” (waste by-products of Halloween, like candy wrappers and bottles, will be “buried”).

It’s not all fun and games, of course.  Green Halloween-goers will learn that chocolate production is one of the world’s worst sources of child slave labor (who knew?).

Staples students are volunteering, and the response so far has been good, the Two Angry Moms say.

“06880” — no fan of either child obesity or gluttony — applauds the Green Halloween idea.  But the cynic in us asks:  What’s to prevent kids from going to the event from 4-6 p.m., then rushing home (or Gault, the beach or other densely populated neighborhoods) to trick-or-treat for, um, chocolate?

“That’s fine,” Miller says.  “We know that’s a deep tradition.  We just want to show everyone there’s an alternative.

“Maybe they’ll realize that getting 20 pounds of candy isn’t necessary — 5 or 6 pounds is enough.

“Maybe they’ll decide that at every 2nd house, they’ll collect money for UNICEF.

“And we’ll have healthy snacks at Green Halloween.  So maybe they’ll have some good food before they go out trick or treating.”

Green Halloween:  It’s the 2010 thing to do.

But I hope kids never lose the thrill of scooping out a gloopy, smelly, seed-filled pumpkin.

(For more information, email erikahornmiller@yahoo.com or jbdm1@yahoo.com)