Tag Archives: Pack Roads

Friday Flashback #306

I have only a vague recollection of The Separate Shop. That’s okay — I was not the women’s clothing store’s target audience. Plus, it opened before I was born, and was in my early teens when it was sold.

I have better memories of The Ice Cream Parlor — a teeny bit in its first location (most recently, by Tavern on Main), much better after it moved to Post Road East (next to Colonial Green, opposite Salsa Fresca).

The Ice Cream Parlor, on the Post Road.

But those memories pale compared to Butzi Moffitt’s. She owned them both.

And at 94, she talks about them as if those 1950s and ’60s days were yesterday.

Butzi’s Southport home is filled with photos. (And — in the kitchen — an actual wrought-iron Ice Cream Parlor table.)

Those photos include Butzi with Marilyn Monroe. She was great friends with Milton Greene, the Weston photographer who helped make the actress famous.

“She was sweet, caring, gentle,” Butzi recalls. “Not a tough cookie at all.”

Marilyn Monroe (right) and Butzi Moffett (left), at a New York party. (Photo/Milton H. Greene)

Butzi became a store owner in 1952. She worked for a woman who owned an “unsuccessful” dress shop.

“I thought women’s sportswear would be more popular,” Butzi says. The Separate Shop opened in Sconset Square — then called Sherwood Square — and soon there were “lines out the door.”

At Christmas, customers filled out “want books.” They told their husbands just to go to The Separate Shop; Butzi and her staff would pick out what the wives wanted.

The store delivered too — via horse — within a 1 1/2-mile radius.

The Separate Shop, in Sherwood (not Sconset) Square.

The store’s name comes from her plan to sell items — skirts, blouses, etc. — “separately.” She had always found it difficult, as a “short-waisted woman,” to buy a one-piece dress without alterations. She realized that a wardrobe of separates could solve problems of those who were “too tall and long-waisted, the top-heavy, the large hipped, the too round and too thin,” a Westport Town Crier story said.

It added: “One of the first of the so-called ‘country stores’ to combine high style with more conventional items, the Separate Shop is often referred to in the garment business as ‘the grandmother of the trade.'”

An undated story in a retailing magazine noted, “The Separate Shop now does $200,000 woth of business a year and has achieved etailing fame as a major launching point for such now-established items as Shetland sweaters, Bermuda shorts, car coats and, more recently, the long ‘at home’ dinner skirt.”

Marilyn Monroe was a regular customer, Butzi says. She bought cashmere sweaters in 3 sizes — 32, 24 and 36 — to wear in different seasons.

The Ice Cream Parlor opened in 1953. She and her then-husband, Robert Beach, could not find good old-fashioned ice cream around here.

They learned of a country store going out of business in Saratoga Springs, New York. The bought what they needed, and brought it to Westport.

The concept was “nostalgia” — in the 1950s, for an earlier time. The old-fashioned ice cream parlor featured a marble soda fountain, wire-backed chairs, nickelodeon, penny candy and syrup in wax bottles.

Outside the Ice Cream Parlor …

It boasted that its “ice cream concoctions” were part of “the pomp and splendor, the gaudy, gay and garulous [sic] of an era past and a child’s wildest dreams come true.”

It was an instant hit, Butzi says.

… and inside. (This is from a 1955 Seventeen magazine photo shoot.)

The Separate Shop and Ice Cream Parlor were not Butzi’s only successes. She owned the Pack Roads men’s store, opposite Remarkable Book Shop at the Main Street entrance to Parker Harding Plaza (near where the Separate Shop relocated in the 1960s).

Pack Roads, near the second locatio nof the Separate Shop. (Photo/Peter Barlow)

Butzi also helped design costumes, and the scrim, for the Westport Country Playhouse.

She owned an apartment one block from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and spent 50 years as a docent.

Butzi married Peter Moffitt in 1962. She sold the Separate Shop 2 years later, when their twins were born.

Noting the closing, the Town Crier wrote: “While wishing the new owners of the Separate Shop all sorts of luck and Butsy [sic] Moffitt a happy retirement, we have a sneaking suspicion that her boundless energy will probably take her out of the house and back into the business world before long.”

Nearly 60 years later, the Separate Shop, Pack Roads and Ice Cream Parlor are part of Westport’s long-ago past.

Less than 6 years away from her 100th birthday, meanwhile, Butzi Moffitt, still has plenty of energy.

And many, many memories.

Butzi Moffett in her Southport home. She put the earrings on the portrait of Judy Garland. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Friday Flashback #235

Last week’s Friday Flashback of the Pack Roads men’s store stirred plenty of memories.

And though Fred Cantor sent this newspaper clipping in a while ago, it fits now.

The photo caption from the October 21, 1965 Town Crier describes the scene: junior high musicians playing to celebrate an extension being built in the back of a downtown store.

The photo has everything: music, nostalgia (The Remarkable Book Shop) — and there in the background is Pack Roads!

This photo is timely today. Two book stores opened recently downtown: Barnes & Noble, and Westport Book Shop.

Four members of band are still around. Trace Burroughs is a noted artist (and host, with his brother Miggs, of a popular Westport Library podcast). Rick Castillo lives in Norwalk, Chip Jackson in New York, and Tony Pryor in North Carolina. All are still involved in music.

And while the event back in the mid-’60s heralded the expansion of a downtown business, nearly 60 years later Main Street and beyond is undergoing its own renaissance.

Play it again, Rogues!

BONUS FEATURE: After last week’s Friday Flashback, Peter Barlow sent me a dramatic photo he’d taken of Pack Roads back in the ’60s. I added it to the story, but it’s worth posting again:

(Photo/Peter Barlow)

[UPDATE] Friday Flashback #234

A Friday Flashback in December showed a very cool magazine ad from 1964: a Pontiac Bonneville parked in the driveway by Chez Pierre (more recently, Tavern on Main).

Mark Mellor — whose dad was a noted illustrator, and whose stepmother Shirley Mellor owned Max’s Art Supplies — said the ad was drawn by Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman, top car artists of the 1960s and ’70s.

Elaine Marino found 2 more examples of their work. These were done using the small shopping center just north of Parker Harding Plaza.

Today’s it’s primarily offices. But back in the days of muscle cars, it was home to thriving shops like Pack Roads, a men’s store.

Of course just like in 2021, people parked wherever they wanted.

BONUS FEATURE: Native Westporter Peter Barlow sent along this wonderful photo he took of Pack Roads from the same time.

(Photo/Peter Barlow)