People’s United Bank customers: Rest easy. Your branch is not closing.
If you’re a United Bank customer, however: Your branch is.
“06880” reported this morning that People’s United Bank is closing 18 branches — among them, the one at the corner of Post Road and North Compo. It’s been a bank for years. Before that, it was the original site of Ed Mitchells (now Mitchells of Westport).
In fact, the bank they’re closing is the redundant one across the street — in Compo Acres Shopping Center, off South Compo.
The United Bank branch — now owned by People’s United Bank — that will close.
The branch was formerly a Patriot Bank outlet. Then it became a United Bank branch. It’s completely different — at least, it was until July, when People’s United acquired United Bank. Confusing, to be sure.
So now People’s United has 2 branches across the street from each other. The long-standing one near Planet Pizza remains. The one near SoulCycle is closing — sometime between December and April.
“06880” regrets the error. But the confusion could have been avoided if, several years ago, the bank owner had not changed its name from People’s Savings Bank to People’s United.
Normally, the opening or (more rarely) closing of a bank branch in Westport is not big news.
But when People’s United shuts its location on the corner of the Post Road and North Compo — part of 18 closings in the state, between December and April — we’ll lose more than one of our town’s squintillion banks.
A bit of history is going too.
That branch has been there for decades. It’s seen the addition of “United” to “People’s Bank,” and the reorientation of its entrance from the front to the back.
Most importantly, it’s a link to one of Westport’s longest-lived, best-known and well-respected businesses.
In 1958, Ed and Norma Mitchell took over what had been a heating and plumbing company office. With a few suits, a coffee pot, and tons of grit and hope, they founded a store that — 61 years later — thrives.
The original Ed Mitchell’s.
Mitchells moved twice — once to Colonial Green, then to its present location next to Sakura. From their Westport headquarters, the 3rd generation of Mitchell family members now oversee stores in Greenwich, Long Island and on the West Coast.
That’s a storied past for the unassuming building near Planet Pizza and Compo Barber Shop.
Let’s hope the new tenant stays as long as People’s Bank, and is as successful as Mitchells became.
It’s 43 degrees today, and people are as giddy as the first day of spring.
But that doesn’t change the fact that — nearly a week after our big snowstorm — this is the scene at People’s Bank:
An alert — and frustrated — reader writes:
I was coming back from town, and had to walk IN TRAFFIC on the Post Road to get by the bank.
I went in immediately and asked to see the manager. The person at the counter wanted to know what for, so I told her. The manager came out with some excuse or other. I was so upset I didn’t listen closely, having just had my life on the line on the street.
Another guy who was there admonished me for my angry tone of voice. Oh yeah, make ME the bad guy.
By my count the snow storm was five days ago. They should be fined at the least. Hope nobody gets killed on the Post Road.
Rev. Alison Patton has been here just over a year.
A tree at the corner of the Post Road and North Compo Road has been here a lot longer.
It’s been here through a couple of decades of People’s Savings Bank. It was here, shading the original home of Ed Mitchell’s. It was here before that too, when the building housed a heating contractor.
Now it’s gone. But as it was being cut, Rev. Patton snapped a photo.
I’m not sure why it’s gone. Maybe it was diseased. Maybe the bank worried it would fall during the next storm. Or maybe someone just didn’t like it there.
Whatever the reason, there’s one less tree on the Post Road.
And, as Rev. Patton says, it’s on a corner that “could use more, not less green.”
Last week, “06880” lamented the lack of respect for Westport restaurants in Fairfield County Weekly’s annual readers’ poll.
The 2nd part of the survey is out — covering stores, banks, even doctors — and we’ve fared a bit better.
The incomparable Sally White.
Sally’s Place for “Best Independent CD/Vinyl Store.” Such shops are fading faster than Donald Trump’s presidential hopes, but as the Weekly notes, owner Sally White is “one of a kind…. Die-hard music fans love Sally’s, and because White’s operation is so nimble, she can accommodate the special orders bigger stores can’t.” The Weekly‘s readers nailed this one — as Sally’s fan Keith Richards also attests.
Plumed Serpent wins “Best Bridal Salon.” I know as much about this category as Pakistan claims to have known about bin Laden, but here goes: “Plumed Serpent, a multiple-year winner, is renowned for its selection of tasteful, stylish, higher-end dresses and excellent customer service.” That’s almost enough to make me want to walk down the aisle, in a gown.
But a guy’s gotta look good too. Fortunately, Men’s Wearhouse (4 locations, including Westport) wins for “Best Place for Tuxedos.” The Weekly cites the chain’s “broad selection of styles and prices and oodles of shops.” Sweet.
Bonnie and Rick, the great team at Great Cakes.
Speaking of sweet — and weddings — the “Best Place to Buy Your Wedding Cake” is Great Cakes. I’m more into the early-morning coffee — and the chance to see everyone from builder Bill Kashetta to surgeon Alan Meinke — but the crew in the back turn out awesome wedding cakes, all from scratch. Owner Rick Dickinson is often told that his creations taste as good as they look — and how often do you say that about a wedding cake?
Another entry in the okay-I-believe-you department is Soleil Toile (“Best Lingerie Store [Non-Chain]”). The Weekly praises the store’s attention to proper fit, and “very broad array of sizes and body types.” O-kay…
Moving quickly along, the “Best Bank” is People’s United. Ours shares the honor with other locations in the county, but New England’s largest bank earns props for their many locations, community service, and “expert bankers who can do loans and investments.” (Um, isn’t that what bankers are supposed to do?)
Westport’s final winner is Dr. Mark Oestreicher. He’s Fairfield County’s “Best Dermatologist.” Once again, the Weekly voters have made a thoughtful, inspired decision. Nothing rash about this one at all.
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