Tag Archives: Shaw’s

Bedroom Matters

Shaw’s closed; Fresh Market opened.  Sweet.

Depot Liquors is gone; another package store will take its place.  No big deal.

But Bedroom Matters is shutting its doors tomorrow.  That is very bad news for thousands of Westport women — plus their partners. 

Bedroom Matters is a boutique across from the railroad station — a few doors down from Depot Liquors, in fact.  It sells the usual:  lingerie, massage candles, rhinestone pasties, Kama Sutra honey dust, vibrators, Bad Girl cuffs.

Margaret Wagner

In 2 years, it’s developed a loyal following.  “Our customers are amazing,” says founder Margaret Wagner.

But rents are high.  So tomorrow (Friday) is her last day as a brick-and-mortar retailer.  All merchandise is 50 percent off.  A final event tomorrow night will clear everything off the shelves.

Customers — many of whom thank Wagner for spicing up their sex lives and/or saving their marriages — need not despair.  She will continue to sell her products — including bedding, intimate objects, and educational and erotic books — online

Her classes (intimacy, lap-dancing — “anything fun and sexy,” Wagner says) and her Sensual Circles women’s groups will be held in several area locations. 

“We have 2,500 women on our mailing list,” Wagner says.  Places like Arogya and Soleil Toile are very interested in having our events at their place.”

Kama Sutra massage oil is $19.99 on the Bedroom Matters website.

Wagner says she is “passionate about one thing:  living a sensual life.” 

But sex, she says, “has become an action, a verb. Its soul is lost as it gets tracked through the mud of everything from pornography to Cougar Town.”

 She founded Bedroom Matters to “reintroduce sex and intimacy as a core of our being.  (I wanted) to build a platform for sensuality and sexuality that is beautiful, respectful, fun and intimate.”

She calls her store “an expensive tool to help women — and couples — with relationships and intimacy.”  It’s time now, she says, to move more toward the educational side of the business.  And to sell products in an environment with no overhead.

As Shoeless Joe Jackson says in “Field of Dreams”:  “If you build it, they will come.”

(Wagner also blogs.  Click here to read “Margaret’s Bedroom.”)

This book includes a box to check after completing each of the 101 places.

A Fresh New Market

It takes more than a humongous rat to keep Westporters away from a fresh new store.

blog - Fresh MarketThat’s the lesson learned from the opening of The Fresh Market.  The North Carolina-based, family owned (and, we now know, non-union) “specialty grocery shop” opened its 1st store in the Northeast — appropriately, in Martha Stewart’s former home town — on Wednesday.

Judging from the packed parking lot and crammed interior, you’d think they were giving away free coffee and hot samples a bazillion dollars.

Braving the traffic and bucking the picketers (am I still a card-carrying Democrat?), I did my “06880” duty this weekend and checked out The Fresh Market.

My conclusion:  It ain’t Shaw’s.

Cinnamon — the aroma — hits you in the parking lot, before you even step inside.  I have no idea how much an odor-wafting machine costs, but The Fresh Market definitely bought the high-end version.

They spent big buck$ on flooring too — and ceilings, lighting, display cases, you name it.  (Apparently not on salaries though, to hear the rat and picketers tell it.)

Where Shaw’s was all tall shelves and narrow aisles, The Fresh Market oozes openness.  You can see clear across the store, from one end to the other.  (Theoretically, that is — the press of people made that difficult.)

The first thing you see is produce.  Nearly a third of the store is devoted to fruits and vegetables, and if the current display is any indication, appearance counts.  The apples, for example, teetered on the edge between appealing and plastic.  I checked dozens of apples for any mark or blemish; I found none.  If fruit were teenagers, kids with even 1 zit would be banned from The Fresh Market.

The produce section also includes an olive bar.  Call me sheltered, but I was unaware such things exist in the actual world.

Snack mixes take up a very long area — about the size Shaw’s once devoted to soda and cereal.  Each bin has an appallingly cute name:  “Berry Good,” “Banana Split” and “Country Club” were 3 I wrote down before retching.  The price is also berry expensive:  $9.99 a pound.

The Fresh Market offers “European sodas.”  I didn’t check, but they could be bottled in North Carolina.  Whatever.  Flavors include blood orange, Sicilian lemon and peach lemon.  I thought about trying to discern the difference between Sicilian and peach lemons, but my attention was diverted by “international beer boxes”:  10 beers from different countries.  Now you’re talkin’.

The meat counter — filled witih filet mignon kabobs, blue cheese burgers, lamb shanks — was impressive.  Everything looked good enough to eat.  Though I’m sure many vegans would disagree.

The enormous rat outside The Fresh Market draws attention to the store's use of non-union labor.

The enormous rat outside The Fresh Market draws attention to the store's use of non-union labor.

A sign by the bread section said:  “Bread sliced by request.”  I wondered what circumstance could possibly compel someone to ask a market worker to slice bread, before remembering that I was, after all, in Westport.  Perhaps during the next union negotiations, employees can ask to be paid more for extra tasks, such as bread slicing.

What’s that you say about union negotiations?  Sorry.  My bad.

The checkout line demonstrated that, although you can take the Shaw’s out of Shaw’s Plaza, you can’t necessarily change everything.  The wait was interminable — as before — despite a battalion of baggers.  But The Fresh Market does not even offer an express lane, for people with 10 (or 11) (or 14) (or a bazillion) items.

Welcome to Westport, The Fresh Market.  It’s nice to see the once-moribund parking lot buzzing with life.

Based on the early crowds, you have single-handedly ended the recession.

At least in this town.