Tag Archives: Sweet P Bakery

Celebrating National Kindness Day, The Porch Way

Happy National Kindness Day!

To celebrate, “06880” shares the story of a local business that embodies kindness, and pays it forward every day.

And  today they’ve got some good, kind news, about what’s ahead.

The Porch at Christie’s opened in May of 2021. Westport owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello — inspired by their 3 kids’ volunteer efforts while at Staples High School — had already founded Sweet P Bakery.

The Norwalk non-profit teaches baking skills to people with disabilities, then hires them.

The Porch on Cross Highway — which since 1926 was known as Christie’s market, then cycled through several owners (with a very brief spin as a dry cleaners) — had 2 missions: to be a gathering place for the community, and to train and employ people with disabilities.

The Porch at Christie’s, on Cross Highway

Working with organizations like STAR, and local school systems’ special education and transition programs, to teach job skills, The Porch models inclusion, acceptance and kindness, to employees and customers alike.

Plus, it’s a retail outlet for Sweet P.

The bakery employs 6 people. All are graduates of their first baking program. Six more graduate next month.

They’ll be needed.  Sweet P’s cookie wholesale operation — whose customers include the Westport Library and Westport Country Playhouse — is robust.

They’re also building an online operation to sell nationwide. They’ll hire people of all abilities for packaging and labeling, along with baking.

“One shift a week can change a life,” the Pecoriellos say.

“For 2 1/2 years, our community and beyond has embraced the Porch and Sweet P Bakery, and our message of kindness and inclusion.

“We have already made a significant impact in creating employment and internship opportunities for adults with disabilities at both locations.”

But they want to do more.

They’ve combined both businesses into one 501(c)(3) non-profit. Now they’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign.

Donations will help the Pecoriellos triple the size of Sweet P’s commercial kitchen; hire the 6 students about to graduate from their baking program; add more jobs for the online business; hire new Porch employees of all abilities, and ensure that The Porch continues as a “community treasure.”

Enjoying work

Porch sales do not cover operating expenses. Fundraising and grants can close the gap.

Finally, the Pecoriellos say, fundraising will help them “model kindness in our community. It is needed now more than ever.”

Happy Kindness Day!

(Click here for more information on the Porch/Sweet P GoFundMe campaign, and to contribute. GoFundMe does not allow American Express donations; to use that card, or donate by check, go to the Sweet P website.)


Unsung Heroes #274

Since opening in May of 2021 — in the throes of the pandemic — The Porch at Christie’s has done something that eluded several other owners since Christie Masiello herself was there: succeed at business on a residential stretch of Cross Highway.

Customers flock to the bakery/café/ice cream stand that Bill and Andrea Pecoriello conceived, then brought to life. They love the breakfast specials, bowls, paninis, wraps and baked goods. The food is fresh, excellent and varied.

Welcome to The Porch!

But that’s only part of the story.

The Pecoriellos have made The Porch into a warm, comfortable hangout, for all kinds of folks: area residents, kids from nearby Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools; parents dropping off and picking up youngsters at Wakeman Field; contractors working in the neighborhood, and delivery people driving by.

The Porch — including, in warm weather, its namesake front — has become exactly what the owners envisioned: a true community space.

Wynston Browne and his communication partner, Elisa Feinman chat on The Porch’s porch.

But that too is only part of the story. And it’s only part of Bill and Andrea’s business.

As with their Sweet P Bakery in Norwalk, they provide job training and employment for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. At both places, the Pecoriellos offer opportunities for personal growth, income, social interaction, life skills coaching and a sense of purpose.

Interactions between employees and customers are heart-warming, and important — for everyone. Friendships have blossomed. Lives are enriched.

Last weekend’s plunging temperatures froze The Porch’s pipes. When they thawed, they burst.

Water cascaded through the roof. Employees (and customers) rushed to help.

The next day, The Porch was back in business.

That’s the way the Pecoriellos roll. They have people to serve — on both sides of the counter — and they serve them well.

Andrea and Bill Pecoriello (3rd and 4th from left) were joined by 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker (5th from left), 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore (2nd from left) and others, at the ribbon-cutting.

Next month, The Porch hosts a social event: a St. Patrick’s Day Eve party. Dozens of members of Club 203 — the area’s social organization for adults with disabilities — will pack the place.

They’ll mingle, dance, have a great time — and of course eat.

The Sweet P baked goods will be especially good.

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email 06880blog@gmail.com)

(Unsung Heroes is one of several weekly features on “06880.” Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: Porch Party, Post Road Fawns, Bicycle For 2 …


In less than 2 months of operation, The Porch @ Christie’s has become an iconic part of Westport.

Besides a great breakfast-lunch-and-dinner menu, excellent coffee and a popular ice cream stand, there are sweeeeet baked goods from Sweet P Bakery.

That’s the business that Porch owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello started 2 years ago. They instruct and employ 6 bakers — all with disabilities — along with 3 professional chefs.

Yesterday, the Pecoriellos hosted a party (appropriately, on the Porch’s porch) for the Sweet P staff. Some had never seen the place where so many customers love the products they make.

Hetty Marion said “I love this! It’s such a nice atmosphere.” Autumn Perry looked forward to watching people try her creations.

In case you’re wondering what to order: Autumn’s favorite is chocolate chip cookies. Hetty favors Whoopie Pies.

Autumn Perry (left) and Hetty Marion, at yesterday’s party with Porch owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello.


Tomorrow (Sunday, July 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) marks Wakeman Town Farm’s first Sustainable Goods Eco Market.

Local vendors and artisans will be selling handwoven baskets and housewares; honey; handmade soaps, body butter and essential oils; skin and hair products for teens; candles; bags; clothing; honey and more.

There’s breakfast from The Granola Bar truck, and ice cream cones from Saugatuck Sweets too.

While adults shop green, youngsters can work on fun projects with WTF director of education Chryse Terrill, or visit with the animals. Expert Judy Panzer will answer animal questions for curious young minds.

Everyone can enjoy music by saxophonist Bobby Master, classical guitarist Jesse Balcom, steel pan and marimba player, and string quartet Vision Academy.


Westport Animal Control and the Westport Police Department want you to know: 2 fawns have hunkered down in the grassy Post Road median in front of Splash Car Wash.

The mother thinks this is a safe spot for her little ones. Animal Control Officer Peter Reid asks people to not approach them — and when driving by, slow down!

Fawns in the median.


SA couple considering a moving to Westport from New York would love to take the train here, and explore our town by bike.

They asked “06880” about rentals near the station. I don’t think there’s any such thing (though it might not be a bad sideline for a nearby business).

So how about it, “06880” readers: If there are no bike rentals around, does someone have a pair to lend? Maybe meet them at the station, give some tips (or even ride with them)? Or drop bikes off there, with combination locks?

Sure, it’s a long shot. But it’s also one way to help show off our amazing town — and the great people who live here.

I don’t think this is the type of bike ride our guests are looking for.


The Hamptons? Cape Cod? LA?

Nope. The too-familiar scene yesterday afternoon, on Bridge Street:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

And, reports Patricia McMahon, it took her 20 minutes on South Compo to get to this mess. And a total of 64 minutes to get from the beach to the light by Bridge Square.

Part of the reason may have been an accident south of I-95 exit 19, which shut all 3 lanes for an hour. But that was a few miles away.



On Thursday, State Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang were recognized for their bipartisan effort to pass SB 954. The bill will improve college safety, and is seen as a template for federal legislation, sponsored by Congressman Jim Himes. The goal is to increase transparency around college accidents and deaths in all US colleges.

The initiative comes from College911.net, an all-volunteer organization founded in the memory of Corey Hausman. The 2018 Staples High School graduate died from what started as a preventable accident on his college campus just 15 days into his freshman year. Corey’s was the third student death since the start of that semester.

Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang hold certificates presented by College 911.net. Also pictured: members of the 911 Young Adult Advisory Board (Brendan Carney, Rushil Marallapu, Kate Smith and William Bean), members of Corey Hausman’s family (Joel, Nanette and Lucas), and Jeff Mitchell, an ardent supporter.


Blood donations are still down, compared to pre-COVID times.

The Red Cross is holding a blood drive this Thursday (July 29, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 (465 Riverside Avenue).

The VFW is holding an open house the same day, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399.


A large crowd filled Bedford Hall last night, for the Westport Woman’s Club annual “Sip and Savor” fundraiser.

Proceeds from ticket and wine sales benefit the organization’s many philanthropic and scholarship initiatives.

“It’s so nice to go out again,” one attendee said.

“Especially where there’s wine,” her friend agreed.

One of the 4 tasting stations at the Westport Woman’s Club “Sip & Savor” event. Wines came from around the world.


The grounds of the Westport Weston Family YMCA always look gorgeous, thanks to Tony Palmer Landscaping.

Yesterday they were especially attractive. The Westport Garden Club chose the Mahackeno site for its annual #FridayFlowers display. They were created by Janet Wolgast, with help from new Y CEO Anjali McCormick.

One more reason to smile before — and after — your workout.

(Photo/Ed Simek)


Andrew O’Brien spotted this recently at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Andrew O’Brien)

“We have many different points of view here in Westport,” he says. “But I can’t figure out where this individual stands.”

I don’t know either. But it’s clear where he sits: In the driver’s seat, without a real good look through his rear view mirror.


Longtime Westport resident Vivian Doak of Spring, Texas, died peacefully at home, surrounded by her immediate family, last Saturday. She was 91 years.

The oldest of 5 children, Vivian graduated from high school in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. After secretarial school in New York, she held various positions. In 1952 she married Malcolm Robert Doak, an Air Force pilot. Following stints in Memphis, Japan, Long Island and Poughkeepsie, the couple settled in Westport in 1964, where they raised their family. In 2009 Vivian and her husband retired to Lake Conroe, Texas, and finally settled in Spring, Texas, at The Village at Gleannloch Farms.

While in Westport Vivian was a mother, housewife, business professional and real estate agent. She served many roles, from Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader to PTA organizer; from church deacon to leading the local Women’s Council of Realtors.

Vivian enjoyed traveling the world with her corporate pilot husband, as well as cultural jaunts with her children. The Doak home was a welcoming place for neighborhood kids, and a great environment for their children’s friends to hang out, be fed delicious meals, and be appreciated. Many still recall her warm smile and generous laugh.

Vivian possessed an ambitious, artistic talent that influenced everything she did. She was an excellent cook and skilled seamstress, skills she passed on to her children, grandchildren and beyond.

She enjoyed dancing, and studied tap and other forms. A painter from early on, she later enjoyed the hands-on hard work of building, refinishing and reupholstering furniture. She brought a creative eye to numerous heirloom quilts made for family members.

Vivian reveled in leading her grandchildren in holiday crafts, and created hand-painted curios for her children and their families. She also mastered a host of magic tricks, and juggled to entertain her grandchildren.

In retirement Doak mastered the art of theorem painting, studying at the Fletcher Farm School for the Arts in Vermont. While a member of the Wilton Presbyterian Church, Vivian designed and oversaw the construction of their on-site Memorial Garden.

Vivian will be remembered for her kindness, patience, loving manner, infectious laugh and bright smile, and as the matriarch of a strong, loving vital family.

Vivian is survived by her husband Malcolm and their 5 children: Kathi Doak of New York City; Lisa Lyne (James) of Spring, Texas; Ivy Doak (Timothy Montler) of Denton, Texas; Robin Neyrey of Spring TX, and Malcolm (Carole Ann) of Kirby, Vermont; 7 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, and sister Marjorie Schoneboom of Long Island.

A memorial service was held at The Village at Gleannloch Farms. The family is appreciative of everyone there.

Vivian Doak


Great blue herons are skittish — and very hard to photograph. Yet John Kantor captured this “Westport … Naturally” scene beautifully, at Sherwood Mill Pond.

(Photo/John Kantor)


And finally … our “06880” plea for bicycle help (above) led of course to this song. I bet the couple wants to explore Westport on individual bikes. But just in case they don’t …


Christie’s Porch

For nearly a century, the front porch of Christie’s Country Store helped anchor its Cross Highway neighborhood.

Christie Masiello and her nephew Don ran the farm stand/market — which opened in 1926 — for almost 7 decades. Several owners followed, serving residents, kids, contractors, and everyone in between.

Since January though — when Chef’s Table closed — the porch has been quiet.

Life returns this spring.

“The Porch at Christie’s” is the name new owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello have chosen for the venerable space. It’s a nod to the storied past, and a welcome addition to the area.

But the couple will serve much more than breakfast, lunch, pastries, soups, salads and prepared meals. By hiring people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, they’ll provide job training, income, social interaction, life skills coaching, and opportunities for personal growth to that often underserved population.

Andrea and Bill Pecoriello.

This is not the Pecoriellos’ first such venture. Last year — inspired by their own 3 children’s volunteer efforts with a boy with disabilities — they founded Sweet P.

Seven students and 2 chefs operated the non-profit bakery out of a Norwalk commercial kitchen until March, when COVID struck.

The chefs stayed through June, making granola for frontline workers and food pantries. In-person, socially distanced baking classes are set to resume this month, along with another class they run sponsored by STAR Lighting the Way.

The Porch at Christie’s will go much further than the bakery (which will supply some of the goods sold there). Interacting with customers, employees can learn front-of-the-house skills.

The Pecoriellos also wanted to do something for Westport — the town they’ve lived in for nearly 26 years. They envision The Porch as a community gathering spot. “We want to be very inclusive,” they say, bringing together the neighborhood and employees.

They’ll do it with breakfast burritos, muffins and granola (and a more “brunch-y” menu on weekends); coffee, tea and smoothies; lunches; prepared meals to go; salads, paninis and flatbreads.

They’ll sell crackers and jams for picnics, gift baskets — and milk, eggs and cheese, products neighbors have long clamored for. Catering will be available too.

The couple is also excited to bring back the former Frosty Bear ice cream hut. They’re scouting out top local dairy farms to supply it, and will run a contest to pick its name.

The Frosty Bear ice cream stand will reopen, with a new name.

The Pecoriellos are searching too for the best Connecticut coffee roasters.

The Porch at Christie’s will be open 7 days a week, starting at 7 a.m. It will be “very COVID-friendly,” the Pecoriellos says, with curbside pick-up and takeout.

They hope to have a permit for lawn seating. Of course, they’ll have tables on the porch (alongside a new ADA-compliant ramp).

The interior will be refurbished with a “modern farmhouse” look. The target date for opening is March.

“We have a great relationship with our landlord, Tim Purcell,” says Bill Pecoriello. “He knows how important this is for the neighborhood.”

That “neighborhood” extends far beyond Cross Highway residents. It includes construction and lawn workers; parents and athletes at Wakeman Field, and students and teachers at Bedford Middle and Staples High School.

The new owners also hope for a partnership with Wakeman Town Farm, a few hundred yards away.

Next spring, the porch at The Porch at Christie’s will again be open.

Bill and Andrea Pecoriello seem to have thought of everything. They’re even buying a generator, to serve the neighborhood during power outages.

“We’ll have ice and everything else. Including WiFi,” they say.

So when the next blizzard passes, or another storm blows away, you can eat, drink and do your work at — and on — The Porch at Christie’s.

(The Pecoriellos want to hear suggestions and ideas. Email info@theporchatchristies.com.)

COVID-19 Roundup: Great Gault; Sweet P Bakery; Kentucky Derby; More

Shane Purcell posted this on Facebook’s “Westport Front Porch” page. It’s worth repeating (don’t worry, I asked him!):

“Shout-out to Gault for coming out during the pandemic to install a whole new boiler and hot water heating system. Our boiler sprung a huge leak Thursday night, and the water tank failed as well. They ordered a new boiler and tank, which was delivered first thing Friday morning.

“They had everything up and running for my daughter’s quarantine birthday — and worked for 8 hours straight to get the job done.”

That’s the Gault we know and love — serving Westport for 157 years!

Sweet P Bakery is a new nonprofit providing training and employment opportunities to adults with learning and developmental disabilities. Within weeks of Sweet P’s start, the program had to pause because of COVID-19.

But they came up with a way to help front line heroes and local food pantries and the adults with disabilities, all while delivering Sweet P treats and smiles to people staying home.

It’s called “Granola for Good.” For every donation to Sweet P, 50% to a granola delivery to a front line group or food pantry.

And for every donation, you can select a Sweet P treat: 8 gluten-free chocolate cookies, a 4-pack “Surprise S’more Kit,” or a bag of “Get Up and Granola.” There’s free delivery in Westport, Weston, Wilton, Fairfield and Norwalk.

The other half of the donation helps Sweet P staff stay in touch with students, via teaching videos and other virtual events. Click here to donate, and for more details.

There are not many planes in the sky these days. Tomorrow there will be.

A formation of US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds will honor first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic by flying over this area.

Their flight begins at noon (Tuesday, April 28) in New York. The elite flight demonstration squadrons will soar over Newark, then across Long Island. Their projected path takes them over Stamford around 12:30 or so, before heading west.

With a little luck, they’ll pass over Westport. If they do, don’t forget to wave. (Hat tips: Andrea Pouliot, Peggy Lehn)

Seven years ago this month, Jim Naughton’s wife Pamela died of pancreatic cancer.

Through his efforts to raise research funds, the Weston actor has been very impressed with the Foley Foundation. They contribute to Norwalk Hospital’s Dr. Richard Frank’s clinical trial to find an early diagnosis. Right now, it’s too often discovered in stage 3 or 4.

Every year the Foley Foundation sponsors a Kentucky Derby Day event, with mint juleps, food and a best hat contest. This year, it will be run as a “Virtual Happy Hour.”

As honorary chair, Jim is participating in a webinar at 5 p.m. this Saturday, May 2 — the exact time the 2020 race was supposed to be run. He invites all interested “06880” readers to join. It should be a fun hour — and it benefits a very worthy cause. Click here to join.

Jim Naughton

And finally … Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati wrote “A Ray of Hope” in the days after Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. Dark days are here again. But 52 years later, the Rascals’ words still ring true. I hope.