Tag Archives: Townee.us

Roundup: Starbucks; State Regulations; Fine Arts Festival; Townee T-shirts; More


Westporters gathered at Starbucks’ downtown location this morning, to show support for a popular employee. He’s been the target of racial harassment and stalking by a customer,

After a firestorm on social media, Starbucks has finally banned the customer from its property.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce reports:

While the state has paused its Phase 3 reopening, officials have made updates to  industry-specific rules.

The updates provide more specific guidance, and new recommendations for a broad range of sectors. Highlights include new rules for Indoor Recreation; expanded guidance for Outdoor and Indoor Events.

Changes impacting  Offices, Personal Services, Hair Salons & Barbershops,  Retail, Libraries, etc. include:

    • Non-essential businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask.
    • In the event an employee tests positive for COVID-19, it is recommended the business implement a 24-hour passive decontamination and follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

Changes impacting restaurants include:

      • Servers are no longer required to wear gloves.
      • Indoor performances are now allowed (with the exception of musical vocalists).

In addition, hotels are now permitted to provide non-essential services and amenities (valets, ice machines, etc.).


First, the downtown Fine Arts Festival was moved from always-hot July to much more pleasurable late May. Then the pandemic pushed it back to fall.

Now the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has reluctantly announced its cancellation. The next festival — with hundreds of artists, plus music, food, kids’ activities and more — is set for Memorial Day weekend of 2021 (May 29 – 30.

But you can still enjoy this year’s show. Click here for links to over 175 juried fine artists who would have attended, and will be welcomed back next year.

A scene from last year’s Fine Arts Festival.


Back in 2017, “06880” ran a story on Townee. The new company produced authentic, Westport-inspired t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more.

This summer they’ve added hand-created tie-dye clothing. “It’s the perfect way to show town spirit and positivity,” say Nick Prior and Theo Vergakis. They’re rising juniors at Staples High School — and they’ll deliver your goods personally.

They also offer tie-dye workshops at small home camps in town. Kids pick their styles, then learn how to tie-dye. The cost is just $20.

For more information, click here or email nickprior04@gmail.com

Theo Vergakis, Nick Prior and Townee tie-dyed tees.


Last night, Westport Public Schools officials presented 3 options for reopening to the Board of Education.

Today at 5 p.m., Westport Magazine’s Dave Briggs interviews Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas, on Instagram Live. The former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor will ask about that topic, and other important issues.

Search for @westportmagazine on Instagram to hear the interview. Questions can be submitted live (@westportmagazine), or beforehand (@davebriggstv).


The other day, “06880” gave a shout-out to 2020 Connecticut Entrepreneur Award winners Sarah Deren of Experience Camps, Remarkable STEAM and Mark Mathias.

There’s another local honoree (with an asterisk).

FinTron invest placed first in the Venture (Pre-Revenue) category. Their office is on Franklin Street. But they moved from Fairfield in the beginning of March, so that town gets credit for them in the list of winners.

No problem. From here on, FinTron is ours.


Partly cloudy skies are predicted for this weekend. Temperatures will be in the 80s — well below last weekend’s sizzling weather.

No matter what the weather, Westport’s Parks & Recreation staff is ready to welcome beachgoers. They manage the crowds with efficiency and energy.

And smiles — even if you can’t see them, behind their masks!


The Westport Library Book Sale is not accepting any more donations this week. The donation shed is full. Next chance: next Thursday.


And finally … what better way to celebrate the end of another week than with this great put-on-a-smile-on-your-face song? One more reason to love Scotland!

Townee Tees Help Billy Hess

A few months ago, “06880” reported that Billy Hess — the longtime and very popular summertime fixture at Joey’s by the Shore, and winter manager of Joey’s at the Longshore ice rink — was seriously ill with lung cancer.

Billy’s many friends and fans rallied to help. He’s still battling — and Westporters can still help.

Townee — the local t-shirt, tank top, hoodie and fleece company — has designed a special edition shirt. Proceeds help pay Billy’s medical expenses.

It’s extra-special, because it features the same logo Billy designed, and etched in the Joey’s counter years ago. If you’ve ever bought burgers, fries or lobster rolls at the beach — and who hasn’t? — you’ve seen it there.

The unisex crew-neck gray tee sells for $30. How appropriate — Billy has worked at Joey’s for 30 years.

As for the colors: Billy was part of the design process. He requested red and blue, to show his patriotism.

Remember, every summer he dresses up as Uncle Sam.

(To order a Billy Hess t-shirt, click here. To contribute to his GoFundMe page, click here.)

Billy Hess with his wife Gina and daughters.

Townee Tees: The Sequel

A few months ago, “06880” profiled Ted and Stephanie Vergakis — the local couple whose  “Townee” line of Westport-themed apparel (short- and long-sleeve T-shirts, hoodies, fleeces and rally caps, for adults, kids and toddlers) — was beginning to take off.

One of the best parts of the months since, they say, has been connecting with customers who love the same-day (and free!) delivery, quality and comfort.

Those same customers are not afraid to offer suggestions.

Ted met one — Maury Wind — for coffee, at the ultimate “townie” place: Coffee An’. He suggested taking the Christmas lights off the image of the Cribari (Bridge Street) Bridge tee – and making it more colorful overall.

Maury Wind, in his “Saugatuck Uni” tee.

Maury’s feedback inspired Ted and Stephanie to add a “Requests” section to their website.

“We want to hear from everyone,” he adds. “No request is too big or too small — a onesie for the newest Westporter, or 50 tees for your summer clambake. We can’t fulfill every ask, but we’ll do our best.”

In other Townee news, they’ve hired 3 Staples students as brand ambassadors. Cole Schuster, Bella Jagenberg and Garcia Lopez will cruise around town, passing out stickers, magnets, even free tees and tanks.

“They tell us what’s cool, and what they think people will and won’t like,” Ted says. “It’s insightful and inspiring to have the point of view of smart young adults.”

The Townee street team (from left) Cole Schuster, Bella Jagenberg and Garcia Lopez.

One more bit of news: Joey’s by the Shore has signed on to carry a few pieces.

Next up: tees with local logos, like the Duck and (as homage) Oscar’s.

“I’m not short on ideas,” Ted says.  “I’m sure your readers have a lot too.”

Of course! Click here — and send them his way.

Proud Townees Offer Westport Wear

Last summer, Ted Vergakis was on vacation in California. He saw someone wearing a simple T-shirt, with 2 words in beautiful script: “King’s Highway.”

Ted’s a Westporter. He had no idea what the shirt referred to. It could have been “a San Diego biker gang,” for all he knew.

No matter. He wanted one.

His oldest son Theo went to Kings Highway Elementary  School. His youngest son Alecko is a student there now. The family calls it “a special place,” and seeing those words crafted on a T-shirt seemed both cool and rare.

Ted realized that though there are places to buy things that say “Westport,” they don’t feel as if they were created specifically for here.

Ted and Stephanie Vergakis.

Ted and Stephanie Vergakis.

So he and his wife Stephanie decided to create a hand-drawn script for Westport, and a unique illustration that can’t be found anywhere else in town.

This was not a total stretch for the couple — but not exactly what they’d been planning either.

Both grew up in small Massachusetts towns. Both started their careers in advertising, managing creative departments and producing campaigns.

Stephanie went on to work in fashion, at Donna Karan. Ted spent several years running the global creative group at IMG — with clients like the Olympics, NCAA, sports stars and models.

Now they run their own studio, called Offmad. They provide creative and strategic support to clients like Kayak.com, PwC, Vroom and others.

Ted and Stephanie's Westport hoodie.

Ted and Stephanie’s Westport hoodie.

Their route to Westport — via Manhattan and Hoboken — was similar to others’. When they felt the need for more space, and realized the commute would be longer, they wanted someplace special.

“More of a destination, not just a suburban town,” is how Ted describes it.

Work colleagues suggested Westport. On weekend trips here, Ted and Stephanie “pretty much knew it was the perfect place.” They loved it all: seeing houses in the morning, then lunch at the Mansion Clam House, a trip to the Compo Beach playground, a stop at Trader Joe’s.

“We were really taken by how much at home Westport made us feel,” Ted says.

“It felt very New England and familiar. We both loved where we grew up and vacationed — Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard. Westport really reminded us of all those special things from home.”

But — like most Westporters — when Ted had his aha! T-shirt moment, he also realized that Main Street has become flooded with retailers that do not offer anything authentic and Westport-special.

So he and Stephanie decided to partner with skilled designers and illustrators. They wanted to celebrate their town, and the artists who created its legacy.

Townee's sparkling Saugatuck Bridge t-shirt.

Townee’s sparkling Saugatuck Bridge t-shirt.

Creating the sparkling Saugatuck Bridge illustration for their “Townee” apparel — which now includes short- and long-sleeve T-shirts, hoodies, fleeces and rally caps, for adults, kids and toddlers — was particularly important.

“I don’t think there’s a soul in town who doesn’t love the way the bridge looks during the holidays,” Ted says. “It’s perfect from every view — from 95, driving over it, walking through it.”

As for the company name, Ted says, “We think being called a townee is a compliment — a badge of honor. It’s someone who knows the best things to do, see, when to go places.

“Loving where you live makes you a townee. We all spend so much time  here doing normal day-to-day things. We want to remind others of how special Westport is.”

Their reminder: a line of high-quality apparel that’s comfortable, can be worn every day, and shows the pride people have in their town.

Townee launched last month. You may already have seen folks wearing Ted and Stephanie’s gear.

Just call them townees.

(Ted and Stephanie offer free delivery to all addresses. For more information — including ordering — click here.)