Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

Roundup: Shorefest, Trader Joe’s, Fall Fashion, More


Yesterday’s “Shorefest on a Roll” — Friends of Sherwood Island’s reimagined, socially distanced annual fundraiser — was different than the usual lobsterfest.

It was also wonderful, fun, and made even better by spectacular weather.

Board members Cece Saunders and Steve Axthelm produced the clever, all-ages event. Riding in cars through the 232-acre state park, families listened to a podcast while enjoying kites, disc golf, music, and getting a purple martin education.

At the last stop, they picked up lobster roll dinners, courtesy of Westfair Fish & Chips.

Click here for a full report, and tons of photos.

Lobster roll dinners, at the end.


That’s one small step for a man. And one giant leap for faster checkouts.

Trader Joe’s has all registers open, for the first time since COVID struck in March.


The other day you worked out, at Main Street and Church Lane’s Fitness & Wellness Expo.

This Saturday, you can show off your new look. The Westport Downtown Merchants Association is sponsoring a Fall Fashion & Beauty Day.

Merchandise will be displayed on sidewalks — meaning there’s plenty of room to walk around in stores too. And despite the name, all downtown merchants — not just fashion and beauty retailers — are invited to participate.

All of Main Street, Elm Street and Church Lane will be closed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Local merchants not on those streets are being offered spots, so there’s plenty to see and do. Of course, masks and social distancing rules apply!

 


World peace comes to Westport.

That’s the name of the next MoCA Westport exhibit. It opens October 8.

Works in the show reflect “the culture of identity, and the divided and fractured political climate of America’s past and present.” The multi-media exhibit includes photography, sculpture, video, site-specific installations, works on paper, and protest art.

The group show features local and world-renowned artists, highlighting contemporary media culture, the criminal justice system, and the relationship between science and religion. 

Westporters include illustrators Tracy Sugarman and Naiad Einsel, and photographers Spencer Platt and Richard Frank

Local politicians, and experts on climate change and the media, will be featured in panels throughout the exhibition. It runs through January 17.

For more information, click here.


And finally … today is the International Day of Peace. Enough said.

 

Unsung Hero #152

Alert — and overwhelmed with gratitude — “06880” reader Melissa Balmer writes:

The other day my 10-year-old daughter had a tooth extracted. She could only eat soft foods, so on the way home from the dentist — and the first time in over 3 months — I stopped at Trader Joe’s.

I bought mashed potatoes, soft pasta, yogurt and 2 large watermelons. At checkout my credit card was declined once, then twice.

I brought out a second card. It too was declined. Confusion turned to panic as I brought out a third card. Declined!

At that point Jared – I think he’s a manager – swooped in and said, “Maybe it’s the machine. Let’s try over here.” He tried once more, but it still did not work.

I checked my cash. I was $4 short.

Calmly and amazingly he said, “No problem. I’ll cover the $4.”

I protested that I was good for it. I could put a watermelon back or come back with more cash. But he had already cashed it out and smiled, handing me my receipt. He wished me a good day.

I was stunned. As we walked to the car my daughter said, ” What a nice man.” What a nice man indeed!

At home I fixed the credit card mix-up, and sent my husband over with a thank- you note and return of the loan to Jared.

Maybe this isn’t blog-worthy, given the protests and turmoil in our country. But it might be nice to celebrate such a wonderful neighbor in our community.

Jared saw a frazzled mom trying to buy her kid watermelon. He helped without a second thought, in the kindest manner I had ever seen. We’re lucky to have him in our community.

Roundup: Art For Auction; The Future Of The Arts; Tavern On Main; Trader Joe’s; More


Olivia Macior graduated from Staples High School last June. For weeks, she waited for things to get back to normal. Now — in the wake of George Floyd’s murder — she wants something different: a “new normal.”

It’s “a normal where people of color don’t have to fear the very people who should be protecting them; where education is equitable; where the criminal justice system is fair and lawful, and racial injustice does not plague every aspect of our lives.”

Inspired by the words of Angela Davis — “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — she is using her considerable art talents to help.

Her powerful work is up for auction on Facebook, through June 21. 100% of the winning bid will go to Black Lives Matter. Click here; then message her with your bid, via Facebook or at ohmacior@gmail.com.


Not everyone agreed with yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Westport. This graffiti was seen this morning at the boarded-up Tiffany store:

(Photo/Marcy Sansolo)


Westporters in the know know: No one beats the Y’s Men for hosting insightful, thought-provoking speakers. Thursday’s — their first via Zoom — was typical: informative, wide-ranging, both global and local.

Andrew Wilk — executive producer and director of “Live From Lincoln Center” — moderated a discussion on the future of the Westport Country Playhouse, and arts in general, in the wake of COVID-19.

Panelists included Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos, general manager Michael Barker and actor Jake Robards.

The 30-minute chat ranged from the many issues impacting the Playhouse reopening — like safety, audience response and finances — to the importance of live performances. Click below to view:


As restaurants around Westport reopen, at least one will not.

An online auction is underway for many items at Tavern on Main: food service equipment, outdoor patio sets, decor and smallware.

It’s the end of the last sit-down, full-service restaurant on the main part of Main Street. It had a long run — and so did its predecessor, Chez Pierre.

No word yet on what — if anything — will replace it.


Nearly a dozen retailers are helping Home with Hope collect liquid dish detergent, all-purpose cleaners, soap, paper towels, sponges and sanitizing wipes. All donations go to families living in the organization’s supportive housing.

Hours are 10 a.m. 2 p.m. for all collections. There’s a box outside Restore Hyper Wellness (877 Post Road East) every day.

Other stores, with collection days:

  • Thursdays: ASF Sporting Goods (1560 Post Road East); UPS (606 Post Road East)
  • Fridays: West (117 Post Road East); Blow Dry (76 Church Lane)
  • Saturdays: Verizon (379 Post Road East); Fleet Feet (10 Sconset Square)
  • Sundays: The Granola Bar (275 Post Road East)
  • Mondays: Greenwich Medical Spa (645 Post Road East.)
  • Tuesdays: New England Hemp Farm (136 Main Street)
  • Wednesdays: Green + Tonic (17 Jesup Road)

Questions? Email westport@restore.com


How’s this for a way to treat the frontline workers we have been hailing as heroes?

Trader Joe’s had a picnic table at the back of their parking lot. It was a nice place for employees — sorry, “crew members” — to eat, or take a break.

The other night, it was stolen. (Hat tip: David Meth)


Eighth graders missed their “moving up” ceremony this year. But — thanks to the Bedford and Coleytown Middle School PTAs  — the 400-plus graduates are having their day in the sun.

Now, as you see these signs throughout Westport, you know who to thank.


Speaking of graduates, Margo Amgott writes:

“We’ve seen all the great signs celebrating Staples seniors. But there are others who are sheltering in Westport. We’ve long been weekenders, and after COVID now here we are!

“Could we do a shout-out to those transplanted seniors? The lovely people at Baker Graphics helped me make these for our daughter.” (The other sign — not shown — congratulates Molly for her acceptance at Trinity College.)

Great idea, Margo! Here’s too all Class of 202 grads! Wherever you went — and wherever you’re going — out town salutes you.


And speaking yet again of graduates …

St. Paul Christian School celebrated the end of the year with a drive-through closing celebration. Children received a diploma, yearbook and blessing from their teachers.


Tomorrow (Sunday, July 7, 5  p.m., Klein Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport), a number of Westport congregations are participating in an “Interfaith Prayer for Racial Justice & Healing.” Masks are mandatory, and social distancing is enforced.


And finally … it’s hard to believe I haven’t posted this yet. I guess I was waiting for the exact right time.

COVID-19 Roundup: MakerSpace Masks; Music Gigs; Sailplane Solo; Charitable Giving; More


The Westport Library is closed (though it’s online presence is more active than ever). But its MakerSpace is wide open — and doing its part to make and supply PPE to medical personnel across Connecticut.

Westport has partnered with other spaces in the region — Fairfield County Makers Guild in Norwalk; Make Haven in New Haven; Danbury Hacker Space — to assemble face shields. Ours is the only maker space affiliated with a library.

Led by Mike Altis, the MakerSpace has already 3D-printed more than 200 pieces of PPE, such as plastic headbands. After printing, parts are dropped off for final assembly at partnering maker spaces.

Mike prints a headband every 4 hours on the library’s two best 3D printers.

Due to a shortage and slow shipping of supplies, and the need for strict distancing guidelines (only one person in the space at a time), the Westport Library has not produced completed face masks itself.

Fortunately, Mike just received materials. Soon, he and his helpers will assemble completed face shields in their own space.

MakerSpace masks at the library.


Rothbard Ale + Larder posted on Facebook yesterday: “Rothbard will be closing permanently, but we hope this is not goodbye.

“Walrus Alley will be taking its place, with American southern-inspired flavors and dishes you are sure to enjoy. Stay tuned for the occasional Rothbard pop-up, especially in October.

“We hope to see you again.”


Trader Joe’s is closed again today. It is believed another employee contracted the coronavirus.


Like many musicians, 2007 Staples High School grad Drew Angus has been hit hard by the coronavirus.

All gigs through the end of May were canceled. So too have many through August. As a “non-traditional” worker, he’s had a tough time accessing federal and state unemployment benefits.

How’s he coping?

Creatively. After a successful Zoom happy hour for friends last week, he launched “Zoom Pop-Ins.” You can book Drew for a song (or a few) for online birthday parties, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, business meetings, happy hours, whatever. They work especially well as surprises. Click here for more info

Drew also offers drive-by concerts for anyone stuck at home in a 15-mile radius of Westport. He pulls into your driveway, stays safely away, opens his mobile sound system, and plays.

And he teaches virtual guitar and voice lessons. (“Pick up a new quarantine skill!” he suggests.)  Email DrewAngusMusic@gmail.com for concerts and lessons; click here for his website.

Finally, click here for his new single, Mr. Gemini — an introspective rock tune about understanding yourself. (If you buy it on Bandcamp, 85% goes directly to Drew.)

Here’s the stop-motion video. He made it with his marketing manager, Weston High graduate Shari Goldenberg. While strictly socially distancing, of course!


Robert Jacobs has found a new way to self-isolate: soaring solo in a sailplane.

Alone in the sky 8,000 feet above the earth — with no other aircraft around — he feels safe and joyful. The other day, he shot this video:


A reader writes: “My wife and I are looking more closely at our 2020 charitable giving. This is a year for priorities. We want to give where it will have the most immediate and needed benefit, starting with our general community and moving outwards from there.

“For us, food, health, and shelter will come first. Most everything else is on hold. That includes many other very worthy areas.”

How about it, readers. What are your priorities, and why? There are no wrong answers, just opinions. Click “Comments” below.


Spotco — Tommy Greenwald’s marketing, advertising and branding agency — is renowned for its work with Broadway shows.

But with the Great White Way dark, what can they do? Well, how about an uplifting, inspiring video starring Lin-Manuel Miranda?

In just 60 seconds, he manages to let everyone know that after this “intermission,” Broadway will be back with a great 2nd act; offer a way to help people in need, and also provide info on options to assist those in the industry. Take a peek:


Seen on the internet, and worth repeating: “You know all those small businesses you always ask to help out for your silent auction, program book or other fundraiser? Well, it’s time to repay the favor.”


And finally … thanks, Kelly Clarkson, for your words of wisdom!

Trader Joe’s Reopens

After closing yesterday for cleaning and restocking — after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus — the popular supermarket is again welcoming customers.

With — as before — strict distancing and sanitary measures in place.

Trader Joe’s enforces the social distance rules — with its own, very recognizable font.

Trader Joe’s Closes For COVID Cleaning

When it comes to coronavirus precautions, Trader Joe’s is one of the most scrupulous stores in town.

They diligently limit the number of shoppers. The “one-way” aisles are clear, as is the rigorous, keep-your-distance checkout procedure.

Yet late this afternoon, a sign on the door notified customers: “Temporarily Closed for Cleaning.”

(Photo courtesy of Westport Front Porch/Facebook)

An employee — er, “crew member” — tested positive for COVID-19, the sign says. “As soon as the store has been fully cleaned and restocked, we plan to reopen.”

The note adds that the employee was “last present in the store” on April 14 — in other words, today.

Trader Joe’s encourages customers with health-related concerns to contact their healthcare provider with questions.

COVID-19 Roundup: Longshore Golf Course; Paul Newman; Jon Gailmor; Food, Art, And More

1st Selectman Jim Marpe and Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava confirm that the Longshore golf course fairways, rough and cart paths are open to walkers. The greens are not open, and of course the course is closed to play.

Oh, yeah: It’s closed to dogs too.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)


Can’t get to the Westport Country Playhouse? Missing Paul Newman?

In 2002, our town’s hero appeared on stage — as the stage manager — in Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town.”

It was one of the most memorable performances on that venerable stage. And now you can watch it all, through the magic of YouTube. Click below — and thank your lucky “stars.”


Speaking of stars, Jon Gailmor shined brightly — and sang beautifully — even before graduating from Staples High School in 1966.

Decades later, “Peaceable Kingdom” — his Polydor album with classmate Rob Carlson — remains one of my favorites ever. (You’ve got time on your hands. Click here and here for 2 of the greatest tracks.)

Gailmor then moved to Vermont. He runs music-writing workshops in schools, writes and performs all over, and has been named an official “state treasure.”

Ever the social commentator, he’s taken his guitar and pen to the coronavirus. “What We Have Found” (“This is 2020 from a distance”) is all too true, and very poignant.

There’s not a lot to enjoy about COVID-19. This, though, is one of them:


They’re located just a few yards over the border, in Southport. So Garelick & Herbs did not make the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s great list of markets open for takeout and delivery.

However, their many local customers will be glad to know that G&H offers curbside pick up and home delivery, via phone (203-254-3727) or online (click here).


Trader Joe’s is limiting the number of customers in the store at a time. Mornings are the most crowded, but the line moves quickly. This was the scene this morning, as shoppers lined up (properly socially distanced) beyond Jersey Mike’s.

(Photo/Tom Cook)

At 12:30 there was no line. When I left 15 minutes later, 2 people waited outside.


Reader Adam Murphy writes about this generous act: “When the owner of The Simple Greek in Norwalk (its really close to Westport!) found out that a recent catering order was for the Gillespie Center, he voluntarily doubled the amount of food. ‘I want to make sure everyone has enough,’ he said. In times that must have him worrying about his business surviving, he still has generosity for others. Great food and great people!”


Westporter Steve Parton reminds readers that — with galleries closed, and self-isolating the new normal — our neighbors who make their living from art and art lessons are having a tough time.

“We would all like to make a sale if possible,” he says. “Everything must go! No reasonable offer refused!”

Check out his website — and those of any other local artists you like. As you look at your walls (what else is there to look at?!), now is the perfect time to buy new works!

“Compo Beach,” by Steven Parton

Pic Of The Day #1059

An hour or so after the Westport Public Schools announced they’re closing, Trader Joe’s looked like the day before a snowstorm. Or “The Day After.” (Photo/Armelle Pouriche)

Meanwhile, hand sanitizer is in such short supply, the Westport Library took special precautions — plenty of tape — to make sure this supply stayed in the Hub.

Going Bananas At Trader Joe’s

As panic about the coronavirus spreads, shoppers are stocking up on food. Who knows what a quarantine might bring?

At Trader Joe’s, that meant a run on bananas.

Bananas at Trader Joe's - Jaime Bairaktaris

(Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris)

Well, some of them anyway.

The 19-cent ones are almost all gone.

But the organic, 6-cent-more bananas are there for the picking.

Billy Senia: A Tale Of Two Talents

Among the many things that separate Trader Joe’s from other grocery stores, its relentlessly upbeat, smilingly chatty and genuinely helpful employees are at the top of any list.

Billy Senia is one of the many Trader Joe’s folks whom Westporters love. Whether dishing out samples, checking out customers or answering questions, he’s always got a smile, a kind word and a joke.

Few people know that this is only one of his gigs. Billy is also a longtime, well respected and very talented video editor, advertising writer and director. He’s traveled the world, won countless awards, and worked with clients like Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and Aretha Franklin.

And he loves both jobs: creative and culinary.

Billy Senia

Billy moved to Westport 26 years ago from Manhattan. He and his wife were paying $40,000 a year for their 2 young children to “finger paint in pretentious schools.”

He was already successful, making commercials and music videos. Working with top agencies like BBDO, McCann Erickson, Greg and J. Walter Thompson, he cut spots for clients like Bulova, Sears, Club Med and Disney.

Through relatives and colleagues, he heard that Westport was a magnet for creative people. They moved here, and he has not been disappointed.

Twenty years ago, Billy opened his own one-stop shop: Ice Pic Edit. He commuted to Chelsea, and built a home studio here. He was innovative, turning his laptop into a “Maserati” that he took everywhere.

But the advertising and video business evolved. Now everyone does everything — shooting, editing, graphics, sound. “It’s all solo,” he laments. “There’s no team.”

Billy is all about teamwork. So 4 years ago, he applied for a job at Trader Joe’s. He loved the company’s “spirit, positivism, food, giving back philosophy and focus on people.”

He thrives on making a customer’s day brighter, with a smile or quip (or extra sample). Working at the store — his main priority — gives him energy that feeds his creative side.

Not long ago, he joined forces with Dave Fiore. They’d worked together when Fiore was chief creative officer at Catapult in Westport. Their new company is called Massiv.

One of their first projects is “Union-Built Matters.” It’s a tribute to construction unions, and sounds an alarm against developers who cut corners by using cheaper labor.

Billy is a union man through and through. “My compassionate side is to help people,” he says. “This is not a sexy subject. But it’s very important.”

He and Dave are using social media, to get the word out that “union-built matters.”

Now it’s on to new projects.

And to serving up whatever samples Trader Joe’s offers today.